Age maximums:

Active Army - 42 Army Reserves (Including National Guard) - 42 Active Air Force - 27 Air Force Reserve (including National Guard) - 34 Active Navy - 34 Naval Reserves - 39 Active Marines - 28 Marine Corps Reserve - 29 Active Duty Coast Guard - Age 27 (up to age 32 for those selected to attend A-school directly upon enlistment – mostly for prior service.) Coast Guard Reserves - Age 39

Minimum age enlistment is 17 (with parental consent).


Weight requirements

Army and Army National Guard: Weight requirements vary according to body type, but the Army, like all branches, does follow a body fat percentage. For example, men between 17-42 years of age with prior Army service should average 23 percent body fat, while those with no prior service should average 27 percent body fat. For women between 17-42 years of age with prior service, they should average 33 percent body fat, while those with no prior service should average the same. Air Force: For men, it is 20 percent body fat for those 30 years old and younger and 24 percent for those 31 years and older. For women, 28 percent for those 30 years old and younger and 32 percent for those 31 years and younger. Navy: The maximum allowable body fat limits are 23 percent for men and 34 percent for women. Marines CorpS: The maximum body fat percentage for men is 18 percent and 26 percent for women. Coast Guard: For men less than 30 years old, 23 percent body fat and 33 percent for women; for men less than 40 years old, 25 percent body fat and 35 percent for women; and for men 40 years old and older, 27 percent and 37 percent for women.

Extensive charts detailing exact weight requirements can be found at


Military Pay and Benefits

Pay varies according to circumstances. Changes in pay grade, duty status, military occupation, duty station, or deployment status can impact  pay. In 2008, a new recruit could expect to make about $1,245 per month. Average base pay after four years of service is about $1,800 per month. Room and board is provided. The National Defense Act of 2009 granted across-the-board 3.9 percent military pay raise. Army benefits include full health insurance coverage; the Army College Fund and GI Bill (a maximum of $70,000), college loan repayment benefits, tuition assistance, and retirement benefits (half base pay at the time of retirement) after 20 years of service.


Other requirements/benefits

A new recruit in any branch must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien. n Educational requirements vary and are typically arranged under a Tier program. Refer to local recruiter for specific information. Recruits should be single with no children or married with two or fewer children. Recruits must pass the ASVAB test and a physical. Questions concerning tattoos and piercings should be directed to recruiters because policies vary.

Information compiled by Jeff Martin, courtesy of