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Author Topic: Anyone here in the Air Force, or used to be?  (Read 2262 times)
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Ridah
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« on: December 21, 2008, 03:20:03 AM »

I'm looking into joining now that I have my bachelor's and can go in as an officer, anyone want to share their experience or know anyone who has been in it?
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2008, 03:49:43 AM »

Been in, but it was 20 years ago (1983-1987).  I doubt that the experience would be the same.

Of course, I doubt the experience of High School is the same as 20 yrs back; first job; bar scene...... you get the idea.
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 09:47:11 AM »

I believe Lee and Suitably Ironic Moniker are both in.
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Gromit
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 03:08:03 PM »

I'm in.

Originally entered in 1984 as a Security Specialist (811X0, 3P0X1)...spent 4 years at FE Warren AFB WY and 4 years at Ramstein AB, Germany.  Separated in 1992 after Desert Storm and joined the AF Reserve out at Luke AFB AZ in 1993 as a Aerospace Medical Specialist (4N0X1).  Reentered active duty in 1999 as a medic, and was stationed for 3 more years at FE Warren.  Spent one year at Osan AB, Korea followed by 3 years at RAF Lakenheath, UK.  Afterwards, I went to Holloman AFB, NM.  While there, I crosstrained into the 4N0X1C career field and was subsequently posted to Tinker AFB OK where I am now.

Whew.

Prior to initially entering active duty in 1984, I had been attending the University of Arizona.  I was in AFROTC and had my sights set on a commission.  Unfortunately, like a moron I lacked the personal drive and commitment to wake my dumb ass up in the morning for 0900 lectures, and fell way behind in classes.  After one year of college, I found myself at the MEPS station.  The rest is history.  smile

I commend you for completing your degree.  What's it in?  That'll help in tailoring a better response...

« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 03:15:46 PM by Gromit » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2008, 03:55:45 PM »

I haven't, but my mom taught 1st grade at DOD schools in Seoul 1979-1998 and then one last year at Osan Air base in 1999. I visited Osan for a couple weeks in summer 1999.

My only surface insight from that, fwiw, is that the Air Force folks seemed, I dunno, a little more polite then people from the other services (though nobody was crude per se). And Osan circa 1999 had excellent facilities -- good restaurants, movie theater, bowling alley, I was even impressed with their laundry facilities. I had to run my laundry in the air base coin laundry rooms because my mom hadn't had her laundry machines set up yet after the move from Seoul.  icon_smile My mom really enjoyed teaching at Osan (smaller classes), and felt professionally treated in her day-to-day experiences at Osan (sometimes in Seoul's Yongsang base she just felt folks looked down her as a Korean, though she had been a U.S. citizen since the early 1960s), she just was in a hurry to move back here to spend more time with her grandkids.
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2008, 04:43:34 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on December 21, 2008, 03:55:45 PM

And Osan circa 1999 had excellent facilities -- good restaurants, movie theater, bowling alley, I was even impressed with their laundry facilities. I had to run my laundry in the air base coin laundry rooms because my mom hadn't had her laundry machines set up yet after the move from Seoul. 

The joke I always heard is that Air Force bases are so nice because they build the gold course first and then go beg for more money to build the runways. 
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kronovan
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 05:30:53 PM »

I'm someone that wasn't in, but now regrets that I didn't make that choice. I've been working on a pilot license for some years and the cost and time make it very difficult; would have been nice to have gotten that license via career training. I likely wouldn't have made it as a pilot anyways, since I live in Canada and the competition to make pilot is brutally fierce due to the small size of our air force. 2 of my friends that entered with the hopes of becoming pilots both ended up in non-pilot roles -1 a technician and 1 a helo mechanic- but they both still love their work. There's nothing like flying though and if you goal is pilot it's probaby worth it.
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Lee
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 06:15:00 PM »

Yep 18 years next month. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What do you want to know?

With the enlisted side I see a lot of guys who come in and think its going to be like the movies or they can't handle being told what to do. Neither type does very well until they either get out or they learn how to deal with it. My first 4 years were miserable because I couldn't handle being told what to do without talking back. Eventually I just got used to it, but not everyone does.

Talk to a recruiter, go out to the local base and see how it is. Ask yourself if you can handle being told what to do and not treated very well for at least the first 4 years. The job security is very nice though and officers are really pushed to get their Masters so it could very well be a smart decision.

