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Air Force

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09-04-2007, 9:11 PM
Well I am planning in joining the Air Force of the United States of American… I still have my droughts’ about the war thing and about the pressure. I heard horrible stories and that all the government offers are lies like they don’t really give you collage education and stuff like that… Can someone here that knows about these explain a little bit of it?
09-04-2007, 9:24 PM
I would tend to doubt that. With the kind of press you have in America, they'd get a new one ripped in pretty quick order......never mind the lawsuits. They've been doing this for a long while now, both through the GI Bill and as an incentive to fill the ranks of an all volunteer force. As long as you honor the terms of your service, you should be ok. There are probably several people in these forums that could address this from direct personal experience. Good luck.
 Nancy Allen``
09-04-2007, 10:40 PM
There are two things that I feel would raise concerns about joining the military. The first would be following orders even when you know that it is not good to do so. I'm not talking about killing innocents, since you raised it let's take Iraq. Now you might think that it's better to continue the hunt for Bin Laden, but no, your Commanding Officer would say "the government wants to wage war on Iraq, we're going to Iraq." You know, having studied politics in the military so you can become an officer yourself, all the negative effects such an action would bring, but your CO would be adament, "the government wants to wage war on Iraq, we're going to Iraq." Now he or she might have misgivings themselves about Iraq, but they are going from their CO's, generals, the government, ect. The other major sticking point is rules of engagement. It's not as black and white as not killing anyone who hasn't got a gun, or not to fire unless fired upon. Basically the rules of engagement is that anyone who is a threat is fair game. Now that might be a little girl armed with an AK47, or even a little girl who's pointing out to the enemy where you're hiding, where you might be waiting to ambush an enemy convoy. Now such an act would be one of the hardest things you could imagine doing.

On the concerns you have raised, such as going to Iraq or participating in a war that you disagree with, I have a couple of suggestions. One is to work towards a goal where you won't necessarily be fighting. You don't want to be screaming through the skies dropping payloads on Iraq? Fine, try and gain a slot as a transport pilot where you would be doing things such as moving troops about or air dropping reliefs supplies to civillians. There might be a time, hopefully not, but there might be a time where it's on for all hands and you would have to fight, but you can be in the air force and not be on the front lines of Iraq if that's what you're worried about. The other is to look at yourself and ask why you want to be in the Air Force. If it's because of something such as a love for planes, military planes, or so that you can ply your craft as, say, a mechanic then that's the way to go. If it's planes in general but you're not sure about things such as, say, Iraq, then maybe you would be happier as a commercial pilot or working in some capacity in the commercial sector and not the military. If it's for another reason, say you want to do something worthwhile like soldiers do but again you have issues with things such as Iraq, then maybe an alternative would be the police force, where you can go from being on the beat to, if you're good enough, joining the special teams, SWAT, if that's where you want to be. I don't want to try and tell you what you should do, but these are things that you should be thinking about, your reasons why you want to join the Air Force and if there are things that you are unsure about then see if there is an alternative where you can still set out what you intend to achieve and be happier in the enviroment because you won't be facing the stress you would be in the Air Force, you won't be going to Iraq. Pressure? On the one hand you could very well crack under the pressure, which is actually a good thing as if you can't hack training then being in the Air Force isn't for you and if you were to crack out in the field you could very well be killed, and take your buddies with you. On the other hand such pressure can be very character building, where after you get through the stress and training and become what you set out to be a man stands where a boy was before. As for education, see Tot's post, and by rights it is in the best interests for the military to give you that education so that you can become a better soldier, and good COs, pilots, ect will say to you to do this or to do that, things such as go through the Academy or go to things such as Officer Canidate School so that you can go from being a pilot or a mechanic or whatever you choose to becoming something more, and if you're serious about the Air Force being a career then that's the way to go.
 Point Man
09-04-2007, 10:42 PM
If you are having doubts and second thoughts about a life-changing decision such as joining the military, that is perfectly normal. I have been in the Army for 16 years; I have seen soldiers who loved Army life and soldiers who hated it. I will attempt to address your concerns with no intention to persuade you one way or the other. Volunteering to join the military is something that only you can decide is right for you.

I can see you are concerned about not getting the benefits you are promised. That is a valid concern. We have a running joke in the Army that says you can always tell when a recruiter is lying because his lips are moving. Realize that recruiters are under a lot of pressure to meet strict quotas. Some might be willing to outright lie to meet those quotas. Most are very honorable, however. If you feel you are not getting the honest truth, ask to talk with another recruiter or with someone else already in the Air Force. A decent recruiter will not be afraid of the truth.

