Must-Have Military Apps
An exploration of the best mobile apps for service members
September 5, 2013 by Jake Butler
From civilians to service members to military spouses, we all have something in common – we're attached to our mobile devices.
Smartphones and tablets have become a huge part of our everyday lives. Whether you're loyal to Apple®, Android™ or another platform, modern devices come with an immense selection of handy apps that make daily life easier and more enjoyable.
It doesn't stop with personal use either. In recent years DARPA has put a lot of energy into improving mobile network infrastructures and creating apps that help on the battlefield – everything from mapping and GPS navigation to tactical coordination and piloting drones. Troops in the field aren't throwing away their radios just yet, but that's certainly the direction we're heading.
In all, there's a seemingly endless amount of apps out there geared toward service members. Here's a rundown of the military apps I feel are worth trying out on your mobile device.
Each of the individual branches has its own set of apps – both official and unofficial – with all sorts of news, information, training materials, regulations and more.
The official Army apps are probably the most robust and extensive of all. Chief among them, the U.S. Army News and Information app has news articles and blogs from Army.mil as well as games, videos, podcasts, access to online editions of Soldiers Magazine and more.
US Military News pulls relevant articles from high-authority news sites and puts them all in one convenient dashboard, with tabs for each branch.
There are many electronic versions of popular magazines available on both app stores, including MOAA Magazine, Military Illustrated, and Stars and Stripes.
Health and Wellbeing
Navy SEAL Fitness comes with over 220 exercises, giving you an idea of the strict physical fitness regimens required of the SEALs. This app will help you get in shape no matter which branch you serve.
Breathe2Relax for stress management. This tool guides you through breathing exercises, which are linked to stress reduction, mood stabilization and anxiety management.
PTSD Coach as a starting point. I want to make it clear that a smartphone app should not be used as a replacement for treatment. It can help though. If you think you're suffering from PTSD, talk to your primary care physician and go from there.
mTBI Pocket Guide includes clinical guidelines for assessment and treatment of mild Traumatic Brain Injury. As with any physical injury or mental health issue, make sure you seek professional help if you're suffering from TBI.
Travel & Shopping
Military Traveler is an extensive phone directory for all kinds of businesses and services near military bases. Banks, commissaries, gas stations – you name it. The app lets you choose your home base and change it as you move around. If you'd prefer, the developer offers individual apps for each base.
MyBaseGuide is similar, but the "Deals" section may help you find valid coupons and save some money.
Military Discounters uses your location to point out savvy shopping opportunities in your area. Search by category and get directions with the touch of a button.
Army Wife Network aims to provide interactive empowerment to Army wives, but all military spouses are welcome. Complete with podcasts, blogs and articles, live chat and much more.
From news and info, mental health and physical fitness, shopping and travel – smartphone apps are a big part of our daily lives. This is just a small window into the wide world of military applications available on each market. Are there any must-have apps we missed? Tell us about them in the comments below.