Thinking of joining the Air Force...


December 15, 2003, 06:12 AM
I'm thinking seriously of joining the Air Force. I've talked about it in person with as many people as I thought were knowledgeable, and am going to talk to a recruiter tomorrow. This is something that I've wanted to do for a long time now (since I was 5 and saw Top Gun :p ) but recently, it's been building more and more. For all of you that have ever been (or are) in the military, what's it like? What can I expect from Basic? Is there anything I can do to get prepared? Gimme as much info as y'all can, be it from the bright side or not-so-bright side. I wanna make the right choice here... and thanks in advance.

Mods, put this wherever it fits best; but if this is OT, I implore you that it not be deleted/ locked for a little while...

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December 15, 2003, 07:29 AM
Congratulations. I joined the Air Force in June 1967, am still serving as a full-timer in the Air Force Reserve, and I think it was the best decision I ever made. I've worked my tail off on many occassions, had a lot of fun, met a lot of great (and a few not-so-great) people, and did many jobs I though were worth doing.

Physically you should be working out. Running, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, some weight work, stretching, in general keeping as fit as you can.

Mentally, you need to be thinking about why you want to join, and try to get as accurate a picture of what military service is all about. It is NOT a country club job where you can pick and choose what you want to do and what you don't want to do. It's tough in that for the first few years you will be told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. But, as you go on, and show what you can do, you will gain a little more independance, but you will still be in a system where you are given orders on a regular basis.

If you can subordinate yourself to the mission, yet still maintain your sense of self, then it may just be a good life for you.

I wish you luck. As i said before, for me it was a good decision.

Ky Larry
December 15, 2003, 07:38 AM
I was in the U.S.A.F. from 1971 thru 1978. Basic training was at Lackland A.F.B. in San Antonio Texas in July and August. I recall it was HOT and miserable. I had played sports in high school so the physical training was no big deal. It's more of a mental process than a physical ordeal. I was sent to jet engine school in Illinois. I got to see a lot of the world at Uncle Sam's expense. I recomend a tour of military service to any young person. If you find a home, it's the best deal you could hope for. If it's not for you, you will be be better prepared for life after your hitch. Good luck.:)

December 15, 2003, 07:39 AM
I don't know about Air Force basic but if it's anything like Navy boot camp, it's a mind game. Didn't fold your underwear right, gimme some push ups. March out of step, gimme some push ups. On and on.
The thing to keep in mind is that once you're out of basic no one cares if you fold your underwear or not. It's all designed to weed out people who can't follow instructions.
I don't want to start a Navy vs Air Force thing but...
Had a classmate who joined the Air Force just after I went into the Navy. I saw the Pacific Rim countries including Australia three times in three years. He saw Montana.
Having said that, my son expressed a desire to get into law enforcement someday. I recommended the Air Force to him. Several LEO's I know are ex-Air Force air cops.

December 15, 2003, 07:42 AM
Well, you're headed towards the right direction. However, when you go to the recruiting office, look left, look right, and go into the US ARMY recruiter. :D The military life is one that is both at the same time immensely fulfilling and a bit frustrating. Hurry up and wait, why the hell are we doing this, if I was in charge...are all things you'll think and say if you join. However, people coming up to you and thanking you for your service make you really remember why you're doing it. The best thing about military life is the sense of pride, the knowledge that you are doing something worthy everyday.

I smile and think of what a three star told me while in OCS--"Every day in the Army is a picnic. It's just that some days fire ants show up!" had a pretty good section on Army basic training that I feel was quite accurate. Do your research, get everything in writing, get everything in writing, and get everything in writing. If you don't feel your recruiter is helping you out--get another one. Recruiters are people and some are better than others. Find a good one. Look into ROTC options as well. Make sure you keep learning while you're in. THere are tremendous opportunities for college education when you're in if you knuckle down and take advantage of them.

If you want to send a PM, I can give you the contact info for a great buddy of mine who's an Air Force officer and will shoot you straight on what's ahead.

Take care,

2LT Mark McAfee

December 15, 2003, 07:46 AM
Uh, Top Gun was Navy....;)

I am also an Air Force Vet, '91-95. Not one regret. I almost wish I had stayed in. Only reason I left was so I could get back into school. I'm still toying with the idea of going back in now that I have a degree.

