As with just about everything in the military, under the right conditions it’s possible to acquire a waiver. As a result, don’t be dissuaded if you fall outside the cutoff age-many people join the military even past that point. What’s important to keep in mind is that the military is an employer (admittedly, it’s a HUGE, unique kind of employer), and as with most employers, if a good candidate with the right attitude and desirable complications comes knocking on their door, it’d be foolish NOT to do what they can to help meet that candidate halfway.

Every branch has slightly different maximum ages for joining.

Army active/Reserve/National Guard: age 42 

Air Force active: age 27

AF Reserve: age 34 

AF National Guard: age 34

Navy active: age 34

Navy Reserve: age 39

Marines active: age 28

Marine Reserve: age 29

Coast Guard active: age 27

Coast Guard Reserve: age 27

As mentioned, it’s not uncommon for the military to make an exception either way if a candidate provides enough interest and promise. If you have any concerns about whether or not you’re eligible, talk to your recruiter. The needs of the military change on a pretty frequent basis, so you may be considering joining at a flexible time!

Joining the Military: Vintage Air Force

Vintage Air Force, Photographer circa 1954-58

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