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Joining the Military at an Older Age

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My husband first joined the Military when he was 19 and got out when he was 21. We met when he was 25, got married, had a child and he re-joined at age 30. We made the decision for him to join the Army again together. We already had a child and we were about 10 years older than a lot of other Military couples.

Joining the Military at an older age can be an interesting experience. My husband is now 37 working with a lot of guys in their early or mid 20s. A lot of the wives are in their early or mid 20s. I sometimes feel like an outsider because I am no longer in that stage of my life. I have been out of my parent’s house for almost as long as I have lived on my own. We have been married over 10 years and two of our children are in elementary school. Many of the men my husband’s age have been in the Military for almost twenty years.

I feel as though my husband and I have a different perspective on the Military life. This isn’t something he is doing that he will be done with in his 30s. If he does his full 20 years he will be in his late 40s before he gets out of the Army.

We were married for 3.5 years before the Army became a part of our lives. It seems like a lifetime ago that we didn’t have to worry about deployments or Army frustrations. But I do have those memories. Memories of my husband coming home at 5 every night.  If he needed a day off for something, he would just ask for it. He never had to leave us for any amount of time. I can feel just how much the Military directs our lives these days. It isn’t just a job for him. He had “just a job” before. The Military is much different.

Because he is older and prior service he had to adapt to a different Army. When he first joined it was the middle of peace time and now it is not. The Army has changed a lot of the ways they do things and he had to adapt to that. He usually gets a nickname having to do with his age, as would be expected. He can offer advice to some of the younger guys because he has lived it. I know he isn’t alone because at almost everywhere we have been stationed there is usually one or two others older than him at his rank.

Joining the Military at a later age can be a hard decision. It isn’t as easy as when your younger but it can be done. Sometimes joining up in your late 20s or 30s is just the career change someone is looking for.  Although you are not starting out as young, you can have a full career with the Military.

Do you know anyone that joined the Military at a later age?





  1. Christine Mayfield

    January 24, 2013

    My hubby joined the AF at 27 and turned 28 a week later. It was really hard on him because he looks young so everyone assumes he is 19/20 when he is about to turn 35. Once they realize his age and that he will not be talked down to they give him the respect he deserves. He also treats his troops and those he works with like grown men and will not baby them.

  2. Martha

    January 27, 2013

    One of our chaplains joined the Army at more or less the last minute that they would have accepted him. We are incredibly blessed to have him with his maturity, his church experience, his pastoral gifts, and especially his wife who is older as well and brings a lot of wisdom to our community.

    My own husband looks at least 10 years older than he is (and especially did as a 2LT–maybe 15 years older then), which brought a lot of hilarity. His soldiers thought he was an idiot, assuming he was prior enlisted and should have known everything already, but it all made sense when they realized he was just out of college.

  3. Amber Turner

    January 28, 2013

    My husband joined at 18 and got out after 8 years in the Air Force. We just went back active. We now have two kids when before we didn’t have children. We are on recruiting duty right now….and it is tough! Like you, we made the decision this time together. Thanks for the insight! We plan on making it a career which is a really hard decision as I want a career as well.