Good luck to you!

December 15, 2003, 07:48 AM
Don't listen to any of them. Especially that Citadel guy. Look at the office way down on the right. Yeah, the small one. There'll be some really mean looking ********* in there with a head in the shape of a jar. Go talk to him but beware everything he tells you is a lie. Sign up and buckle your seatbelt. It'll be the best thing you can do for the rest of your life. Even if you don't stay in as a lifer.

Oh, and for PT, run your a$$ off, do pull ups until your arms are falling off and do as many situp as you can everyday. Those are the core components of the PFT. You get these down, and you'll breeze through. Oh, and get your mind right. You don't know ANYTHING and you are a worthless maggot.

Good luck and Semper Fi.


Bob Locke
December 15, 2003, 08:24 AM
I'm likely to get hammered for this, but I'm gonna say it anyway.

I spent 12 years, 8 months, and 23 days in the Navy. If I had known in January of '88 what I know now, I don't think I'd have done a single day.

I believe in service to country, and that's why I signed up in the first place. My first year in the Navy was Reagan's last year in the White House, and we were still trying to beat the Evil Empire (which you don't hear people talking about anymore, 'cause we won). Then came Bush 41 and Clintoon, and we became glorified pizza delivery boys. The missions morphed from warfighting to humanitarian in nature, and are largely that to this day.

Now it's about peacekeeping, largely at the behest of the United Nations, and we've got people scattered all across the globe in places that have nothing to do with the security of this nation. I got out because I couldn't stomach the political correctness and the direction the folks at the top were taking us.

My baby brother is still on active in the Air Force. He's within spitting distance of 20 years, but is hoping they'll start to offer 15-year reduced retirements again when he hits that mark in a couple of years.

I'd like to tell you I think it's a good idea, but if going to college is an option for you I'd tell you take that path, at least for now. Get yourself a degree, and then if you want to go active duty you can get yourself a commission and be in the officer corps versus the enlisted ranks, and that's a whole different world.

Just one man's take. Worth exactly what you paid for it!

December 15, 2003, 08:25 AM
10 Years Army.
No matter what you choose, be ready for the weed out process, those who can not think and act as a group will be rotated out.
Any selection is good, all that matters is that you are thinking about (and hopefully will) serve your country.
Good luck on your decision.


December 15, 2003, 10:37 AM
I joined in 85 and am still serving today. I have been an Aircraft maintenance troop on A-10 aircraft since I came in. Joined when I was 19 and have never looked back.

First things first. Decide on what you want to do when you join.

If you want to play with guns and sleep in a mud hole then the Army is for you.

If you want to play with guns, sleep in a mudhole and bum a ride on a boat then the Marines is the way to go.

If you want to swab a deck and float on a chunk of steel without any ground below you then join the Navy.

If you want to live a decent life, have decent quarters, be treated like a human and go to school, then by all means join the Air Force.

Easy, fellas, just bringing in a little humor to ease the tension here!!

Truthfully though, it all depends on what you want to do while in and when you get out either by seperation or retirement.

I always enjoyed doing the mechanic thing and working with tools so thats why I became an Aircraft mechanic or as we call it "Crew Chief"

Lets start at the beginning:

Basic, a true mind game for sure. Get yelled at alot. Treated like dirt at first, then built back up and sent out confident. You will do PT just about every morning at 0500. Will spend about 50% of your time in classes of some sort. Will spend about a week out in the field doing what they now call "Warrior Week" The food is better now that when I came in. I just visited Lackland and a BMT squadron in Oct. Alot has changed, lot hasnt.

After basic you will go to your Technical school. Depending on what job you have, it will determine where you go to tech shool at. Also, school can be for as little as 6 weeks to 18 months.

You should know bout half way thru where your gonna be stationed at. You will fill out what they call a dream sheet when you get to Tech school. You can choose anywhere that your job is located. Doesnt mean you will get any of your choices just gives you chance to go where you want to. I chose Myrtle Beach as my first choice and got it. Lucky me

December 15, 2003, 10:50 AM
Part 2:

Service life:
Like most folks here said, for the first couple of years your told what to do and when to do it to a point. When you show competence in your job and the transformation to military life then you will be givin more leaway to do your job. Thanks to Clinton and his croonies with this do more with less theory, you will be working long hours. Its a fact that I work an average of 10 to 12 hours a day. But then Im a supervisor and I dont leave the shift until every one of my guys are gone.

