About the Army
Soldiers saluting

Active Duty

What it means: You are a Soldier who serves full time. You will generally live on a base, either within the United States or in a foreign country. While on active duty, you will earn a full salary and you will receive health and retirement benefits.


What it means: You are a part-time Soldier, and unlike active duty status, you are required to train and report for duty just one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Serving in the Army Reserve allows you to live where you want, attend school and work a civilian job. You will still earn many benefits, including health care and retirement, and you will also earn part-time duty pay in addition to the income from your civilian job.

Learn more about the differences between active duty and Army Reserve Soldiers.

Enlisted Soldiers

What they do: Enlisted Soldiers are the most important part of the Army. Like the employees of a company, enlisted Soldiers are responsible for carrying out a mission or task. As an enlisted Soldier, you could serve either on active duty, or in the Army Reserve.


What they do: Officers are the leaders of the Army. Like the managers of a company, they are responsible for taking charge of enlisted Soldiers, issuing orders, and planning missions. As an Officer, you could serve either on active duty, or the Army Reserve.

Learn more about Officers and Enlisted Soldiers.

Branches of the Army

The Army is made up of many groups and organizations. The Military Occupational Specialty you choose determines your branch.

For example, if you are interested in becoming a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, you will end up in the Aviation branch. If you are interested in nursing, you will join the Nursing Corps. Check out the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) schools page to learn more about the specialized careers, or click the link below to learn about specific Army branches.

Learn more about Army branches.