Livermore High School


Military Service Branches

The U.S. Military consists of five active-duty Services and their respective Guard and Reserve units.

All branches are equal parts of the United States Uniformed Services, headed by the President as Commander-in-Chief.  The Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD).  The Coast Guard reports to the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and to the DoD (by way of the Navy) during wartime.  Reserve and National Guard units perform as active-duty service members on a part-time basis.  These troops train close to home, deploying when needed to aid in international conflict or domestic disaster relief.
Before serving in the Military, there are a few things a young adult can do to prepare.  The ASVAB Career Exploration Program can help young adults discover suitable jobs.  Likewise, they must meet certain requirements to serve, including age, educational and physical prerequisites.  Once committed to service, training begins in the form of boot camp (officially called Initial Entry Training).

ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) Programs

Founded in 1926, ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps.  It’s a college program offered at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.  In exchange for a paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, cadets commit to serve in the Military after graduation.  Each Service branch has its own take on ROTC.

Service Academies

For students who would like to experience a military environment while getting a first-class education, the four Service academies offer an outstanding education and full four-year scholarships. Tuition, books, board and medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years.  The competition to get in is fierce.  Admissions criteria include:

  • High school academic performance
  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
  • Athletics and extracurricular activities
  • Leadership experience and community involvement
  • A congressional letter of recommendation (not required by the Coast Guard

Graduates of all four academies receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as officers in their respective Service branch.  In all cases, there is a service obligation of a minimum of five years.

Senior Military Colleges

The Senior Military Colleges (SMCs) offer a combination of higher education with military instruction.  SMCs are among the most prestigious and famous education institutions in the world and they offer financial aid packages for eligible students.  Every cadet must participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, but only those cadets who receive an ROTC scholarship are required to enter military service following graduation.  For example, about half of Virginia Military Institute’s cadets earn commissions as second lieutenants (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force) or ensigns (Navy).

Merchant Marine Academies

An additional option for students is U.S. Merchant Marine academies.  The United States Merchant Marine is the fleet of civilian-owned merchant ships that  transport cargo and passengers on behalf of the United States.  In times of  war, the Merchant Marine is an auxiliary to the Navy and can be called upon to deliver service members and supplies for the Military.

Midshipmen at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., receive full scholarships in exchange for a service obligation in the Merchant Marine Reserve or Navy Reserve.  The other Merchant Marine academies also produce shipboard officers for vessels integral to shipping and transportation needs, but a service commitment is not always required.

General Information

Military Service Branches

ASVAB, Entrance Requirements, Bootcamp


Service Academies

United States Military Academy, West Point
United States Naval Academy
Service Academies and Senior Military Academies at a Glance

Senior Military Colleges

Texas A&M Corps of Cadets

Norwich University

The Virginia Military Institute

North Georgia College & State University

Mary Baldwin Women's Institute for Leadership

Merchant Marine Academies