Deployment will come in time. Depending on your job you will be gone for two weeks maybe once a year to up to being gone for half the year. I have had one year when I was home about 5 months out of the year. Been on the road the remaning 7 months.

Just got back from a 1 year remote to Korea. Was a good time but was also rough leaving the famliy for a year. If your single it would of been a blast.

Married? Single?

If your single, you will live in the barracks for the first year or so. Depending on your base and their commanders policiy. No guns in the dorm period. Must have them in the armory or a friends house. I say leave them with mom and pops till you get to know folks you can trust or put them in the armory. The dorms are nice. Two to a room but its a good time.

You will meet some of the best folks in the world in the military. I have friends all over the country and have been blessed with alot of close friends that I would of never had the privelage of meeting had I not joined. Its a brotherhood and a family for sure. Thats what Im gonna miss when I retire.

If your married, then times will be tough. If you want to live the rich life, the military isnt the place to join. You will make enough to get by the first few years but thats it. Supporting a family of 3 like I did when I joined was tough. I had to work 2 jobs to keep afloat. But as time goes by you will make rank and the burden will be eased a bit. Family housing is available and I say by all means take it if your married. Living on the economy is rough for a new guy.

Go to school when you get in. Take classes as soon as possible. Dont wait like I did. Well, I had to wait cause I worked 2 jobs for the first 7 years I was in. That was rough. Anyway, take advantage of what the military has to offer for college degrees.

Overall, the Air Force in my opinion is the best of all the services to join if you want a semi-normal life. Yea, we get pampered to a point. When we go TDY we stay in hotels and dorms. When the grunts go TDY they stay in the field. When the Navy goes TDY they sleep in boats. Your choice.

Sean Smith
December 15, 2003, 10:59 AM
USMA '95, better part of 6 years in the Army, over 1/2 of that overseas.

Let me point out the obvious:

If you enlist, you will barely be paid at all for the first few years. If you become an officer, you will make more money, but still be substantially underpaid for your education level. Aside from making more money and having fewer people outrank you, being an officer isn't easier unless you are a dirtbag and shirk your responsibilities.

Either way, your best bet for your initial training is to be in good physical shape when you show up, shut the hell up, do what you are told, try to learn as much as you can about your profession. Find out what the physical fitness test for your branch of service is (you can find them on the internet), and make sure you can pass it easily before you show up.

The Air Force has the best quality of life by far, and the shortest overseas deployments.

December 15, 2003, 11:01 AM
So, the choice is yours. Of course Im gonna promote the Air Force above the rest cause Im still serving today. Its my job too, not only the recruiters.

But the truth to the matter is, its a good life. The people you will meet, the satisfaction of doing something for your country, protecting the freedoms your family in the past and in the future have and will enjoy and the opportunity to learn a trade and get educated is well worth it.

I have seen alot of good people come and go. I have seen young guys grow to great leaders and some go down the drain and get kicked out because of their own actions.

Dont come in thinking its a cake walk cause it isnt. Long hours, limited responsibility, being away from the family and low pay is what you should expect.

Everything depends on you. Put in 100% and you will be rewarded. Make the best of it and enjoy your time in the service. I have and I'm glad that I made it a career.

December 15, 2003, 11:22 AM
If I were looking for a ticket out the way guys in small towns do, is it best to move somewhere then join and just use my AF money pay for the pad, or wait till the AF sends me somewhere (ARIZONA!!!!!) and then re-establish myself?

December 15, 2003, 11:48 AM
I'm USAF, joined in '96 and I'm still in. Separating in Apr '05.

Honestly, I like it. Probably one of the best decisions I ever made.

Let me give you a little of my side of things. Came in guaranteed intel. Not sure if that was a good decision or not. I spend most of my days in a windowless building playing on computers and working really weird shifts. I'm working maybe 4 days a week right now and usually at night.