In my career field, being a Lt means lots of paperwork or sitting underground for long periods of time. Lots of long hours either way. They make decent money, but it isn't anything I would want to do.
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Blonco
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2008, 07:51:46 PM »

I have been active duty AF, Air National Guard, and full time Air National Guard Technician.  I have always been a 2W0 (Munitions better known as AMMO).  Right now, unless you have a technical degree (engineering, math, science, etc.) it will be heard to become an officer.  The Air Force has been force shaping for numerous years now and LTs were on the hit list.  I have a degree and working on my Master's but have always been enlisted.  I have been in the Air Force in one form or another for over 11 years and enjoy the hell out of it.  Done alot of traveling.  I doubt that anyone in the Armed Forces would say they regretted their decision to join.
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2008, 09:00:35 PM »

I've been in for about 9 years now as a weather forecaster. Once you get used to the non-stop pussy, it's okay. Oh wait, am I not supposed to tell you about that?
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Lee
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2008, 10:44:12 PM »

Quote from: Suitably Ironic Moniker on December 21, 2008, 09:00:35 PM

I've been in for about 9 years now as a weather forecaster. Once you get used to the non-stop pussy, it's okay. Oh wait, am I not supposed to tell you about that?

I must be doing something wrong. icon_mad
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Jaddison
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2008, 11:30:25 PM »

If you are thinking of considering the Navy let me know.  i was enlisted and then officer both in nuclear power and submarines.  i worked with some outstanding Air Force officers during a tour on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon.

From what they told me about the AF and officers if you are not in Tactical Air or SAC you are a second or third class citizen.  However, two of the finer officers I met were an AWACs O-6 and, at the time, MAC one star.
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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2008, 12:46:39 PM »

I did a stint with one of the very few squadrons that sees combat in the Air Force besides pilots.  I can tell you some stories...
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2008, 02:58:54 PM »

Quote from: Jaddison on December 21, 2008, 11:30:25 PM

From what they told me about the AF and officers if you are not in Tactical Air or SAC you are a second or third class citizen.

I'm not trying to dog on you or anything, but I don't even know what that means. Not to mention that SAC hasn't existed since the early '90s.
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Jaddison
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2008, 03:14:02 PM »

No worries, haven't been around anyone in the Air Force or worked on AF stuff for a while.  The most intense AF operation I was ever involved in was the raid on Libya in 86......time flies.

i would be surprised though if the basic dynamic has changed, if you are a pilot and especially a pilot who drops bombs and/or engages enemy aircraft you are in a different "class" than the rest of the officers.

In doing a little search to correct my ignorance it looks like SAC is being reincarnated as Global Strike Command.

Getting in the UAV side of things could be interesting
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Lee
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2008, 04:31:35 PM »

Quote from: Suitably Ironic Moniker on December 22, 2008, 02:58:54 PM

Quote from: Jaddison on December 21, 2008, 11:30:25 PM

From what they told me about the AF and officers if you are not in Tactical Air or SAC you are a second or third class citizen.

I'm not trying to dog on you or anything, but I don't even know what that means. Not to mention that SAC hasn't existed since the early '90s.

I work in an all officer shop and I have heard them mention that unless you fly you aren't shit to the AF. Never really seen it from the enlisted side, but more often than not I am at bases without planes.
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2008, 04:47:41 PM »

You posted in a different thread about drinking you will want to get that out of the way before joining any service as an officer.  Times have changed and there is no tolerance for that any more.  When I was in the Marines if you hadnt had either a DUI or STD you were not "salty" or "hardcore"; now those are the kiss of death to a career.
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2008, 05:09:07 PM »

Quote from: drifter on December 22, 2008, 04:47:41 PM

You posted in a different thread about drinking you will want to get that out of the way before joining any service as an officer.  Times have changed and there is no tolerance for that any more.  When I was in the Marines if you hadnt had either a DUI or STD you were not "salty" or "hardcore"; now those are the kiss of death to a career.

Yeah DUI's are definitely a career killer but I don't know about looking down on drinking altogether.  Not sure about the Air Force that drinking was seen as a particularly big issue when I was in the Navy, as long as it didn't impact your job performance. 
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Lee
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2008, 05:57:05 PM »

Quote from: drifter on December 22, 2008, 04:47:41 PM

You posted in a different thread about drinking you will want to get that out of the way before joining any service as an officer.  Times have changed and there is no tolerance for that any more.  When I was in the Marines if you hadnt had either a DUI or STD you were not "salty" or "hardcore"; now those are the kiss of death to a career.

That's silly, yeah there aren't kegs in the bay every Friday like there was 20 years ago, but him drinking once a week is nothing. We don't have squadron functions without alcohol. As long as you don't come to work drunk or get a DUI or something bad its fine. Ridah does not have a drinking problem because he drinks once or twice a week. In fact he would be an outcast with the people his age if he didn't drink more.
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drifter
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« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2008, 10:52:23 PM »

You can take exception to what I posted all you want.  He felt strongly enough to start a thread about his urge to drink by himself and drink more than he should; as I said he should deal with that and get it done before becoming an officer.

