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Old 03-01-2010, 12:26 AM
 
31 posts, read 277,565 times
Reputation: 16

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Hey everyone,

I am currently in the Air Force (Active Duty). I am a six year enlistee, married, currently E-4, reaching my 3 year mark in april of 2010, about to test for SSgt. I am stationed at luke afb, AZ and my afsc is tactical aircraft maintenance.

When I enlisted, from what I knew about my job, I was going to be responsible for an aircraft, launch and recovery, and its mfc status. If there was a problem with the aircraft, I would contact the appropriate shop to come out to the aircraft and fix it. What I was not aware of was that i would be doing hardcore maintenance 10-12 hours a day on a schedule that did not even allow me a respectable lunch break. Given that, I am good at my job and have come to deal with what I do but I will not be able to do this for 20 years. In the end the job itself is tolerable but when you stack stupid supervision, a big unit Moderator cut: Please, no foul, obscene, implied obscene or inappropriate language., and the constant knowledge that some E-4 making cac cards or working in finance makes the same pay you do, it all becomes very stressful.

My job does have its perks though. We train new fighter pilots at luke so we dont do excercises, war games, mopp gear, etc and you have to fight for a deployment spot of 1 or 2 per 4 to 6 months. The downside, in a 6 year term there is a 70-80% chance you will go to korea at least once and to get to any other base you have to go through korea. 4 year enlistees can get away with not going at all most of the time. As long as their dream sheet is setup right.

If I want to stay a part of the military, I will either need to retrain into a job that suits me better or join a Guard / Reserve unit that can station me close to home and be less stressful as i can handle the job.

I have been looking into some of the following options:

- Finish my 3 years and get out. (This will most likely send me to korea for a year which is something i dont want to do because of being married.)
Also, i wont put SSgt on until shortly before getting out so not very beneficial.

-I could transfer to the guard or reserve as full-time (cant really afford the pay reduction of part-time and hassle of looking for a civilian job) Active duty pay suits me well.

-I could transfer to the guard part-time and use my GI bill to go to school and get SSgt BAH. I dont really think i can handle the pay cut though and having a job and school might be to much. In the end it may set me up for a successful career though if I can make it work.

-I can also look into going officer.

Some more info about myself:
-I have no paperwork of any kind.
-I have recieved perfect 5b's on all of my epr's
-I have maintained a 90% on all of the PT test
-I would like to be stationed in or close to San Diego, CA and buy a house. ( At a nice, enjoyable base )
- I dont mind a six month deployment if necessary but would not like to move around because of being married.
-I am 24 yrs old.

I am looking for experienced individuals, perferible first hand experience in my situation, that could guide me in my decision related to my situation and the following topics: (any and all indepth knowledge is greatly appreciated)

Remember, Im AIR FORCE

-Information or Active Duty Vs Guard Vs Reserve Vs anything else

-Information on Deployment of the the above stated (chances and differences)

-Information on Pay of the above stated (both full time and part time)(does full time guard make more than active duty)(salary Vs Hourly)(Including BAH, BAS, clothing allowance, etc)(I also heard active guard is hourly paid so they work a strict 8 hours and drop tools.)

-Information on benefits such as VA, Tri-care, Education, benefits involving wife and new kids, etc of the above stated.

-Any personal opinions backed by some sort of experience related to my situation that would help me get the most out of life, career, family, retirement, job suggestions, etc. Interested in interesting non back-breaking jobs with an awesome schedule. Good with computers. High Tech! Space sounds cool as well.

-Sharing or any personal benefical / non benefical (things that suck) things you have experienced in any of the above stated.

Thank you for any and all comments.. I will be actively checking the forum and responding. Multiple answers and opinions will be beneficial as i am sure im not the only one with this type of confusing, hard to make decision.

Last edited by Poncho_NM; 03-02-2010 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:58 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
23,461 posts, read 37,356,136 times
Reputation: 27368
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFTAM View Post

What I was not aware of was that i would be doing hardcore maintenance 10-12 hours a day on a schedule that did not even allow me a respectable lunch break.

I am good at my job and have come to deal with what I do but I will not be able to do this for 20 years.

the constant knowledge that some E-4 making cac cards or working in finance makes the same pay you do, it all becomes very stressful.

The downside, in a 6 year term there is a 70-80% chance you will go to korea

that can station me close to home and be less stressful as i can handle the job.


I dont really think i can handle the pay cut though and having a job and school might be to much. In the end it may set me up for a successful career though if I can make it work.

I would like to be stationed in or close to San Diego, CA and buy a house. ( At a nice, enjoyable base )

I dont mind a six month deployment if necessary but would not like to move around because of being married.

I am looking for experienced individuals, perferible first hand experience in my situation, that could guide me in my decision related to my situation

Remember, Im AIR FORCE

Any personal opinions backed by some sort of experience related to my situation that would help me

Thank you for any and all comments..
I am retired Army, 22+ years, plus 10+ more years training US forces...

I was stationed at two Air Force Bases.

My children were born on an Air Force Base.

I have a good share of Air Force friends.

Your post shows a lot of negativity, but to be honest, if you have been honest in your posting, then I would highly recommend your leave the military and seek a civilian career so you won't have to deal the problems you list above. You will still encounter problems in the civilian sector, but I'm not sure that you fully understand. I also feel the you might have some fears about the future. You seem to be afraid of serving overseas. Ironically one of my regrets after retiring was that there were a few overseas assignments I could have volunteered for and I did not.

Good luck, I hope some others might comment.