During peacetime, it's not bad, just like any other job, except you wear camoflage all the time. Lots of paperwork. But when the SHTF, the job is unbelieveably cool. I get to see stuff and go places I never would have done if I hadn't joined. Went to Bosnia, Germany, Kuwait and a couple CONUS plush vacations.

I recommend it to everyone. (not because I'm supposed to, but because I've actually had a good time with it) Just get an idea of what you want to do, and how much field time you want, and join the appropriate force.

The absolute best thing about it is when someone comes up to you and thanks you. That feeling of pride cannot be created by any other profession. It's something you can't even put into words.

The way I figure it, even if you don't like it, it's only 4 years (it goes fast) and you can get free school out of it.

Best of Luck to ya,


Captain Scarlet
December 15, 2003, 11:59 AM
the AF lifestyle is definitely the best! compared to the other services, a lot
of AF guys are former Army, Marines, they are always saying how great the AF life is compared to the other services. If you want some good technical
training the AF is a great place to start.

Sergeant Bob
December 15, 2003, 01:08 PM
Another vote for the Air Force here. I retired from it, had alot of great experiences and met alot of great people.
I'm not going to tell you it's a cushy job but, when I was stationed at Norton AFB, Ca, I met alot of Marines who came to the base for R & R!

December 15, 2003, 02:58 PM
I was in the AF from 1968-1972. Went to Amarillo for basic training. It's closed now. Worked the flight line around KC-135's and B-52's. Regarding basic I would suggest being in good shape before you arrive (at 2 am) at Lackland. Don't volunteer for anything. If the sergeant asks for any ex-band not admit to it. He'll make you a squad leader since you already know how to march and drill. Also, pick your friends wisely. Oh, one other thing. I hope you shave with a razor. DO NOT bring an electric shaver. No way can one keep those clean enough to pass inspection. Believe me...been there, done that. Good luck, you'll do fine.

December 15, 2003, 03:05 PM
Top Gun was Navy, not Air Force.

If you want Air Force, the movie would be The Right Stuff, or Firefox. :D

I'm assuming that you want to be a pilot. I hear that airline pilots make pretty good money, once you have gotten seniority.

December 15, 2003, 03:24 PM
Another vote for the Air Force. I served from 1990 to 1998. I wish I was still in. It was a lot of fun. Good luck in whatever you choose.

December 15, 2003, 06:16 PM
If I were looking for a ticket out the way guys in small towns do, is it best to move somewhere then join and just use my AF money pay for the pad, or wait till the AF sends me somewhere (ARIZONA!!!!!) and then re-establish myself?

But guess which hot, dry place the Air Force will send you once you get qualified in your AFSC? (Hint, it's NOT Arizona...)

I joined in April '86, and will retire May of '06. Unless they offer a 15-year reduced retirement again, so I'd be somewhere less than 41 when I retired, still young enough to get a real job on the outside. The Air Force isn't the same service I joined back in '86. I still vividly remember TQM. Lots of us refer to it as "To Quote McPeak". Manning levels fluctuated, early outs were the solution to reduce the force numbers, bonuses next to keep them in, mandatory recruiter duty for most AFSC's when bonuses weren't enough. Then comes the fun stuff. Gas mask drills in Riyadh, Scuds over Tel-Aviv, 90-day deployments in some IckyStan that change to 120 or 180 days, NK Mig-29's letting you know they're not happy you're nearby, you name it. Fun, in a twisted sort of way. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of what I've done and seen during my hitch, but I also talked my #2 stepson out of joining. #1 stepson joined against my protests, but was medically separated after 5 weeks at Lackland.

December 15, 2003, 06:31 PM
I understand that, G98, but I still need a residential address somewhere in the US, correct?

