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Thinking of joining the airforce.

darkvesperiadarkvesperia Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
Truth be told I thought that the military wouldn't be for me. Then recently my mom's fiance (retired marine did some recruiting duty) suggested that i might do pretty well in the airforce. The more I look into it the more it seems like the positives outweigh the negatives. But I want to hear what airmen who are in active or just got out have to say about it.

Comments

  • bornabuck68bornabuck68 Member Posts: 3 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm not looking to throw my brother airmen under the bus, but I have a long line of former airmen in the family, one of which is a retired E-9. My big complaint with the Airforce is slow advancement overall, though I'm sure there are MOS's where that's not true. I myself had a 6 year tour in the Navy. My best friend spent 6 years in the Army as well as a few other family members. I've been exposed to all of the branches (US Coast Guard being the exception). If I had it to do all over again, I'd join the Marine Corps for this sole reason, the Marine Corps is a life long brotherhood. Once a marine, always a marine. Though all of us vets have pride in our service, it's truly different for a marine. Any branch is honorable, but I'd highly suggest the Marine Corps...... and that's coming from a squid! That's my two cents. Good luck with whichever branch you choose. You'll never regret your choice to join those in uniform that serve this great nation regardless of branch.
  • catpealer111catpealer111 Member Posts: 10,695
    edited November -1
    I'm just about to turn over 5 years active service in the Air Force. In that time I've made it up to Staff Sergeant (E-5). Besides my combined 6 months in basic and advanced training I've been stationed at Minot AFB in North Dakota with two deployments to a tropical Pacific island. The AF is mostly like the civilian world, most "shops" and offices working 7 am until 4 pm. Aircraft maintenance, security forces, and spec ops are the "military" portion of the force. I'm in aircraft maintenance working B-52s. It's a thankless and physically demanding job, I don't remember the last time I wasn't in some sort of pain or didn't some degree of physical injury. But, I feel that it's worth it. I like what I'm doing and I like the plane I'm currently assigned to. If you're technically minded, the AF is a good move for you.

    If you have any college, your credit hours will help you build rank. An associate's degree will get you A1C (E-3) right off the bat. No college and a 6 year enlistment will get you A1C after you complete basic and technical training. Due to my 120 credit hours I entered basic as an A1C and was able to sew on my stripes at graduation. 36 months after shipping to basic I received Senior Airman and 23 months after that I was promoted to Staff Sergeant. If you keep your head in the game and do your best you can go far in a short time.
  • elubsmeelubsme Member Posts: 1,158 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My daughter was refused by the Navy because she didn't weigh enough. On rebound she sought out an Air Force recruiter. After signing with the U.S.A.F. she did four years R.O.T.C. at Sac. State. The tuition was paid by the Air Force. She is presently getting a second Masters degree and will be stationed at the Pentagon after graduation. Daddy's little girl is a Lt. Col. with a good possibility of attaining full bird Colonel before retirement. Check the other branches, see what they have to offer. You will be surprised at the incentives offered to new recruits. My Grand daughter leaves for boot camp in May. After completion she will attend helicopter maintenance school. The Air Force offered her R.O.T.C. but she didn't want college. Go figure??? Ed Life Member VFW
  • Graverobber 6Graverobber 6 Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I second the recommendation to check out the other services and get the best possible deal. The real question you must ask yourself is "what do I want to achieve out of joining the military?". If you have a realistic expectation and short and long term goals, and a plan to achieve them while in uniform, then you will have a positive experience in uniform regardless of branch of service.

    I followed the big family tradition and joined USAF. My Dad, both his brothers and three first cousins now all retired USAF. The worst problem with the USAF is the slow promotion rate. Once you hit E-5 or E-6 you are on a plateau. The enlisted guys in my family all retired at E-6. Although I joined to get a college degree (which I did get my BA) I was also ambitious and wanted to move up in rank. I saw the flaws in the USAF promotion system (testing for next rank and lack of slots due to being a small service branch) and decided that I was not going to end up serving 20 years and retiring as an E6.

