Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester became the first woman to receive the Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. decoration for valor, for direct participation in combat. In Afghanistan, Monica Lin Brown was presented the Silver Star for shielding wounded soldiers with her body. In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody and Janet C. Wolfenbarger, with the rank of four-star general. In 2016, Air Force General Lori Robinson became the first female officer to command a major Unified Combatant Command (USNORTHCOM) in the history of the United States Armed Forces.
AFQT scores are the primary measure of recruit potential. Figure 2.7 indicates the percentage of NPS recruits who scored at or above the 50th percentile (Categories I–IIIA) since FY 1973. Numerical data are in Appendix D, Table D-12. The drop in Category I–IIIA recruits after FY 1976 was due primarily to the miscalibration of the ASVAB.  In FY 1976, when new versions of the ASVAB were introduced, an error in calibrating the score scales made the new versions "easier" than the old versions (i.e., applicants received test scores higher than their actual ability). In FY 1980, an independent study of the calibration was made and the test was correctly calibrated. Then, Congress added legal provisions stipulating that no more than 20 percent of accessions could be in Category IV and that such accessions had to be high school diploma graduates.  However, as previously stated, Defense Planning Guidance decreases this limit even further, allowing no more than 4 percent of recruits to come from Category IV.
The Armed Forces Qualifying Test, commonly known as the AFQT, is used by the United States military to assess prospective service members. The questions on this test are taken from the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery. The following ASVAB subject areas are included in the test: arithmetical reasoning (AR), mathematics knowledge (MK), verbal expression (VE), paragraph comprehension (PC), and word knowledge (WK). These are the most general academic content areas on the ASVAB. The formula for computing scores on the AFQT test is AR + MK + (2 x VE), with VE = PC + MK. Scores are then placed in the following categories: Category I (93 to 99), Category II (65 to 92), Category IIIA (50 to 64), Category IIIB (31 to 49), Category IVA (21 to 30), Category IVB (16 to 20), Category IVC (10 to 15), and Category V (0 to 9). These AFQT test score categories are percentiles, which indicate how well the test-taker performed relative to others. A person scoring a 50, for example, performed as well as or better than half of the other test-takers. The percentile score is based on the raw score (number of questions answered correctly) and the difficulty of the test version. The minimum passing score for the AFQT varies between branches of the military.
Tests are administered at participating schools. Neither schools nor students incur any costs for taking the ASVAB or using the Career Exploration Program. A test administrator is provided for every testing session and that person has no additional recruitment responsibilities. Various accommodations are available for the ASVAB, such as having questions read aloud, providing extra time, and other accommodations. School staff members are responsible, however, for tests that are administered with accommodations because test administrators are only able to administer the ASVAB by following the standardized procedure. If the test is being used for enlisting, only scores obtained during standardized test sessions (with no accommodations) can be used.
What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present. But you're here to learn more about the military. There is much to learn! So first the basics. Exactly who is in charge?
Disclaimer: This is a private website that is NOT affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site contains information about GI Bill benefits, VA loans, news and services for military veterans and is not connected with any government agency. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If you would like to find more information about benefits offered by Veteran Affairs, visit the official site for veterans benefits at Veterans Affairs. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.