December 15, 2003, 06:43 PM
Depending on what AFSC you wind up in, and what your "dream sheet" says, your first permanent duty station may very well be an overseas base instead of a CONUS base. Lessee if I remember the ones I've been to (Alaska and Hawaii also count as overseas) - Osan, Kadena, Yokota, Misawa, Anderson (Guam), Midway, Hickam, Kwajalein, Eielson, Elmendorf, Lajes (Azores), Ascension, Torrejon, Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Alconbury, Molesworth, Geilenkirchen, Rhein-Main, Aviano, Souda Bay, and I'm sure a bunch of others. All can potentially be your first permanent assignment after training is complete, although your home of record will remain whatever it was you wrote down when you signed up. Then you go TDY from your permanent base on a deployment into less-civilized conditions. :D

December 15, 2003, 06:55 PM
Don't listen to any of them. Especially that Citadel guy. Look at the office way down on the right. Yeah, the small one. There'll be some really mean looking ********* in there with a head in the shape of a jar. Heheh, what'd I say? ;)

December 15, 2003, 07:15 PM
You may very well get a CONUS base as your first assignment. But as Frosty, Lennyjoe, Esheato, and others here can attest to, the Air Force has become the Air Expeditionary Force. So the days of being stationed at one base for more than a couple years at a time have pretty much come to a close, and the Air Force is trying to maintain a significant overseas presence with fewer bases over there, and with fewer personnel. That means long deployments and lots of overseas assignments right out of tech school. That's something prospective Air Force recruits should know before signing on the dotted line. ;)

December 15, 2003, 07:16 PM
Don't listen to any of them. Especially that Citadel guy.

Oh boy. Here we go. Here's one of the recent lessons do you get rid of a bunch of marines? Easy, just tell them that CNN is two blocks over.:D :D :D


December 15, 2003, 07:37 PM
I was in the AF from 1983 - 1987. Lots of good times and friendships that exist to this day. Some of the nicer benefits included basically 1 month of leave(vacation) a year - would take many years to get that much time off in most other jobs. I had so much leave saved up that I was able to go on "terminal leave" - more or less left the AF approximately 60 days early and was paid for the entire duration.

If you run out of cash you can always eat at the mess hall for free so you will not starve. Lots of educational opportunities - some of my friends took advantage of them - I did not , which was a mistake. Some bases have auto hobby shops where you can take your car and put it on lift to change your own oil for a very minimal fee - really liked that!

I lucked out in many ways - was stationed at the base of my choice for my enitire duration except for participating in a few excercises. Was able to get the job I wanted , before I even went into basic training. Was sent to Florida and Germany. The Germany exercise was more like a vacation in itself - saw France and Luxembourg as well.

As far as getting into shape - unless you are built like Jabba the Hutt I would not be overly concerned. I thought the AF PT was a joke as did most of the others who were in basic with me. Unless things have changed. It was not physically challenging in the least. If you were going into the Marines that would be entirely different.

The military life was not for me so I did not re-enlist. I would have retired earlier this year but I have no regrets of not staying in. Nor do I have any regrets of my 4 year enilstment except for the fact of not taking advantage of some of the educational opportunities.

December 15, 2003, 07:50 PM
good luck with your decision! :)

December 15, 2003, 11:13 PM
Just my $.02. Your residence when you enlist becomes your "home of record" which comes into play when you seperate as far aswhere the military will pay to move you too. Can also have an effect on certain state veterans benefits ie Texas Vet land loans and the like. If you are join the USAF, like I did in '86, make sure you have a guaranteed job before you leave for basic training. Don't go in "open medical" or "open mechanical" make sure you have a job commitment. Also, if you know you might want to do 6 years instead of just 4, you can get rank (and money) earlier and use it to bargain for a better Tech school and AFSC assignment. Good luck and have fun, I did.


December 15, 2003, 11:39 PM
First of all, Mods, Thanks for keeping this open...

I was AF from 80-87. Career-wise, it was the best thing I've ever done.

While my experience is somewhat dated, and I'd agree that today's military is much different than the 'Cold War' military I was in, I'd still recommend it.

Almost every military indoctrination program is designed to accomplish a couple of things...get you to think less like an individual, and more like a team-member; and to challenge you to the point where you recognize that the limits you believe are in front of you are really nothing more than self-imposed mental barriers.

For starters I'd recommend you Go with an open mind; Work hard; Help the team win.

Once you get established in your career, take every opportunity to learn something new...This will open more doors than you knew existed.

BTW, Thanks for your service.

December 16, 2003, 02:30 AM
My son, my son-in-law, and my nephew are all lifers.

My son is a mustang Major in the Corps, they sent him to college at OU, and then to graduate school at Monterrey. He now has a MS in Applied Mathematics and is assured of an outstanding future anywhere in the world when he finishes his 20.