    So, after 4 years, I got out and immediately went in the Army. It was a transition, but I adapted well and got cracking on that college degree. I moved up in rank just like I wanted (made E7 just over 11 years time in service) and the degree not only paid off for my enlisted ranks, but gave me the opportunity to get a Commission and become an Officer, which was something I dreamt of, but thought of it more as a pipe dream. After the transfer I have never looked back, never second guessed that decision and I know that I probably wouldn't have made E7 and no way would've gotten a commission after that many years of service had I stayed USAF.

    What I am driving at is the Army is the biggest of the services and offers a lot more opportunity due to size. When you get out, you are out, whether you serve 4 years or 20 plus years. Make the most out of your time. Set those goals and come up with a plan on how you are going to achieve them. If you enlist, and then spend 4 years running around with the fellas drinking and chasing girls and nothing else, chances are you won't have a positive outlook. Prioritize what are the most important reasons to join and then pick the service of choice that is going to help you meet your goals.

    CPT, MS, USA
    22 years, shooting for 30
  • SNAKEBIT1522SNAKEBIT1522 Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    My daughter has a 4 year teaching degree and was laid off because of budget cuts where we live in Georgia. She now lives in Wyoming (where she was hired over the phone) and is teaching out there. I am a former Marine (1980 - 84). I dont ever see her wanting to be part of the Marine Corps. However, I think she would do well in the Air Force. I was curious what type of jobs are available to teachers in the Air Force?
  • elubsmeelubsme Member Posts: 1,158 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My daughter taught calculus at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. If your daughter is really interested, she should talk to a recruiter. Ed quote:Originally posted by SNAKEBIT1522
    My daughter has a 4 year teaching degree and was laid off because of budget cuts where we live in Georgia. She now lives in Wyoming (where she was hired over the phone) and is teaching out there. I am a former Marine (1980 - 84). I dont ever see her wanting to be part of the Marine Corps. However, I think she would do well in the Air Force. I was curious what type of jobs are available to teachers in the Air Force?
  • TexasSSTexasSS Member Posts: 307 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Just one more former marine saying..........GO AIRFORCE[:D][;)][:p]
  • SNAKEBIT1522SNAKEBIT1522 Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Happy New Year to you too TexasSS.
  • SNAKEBIT1522SNAKEBIT1522 Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    You know we used to all wonder what it was like to be in the Air Force. We used to sit in the bush and watch them birds fly overhead and wonder if they really did have vending machines with beer in them instead of coca-cola.
    we used to look to look down at the C-Rats were eating and wonder what the fly boys were having for dinner...maybe a steak at the O-Club? Im sure they had AC and we had sweat and bugs. And I know for a fact they never had to use duct tape to tape up a combat boot that blew out on a long hump.
    I never wanted my daughter(s) to have to endure all the crap and misery that I had to endure. I wanted them to grow up to be ladies.
    Now my son is a warior like his daddy and prefers the woods to the city. Living off the fat of the land comes natural to him the way it did to me and we may never have a lot of money but we will always have plenty of food. The way I have it figured, when it gets really bad in this country, and there is no more food left in the big cities, we will still be doing well. There is only so much you can loot from a gracery store before you start looking at cats and dogs and each other.
    Either way, we will still be doing well living off the fat of the land and those who never learned how too survive will be depending on the government for your soylent green handout. I learned THAT from the US Marine Corps and I bet they dont teach much of that anymore in the Air Force! But join them and be part of them if you will.
    Also, I shot a 350 lb wild boar yesterday evening, while hunting with my son, and got through processing it right before midnight. My freezer and smoke house are now full. Are yours?
    Happy New year to all my brothers and sisters out there.
  • idsman75idsman75 Member Posts: 14,524
    edited November -1
    The military isn't "for" anyone until civilians are transformed into Soldier's, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen.
  • usafsfvetusafsfvet Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I served in the Air Force for 6 years before being medically retired from injuries that occurred while deployed in the Middle East. I was a member in security forces and often worked with fellow Marines and Army with MP duties, force protection, and convoys. I enjoyed my enlistment while I was in, but I will state that I also have some convictions on how I treated upon being medically retired. Like any branch, once an individual is no longer able to fulfill the mission due to injury, the military washes their hands from that service member without hesitation. After that, it becomes an uphill battle against bureaucracy when trying to obtain benefits to take care of themselves and their family. I shall refrain from explaining that process as it is a tumultuous one, but I will state that my conviction in the matter has often left me jaded and bitter. I take pride in my service to this nation but I resent how I have been treated afterwards.

