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Old 08-16-2009, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Georgia
55 posts, read 159,583 times
Reputation: 35

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Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum. I understand there were a couple other threads quite similar to this one, but I wanted to start a new one in order to fully explain my situation. Please be patient with me...I'm sure I'm probably asking lots of obvious, stupid questions but I'd rather know as much as possible up front than get blindsided later!

Anywho, I'm a 23-year old female and currently dating a pilot in the Air Force. My grandfather and dad also served. I've been considering possibly joining the Air Force myself...it's the only branch I'd ever consider going into though I have a great respect for each and every branch. I have a high school diploma and around 20 college credit hours or so.

About starting rank.....Which leads me to ask, I saw someone post on an earlier thread if you had 20+ college credit hours, you could go in as an E-3? Is this true? Or do you have to start out as an E-1 no matter what?

I know these are vastly different, but there are three areas I'm interested in considering in the Air Force... still photography apprentice, public affairs apprentice and clinical social worker. Here are my questions:

About getting the job you're most interested in.......Do any of you work in these areas? Are they hard to get into? I noticed on one thread, it was recommended to get it in writing if you ARE qualified for a certain job of interest so that you don't end up doing something you weren't interested in in the first place. Is there some sort of test you take BEFORE signing up to figure out what you'd qualify for? I'd just hate to get my hopes up only to find out I wouldn't be able to do any of the things I'm most interested in. If that were the case, I wouldn't want to join.

About basic training.....What is AF basic training like, how long, and where do you normally go for that? Do females and males go through completely separate basic training programs or is it co-ed? Is the training you receive for your line of work all done on the job, or do they send you somewhere special for it? (Like for a still photography apprentice, for instance). Do you just randomly get assigned a base, or do you have some say in where you go?

About living arrangements....How are the female barracks/dorms? Is it private rooms or shared? I have a female friend in the army, and she has her own private dorm room and bathroom, but I'm not sure if it's the same throughout all branches or depending on rank or job title, etc.

About promotions and becoming an officer...If you go in as enlisted, do you have the possibility to become an officer later? If so, what does that entail? If I chose to remain enlisted, approximately how long does it take to move up the ranks? When you join, what are your options your options are 4 years and 6 years, if I read correctly. What's the difference? I read somewhere the Air Force doesn't offer any sign-up bonuses, so I take it they probably also don't offer re-enlistment bonuses either?

About going to school while in the AF...What if I decided to complete my bachelor's degree while working in the AF? Is this even a possibility? Would they pay for that and would I even have time? I haven't taken all that many college courses, but 95% of it has been online through Troy University...I'd probably continue my education online if I went back.

About marrying someone else in the AF....I'm definitely thinking in advance at this point since we're only dating but hey, I'm covering all my bases - never know I know if you and your spouse are in the same service you can be located at the same duty station, but is this done immediately after you're married or does that take quite a while before you can be together? In this situation, I'd be the one moving. I guess I'd just have to do my research to make sure the jobs I'm most interested in are available at all the bases he would be at huh? For instance, his first duty station is going to be Andrews AFB in MD so I'd definitely want to join him there. Would a recruiter be able to check into that for me?

ANY input from anyone, not just females and not just Air Force, is very much welcome! Please be respectful. I'm not 100% decided at this point...I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible first. I know I could just go talk to a recruiter, but I'd rather ask people who have experience first. Sorry for the volume of questions, but thanks in advance!
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:37 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,262,354 times
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The one thing I can answer for you is that if you do spousal co-location, one of you should be in a job that has a lot of slots and is at every base. Family member thought about being a public affairs officer but there is only one at each base and they aren't going to make someone give up their job and move just so she can be with her pilot husband when he PCSs. She chose a career field that is much more flexible and has many more personnel in it, and they were able to co-locate within 6 mos of each other with each move.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:39 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,262,354 times
Reputation: 1956
Just curious, are you dating a T-6 trainee at Moody? I see you are in GA.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:40 PM
 
Location: southern california
53,973 posts, read 70,774,424 times
Reputation: 45784
my favorite pick is RN.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:43 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,262,354 times
Reputation: 1956
Huck, you have to have the BSN-RN to be a nurse in the AF. They won't train you.

They will train you to be a med-tech, which is kind of a combo of EMT, medical assistant, and LPN, depending on where they stick you.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Georgia
55 posts, read 159,583 times
Reputation: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisdol View Post
Just curious, are you dating a T-6 trainee at Moody? I see you are in GA.
No he just finished some training at Ft. Rucker. He's TDY to Kirtland AFB for more training then onto his first duty station.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:08 PM
 
Location: following the wind of change
2,279 posts, read 3,370,089 times
Reputation: 4367
Default Just my 2 cents

About starting rank.....Which leads me to ask, I saw someone post on an earlier thread if you had 20+ college credit hours, you could go in as an E-3? Is this true? Or do you have to start out as an E-1 no matter what?

You have to talk to your recruiter about that. Those college credits do count and it makes a difference in coming in as Amn or A1C.