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Jaddison
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« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2008, 11:24:21 PM »

I agree with Drifter, you cannot diagnose anyone one way or the other over the internet.

he best advice about joining the military is to try and understand what you want out of the experience.  There are few places that will give you more opportunities for education and training than the military.

Adm Crowe, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and four star admiral once told us in meeting where he was addressing O-4s and below about careers told us to do what was fun and interesting to us and we would do that job so well we would just naturally get noticed and advance.  Looking back that was darn good advice and it certainly worked for him.
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Lee
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« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2008, 11:31:35 PM »

Fine, but it wont matter for the military. He would be encouraged to drink more as a Lt. The Lts I know are always out drinking, just like the airmen.
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Ridah
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« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2008, 07:26:59 PM »

I don't think the drinking is going to be an issue. I'm 25, I know my limits. Anyhow, as far as becoming an Officer, it does seem the more I look into it that my Business Management degree may not qualify me seeing as how, as others have said, they are more interested in people with a technical degree.

So, if I'm not accepted for officer training, I go in as an E-3 because I do have X amount of college credits. If that is the case, I would probably pursue a B.S, apply for the officer training once that is complete, and after that pursue my Master's which is my ultimate goal.

Let me explain exactly what I want out of joining the Air Force. Basically, I graduated this semester from San Jose State with a 3.0 GPA. I didn't do any internships because I've worked part-time throughout my time in school. The job market for my level and quality of education is bleak, especially considering that we are in a recession. Originally my plan was to work in the family business (an insurance agency) to earn money and take graduate classes at night at San Francisco State. However, I came to the conclusion that I simply can't live at home any longer and I need to create distance between my family and I. I also don't want to take out a student loan and owe $30,000 once I graduate with my Master's simply so that I can live 45 minutes away from home.

I began looking into the Air Force, I took the MEPS test and scored an 83 which I believe qualifies me for the job of my choice providing it is available (or I at least won't be the base janitor). The income is quite low initially, after taxes I'll be looking at about $1200 a month which I suppose is not as bad as it seems when you consider the benefits of the housing and food allowances, my tuition being covered, and medical insurance which I haven't had in 4 years. Not to mention I love traveling and the Air Force will provide the opportunity to travel for dirt cheap. In the long run, I don't have any interest in staying in the military. My goal is to do my 4 years of active duty, come out with money saved up, buy a house (another benefit of being in the military is they act as a co-signer and you don't need a down payment), and use the Montgomery Bill to pay for my graduate studies. I've also read that I would have priority in federal job positions, I would look for a job within the government but not necessarily military related.

A few things are holding me back from being 100% sure I want to join: First, between boot camp and tech school, that's 6-8 months of my life that I'm simply making $1200 a month. I have to put my educational goals aside for almost a year. Also, I am 25, what if things don't work out like I think they will? I can't afford to waste any time at this point, I don't want to be 30 and scrambling to figure out what to do with my life. When joining the Air Force, am I positioning myself to only be an asset to the military? Can I get a job in the outside world with the degrees and work experience I get in the military?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2008, 07:29:51 PM by Ridah » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2008, 10:21:05 PM »

Do you think you would like military life? Could you handle it? Not that it's much different than a normal job once you are done with tech school, but as airmen you won't have much say in anything and will be doing the jobs no one else wants to do. More patriotic people would also say that you should want to serve your country first and foremost which I don't think you mentioned.

You would be living in a dorm and will not get money for food, you would have to eat at the dining hall. Not sure how much this matters to you. But at least you know you don't have to be spending that $1200 on rent and food.

The AF is great for schooling, and they will work with you, but there are some jobs with long, odd hours, which make it harder. Also depending on your job and your supervisor it maybe a bit longer before you can get personal schooling in. After tech school you get your CDCs which are books about your job that have to be completed (not all jobs have CDCs, but all the technical ones do). In my job there are 5 volumes to learn and it takes about 8-10 months to complete (although you can get it done much faster). It depends on how responsible you prove to be to your sup, but he may say no personal schooling until your CDCs are done. Most of my airmen don't let go to school until they are done, except for the rare one who proves to me he is a hard worker and can handle it.

Also nowadays there is a good chance you will be deploying during your 4 years. Not right away, but by year 3 or so you could end up going.

