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Old 03-24-2012, 11:35 PM
5 posts, read 165,184 times
Reputation: 14



I was going to join the Army, and I have been in the process since December 2011. I am still in the process. I was going for the Cryptologic Linguist position since I love traveling, learning different languages, and studying cultures. I'm not going to say names, but I was with Recruiter A since December and she recently retired at the end of February. I was then switched over to Recruiter B.

Going to MEPS has been taking forever, and I was supposed to go last week, until 1) Thursday was full so they moved me to Friday, and 2) can't do Friday because the FBI rejected my fingerprints for the second time. Last Thursday, I had to redo my fingerprints for the third time. I considered this a sign since I had been trying to inquire with the Air Force, but every time I visited her office, she was never there. I even took her business card and called her mobile phone. She didn't answer. I left a message, she never got back to me - this was back in January-February by the way. So I became exasperated with trying to join the Air Force because I became convinced they just weren't trying to recruit people.

Last Thursday, the Air Force recruiter was actually there and looking to do some recruiting. This made me excited. My family and my grandparents, and almost everyone has been telling me to go Air Force, and I was discouraged from trying it out to begin with because I didn't think I was smart enough.

My ASVAB score is a 71, and this could have been higher if I kept track of time during the Math Knowledge portion. It kept giving me Pythagorean Theorem, and I had to do all the calculations for the square roots. Anywho, excuse one. I still got a 71 and I know if I had paid attention, I would have been in the high 90s no lie. I didn't get to finish MK before it timed out.

My DLAB score is a 109. This could have been higher, but the last portion of the test flashed the rules, and I didn't get to read them, so I was oblivious to what I was supposed to do and had to guess. Oh well, two excuses. Either way, the ASVAB says A and the DLAB says B. These scores made me feel like a nobody compared to those recruits who got 98 ASVAB and 135 DLAB.

I have a bachelors degree in International Relations from Virginia Tech. Some may ask, why don't you go officer? I did try in December, but then I decided against it because I don't know anything about the Army. I didn't want to be placed in such an important position with no previous military experience. I hear that Enlisted Personnel eat Butter Bars alive, especially the ones that come out of ROTCs.

I didn't mind going mustang, going enlisted to see if I like the lifestyle because I wouldn't want to have become an officer just to not like what I chose to get into. It would make me unfit.

So, I plan to switch Monday from Army to Air Force. The Air Force works closely with the Intelligence Community as I'm sure most Intel MOSes do, but I do feel the quality of training is much better in the AF (for Intel that is). I had planned to transition into the CIA, DIA, NSA, any of those ICs that would take me.

I honestly feel more comfortable in the AF than in the Army since I heard stories about recruits being trained for a specific job, but then being sent to do an entirely different job. I'm sure this might happen in any branch, but I don't think it's super common in the Navy and the Air Force.

Any who, that Thursday, the recruiters didn't like the idea that I had talked to the Air Force (of course they wouldn't). I told them that I wanted more time before they try and sign me up for MEPS (which they still can't until my fingerprints are processed (again) and who knows how long that would take).

Recruiter A's response was: "What? You want to change? We did all this hard work to try and get you into MEPS (still not in there) and now you want to change?" (Actually, my last recruiter who retired in February was the only one who worked with me.)

Reserve Recruiter's response was: "If you switch from Army to Air Force, then the whole entry process will be reset. The background check will have to be redone, and getting approval from MEPS will have to be redone, which means you'll wait longer. You'll have to start all over on your application."

I talked to the AF recruiter and she said this wasn't true because the information the Army had on me would simply transfer over to the Air Force, and she'd take it from there.

What is the truth? I feel I can't trust either of them. I don't know who to trust honestly.

I'm hoping to be a Linguist in the Air Force just as I hoped to be in the Army because I feel I have some damn good prerequisites, such as I know conversational French and Japanese (3 years college-level/5 years 3 HS 2 college). I've been to Japan in 06 and I just returned from a month's immersion in France in August '11. If I don't get linguist, then any other Intel job will be my other options because I want to transition when I'm done with Intel in my background. By the way, I know French and Japanese aren't in dire need right now, but I was only presenting an example of my language skills and capabilities. I hope to get Chinese, Korean, or any of those Category IVs/Vs.

