As Montanan, we probably have a different background and upbringing than most states, which can be very beneficial if you are joining the military.

Recently a few of my long-time friends and I were able to get together for dinner and drinks. A rarity these days now that everyone is grown up, married, has kids, or all of the above. As our conversations usually do, it turns to military service. Now, I have not served, but somehow these conversations always go back to that topic, and I love just sitting back and listening to their stories and experiences. Almost always the topic of conversations reels back to how things were a bit easier for them because of their Montana background. On top of that, these guys were always chosen as platoon leaders and received promotions very fast. It was obvious these Big Sky boys were just better equipped when they stepped off the bus. Let's discuss why.

  • Outdoor Lifestyle: In my home hunter safety was mandatory when you turned of age. Learning how to properly use a firearm safely before you even get to boot camp is definitely a bonus. Many of my military friends attended some sort of survival course in their service and said they had a much easier time than most. Being able to build a fire and shelter, and catch and clean your food was part of their course, but to them, it was a normal camping trip.
  • Work Ethic: This is a no-brainer. Many of us grew up on a farm or ranch, and you worked. No complaining. No sick days. You just got out and did your work. Any employer would be grateful for this, especially the military, in my opinion.
  • Mechanically Inclined: Let's not forget being in the military isn't always what you have watched in all the hit movies. People who fix vehicles, helicopters, submarines, and anything with a moving part need a mechanic, and that's right up our alley. We can fix almost anything with some duct tape and bailing twine.
  • Athletics: From the conversation, many of my buddies talked about how the "kids" from Montana showed up ready to run at boot camp. After wrestling or playing football all season and then bucking hay bales all Summer they explained why they had a "much easier" time getting through physical training.
  • Common Sense: This topic always moves to the front of the conversation. Some of the things in basic training might seem "basic" to us, but someone that is from, say New York City, might not know anything about handling and cleaning a rifle safely or driving a manual transmission. If you can get to boot camp with a few of these qualities I've mentioned under your belt, you are probably going to be a few steps ahead.

Now, while we do have a high number of military recruits that come out of Montana, we come in at #36 overall, which actually makes sense when you look at Montana's overall population. 

For more insight, I reached out to a long-time friend, military veteran, and recruiter, SFC Michael Hunter. Mike is both a veteran of the USMC and the Army. Currently, Michael is a recruiter for the Army National Guard, and had this to say about recruits from Montana:

The Montana Army National Guard is proud of its Citizen-Soldiers and other Active-duty personnel serving their State and Nation across the globe. Montanans are different. Rugged, hardworking, dependable and can survive almost any hardship. From the time they are born, a
true Montanan kid learns how to love their land, respect their elders, survive the elements, hunt
and forage for their food, and tackle any obstacle. Through these experiences, the Military Services understand that they are getting a tough adult who can probably outshoot everyone else around them, quarter and pack a deer better than anyone else..  and do all of this on a single Friday afternoon.


We want hardworking men and women here in Montana who need or want a bit more out of life or just want to serve the community to join us. Be a good Montanan, go to a college or trade school here in Montana, and when needed, answer the call to serve your neighbors and the Montana community.


-SFC Michael Hunter

If you or anyone you know is thinking about joining the National Guard, you can reach out to Sergeant Michael Hunter at (406) 594-2950.

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