Top 10 Reasons I Hate the Army

As I said in my first post about the top ten reasons I love the Army, I am not all sunshine and rainbows about Army life. There are definitely a few things I wish were different about Army life.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the ten things I hate about the Army.

10. Ridiculously Low-Speed Limits On Post

I get that you should drive slower around housing developments or during PT times in the early AM. But 20 mph on a road where there’s not a building in sight? Those are only there so they have an excuse to write tickets.

I don’t need to do 50 mph through post, but how about 35 when I’m in the middle of nowhere on post?

9. Weird Gate Guards

I will never forget the time I drove through the gates on post late one night only to have the guard ask, “Do you believe in ghosts?” Um, WHAT?! Do you see one with me in the car? It was bizarre!

It definitely made me paranoid about going on post, especially by myself late at night.

8. Hours For Services On Post

Some places are only open in the AM. Others have two-hour blocks for lunch, which is, of course, the time that most people can visit the office.

And it never fails that I would get to the door two minutes after they closed (at 15:00!!) after I busted my butt to get there on time and risked a ticket from one of the MPs (see #10).

7. Middle of the Night Phone Calls

Most of these resulted in him getting called in without knowing if it was for real (as in he was leaving for deployment with no notice) or just a drill.

Then I found out that most of the time, it was because one person screwed up, so they called everyone in. Nothing like mass punishment for the error of one.

There is no good news delivered in the middle of the night. A phone ringing that late is enough to create a massive spike in adrenaline.

6. The One-Up Syndrome

I swear it’s taught in orientation to always try to make your story sound worse than the person you are currently talking to. Sometimes I’m convinced the FRG has a class on it.

If they complain about deployment, make sure you point out that you went through one that was harder, longer, or with less communication.

“Well, when we went through XYZ, we had to…”

5. Spouses Who Think They Have Rank

Spouses do not have rank. And let me state upfront that I do agree with that statement.

However, the Army preaches that spouses don’t have rank but then institutes things like separate clubs for officer wives and enlisted wives.

How about only allowing wives of soldiers of a certain rank to serve in a leadership position in the FRG?

This was my own story. I was serving as a key caller and after making phone calls, I received a call of my own from the FRG leader.

A spouse who was married to a higher-ranking enlisted soldier (by two whole ranks!) complained that the wife of someone with less rank (me!) dared to call her phone. My role as a key caller ended that day.

Way to go with that whole do as I say, not as I do!

4. The Monthly LES

It drove me insane that the detailed LES was available only at the end of the month. Get a weird paycheck on the 15th? You’ll have no clue why until the next LES comes out. So, good luck! Especially if it was much less than expected.

3. Some of the Civilians Who Work On Post

Notice I did say SOME. And yes, spouses of soldiers are civilians, too – me included.

Two stories for you.

First, I went to enroll my son in DEERS after he was born. They asked me for his birthday and I told them (he was about four weeks old at the time). They then asked me for his weight, to which I replied, “nine six” (as in nine pounds, six ounces).

She looks at me and says, “96 pounds?” with a completely serious look on her face. Yes, moron, I gave birth to a 96 lb baby! Mind you, my husband is sitting behind me, holding our son in plain view.

Story number two, I had to get a new decal for my car. She asked for my driver’s license. In my picture, I was blonde and my driver’s license stated that I had blonde hair.

When I went to get my decal, my hair was light brown (some may argue dark blonde). The incredibly intelligent person behind the counter (note the sarcasm) asked me if I knew it was a crime to lie about my hair color on my driver’s license.

I must have given her quite the look so she explained to me that I should not have blonde on my driver’s license when I clearly am not, according to her. I suppose when I colored my hair, I should have headed straight to the DMV to have my license updated. Can you imagine if that was required?

Maybe this one shouldn’t have anything to do with civilians that work on post and should just be stupid people in general, regardless of where they work! 😉

2. Hurry Up and Wait

This should be the official Army slogan.

They expect you to do it all lightning-fast, but when it comes to them? You wait and wait and wait some more.

It took my husband a year to get his enlistment bonus as they consistently lost the paperwork. And his bonus for attending RIP just after AIT and Airborne? We got that one just before he got out of the Army for good. Yes, he practically was ETS’d before we got a bonus that was due more than three years prior.

If they are late on money, you can be assured that hurry up and wait will be the motto you will live by. However, if they make a mistake on his pay in his favor, you better believe it will be taken out with quickness.

1. Deployments

This is at the top of everyone’s list, is it not?

Those damn things had me on a countdown of some sort the entire time he served. I was counting down until he was home, or I was counting down until he was leaving again.

The worry and the frustration over having absolutely no control were enough to drive anyone batty.

So there’s my list. I had to balance out the love, right? What would you add to the list?

Regardless of all of the frustrating things about the Army, we still miss it every day and he would definitely serve again if given the chance (he’s been medically retired). It was a great experience for us and the positives definitely outweigh the negatives of living the life.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. I completely agree with every one of those. The speed limits probably bug me the most (other than deployments of course).

    1. Wow, never in my life have I been called overdramatic! haha Thanks for the laugh. You could have at least left your name.