The Army recruiters are trying to make it seem like I can't change when I haven't even sworn in yet.

For the Air Force, I know there's no guarantee because the needs of the AF come first. My recruiter told me they're looking for Linguists, and so I'm hoping they like what I have to offer. But I really want to know if what the Reserve Recruiter said was true. Either way, I'll still want to switch branches any way.

If I have to wait, then I'll wait and start over again, but yes, can someone tell me if what he's saying is true or false?

I'm hoping the military will build me up and make me a confident and stronger person. Facing my recruiters Monday and letting them know I'm changing, while taking their inevitable hateful glares and remarks will be the first step.

Last edited by kittybutt; 03-25-2012 at 12:02 AM..
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:49 PM
Location: Sunshine State
61 posts, read 168,489 times
Reputation: 106
If your question is whether or not you can be a linguist in the AF then that is the option you will be given when you sign up if A) your test scores are high enough (and I believe you can retake the asvab after a certain amount of time though you should double check this) and B) whether they are recruiting for this at the time you sign up. What you don't want to do is sign up for the open general option because then the AF can stick you where they need you most, usually Security Forces. The Army will put pressure on you, but you can switch over to AF, I did it because I got tired of waiting around for the Army to send me out too. There was a furlough going on at the time. Keep in mind that the school for linguists is a year (if I remember right) and has a high fail rate. If you fail out of it then the AF can and will retrain you into a career field of their choice. Not sure if you can pick the language you want, maybe you have a few options to choose from, but I think it is generally what is needed at the time of enlistment. From what I remember Farese was a big one because all of the **** going on in the middle east. I would seriously consider OTS if you are going the AF route, what is true about the Army eating up LT's is not the same in the AF. You will receive training either way according to your job and as an officer you will have better benefits and way better pay.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:54 PM
Location: Sunshine State
61 posts, read 168,489 times
Reputation: 106
Default P.s....

Also forgot to mention that you need to have high scores to qualify to sign up as a Linguist and I believe there are two different types of linguists - one that is in an office and one that is considered part of the aircrew (someone correct me if I'm wrong, its been awhile since I went through the process). In addition, depending on the language you learn you may qualify to get a monthly foreign language stipend. I think that applies to all Airmen whether you are a linguist or not, but it is usually for the more uncommon languages. Hope this helps!
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:11 AM
5 posts, read 165,184 times
Reputation: 14
I had tried for officer route back in December with the Army, which was when I first considered joining the Army, so you can see how long I've waited since it's now April. I was discouraged from it (recruiter may have discouraged me from it since at the time I was slightly naive and felt she was the voice of Army life), and instead had decided to go enlisted for Cryptologic Linguist.

I switched to the Air Force last Monday, so with your suggestion, I'll consider trying for the officer route. I have taken the AFOQT before in college, but I didn't know what I was doing honestly. I was never informed that I was going to be taking it. It came to me as a big surprise. I can't tell you what my score was since I didn't really understand the point system and it was five years ago, so eh. I know what to expect at least. It's like taking another ASVAB except there's pilot and navigation sections and the self-assessment questionnaire at the end.

I'm not a fan of Arithmetic, and it disturbs me to know I'll have to study it again lol, but it's not too bad. I'll give the exam a shot to see how far I get.

As for my question above, it was "if I switched from Army to Air Force, would it have reset my whole enlistment packet?" meaning would I have had to start over again. Because the Army had said yes, but the Air Force said no and that my information would just transfer over to them. It seemed like I had to start over again, but it was quicker since I already had the information and pretty much gave it to her all at once for processing (with the Army transferring my enlistment packet over also).

The things that had discouraged me from going officer was: A) the enlisted personnel will automatically hate you because they can see you're a new person and don't know what you're doing (AF recruiter said that the enlisted do rip new officers to pieces), B) the officer doesn't get benefits in regards to education like the Tuition Assistance and all that, and thus if you decided to go for your Masters, it all comes out of your pocket, and C) the whole selection board judgment. I feel that I would make an excellent officer, but I feel my test scores, GPA, and work experience won't say so.

