Thinking of joining the Air Force

This is a discussion on Thinking of joining the Air Force within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have noticed lots of talk about piloting - Airforce has a LOT of officers, last time I checked it was one officer per 5 ...

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Thread: Thinking of joining the Air Force

  1. #31
    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    I have noticed lots of talk about piloting - Airforce has a LOT of officers, last time I checked it was one officer per 5 enlisted. Plenty of jobs to do there, not all are exciting flying jobs, many are administrative or logistical in function. Truth of the matter is, if you wanna be a pilot you have a higher percentage of officers serving as pilots in the Marine Corps than you do in the Airforce or Navy.

    Sounds to me like the OP is looking for a good fit for him in the AF, not pilot wings. Plenty of opportunities.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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  3. #32
    Member Array Blakestr's Avatar
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    Last poster nailed it. Truthfully, it has never been my "dream" to fly. It would be more of a hobby for me than a career (though I agree with the adage, 'Never feel sorry for a man with a plane'). I just meant that if they offered me a pilot gig I would probably take it.

    I have not taken the AFOQT nor the ASVAB yet. I have two study books on both. Started the AFOQT test, I'm not as concern for the ASVAB though I will study for it as well, I scored a 1270 on the SAT in highschool and will definitely brush up on some of the portions.

    I'm a firefighter/paramedic so I am required to be in a "certain" amount of shape. I'm not in my prime cardiovascular-wise, probably would run a mile in 7:00...I've checked the AF standards an am not too concern about this portion, though I would train more just to get focused more and set the example in OTS.

    I don't know much about OSI...would they let me join as an Officer and teach me a language? I am pretty good about learning a langauge and my schedule as a firefighter and single guy mean I can study a lot on the off days. I have Rosetta stone software and could probably learn the framework of Chinese (or any language, I consider Chinese to be the biggest threat, then Arabic. I am about partially fluent in spanish but could pick it up pretty fast if i had to).

    I've never been arrested. I took a polygraph for a Fire Dept a few years back and admitted I tried "something green" in college once. Other than it being in their file that's the most dirt on me.

    I am a powerpoint whiz though and consider myself a good communicator as well as public speaker.

    In the meantime I am studying the sections of the AFOQT that I did poorly on in the practice test I took (pretty much all pilot stuff lol) I scored nearly perfect on the majority of other sections though this was only 10 questions per section test. My goal is to basically ace the AFOQT (I have a lot of off time, am a good test taker, and have months to prepare for it, so if I don't do well it's my own fault).

  4. #33
    Member Array Shotdown's Avatar
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    AF PT test is a joke. I'm sure you'll pass it since your a firefighter/paramedic.

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  5. #34
    Member Array MH53J's Avatar
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    With out reading all of the post, did you ever consider Para rescue? With your medical background it might be a good fit. From what I understand they get to shoot some cool stuff as well. Look it up Bryan

  6. #35
    Member Array AV8OR's Avatar
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    Blakestr,

    There are many people here trying to help. But here is my opinion. For the record I was enlisted for 6 years and then got my commission. I went to upt and finished IFF a few months ago. I start A-10 training at the end of the month. Please pm me with any questions.

    My advice is for you to find the nearest Air national Guard unit in your state or close to your home. Find their website and look for the open officer positions. See if they are having a pilot hiring board. The great thing about the Guard is you are getting hired for a certain aircraft. If that unit flies A-10s you fly that, if its UAV's then you fly that. And so on.....you will attend upt and follow on training just like the active duty force, but when complete you will go back to your units location and be stationed there untill you get out, retire, or the unit closes down. Each unit has different fulll time manning requirements and sometimes can offer new pilots full time gigs. If you stay part time you can either "bum" (stay part tiem and get on as mnay flying trips you can) or have a civilian job ( aka...firefighter or paramedic). And you only have to have 20/20 vision with glasses or contacts on.

    Please just dont go talk to an active duty recruiter for your answers. Do all the research you can and talk to me. Ill help you out as much as possible.

