Well I was a civilian RN for 10 years before I joined the Navy. It was a good experience for me even though it was during the Gulf War. The experience I gained was 10 fold what I had as a civilian. Having being deployed brought out strengths I did not know I possessed. In order to be selected to get your Master's degree (CRNA or any advance practice role), Well it is extremely competitive. It is highly unusual to be selected after one 3 or 4 year tour. I was stationed at Bethesda & the people that were delected for DUINS (duty under instruction, which is where your job is to go to school for Masters/Doctorate degree), the people selected were Lt Commanders or above, people who had been in 10-12 years. There was one person that was a LT but she was into her second 4 year term. & yes you will have to pay back the time & it may be you owe the Navy 2 years for every one year they paid for your school. I was commisioned for 3 years, what was not made clear was the 4 years that the Navy still could call me back after I completed my 3 years Active Duty. I was called a "3 by 4". Ok but I got my GI Bill which was over $12,000 dollars & I did not use it all up getting my Masters/FNP degree so that was a good thing. yes the military "owns" you, they can dictate where you live, they dictate who you can socialize with & you may not have too much to say about where you get stationed though they make you think that you can "request" it may not happen. At Bethesda, we worked 12 hour shifts, sometimes 4 12's in one week, we were rotated from nights to days every 3-4 weeks, (just when you were getting used to sleeping during the day it was time to go work during the day-we all had messed up biorhythyms). Being deployed is a major stressor. My recruiter forgot to tell me that the Navy has 2 hospital ships (each is 1000 pt beds) & that the Comfort was based out of Bethesda so along came Desert Shield/Storm & off we went. Also-At Bethesda they assign you where ever they want, It did not matter if you were a L&D nurse, if they needed you on Tele or Neuro that's where you went. They also did not want to put junior officers in the ICU's even if they were already CCRN's.
Not too many Veteran's Benefits either for me except being able to buy a home without downpayment but I don't qualify for VA medical care unless I become penniless/homeless/indigent.
I had a good time at Bethesda. The Nations capitol, many of the best universities, medical schools
etc, wonderful sight seeing, Beautiful area.