My GPA for my four-year degree was 2.7 and my associates degree was 3.4. I find it unfair that they would only look at my bachelors degree since when I transferred to the four-year university my GPA didn't transfer with me and thus I had to start at the bottom again and work it up. 3.0 GPAs are like the A+s of academics and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get one by the time I graduated.

The only work experience I have is working at Target for a season and a year and half as a Tutor teaching math, English, biology, and ESL. I had no amazing internships. I even did flyering which paid by the amount of classes I visited to preach about how awesome Bookholders is.

I guess all I'm hoping for is that the selection board doesn't go by paper. I'll be confident and sure of myself during the interview, but I feel if I didn't get selected, I would feel a bit shattered. It wouldn't be the end of the world as I'll simply just move on, but it will suck.

The reason why I'm so persistent with the military is because I want the fact that I served to be in my background before I'm too old to even enlist. Not many people do it, and I like to be separated from those Americans who could have done it, considered it, but chose not to out of fear. I won't allow myself to work a normal, civilian job until I've done my part. I love the friends you make in the military because they're just as strong as any friend you'd make in civilian life, and I love the challenge. "Excellence in all we do," that there is my cup of tea. The military will instill in me some important qualities I'll need to survive on my own.

The transition from a life of pure academics to the real world is enormous, and I feel the military would prepare me best.

Travelling Gal: Yes, I qualified for Cryptologic Linguist. My score was high enough. The two types was Airborne and Ground, and I'm not tall enough to be Airborne. I believe you had to be 64 inches and I'm only 63.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:26 AM
Location: Sunshine State
61 posts, read 168,489 times
Reputation: 106
I think you'll be surprised how well you do whether you choose enlisted or the officer route, it is all about your attitude and you seem to have the right one.

When I was in the tuition assistance for enlisted only covered a four year degree as well, but not sure if that is the same today. Most people who join out of high school have little to no job experience so don't worry that you aren't prepared either way. You will go through a lot of training and then learn it all on the job as you go.

I believe that the boards focus on what you have accomplished during your service, though furthering your education while in will probably factor in the general process, the emphasis is on your service and unless you're a total screw up you'll probably make it to Captain within the allotted time before it becomes more challenging to go up in ranks. I have a cousin who has been a Captain forever, but that is because he is a hothead who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

As far as enlisted being jerks to newbie Lt's I never experienced that and I worked with the flightline crew which is a pretty rowdy bunch Bottom line is that, again, it all depends on your attitude. If you treat the enlisted folks with respect and don't throw your weight around for no good reason then it will be fine. They're just people after all and you're all working towards the same goal. The Army is a different story entirely.

My advice would be to talk to some of the officers on here about the process and get their take on it. I can only offer my rusty memories on the enlisted side. WhenI signed up it was in February and I didn't ship out to Basic Training until June. Switching your paperwork over seems like it should be an easy enough thing and if not, well it's only paperwork. I have heard of it taking less time, but I've also heard people who waited a little longer. If you join, get used to doing paperwork all the time, it seems like if you want to tie your shoes then there is a form for that Good luck to you!
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:32 AM
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
24,130 posts, read 38,859,608 times
Reputation: 28092
Originally Posted by kittybutt View Post
The things that had discouraged me from going officer was:

A) the enlisted personnel will automatically hate you because they can see you're a new person and don't know what you're doing (AF recruiter said that the enlisted do rip new officers to pieces),
It is a shame a recruiter said this... It is not true as stated. You will find hate everywhere if you look for it. If you automatically hate officers, then you might be shocked if you ever get into the military...