About getting the job you're most interested in.......Do any of you work in these areas? Are they hard to get into? I noticed on one thread, it was recommended to get it in writing if you ARE qualified for a certain job of interest so that you don't end up doing something you weren't interested in in the first place. Is there some sort of test you take BEFORE signing up to figure out what you'd qualify for?

They will have you take an aptitude test called ASVAB w/c will determine the career field you are better suited for. Categories are General, Mechanical, Electrical and Administrative. The higher score out of those will be used to figure out which career track you should be in. You will still talk to the recruiter about the career choice you want, and if the slot is open. If not, you will have to wait till they do. Keep in mind though that even if you get a guaranteed job, when you go to technical school (training) and fail (or wash-out), it can be open season for the AF to pick the slot of other jobs for you.

About basic training.....What is AF basic training like, how long, and where do you normally go for that? Do females and males go through completely separate basic training programs or is it co-ed? Is the training you receive for your line of work all done on the job, or do they send you somewhere special for it? (Like for a still photography apprentice, for instance). Do you just randomly get assigned a base, or do you have some say in where you go?

Basic training has changed since I went so I'm going to base this answer by my experience. It is 6 weeks--first weeks or zero week is hell week, the culture shock week. Females have their separate flight from the males and separate dorms. It is just general military training-- custom, courtesies, AF history, drill, etc. Once you're done, you are shipped off to technical training (for the length of school or training time you need in your picked career), specifically for your job. Active duty are sent right away, while guards or reserve have the option to go home then go to training. While in basic, they have you fill out this sheet of your "dream" base--bases you want to be stationed at. It's not a guarantee that you will always get it--it depends on if there's a slot for you or what the AF needs. You'll find out where you're going (your 1st base) the last week of school.

About living arrangements....How are the female barracks/dorms? Is it private rooms or shared? I have a female friend in the army, and she has her own private dorm room and bathroom, but I'm not sure if it's the same throughout all branches or depending on rank or job title, etc.

Not too familiar with dorm living since I never had to. The ones I've seen have their own room and share a bathroom with another female (suitemates).

About going to school while in the AF...What if I decided to complete my bachelor's degree while working in the AF? Is this even a possibility? Would they pay for that and would I even have time? I haven't taken all that many college courses, but 95% of it has been online through Troy University...I'd probably continue my education online if I went back.

Definitely. Yes it's highly encouraged to pursue college degrees BUT it depends on what's going on. You have to keep in mind work hours, deployments, TDY's and other military related mission that takes precedence over other things. If you can squeeze in the time in between work to get it done, they have no problem with it. Lots of ppl do online courses and they have classes on-base. It's all up to you.

About marrying someone else in the AF....I'm definitely thinking in advance at this point since we're only dating but hey, I'm covering all my bases - never know I know if you and your spouse are in the same service you can be located at the same duty station, but is this done immediately after you're married or does that take quite a while before you can be together? In this situation, I'd be the one moving. I guess I'd just have to do my research to make sure the jobs I'm most interested in are available at all the bases he would be at huh? For instance, his first duty station is going to be Andrews AFB in MD so I'd definitely want to join him there. Would a recruiter be able to check into that for me?

They have joint spouse assignment preferences for military couple. They will try to accomodate his and your needs, based on whether they have the position open for your job and his job. Not too familiar with the details other than that ,but I'm sure other posters on here will provide more in-depth info.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:25 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,262,354 times
Reputation: 1956
Quote:
Originally Posted by reachforthestars View Post
No he just finished some training at Ft. Rucker. He's TDY to Kirtland AFB for more training then onto his first duty station.
Oh ok!

We're at Kirtland.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Cumberland Cove, Monterey, TN
1,268 posts, read 3,887,599 times
Reputation: 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by reachforthestars View Post
Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum. I understand there were a couple other threads quite similar to this one, but I wanted to start a new one in order to fully explain my situation. Please be patient with me...I'm sure I'm probably asking lots of obvious, stupid questions but I'd rather know as much as possible up front than get blindsided later!

Anywho, I'm a 23-year old female and currently dating a pilot in the Air Force. My grandfather and dad also served. I've been considering possibly joining the Air Force myself...it's the only branch I'd ever consider going into though I have a great respect for each and every branch. I have a high school diploma and around 20 college credit hours or so.

About starting rank.....Which leads me to ask, I saw someone post on an earlier thread if you had 20+ college credit hours, you could go in as an E-3? Is this true? Or do you have to start out as an E-1 no matter what?

It has been a long time since I served in the Air Force (1976 to 1980), but I believe I can answer some of your questions. Without at least a Bachelor's Degree, you would start out an an E-1.

I know these are vastly different, but there are three areas I'm interested in considering in the Air Force... still photography apprentice, public affairs apprentice and clinical social worker. Here are my questions:

About getting the job you're most interested in.......Do any of you work in these areas? Are they hard to get into? I noticed on one thread, it was recommended to get it in writing if you ARE qualified for a certain job of interest so that you don't end up doing something you weren't interested in in the first place. Is there some sort of test you take BEFORE signing up to figure out what you'd qualify for? I'd just hate to get my hopes up only to find out I wouldn't be able to do any of the things I'm most interested in. If that were the case, I wouldn't want to join.

