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Thinking of joining the Air Force...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dionysusigma, Dec 15, 2003.

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  1. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Member

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    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...
     
  2. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    I'm thinking seriously of joining the Air Force.

    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.
     
  3. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    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.:)
     
  4. Sisco

    Sisco Member

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    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.
     
  5. Citadel99

    Citadel99 Member

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    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!"

    About.com 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
     
  6. Razor

    Razor Member

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    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!
     
  7. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

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    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.

    GT
     
  8. Bob Locke

    Bob Locke Member

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    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!
     
  9. RTFM

    RTFM member

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    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.

    RTFM
     
  10. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    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
    :D
     
  11. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    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.
     
  12. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    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.
     
  13. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    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.
     
  14. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    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?
     
  15. esheato

    esheato Member

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    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,

    esheato...
     
  16. Captain Scarlet

    Captain Scarlet Member

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    I highly recommend the US AIR FORCE...

    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.
     
  17. Sergeant Bob

    Sergeant Bob Member

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    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!
     
  18. OH25shooter

    OH25shooter Member

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    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 personel...do 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.
     
  19. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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    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.
     
  20. Rhinodogg

    Rhinodogg Member

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    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.
     
  21. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    That's a nice thought, Skunk.

    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.
     
  22. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    I understand that, G98, but I still need a residential address somewhere in the US, correct?
     
  23. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Skunk, yes and no...

    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
     
  24. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    Heheh, what'd I say? ;)
     
  25. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Skunk, I should've qualified my above paragraphs.

    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. ;)
     
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