Originally Posted by kittybutt View Post
B) the officer doesn't get benefits in regards to education like the Tuition Assistance and all that, and thus if you decided to go for your Masters, it all comes out of your pocket, and
Just not correct. But each service has its own Tuition Assistance (TA) criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process' and restrictions. Also TA has changed drastically over the years, civilian employees could get TA in some circumstances. From "Army Regulation 621–5, Education, Army Continuing Education System: http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r621_5.pdf
5–6. Use of tuition assistance
TA is authorized for—
a. Courses offered by institutions that are accredited by regional or national accrediting agencies recognized by the
ED or courses offered by postsecondary institutions that have been formally recognized as a candidate for accreditation
by a regional accrediting association. For all other (nondegree bearing) programs, secondary school accreditation or
specialized accreditation (professional/occupational schools) is required.
b. No more than one credential from each of the following levels:
(1) HSD.
(2) Associate.
(3) Baccalaureate.
(4) Master’s or first professional degree (for example, Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree, Master of Architecture, Master
of Business Administration, Masters in Social Work, and so forth).
c. One certificate (includes academic certificate, program of preparation for certification, licensure, or capstone
certification in an area of specialization). The limitations of para 5–7d do not apply to the certificate (that is, a Soldier
may pursue a certificate program regardless of the level of education already achieved). However, all other prohibitions
outlined in this chapter apply (note particularly the prohibitions related to continuing education units (CEUs) and the
Army e-learning program in para 5–7y and 5–7aa).
d. Off-duty courses leading to or maintaining a state education credential (teaching, administration or supervision,
and support services) to teach in the Nation’s public school system regardless of the degree level the Soldier has
attained. Commissioned officers and warrant officers using TA for off-duty courses leading to a state education
credential are subject to the service commitment stated in paragraph 5–10.
e. Undergraduate or graduate program prerequisite courses for enrolling in a bachelor’s or master’s degree or for
completing requirements for career advancement programs, such as United States Military Academy (USMA), the
Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Enlisted Commissioning Program, and the Physician’s Assistant (PA) program.
School officials for the civilian education degrees or the commanders for career advancement programs must provide
written documentation specifying additional course work is necessary (not required for job performance) for the
Soldier’s program of study. Courses outlined on an approved degree plan will meet this requirement.
Originally Posted by kittybutt View Post
C) the whole selection board judgment. I feel that I would make an excellent officer, but I feel my test scores, GPA, and work experience won't say so.
A person will never know how well they will do until they have actually applied, been to a selection/appointment/prommotion board etc...


Last edited by Poncho_NM; 04-02-2012 at 11:41 AM..
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:55 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
499 posts, read 1,803,120 times
Reputation: 1010
Good post, Rich.

I, as an officer, used TA to pay for my masters degree. Officers are also authorized the post 9-11 GI Bill. I have elected to transfer my eligibility to my son.

I was not hated by my enlisted Soldiers, many of whom never knew I was enlisted before I became an officer. I find it very unprofessional that a Recruiter would even suggest that.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:22 PM
5 posts, read 165,184 times
Reputation: 14
My biggest issue with why I'm so hesitant to even try for this is because I'm the last child in my family. I live with my mother in an apartment. My older sister was kicked out at 18, my middle sister ran away to join the Marine Corps to get away from everyone (and she's doing fine), and now I'm the last one everyone is waiting to move on. My father lives with his wife (don't even call her step-mom lol) and so he's fine and dandy, living in his own world. My mother is 55 and wasted a good portion of her life doing nothing but contracting and never sought a permanent job, so now she has no retirement whatsoever and is now trying to find a permanent job. She likes to blame everyone for her misfortunes, and so she's very desperate to have me leave the house so she can supposedly fix her life.

As soon as I join the Air Force, the Air Force will become my home. If I ever wanted to return I could possibly stay with my father until I ship out, but he and his girlfriend have four cats that all live inside, and I am allergic to them. It'll be pretty hellish.

My mother has already told me to pack up my stuff before I go to BMT, and I haven't even swore in yet. I haven't even been to MEPS!

What I fear is going through with trying for OTS, and not getting selected. Only 215 people out of all the applicants in the U.S. got accepted. That is a very small amount. I wish I could be like those people who can say, "Oh well, I'll just try again on the next board," but I doubt my mother is that patient. I can't even discuss military with her. She hates it, ignores me, and eventually asks me to stop talking about it. I can only get advice from my recruiter, and people have said you can't trust them entirely, and you guys proving that what she's saying is biased, and is based on what she probably thinks of officers. She is Security Forces, by the way.

I feel that I've already made a huge mistake for not taking my time on something. When I graduated from John Tyler Community College, I didn't know what degree I wanted to pursue. I wanted to take a year off and have a job on the side, giving me some time to think about it, but my father was afraid that the world was going to end, and thus I wound up at Virginia Tech in the Corps of Cadets program and the Air Force ROTC (because his wife's son was an Engineer and was doing so awesome there). The Corps of Cadets was the worst military experience I've ever had in my life. Virginia Tech, itself, was not a university I would have went to if I had known what it was going to be like with being hardly diverse, racist (most of the teachers weren't but 90% (probably even 95%) of the student body was), and forsaking their Liberal Arts and Human Sciences branch. God spare you if you ever got a degree in that area since there was hardly any job fairs for it. Just that one in the Fall. But I digress, worst school experience ever, but I survived.