I was tested prior to entering basic training so that they could determine what fields would be the best for me. I wanted to become an air traffic controller, but I could not get into that field due to partial color blindness. The made me a Telecommunications Operations Specialist.

About basic training.....What is AF basic training like, how long, and where do you normally go for that? Do females and males go through completely separate basic training programs or is it co-ed? Is the training you receive for your line of work all done on the job, or do they send you somewhere special for it? (Like for a still photography apprentice, for instance). Do you just randomly get assigned a base, or do you have some say in where you go?

Air Force basic training is held at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. Basic training lasts 6 weeks. I found basic training to be easier than I originally expected. Males and females go through separate programs. After the completion of basic training, I was sent to Sheppard AFB in Witchita Falls, Texas for technical training. The technical school they send you to depends upon the field that you are entering. Near the end of my technical training, I was allowed to provide my choices for assignment locations. I got my second choice.

About living arrangements....How are the female barracks/dorms? Is it private rooms or shared? I have a female friend in the army, and she has her own private dorm room and bathroom, but I'm not sure if it's the same throughout all branches or depending on rank or job title, etc.

In basic training, all the members of your flight will be housed in the same barracks. My barracks was a large room with approximately 30 to 40 beds. In technical school, I shared a dorm room with another person. After arriving at my permanent duty station, there was no on-base housing available because I was assigned to a small Air Force Station. I was allowed to find my own apartment in the local area and was given a housing allowance to help pay for the cost.

About promotions and becoming an officer...If you go in as enlisted, do you have the possibility to become an officer later? If so, what does that entail?

You would first have to obtain at least a Bachelor's Degree. You would then have to apply for Officer's Candidate School (OCS) . If accepted, you would have to successfully complete OCS. Upon successful completion of OCS, you would become a Second Lieutenant.

If I chose to remain enlisted, approximately how long does it take to move up the ranks? When you join, what are your options your options are 4 years and 6 years, if I read correctly. What's the difference? I read somewhere the Air Force doesn't offer any sign-up bonuses, so I take it they probably also don't offer re-enlistment bonuses either?

In 1976, I entered the Air Force as an Airman Basic. By the time my enlistment ended in 1980, I was a Sergeant (E-4).

About going to school while in the AF...What if I decided to complete my bachelor's degree while working in the AF? Is this even a possibility? Would they pay for that and would I even have time? I haven't taken all that many college courses, but 95% of it has been online through Troy University...I'd probably continue my education online if I went back.

So much has changed since I was in the Air Force. You should ask your recruiter about this.

About marrying someone else in the AF....I'm definitely thinking in advance at this point since we're only dating but hey, I'm covering all my bases - never know I know if you and your spouse are in the same service you can be located at the same duty station, but is this done immediately after you're married or does that take quite a while before you can be together? In this situation, I'd be the one moving. I guess I'd just have to do my research to make sure the jobs I'm most interested in are available at all the bases he would be at huh? For instance, his first duty station is going to be Andrews AFB in MD so I'd definitely want to join him there. Would a recruiter be able to check into that for me?

I believe all branches of the military have a non-fraternization policy that prevents enlisted personnel and officers from having relationships. If you enter the Air Force as an enlisted person and your boyfriend is an officer, you may not be able to continue seeing each other. About same duty station.....I had a friend (enlisted person) who married an enlisted woman while they were both serving. When my friend received orders for his next assignment, his wife was sent there as well so that they could remain together.


ANY input from anyone, not just females and not just Air Force, is very much welcome! Please be respectful. I'm not 100% decided at this point...I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible first. I know I could just go talk to a recruiter, but I'd rather ask people who have experience first. Sorry for the volume of questions, but thanks in advance!
I entered the Air Force when I was 23 years old. I'm glad that I did. It definitely helped me to mature and l learned a lot from this experience. Had it not been for my ex-wife who did not want me to stay in the Air Force, I might have made it a career. I'm proud to have served my country.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:27 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,262,354 times
Reputation: 1956
Quote:
Originally Posted by reachforthestars View Post
so I take it they probably also don't offer re-enlistment bonuses either?
Certain AFSCs have re-enlistment bonuses

Air Force Reenlistment Bonuses

About entering as an E-3, yes it is possible. I am not sure how many credits you need.

From Air Force Enlisted Promotion System

"Just like the Army, the Air Force offers programs for selected enlisted personnel to enlist at an advanced rank, for things such as college credits, participation in Junior ROTC, etc. The highest advanced rank one can enlist with under these programs is Airman First Class (E-3).

The Air Force is the only service that gives accelerated promotion for those who agree to enlist for six years. Under this program, enlistees are enlisted as an Airman Basic (E-1), are promoted to Airman (E-2) when they graduate basic training, and then are advanced to Airman First Class (E-3) when they graduate technical school, or 20 weeks after graduation from basic training, whichever occurs first."
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