Getting a job on the outside afterwards all depends on your job again. My job there isn't much, and the companies involved usually hire the retiring master sergeants not the airmen who just got out. But military experience will generally help you get a job if you get out with an honorable.
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Ridah
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« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2008, 12:00:42 AM »

Thank you, Lee. Very good information. So realistically, it is most likely that I will have to wait a good year until I can begin to pursue my personal education goals. I probably won't be eligible to become an officer until my 4 years are nearly up.
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« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2008, 12:09:39 AM »

Why would you want to enlist?

I'm sure there are a lot of things that you could do with your degree here that wouldn't have to involve supporting a war we don't belong in,
and a military that has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties in an illegal war.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 12:17:03 AM by Darkstar One » Logged
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« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2008, 12:30:36 AM »

Quote from: Darkstar One on December 27, 2008, 12:09:39 AM

Why would you want to enlist?

I'm sure there are a lot of things that you could do with your degree here that wouldn't have to involve supporting a war we don't belong in,
and a military that has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties in an illegal war.

I would appreciate if no one responded to this post, I would like to keep this thread on a personal level and not let it be derailed by political views. I've flagged the post for moderator removal.
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Lee
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« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2008, 01:44:14 AM »

It really is hard to say how long because it does depend on your job. My tech school was 4 months long. Then I got to my first base by about my 6 month mark in the AF. Then I had to go through on the job training for 3 months. After that was done my CDCs were in and I had to start those. I think I did those in about 6 months. So for my job I wouldn't have been able to go to school for the first 15-16 months. But again every job is different every supervisor has different rules on it.

I did have one airmen who just a really good responsible guy. I let him take one class when he first got to my base, and then increased it to two once he proved he could handle it. Not all sups will do that.

Also the tech schools range in duration from a month to a year or more. There are so may variables involved. Hopefully some of other guys can tell you how it is in their job.

I would also think you would want to stay away from flying jobs since then you would be away more and it would be harder to go to class regularly.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 01:51:29 AM by Lee » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2008, 02:46:18 AM »

Quote from: Ridah on December 27, 2008, 12:30:36 AM

Quote from: Darkstar One on December 27, 2008, 12:09:39 AM

Why would you want to enlist?

I'm sure there are a lot of things that you could do with your degree here that wouldn't have to involve supporting a war we don't belong in,
and a military that has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties in an illegal war.

I would appreciate if no one responded to this post, I would like to keep this thread on a personal level and not let it be derailed by political views. I've flagged the post for moderator removal.

I won't remove the post, though Darkstar may edit it if she so chooses.  However, there will be absolutely no discussion or follow-up on it from anyone inside this thread or in this subforum. 
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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2008, 03:04:26 AM »

I do want to say that depending on how long you wait you may end up out here on the East Coast at Fort Lee. Blech. They're currently building several educational facilities and a whole lot more for all branches of the Military. Really neat if you are a supplier/vendor like me and stand to make good money off the Gov't building the equivalent of a Mid-Major College in less than 8 years and then populating the surrounding area with 8000 to 10000 permanent residents and god knows how many soldiers will come through. However, they could not have picked a worse run part of Virginia than the Petersburg/Hopewell/Prince George areas.

I think that's a thing to consider, you may not quite get to go or be what or where you want. Otherwise do it. My sisters years in ROTC and the Army made her disciplined and determined. Helped her get her rear in gear and accomplish a lot in life.
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« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2008, 06:50:46 AM »

Hello.  Yes.  I went through Air Force OTS back in 95.  I wouldn't be too quick to give up on being an officer if you already have your degree.  The application process is a bit involved, but they'll come back with an answer right after the selection board meets.  Given that you have no idea what other applications will be at the board when yours goes up, you shouldn't count yourself out yet.  Unless they've changed it, each board has a set allocation of slots to fill.  They rank the applications and match them to slots.  You could be the best application on one board and well into the pack in another.  My advice is to complete the application process for OTS before you make any decisions.

Keep in mind that who you get to recommend you can weigh as much as your degree and GPA.  If you know some current or retired officers or civic leaders who know and can recommend you, that will help you stand out.  Of course, if you're fluent in multiple languages (especially Arabic), that's also a big plus.

If you're accepted, you will get a specific job offer and OTS date.

Here are some questions you might want to consider:  Are you a leader?  Can you take the lead even in the presence of strong leaders?  Can you follow orders?  Are you willing to sacrifice to serve your country?  Are you willing to give up some of your Constitutional rights to serve your country?  Are you willing to go into harm's way or send people in harm's way to complete a mission?

I wouldn't trade my time in for anything.  When I was getting out, I had four or five headhunter firms that wanted me to find my next job with them.  There are a lot of companies out there who need leaders.  The military is a proven source.

I'll be happy to answer any questions I can either here or via PM.  Good luck.
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