Ok, I guess i will throw in and represent my service too.
United States Coast Guard
(Beleive it or not, we ARE military)
We use the Navy Ranking Scale (Seaman, Petty Officer, Chief)
MANY different job types; Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Aids to Navigation, Ice Breaking, ect.
There are many different ratings; Aviation Survival Technition, Aviation Matinence Technician, Boatswains Mate, Damage Control Technician, Electronics Technician, Food Services Specialist, Gunner's Mate (THE BEST RATING), Health Services Specialist, Machinery Technician, Marine Science Technician, Storekeeper, Yeoman. More information can be found here: http://www.gocoastguard.com/find-you...s-descriptions
I opted to go the Law Enforcement route so far in my career, so that of course is about the only thing that i can tell you about. I enlisted in 2003 and went to Coast Guard Boot camp in Cape May, NJ. Boot camp is 8 weeks long, and is physically and mentally demanding. Class is daily, test are frequent, and physical exertion is prevalent. Upon completion of "Recruit Basic Training," all members are advanced to the rank of E2, unless the member has worked out somthing with thier recruiting office to gain E3. The member is either given orders to the fleet or to class "A" school to learn a specific trade.
After Basic, I was sent to a search and rescue station in Baltimore, MD, Station Curtis Bay. The station's primary duties were search and rescue of stranded boaters, fire fighting duties, security details, and many other things. Some highlights of my career in Baltimore were an appearance in the begining of "Ladder 49," and "The Wire."
The Coast Guard is definately a multi-faceted orginization. We are overseas (in small numbers, albeit) and all along the coast. We are by far the smallest service, boasting less numbers than the NYPD, including reservists, we are only 46,000. That is not a lot considering that there is 350,000 miles of coastline between the continential United States, AK, HI, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Now to the good part; the pay. As a member of the Armed Forces, you receive the same pay as all other services. The bonuses are not great, in fact they are damn right pathetic. For a six year contract, I received 4,000. Personel stationed on land (we do have ships, called "cutters," that do deploy and require members not married to live onboard that are single or below E4) receive Basic Allowance for Housing. This allowance varies depending on the duty location housing prices (Alabama is around 600 a month, I receive 2,725 for San Francisco). this will vary depending on marital status and rank.
I can't think of anything else, but feel free to PM for more info; there are also a couple of members in the Guard on here.
Also check out www.uscg.mil
Good luck in whatever you choose,