  7. #36
    Member Array gogriz91's Avatar
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    So the PT won't be a problem, I ask because for some, it is and it becomes a distractor at OTS.

    As for the ANG vs AD question, I would recommend the Guard if you can get an AGR or GS position in a skill you think you'll like. I wouldn't go down the "you can start part time then we'll make you a fulltimer", that's no better than an AD recruiter telling you you can be an astronaut.

    The OSI won't send you to Monterrey to learn a language, if you choose an overseas location it would be more an immersion program than anything else. You will have an opportunity to learn a foreign language in the OSI, it would be a function of getting posted overseas.

    Here's a link to their wikipedia page, it's somewhat insightful.

    Air Force Office of Special Investigations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If this is to be believed, OSI won't take direct applicants from off the street through OTS. Wouldn't hurt to ask though.

    http://www.osi.andrews.af.mil/questi...cers/index.asp
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  8. #37
    Member Array Shotdown's Avatar
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    OSI will not take a person off the street. You have to be in the AF and apply directly throught the OSI office in your duty station. Plus you have to be on station for a year before you can apply (this may be waiverable). On top of all that, you better hope you didn't enlist into a low manned career field because MAJCOM may not release you from your current career field.

    I wish I would of had this kind of advice before I joined. I probably would of went the ANG route like AV8OR stated.

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  9. #38
    Member Array jpmuscle's Avatar
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    Not to hijack the OPs thread but the information presented thus far has been great and really helpful since im contemplating the Air Force as well. But ill start another thread so I dont complicate this one.

  10. #39
    Member Array Blakestr's Avatar
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    Right now I can't imagine doing much more than 4 years...I would like to go into private sector with the skills I learn from the AF...

    So if I were to enlist as a linguist, what might I start at? E-5? If I did enlist I would feel like I was 'wasting' my college degree. Anyone care to comment on this rational?

  11. #40
    Member Array tbeubs17's Avatar
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    With 4 yr degree you would prob enlist as E-3.

    With your background you could try the medical field. That training could help you get a job on the outside I'm sure. That is if you want that type of job.

    Most officer jobs aren't "technical". Usually the enlisted or civilians do all of the technical jobs. I work on the electronic countermeasures on the B-52 and all of the "upgrades" are done by civilian companies from design to installation.

  12. #41
    Member Array Shotdown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotdown View Post
    OSI will not take a person off the street. You have to be in the AF and apply directly throught the OSI office in your duty station. Plus you have to be on station for a year before you can apply (this may be waiverable). On top of all that, you better hope you didn't enlist into a low manned career field because MAJCOM may not release you from your current career field.

    I wish I would of had this kind of advice before I joined. I probably would of went the ANG route like AV8OR stated.
    Wanted to add something to this. They'll take officers directly out of OTS for OSI. What I posted is for enlisted.

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  13. #42
    Member Array Shotdown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blakestr View Post
    Right now I can't imagine doing much more than 4 years...I would like to go into private sector with the skills I learn from the AF...

    So if I were to enlist as a linguist, what might I start at? E-5? If I did enlist I would feel like I was 'wasting' my college degree. Anyone care to comment on this rational?
    If you come in as enlisted with a 4 yr degree and enlist for 4 yrs, you'll get E-3 only. If you enlist for 6ys, E-3 is automatically given to you so it won't matter if you have a degree or not.

    Don't know how old you are but take this into consideration, if you come in as enlisted, you may have an 18-19 year old out rank you so you'll have to follow their orders. Some of them have a good head on their shoulders but others don't. Plus, you'll get stuck with a lot of crap jobs that officers never see.

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  14. #43
    Senior Member Array Herknav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blakestr View Post
    So if I were to enlist as a linguist, what might I start at? E-5? If I did enlist I would feel like I was 'wasting' my college degree. Anyone care to comment on this rational?
    That decision is totally up to you. Many of the E's I work with have or are working toward their degree. It all depends on how bad you want the extra money. If the job you REALLY want is an enlisted job, and you can be guaranteed it IN WRITING, you have to decide if it's worth the drop in money. Since you're single and this is a short-term job, anything's possible.