My son-in-law is a mustang Captain in the AF, (on the list for major). He drives Blackhawk helicopters, and because of his outstanding record in the various flight schools, he can go to fixed wings any time he feels like it. He picked up a bachelors degree from Emory, and is absolutely assured of an outstanding future when he has his 20 in.

My nephew is a mustang Lieutenant in the Navy, (on the list for Lt Commander). They sent him to college to learn to be an enginer. He is now CHENG on a USS Frigate. Need I repeat that he is also assured of an outstanding future when he finishes his 20.

All three are married, with children, all of the marriages have withstood the frequent separations and the anxiety when the warriors were posted to combat zones. All are within a few years of finishing up. I am so proud of all three of them that I can hardly stand it. They are outstanding young men, and they have been recognized and rewarded for their talents and self-discipline in a manner far greater than would have been offered them in civilian life.

I teach construction management courses at a well known University in Southern California. I advise all of my students to never hire a superintendent unless he or she can produce a DD214. That tells me more about your teamworking abilities, your initiative and your character than all the BS anyone can put on a resume.

God bless and y'all be careful out there.:cool:

PS To all of you who have served. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

December 16, 2003, 03:54 AM
I too have been thinking about enlisting in the Air Force...reserves actually.
First a little about me, I volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol back in HS(1997-2000). I advanced in my training, and promotions. Was called up for several actual Search and Rescue missions(1 Successful). Then in the summer of 1999, I went to a program called OJT, On the Job training, where I ate and lived with a local Security Forces unit. OMG what a awsome time!!! We conducted various forms of patrol, a traffic stop(intoxicated Brig. Gen:what: ). Went on a very "sensitive" tour of the base. I helped build a mock-church for a urban warfare center at CRTC Phelps Collins Air National Guard Base , Michigan. This is the root of my interest in the Air Force, and a unique one at that. So now I am thinking about enlisting in the Reserves. I have been thinking long and hard at the big picture towards my career goal and how this will effect the goal. Bottom line is, I want to join, should I put off my goal and do something I want too. Also I have a part of my eduction taken care of. Wow my post was longer than I had planed. Thanks for info on this thread!

December 16, 2003, 06:19 AM
I think these gentlemen have it mostly pinned down, I just have a little to add

1. Study for the ASVAB. I know that sounds half stupid, it's an easy test, but the higher you score on it the more options are open to you, and it's always a good thing to have options.

2. DO NOT GO IN "OPEN GENERAL" Doesn't matter what you're recruiter tells you, don't do it. If you have to wait a few weeks/months until a slot comes up in the field you want, then wait.

3. In basic just keep your ears open and your mouth shut. If you're TI knows your name before the 4th week you did something wrong;} Don't volunteer for anything in basic, volunteer for EVERYTHING after basic.

4. Don't sign for 6 years instead of 4. If you do you'll put on rank a little faster (but not enough to matter), but if you don't like the military that's two extra years you're in, and if you like the military that's two extra years before you can get a reenlistment bonus.

Anyways, thats all I can think to add to what the others have said. If you're thinking about any of the medical fields feel free to get in touch and I can give you the skinny on most of them (or find someone who can).

December 16, 2003, 11:59 AM
Oh boy. Here we go. Here's one of the recent lessons do you get rid of a bunch of marines? Easy, just tell them that CNN is two blocks over.

I wouldn't start down that road. ;) We managed to get a thread locked a couple of weeks ago due to interservice rivalry. I don't know enough about the Air Force to give advice about it, and I don't have anything good to say about the Army, so I just won't say anything... ;)


PS. All I CAN say about the Air Force is that they all seem to be happy & enjoy in their work/life - outsiders perspective though...