    The Air Force is not a bad option for those looking to serve in the military. Aside from taking pride in serving this country, I enlisted because I honestly did not have much of a future outside of high school. My parents could not afford to send me to college and the jobs I secured upon my high school graduation were meager in their wages. Like any branch, the military provided a way for me to serve and establish myself upon middle class in our socio-economic structure. I was always fascinated in law enforcement and the ability to protect and serve others, so I enlisted as a member in security forces.

    Prior to 9/11, the job was an easy one. Then again, I think most serving in the military at that time had it easier prior to 9/11. My job in the Air Force mostly involved law enforcement duties upon the populace of the base and force protection for the aircraft on the flight line. After 9/11, the job became increasingly demanding. The hours become extremely long and the deployments to the Middle East increased significantly. The duties I had in the Middle East become conducive to serving during conflict. And since being trained as a security forces member entailed weapons familiarization and training, we were often clumped in to serve along side the Marines and Army.

    My advice to one looking to join the Air Force would be to pick an MOS that you would desire to do without any conviction or regret. There is some truth in the jokes about the "Chair Force" as many occupations in the Air Force provide only a supportive role for the combat missions. I've met many friends and acquaintances while serving that did numerous things in the Air Force. Some were crew chiefs (mechanics for air craft), worked behind a desk in finance (mostly clerical work), Supply, CE (basically a repairman), worked on computers, specialized in weather, and Air traffic control. I even had a friend that served as a chaplain's assistant.he basically helped the chaplain while planning services and programs for the chapel. Many of those individuals I listed worked a duty day from 7:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday (excluding federal holidays, weekends, and base down days). And even when deployed, many of them maintained the same duties as they would stateside. For one looking to serve with hours equivalent to a job in the civilian sector, many occupations in the Air Force cater to that lifestyle. Those hours certainly make it easier to attend college courses or even have a more leisurely life than those serving in demanding fields. Not to mention, one gains up to 30 vacation days a year. I remember at one point I had 80 plus days saved up for leave. In my job (again, particularly after 9/11) it was difficult to take any leave due to deployments and personnel/manning issues. I ultimately had to sell the majority of it back.

    Security Forces is one of the few occupations in the Air Force that cater to more of a combative type role. It takes a certain mold for one to perform those types of duties. One can enlist in security forces, Para-rescue, EOD, combat controller, as a fire fighter, etc. Of course, the Army and Marines offer many similar titles that are equivalent to that aforementioned. Most folks I talk to that choose to enlist in the Air Force go for the easier job descriptions. Please don't get me wrong; it doesn't make any one who chooses that over what I did in the Air Force any lesser of an Airman. In fact, I would argue that it is the wiser thing to do. I can recall many times where we (security forces) had to sleep in tents with the Army and Marines while most other Air Force personnel slept in dorms and hardened facilities. Regardless of what job one chooses, choosing to voluntarily serve in the military is indeed an honorable thing in itself, no matter what the job description entails.

    To be fair, let me express that, though I was in a more demanding MOS, I was still able to obtain a college education, even while deploying to various locations. It took some dedication and sacrifice in time, and I can recall being exhausted half of the time, but in hindsight, it was certainly worth it.

    It is true that moving up in rank is more difficult in comparison to other military branches. In my six years I made it to an E-5, which is the first level of an NCO (non commissioned officer). Most friends and acquaintances I had who made a career out of it retired as an E-7 or higher. I even had a friend that earned his commission from being an E-4. It isn't impossible to move up in rank, but the system is a little more complicated than other branches.