I just don't want to repeat this mistake. My goal while in the Air Force is to: A) nab an Intel job so that I can receive training in it and later join the Intelligence Community when my time is done, B) pay off my student loan, and C) get a masters degree. I loved Air Force ROTC, and if I could have stayed in it, I would have, but if you leave the CoC then you have to leave the ROTC, which is stupid, but that's how they work.

If I can achieve all that by being an officer, then I'll give it a shot. If not, then I rather take what is guaranteed and that is being enlisted. At least I will get my independence out of it and I can improvise on what to do next with my life as I go.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:01 PM
5 posts, read 165,184 times
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Actually, since I've been asking questions all over military forums, I received some advice from a TSGT on an AF Forum. He said because of my predicament, it may be best that I stick with the enlisted path for now since they hadn't announced the next board, and they probably wouldn't until December, and if I got accepted, I wouldn't know about school until the approaching year. If I got rejected, then I probably would have been enlisted by then.

I'll see what the enlisted life has to offer, and if I want to be an officer later, I can "try" for it. If not, I'll just take my experience and go get an Intel. Com. job like I had planned.

I had gotten so anxious and worried this morning when TravellingGirl posted about the AFOQT lol. I was so willing to do it, but then I thought about how long it would take. I had to realize that I don't have that long. I'm going to just go with the flow and see where the wind takes me.
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:53 AM
5 posts, read 165,184 times
Reputation: 14
Smile Thank you!

Okay, so yesterday, I went to the Air Force recruiting office to fill out a credit check form. While I was there, I was asking my recruiter several questions brought to my attention by the AF forum. She had been keeping some information from me concerning my ASVAB score. Apparently, for the Air Force, if I wanted to be a Cryptologic Linguist, I needed a 72, but I had a 71. She was in the process of getting me a waiver, and that pretty much to me, meant that I wasn't going to get it. The Air Force, as everyone has been saying, is overmanned. She had tried to guarantee that I was going to be a CL, but the Air Force is currently trying to place people where they need them (overheard her talking when her employer had called and was telling her that they weren't taking anymore requests).

Also, I had to go back into the Army office to check and see if my associates degree was in there, but it wasn't. I was then swamped by the entire Army office lol. They pulled me into a room, sat me down, and just gave me a speech because they were upset I had switched from Army to Air Force.

The truth was, and I'm glad this section is called "Military and Issues" because as you can see there are some serious issues in my life lol. But yes, that Thursday when I had switched to the Air Force, it had been my older sister (retired Air Force) who had talked me out of the Army. I'm new to the "real" world. I've been in school forever, so this is the first time for me facing reality. Reality to me is when you got to go out and make it on your own. Pretty much complete independence. I was very afraid and I was having everyone make decisions for me (the mistake I made four years ago that brought me nothing but regret for three years). Thus, why I was here on this forum because I was trying to get answers and more than likely trying to have others decide for me. My sister had ran the show that day.

Any who, yesterday, I wound up switching back to my first choice: The Army. I am now glad that the Air Force is no longer an option because I had both the Army and the Air Force up there (as options). My Cryptologic Linguist job is still on reserve for me. All I have to do is go to MEPS, pass, and sign that contract, and I am officially in. What feels good the most is that this was entirely MY decision. I made this decision for myself.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my crazy mess on this forum and who offered some helpful information. I'm sure I sounded timid, unsure, and blah, blah, blah...I have found my legs. I'm going to be Active Duty as a Cryptologic Linguist (35P) in the Army. I still have respect for the Air Force, and all the other branches, but I am so glad that my recruiters were really looking out for me and were making sure I knew what I was doing no matter what branch I chose to get into. I regret not having trusted them right off the bat, but then who would? lol There are so many crooked ones, but I'm glad I got a nice military family looking out for my well-being.

But yes, thank you everyone, and hooah!
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