    One thing you might want to think about (E's, please chime in and correct me if I misspeak)--many of the lower ranking, single E's have to live on base in the dorms. Depending on the base and how full their dorms are, that may be until E-3 or E-4. In addition to having to live with a bunch of people who have no concept of quiet hours (from what I'm told), you have to store your guns in the armory or off-base somewhere. You also get to put up with room inspections and other sorts of "fun." There have actually been people that have gotten married solely to be able to move out of the dorms. Oh, and (at least at some bases) there is no alcohol allowed in the dorms, regardless of your age.

    My HS buddy is in the Reserves. He went to Basic at age 25 and laughed at all the antics of the 18-19 year olds. The difference is you would have to live with these same yahoos. Almost all of the E's I know who came in at a later age don't fit in well with their peers.

    As to Shotdown's next-to-last sentence, there's no guaranteeing that you won't be working for a Lieutenant that is younger than you and has no common sense or life experience, either.
    I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth.--Steve McQueen

  15. #44
    Member Array Blakestr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotdown View Post
    If you come in as enlisted with a 4 yr degree and enlist for 4 yrs, you'll get E-3 only. If you enlist for 6ys, E-3 is automatically given to you so it won't matter if you have a degree or not.

    Don't know how old you are but take this into consideration, if you come in as enlisted, you may have an 18-19 year old out rank you so you'll have to follow their orders. Some of them have a good head on their shoulders but others don't. Plus, you'll get stuck with a lot of crap jobs that officers never see.
    This was part of my rationale for wanting to go in as an officer. I've seen what crappy leaders can do in the fire service and I'd like to avoid it best I can. (Though there always is someone higher to **** on you, unless you are at the top, then everyone shits on you). The other part is that I feel I am a good leader; I know how to communicate with people, how to listen, and how to put my foot down without stepping on toes. Even though I was never a grunt in the military, I was a rookie in the fire service for two years...

    What are some of the more marketable jobs as an officer that the air force offers? I keep inquiring about linguist/language jobs because I could imagine myself as a consultant when I get out.

    I'd also like to thank everyone so far for their immense help in helping me make an informed decision. Sometimes the free things (advice) are the most valuable.

  16. #45
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    I'm reasonably sure that any officer commitment is for at least six years. The officer career plan is geared toward people who want a long career with retirement at the end. The enlisted structure is also set up for a long career, but it's easier to go in with a short time commitment in the enlisted ranks than the officer ranks. You really don't do much more than learn the ropes in your first four years in the more technical fields. After that the pay and benefits (and accompanying responsibilities) get much better and they start trying to convince you to stay in for the long haul because now you're much more of an asset. As an officer, they expect you to be in for the long haul from the start. Don't forget, as I said earlier, if you get in the enlisted ranks and decide you like it, there's no reason you can't work your way up. That's always an option.

    To answer your earlier question, personally I wouldn't feel that it would be wasting a degree to enlist. I worked with quite a few people who had degrees during my time in the Army. One woman enlisted with a law degree! She joined to help pay back her loans and get a security clearance. We joined at the same time and got out at the same time four years later. She landed a great job before they got her final orders cut.

    If your main interest is to spend a few years in uniform for the experience and job training, it will be easier to accomplish in the enlisted ranks. It's easier to get in, but also easier to get out (depending on the situation at the time you want to get out). Don't forget that when you sign up, no matter what time period you plan to spend on active duty, they own you for eight years. If you get trained in a high demand specialty, like, say, Korean linguist, and the balloon goes up right before you're supposed to get out and start that cushy contractor job, you're not going anywhere. It's called stop-loss, I'm sure you've heard the term. I was in Basic on 9/11/01. The ensuing demand for military intelligence personnel was so great that my entire career field was placed on stop loss within two months. Career soldiers getting ready to retire after 25+ years of service were stuck for another year. It sucks, but it's part of the deal signing up and something you have to be aware of going in. Too many people didn't think it could happen to them and then got very angry when it did. Make sure you factor that into your decision so you're not blindsided.
    - Kurt
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