    I know this was a novel to read, but I do hope I provided a decent explanation while possibly answering some questions along the way. The military isn't for everyone and it takes a certain type of person to serve. I enlisted because I felt that I didn't have a future outside of high school, nor could I afford to pave the way to accomplish the endeavors I had hoped, be it a college education and a decent paying job. Though I am out now, I still hold a great deal of pride in being a veteran. I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie that comes with it and I heavily admire and support those who choose to carry the torch from where other service members like myself have left off.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck. Whether you choose to enlist for only one term or perhaps serve and retire in 20 or more years, may the longevity in your service provide you with an honorable and successful military career.
  • SNAKEBIT1522SNAKEBIT1522 Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Based on your comments usaf you seem a little yonnger than i am. When were you in there and what is the extent of you r disability?
    I got on with a big city police department after I got out and stayed there long enough to get a good retirement built up. All was well until my health declined but still I feel fortunate that I was able to serve my county as a Marine and as a law enforcement officer.
    Depending on your age and your disability you still may be able to serve in law enforecement if you get the notion.
    I know it was a great pleasure to give my service and offer my life if need be to my country and my community. I know I made a differece and helped a lot of people. Most folks can only dream of doing that with thier lives. I think they are just too scared to take a chance, jump out and pull lthe rip cord....
    [8D]
  • usafsfvetusafsfvet Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I enlisted in 1998 upon completing high school. I was 18 when I joined.sometimes it is hard to believe that I'm in my 30s now as it doesn't seem long ago that I enlisted.

    I often try to refrain from explaining or retelling the events that occurred to me in the Middle East. I battle with convictions in telling my story as there are many others who have it far worse than I do. I feel as if complaining about my complications minimizes the legacy of those who have sacrificed far more than I have in service to this nation. I will convey that I suffer with neurological ailments and PTSD. I certainly do not want to minimize my own ailments, but I am certainly blessed in comparison to those who have it worse than I do. The ailments I endure have left me disabled. I do receive compensation by the VA for my service connected disabilities, which is certainly helpful.

    So I guess to answer your question, snakebit, as much as I would love to continue serving in law enforcement, the ailments I have acquired through military service have limited my ability to do so.

    I admire your willingness and determination to continue to serve your community outside of serving this nation. Your service is very commendable and I hope your selflessness is a characteristic that shall define your legacy.


    To those who have come to this board to seek advice on whether to join the military or not, please don't let my experience/testimony scare you away. I don't think anyone who ever joins the military expects these types of things to happen to them personally. Yes, those who join know in the back of their mind that there is always the potential for something negative to occur, but I liken the same mentality to one who drives their car on the free way.the potential to get in a car crash is always possible, but not always probable. Certainly, one should not live in fear because of the potential risks that may or may not exist. If that was the case, one would probably never feel safe to step outside their front door.
  • melkormelkor Member Posts: 191 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
  • torosapotorosapo Member Posts: 4,946
    edited November -1
    My younger brother did one enlistment in the Air force, Me 14 yrs Navy. I always told him that the Air force is the next best thing to the military.[:D]. Sometimes I think I should have joined it instead, then I say naw I had too much fun being a sailor.
  • ryan4784ryan4784 Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    If you value your comfort, I would say USAF would be the obvious choice, they take care of their people. If you enjoy standing post (walking in circles or in a guard tower on 8-24hr shift) by all means choose Security Forces.

    In the Marine Corps, Security Forces guards nukes and does a bunch of boring slime, I wouldn't advise it.

    If you value picking up rank faster the Marine Corps would NOT be the choice for you.

    The Marine Corps is also cutting force size by over 20,000 by 2015 based on the Drawdowns.
  • CbtEngr01CbtEngr01 Member Posts: 4,340
    edited November -1
    Air force is nice. In Iraq, we had to build our own plywood C-hut with a tin roof. While the AF had padded carpet, insulated walls, a swimming pool AND a sub-standard living allowance.
  • romerromer Member Posts: 44 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    lifer, US Army, 22 years. GO Air Force. No foxhole to dig, little chance of incoming fire, etc, etc, etc...........
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