    2. Out of all the things that I have heard some people whine about…these are not what I would remotely consider “dramatic”. And I just love confident people who hide behind “anonymous”,(insert sarcasm here please). As far as God blessing her husband…her husband served with honor, loyalty and dedication…he should be blessed!

  2. Early morning PT. Seriously, can the 6 mile run wait until after I wake up?

    Week long field problems. As much as I love sleeping with the bugs on a foam mattress, but I paid good money for my temper pedic. Unless I absolutely have to sleep somewhere else, I prefer it.

    24 hour barracks guard. I don’t even live in the barracks, but I get put on the roster to guard all the retards from burning down their building. They say it’s a reward because you get the next day off but it’s really not – just a day to sleep off your fatigue. No one comes over to my house to stand guard.

    Police calls. I don’t smoke, and I hate the smell, so why do I have to go around the buildings and parking lots picking up their butts? Because I’m not an NCO yet? Seriously, it’s an extremely nasty habit (like sticking your fingers in your bum crack and sniffing them after). Smokers should do all police calls. Trash, ammo, bodies. ALL.

    Remidial PT. Okay, there’s a few fat bodies in my Co. (by fat, I mean they’re healthy by most Americans standards, just a little thick). But is that reason to make the whole platoon do PT twice a day? Gay. We ran over 40 miles in one week, and usually averaged close to 40, and my knees are still killing me.

    Mass punishment. Unless they’re going to do away with rules against towel parties and wall-to-wall counselings, there’s really nothing I can do to change some turds misbehavior. Just another reason to ‘F’ with joe for no good reason.

    Random gear inspections. Yeah, there’s no better way to spend my weekend off with my family after 2 weeks out in the field than dumping my gear and organizing it OCD style for some deusche to find dirt in the corner of my ruck frame and tell my gear is filthy and I need to lay it out the next day. I don’t think a single person passed, and I got screwed out of my weekend off.

    I’m not a janitor! If the Army wants janitors, they should open up an MOS for it.

    Mail overseas. I only got approximately half of everything people back home sent me, and it was usually several months later. Everything else got rifled through by the pogues and fobbits and stolen. Unless you’re getting sent socks and pens, you’re probably not getting your package.

    Army wives. Just because your husband is SGM, doesn’t make you SGM. You think because you pop out a couple kids and do without him for a deployment (still collecting a check, bah/bas, and free health care, mind you), that you’ve earned his rank? PLEASE.

    Haircuts. My low fade is perfectly within regs, so why do I get harrassed about not having a high and tight? I’m not a Marine or an inmate, so why do I have to look like one?

    Suicide cards. The army thought because so many people were offing themselves that they would force everyone to carry around a hooah card with their chaplins phone number. It probably incited more suicides than it prevented.

    Leave. You know the thirty days of vacation they promise you? Well, guess what? You can only take it when they say, which is usually the most inopportune time to.

    Things I like:
    Tricare. I paid $30.00 for my daughters birth. I don’t know why everyone complains about Army health care. Unless you’re a soldier wanting another BS profile, they usually take good care of you.

    Army buddies. They’re one in a million. These guys will take a bullet for you – most civilian coworkers won’t even fill in for you so you can have a day off.

    Long weekends. Okay, so occasionally we do get a 4-day weekend, which makes up for getting screwed on the vacation days. Most civilian jobs offer only 2-3 days a week off.

    24 hour shoppettes that sell liquor. Need I say more?

    Deployment pay. Double the pay, so long as the wife doesn’t spend it 😉

    BAH/BAS. Tax free “compensation” (it’s really income) that make tax season VERY nice for married people. Single soldiers get screwed hard out of this one.

    Free gym membership. Go to the gym and workout, which helps make you look like a Spartan AND get promoted faster. And women get squishy just looking at you. Seriously, what woman doesn’t want her man to have big, firm muscles? The Army makes you look like a stellar athlete, which does wonders for the sex life.

    Shoot guns, blow stuff up, play GI Joe. It the same to men as going shopping with a million bucks is to women.

    If you’re lucky, you get stationed somewhere cool (like Italy) and tour Europe.

  3. Your spouse does not need to be certain rank to volunteer in the FRG. A PVT’a wife could be the Company FRG leader. It is false information like that, that causes problems in the FRG.

  4. Top 10 things I HATE about the Army #1. “We can add to the rules, but not take away” Really??? You meen make up the rules as you see fit!!! 2. The NCO Creed, again, Really??? In my 5+ years in the Army and 2 deployments I have yet to meet one that follows that! 3. The double standard, do as I say, not as I do! 4. That you MUST follow your chain of Command!!! unless its directly effects you, then you must deal with it on your own! 5. Communication, again, Really??? i was real good with communication before i joined the Army, now thanks to the Army life, I have no idea what that is any more. 6. LEADERS that lead from an office (need I say more???) 7. Mandatory “FUN” days, again, Really??? a 10k Battalion run at 0430 is not my idea of fun. 8. The fact that you can do 99 things right, but screw up that 1 time and its over! 9. having to have anything to do with the barracks, I don’t even live on post, why should i have to mow the grass, take out the trash, shovel the snow…etc noone comes to my house to do that for me. 10. Feeling like im in prison.

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