December 16, 2003, 03:12 PM


advice for anyone joining any branch...

do NOT get totally hammered on cheap tequila and beer the night before you report to boot camp... :barf:


as far as physical training,,,after the first few weeks you get to be in such good shape that you can run, pushup, jumping jack, squat thrust and whatever else they throw at you non stop,,,so IT (or intensive training as we in the canoe club called it and which is what you got for not folding your undies right) became almost a joke

pushups for an hour? no problem,,,


December 16, 2003, 04:40 PM
The one service that has not been brought up is the Coast Guard. Not really an advantage over the other services unless you like the water and weapons. I've been in a little over a year and so far have enjoyed it a lot. If you want to drive boats or be a water cop it's something you should look into.
Not much chance to travel the world, although the oppurtunities exist. You'll spend about half you time in the service on afloat units which means half of that time will be spent underway.
I have gotten to see and do a lot of cool stuff including burn up a few hundred rounds through the 50's and we have these uber-cool tactical shotguns that have a 14 inch barrel. Overall the Coast Guard will give you the oppurtunity to pick from a wide field of rates like mechanical, medical, and most importantly gunner's mate. (I'm waiting to go to this school.)
Whatever branch of the service you go into make sure you get a guarunteed school, or at the least a nice fat bonus, or both. After getting to boot camp I found out that I didn't get nearly as good a deal as some of the other guys. Boot camp was fairly easy physically, It's just the mental games that get to you some days, but eventually you get used to that too.
Also I know a lot of people in the CG that are ex-air force, navy, army etc. and most of them like the Coast Guard, but about half the air-force guys wish they had never left. Just my .02.
Good luck with your choice.

December 16, 2003, 11:37 PM
Just do it.

December 17, 2003, 12:38 PM

I sent you a direct email to contact me and talk about the Air Force--I'd love to help.

The military has been very, very good to me, and I've seen it be a springboard to great things for many--enlisted and officers. Although I've been commissioned for 12+ years and presently serve as a USAF squadron commander, the enlisted ranks have achieved an amazing degree of professionalism, and we take care of each other quite well. The Enlisted Corps is the pride of our military, and the ultimate strength behind our military might. People who were in the USAF/military as little as 15 years ago would be surprised to see how well we take care of our troops these days--a lot has changed in a short time. That said, when the time comes for work--we work our butts off. When you get the notice to deploy, you grab your pre-packed bags and get on the airplane, period. It's what we ultimately serve for (we don't serve for ourselves, but rather our country/constitution).

And, unquestionably, the Air Force has the best quality of life, the most education opportunities, the most (in most cases) applicability to civilian jobs and some of the best locations in the military. With the 100% tuition assistance for college, chances for OTS, ROTC and the Academies, you just cannot go wrong enlisting, IMHO. That said, carefully, carefully choose your career field (please contact me for insights from one current, field-level perspective). If you've already got your college degree, then OTS is a simple choice. If not, enlist with pride!

Cross into the Blue!

December 17, 2003, 01:57 PM
Air Force seems like a good choice to me.

I'm reminded of a comparison of the 4 services:

Army - Boy, it sucks here.
Navy - Boy, it looks like it sucks over there.
Air Force - What? No cable?! THAT SUCKS!

December 17, 2003, 09:44 PM
Stealthfixr, Next time I'm up Holloman way I'll holler at ya.

Maybe we can get together and send some rounds downrange.

A-10 maintainer here.

The hog was the only ugly slow bomber in the Air Force till the Stinkbug came into play.;)

December 17, 2003, 10:00 PM
The hog was the only ugly slow bomber in the Air Force till the Stinkbug came into play.

I've got lots of hours low-level in something with 8 engines that's been described that way. And we all know what it's 4-letter nickname stands for, don't we? ;)

December 17, 2003, 11:12 PM
I don't know your age, but if you are less then 18 I would suggest that you look at joining the Civil Air Patrol. The Civil Air Patrol will teach you the basics of drill, customs, followership, and leardership. Advancement is achieved by taking test. If you achieve a certain grade and go on and join the AF you will be a E3 instead of a E1. Please ask any questions by emailing me at

C/SRA Albertine

December 17, 2003, 11:13 PM
I was in the Air Force and reserves for many years. One very important thing to remember:

In the Army and Marines the enlisted men go off to fight their wars with the officers right behind them giving support and direction.

In the Navy the enlisted men go off to fight their wars with the officers right there beside them.

But in the Air Force the enlisted men give a snappy salute and stand at attention on the flight line to give their officers a warm happy proud feeling when the officers fly off to fight their wars.