Rich
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,371 posts, read 17,138,877 times
Reputation: 18291
To my knowledge the only air force bases close to San Diego are L.A. AFB and Edwards AFB which are still a couple of hours away. Doubt you'll be able to afford a house in L.A. near the base, and Edwards climate is very similar to where you are now at Luke.

I would say this, if you are willing to do a six month deployment, why not just take the one year tour to Korea? The first few months are hardest, but then you get your mid-tour and the last few are easy. Only problem is, you won't end up with a much better asssignment in southern California since there isn't anything close to San Diego besides Navy or Marine bases.

What you can do is get on USAJOBS and search those areas for Federal Civilian employment, switch over the GS side of the house. You can take your experience with you and with your veterans preference you may find something you enjoy better in San Diego or Oceanside. Post your resume out there to see what bites. You can even buy back your military time and put it towards your civilian retirement. Sounds like you may be happier in the long run going that route, it doesn't get any easier as you move up in rank or hang around. You can bet that when you hit the 17 or 18 year mark they will hit you with an assignment you don't want, and by that time they've got you by the short hairs because you are so close to retirement, that's when they really can mess with you.
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:33 PM
 
31 posts, read 277,565 times
Reputation: 16
Its funny that whenever i make a post about wanting to leave active duty and go guard, someone has something negative to say about it. The truth is, most crew chiefs get out after their first term, retrain, or go guard. I work on the largest f-16 / crew chief training base there is and I have seen 90% of crew chiefs come and go. The only ones that stick around are the ones that signed their second term and missed the perk and ease of first term retraining, and even then, most of them get into a special duty to get away from the line until they make enough rank to have an inside job. (flight chief, prosuper) I dont see anything wrong with me trying to switch up my career path to keep it interesting. If I can land an AGR (Active guard reserve ) spot in a place i like to be in, why not. It will allow me to buy a house and raise a family. They are offering agr spots for taqctical aircraft maintenance at March ARB, but as of now it only to SSgt - MSgt seven level skill. Im just a year short of that. I guess I will just keep looking until I find something. Again, If you are a retired 20- 30 year MSgt - CMSgt just looking to post about how I can not handle the military life and should get out, please dont post. I am looking for Information about topics i specified in the original post.

Quote:
Your post shows a lot of negativity, but to be honest, if you have been honest in your posting, then I would highly recommend your leave the military and seek a civilian career so you won't have to deal the problems you list above. You will still encounter problems in the civilian sector, but I'm not sure that you fully understand. I also feel the you might have some fears about the future. You seem to be afraid of serving overseas. Ironically one of my regrets after retiring was that there were a few overseas assignments I could have volunteered for and I did not.
Again, I have no problems going to a base where I can take my wife along, I just want to avoid korea Moderator cut: Please, no foul, obscene, implied obscene or inappropriate language. and you have to leave your wife at home for a year. Being stationed overseas though, not a problem to me if need be.

Last edited by Poncho_NM; 03-02-2010 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:39 PM
 
31 posts, read 277,565 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
To my knowledge the only air force bases close to San Diego are L.A. AFB and Edwards AFB which are still a couple of hours away. Doubt you'll be able to afford a house in L.A. near the base, and Edwards climate is very similar to where you are now at Luke.

I would say this, if you are willing to do a six month deployment, why not just take the one year tour to Korea? The first few months are hardest, but then you get your mid-tour and the last few are easy. Only problem is, you won't end up with a much better asssignment in southern California since there isn't anything close to San Diego besides Navy or Marine bases.
Im not really looking for active duty bases as i know where all of those are.. Im more interested in guard bases and peoples experiences at certain ones. Also in the guard, deployments a shorter than six months. A guard deployment and a year in korea is a big difference. If someone can offer a base that has the same climate pattern as san diego, close to beaches and you think it might fit me well, I would love to hear about it.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Hawaii
1,707 posts, read 6,118,293 times
Reputation: 1049
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFTAM View Post
Im not really looking for active duty bases as i know where all of those are.. Im more interested in guard bases and peoples experiences at certain ones. Also in the guard, deployments a shorter than six months. A guard deployment and a year in korea is a big difference. If someone can offer a base that has the same climate pattern as san diego, close to beaches and you think it might fit me well, I would love to hear about it.
I guess you know that fulltime positions in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are scare. Also people selected are normally long time unit members that are a known commodity.

The bottomline is that you will be trading a fulltime position with good benefits for a part time one with way fewer and you'll still have deployments, so hopefully you are good with that.

Why not just suck it up and do the year in Osan or Kunson or wherever they want you to go?
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:56 PM
 
2,313 posts, read 3,020,368 times
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Osan was my best assignment out of 5 in my 20 years......loved those Ms Kim burgers
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Hawaii
1,707 posts, read 6,118,293 times
Reputation: 1049
Map of AF facilites, all components:

File:Air Force Facilities.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:17 PM
 
31 posts, read 277,565 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks for that map balad1, that is the type of info I am looking for.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Hawaii
1,707 posts, read 6,118,293 times
Reputation: 1049
You might know this already but her is the reserve component pay chart for a weekend.
http://www.military-money-matters.co...-drill-pay.pdf

Benefits for reserve components:
Commissary: yes
BX: yes
MWR: yes
SGLI: yes
Pay: per drill schedule and prorated by day when on active duty orders (1/30th AD monthly pay per day)
BAH: prorated when on AD orders
COLA: no
Tricare: when on AD orders for 30 days or more, or insurance purchased
Dental: no, unless on AD orders or insurance purchased
BAS: when on AD orders, prorated
Space A: service member only and limited to CONUS, lower catagory than AD
Retirement: at age 60 with reduced retirement pay, other benefits the same.
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