Biiiiiiiiggggg difference. :neener:

December 18, 2003, 04:01 AM
And we all know what it's 4-letter nickname stands for, don't we?
The "BUFF" was in a class all by itself. Sexy, not ugly;)

December 18, 2003, 12:43 PM
My son-in-law, the helicopter driver, used to be a BUFF crew chief at Beale, before my daughter and I convinced him it would be more fun to fly things rather than wrench on them.

He is getting a little long in the tooth to be driving helicopters in high-stress situations (too many decisions to be executed too quickly) and he has contemplated getting a billet flying the new gas stations.

God bless and y'all be careful out there.:cool:

December 18, 2003, 01:28 PM
"But in the Air Force the enlisted men give a snappy salute and stand at attention on the flight line to give their officers a warm happy proud feeling when the officers fly off to fight their wars."

I am gonna pass this by all the Security Forces, Combat Controllers, PJs, and TALCE enlisted I know, and I can bet that they all will be asking exactly where is this "flight line" so that they can stand on it also instead of being in places where unfriendly people are shooting on them. Except that most of them I know would not run from combat.

I'll also show it to the C-130 enlisted crew members, aircraft maintenance, services, and I whole bunch of other people who do not have the luxury of standing on some safe "flight line". Many of the "flight lines" they are standing on today might as well have big bullseyes painted on them.

I guess what I am trying to tell you in a kinda light-hearted way id that today there are a LOT of AF enlisted men and women standing in harms way.

And I, among others, are proud of every single one of them for their efforts and sacrifice.

December 18, 2003, 07:19 PM
But in the Air Force the enlisted men give a snappy salute and stand at attention on the flight line to give their officers a warm happy proud feeling when the officers fly off to fight their wars.
Friends of mine that are crewing A-10's right now in the "Stan" have been shot at a number of times since arriving in country.

December 18, 2003, 07:20 PM
Saw my first MiG-29 in person earlier this year. Too bad it was North Korean. Scuds and car bombs don't discriminate over rank, either. :(

December 22, 2003, 08:18 PM
In the Army and Marines the enlisted men go off to fight their wars with the officers right behind them giving support and direction

Being that I've had a hard time keeping up with most of the Lt's & Capt's I've come into contact with, I would say the Corps does anything but encourage its leaders to direct from the rear...


December 22, 2003, 10:40 PM
THAT WAS A JOKE! Didn't you see the neener smilicon? Reality should not detract from our ability to laugh at ourselves or poke fun at stereotypes. In the building where I did my advanced training there was a memorial wall devoted to members of my specialty who'd been killed on duty. But it didn't mean we couldn't laugh at ourselves.

FWIW the death rate among WWII Air Force heavy bombardment command enlisted aircrewmen was greater than that of officer crewmen and the number one most dangerous Air Force job in Viet Nam was the enlisted men who rescued downed pilots. Not to mention that in the cold war era enlistees fully expected to be vaporized along with their ten thousand closest friends if they ever really did have to wave goodbye to a plane which took off in anger.

I recall EB Sledge's discussion in his second book how he returned home after serving as a combat marine in WWII and having seen his favorite officers and enlisted friends killed. One of his postwar associates was complaining of a sore shoulder and so he asked him if the guy had been shot in the war. No, it turned out he'd been in the Air Force and had slept in a leaky tent one rainy night. :neener:

December 23, 2003, 06:40 AM
No, it turned out he'd been in the Air Force and had slept in a leaky tent one rainy night.

Did he call BS on him? Like an AF member would of been sleeping in a tent....:neener:

December 24, 2003, 12:35 AM
I thought to join the Air Force in 1980. Jobless from the big crunch, I talked to a recruiter about my options, and when asked what field I was interested in, I replied, "Jet engine mechanics." He thought that quite good but told me they needed fighter pilots, and would I be interested in that? "Sure, isn't everybody?" was something along the line I said to him. "Well, first of all, how old are you?" was his next question. I was 24. It was the first time I was ever too old for anything in my life. I've since learned to get used to it.:D

Wifey talked me out of it and it wasn't long before I found a decent job, but I always felt like I missed out on something.

Sounds like you're about 22 now. If you want to be a fighter pilot, you'd better move fast.;)

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