The college education you are hearing about is not provided by the Air Force. They will give you money for college, provided you meet certain eligibility requirements, follow the rules, and file the paperwork properly. As with anything the government touches, the bureaucracy can seem daunting, but the money is there. I do not know the specifics of the programs available through the USAF, but if you do your homework, you can find out the details.

The most important piece of advice anyone can give you with regard to protecting your benefits is to GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. No matter what anyone tells you, if it is not in black and white, it just cannot be trusted.

That leads me to my next point: weigh everything you hear carefully. There are a lot of so-called experts on the subject who have never put on a pair of boots. Do not trust them to speak about something they have never experienced.

Most especially, do not trust Hollywood. The pressure in military life is greatly exaggerated in the movies. They are simply trying to sell tickets by showing exciting scenes that do not match reality. Most of the time you will be doing very routine stuff. Yes, there can be times of intense activity, but those are few and far between. Basic training is intense, but it is only a couple of months. I remember thinking to myself, "Millions of other men have gone through this; I can, too." Before you know it, you will be moving on to your next phase of training, which is like school, and then on to your permanent duty assignment, which is like a regular job.

Having doubts about the war is natural. I do not honestly know if I feel the war in Iraq was justified (though now that we are there, I know we have to continue until we win it). However, I have agreed to perform my duty and to follow the orders of my superiors. I trust their judgment and follow them. If I could not, I would not have reenlisted. If you are able to do that, you will do fine.

Remember, you are the one who has to live with your choice. Enter into it armed with as much knowledge as possible. Serving in the military can be a great experience, or it can be Hell. The real choice about that is up to you. The only thing I would ask is that you decide before you sign whether you will commit yourself to serving as well as you can. If you are not willing to do that, you dishonor the sacrifice of those who came before you.
 John Galt
09-05-2007, 12:23 AM
A friend of mine joined the Marines and they paid for his college after he came home. Eastern KY is one of the places with the largest number of recruits per-capita in the US, and many people from here have used the military as a way to further their education.

My father, grandfather, and great grandfather were all in the Army(WW1, Korea, and Vietnam era), but if I join it'll be after college, and definitely in Army Intelligence.
 Caius Fett
09-05-2007, 2:03 PM
Padawan I am Curently in the US Air Force and have been for 10 years. I would be happy to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability. Just send me a pm.
09-05-2007, 7:14 PM
I will need to look for more info... this is a big choice.
09-16-2007, 2:08 PM
Become a fighter pilot... trust your emotions... alter your life forever...
09-16-2007, 4:07 PM
Well, its always nice to fly an x-wing.
 Rogue Warrior
09-18-2007, 6:24 AM
The first thing we need to know so we can help with this is why you want to be in the Air Force.
 Caius Fett
09-18-2007, 9:52 AM
Well what I'm getting from his origional post is that hes looking at the Montgomery GI Bill for college education. What that is is a program where you pay $100 each month in to the program for 1 year and at the end of your 4 year term you get something like $30,000 to use for college. There is also a program called Tuition assistance where you can qualify for FREE money (up to $1,500 a month) to take classes while you are on active duty.

@ Padawan whatever horrror stories you have heard they're probably stories from ppl who joined the Army or one of the other branches of the millitary. In fact the Chief of staff of the Air Force (the top General) has just issued a directive to make it much easier for enlisted personell to attend College classes. I myself take 2 classes a semester thru an online program and am able to do my home work while sitting at my desk at work. Now that's not typical but your chain of command MUST give you an opportunity to take classes and in many cases you are encouraged to do so. Well I gotta run but I hope that answers some of your Questions Padawan.
09-18-2007, 11:49 AM
As an Army Vet allow me to suggest that in the current world situation the Air Force is the best choice. The descending order from there would be Navy, Marines, and Army. First of all the branches the Air Force is simply the most technical branch and therefore prizes education higher than other services. Second is the fact that Air Force service members get better living conditions both stateside and overseas. Last but certainly not least, most AF service members will never even see the battlefields of the wars they fight. Lots and lots of support staff with much fewer war fighters.

Whilst some may think I suggest this for sheer preservation this would be untrue. By and large an AF service member does virtually the same job day to day irregardless of his location. Ground crew are ground crew in Wyoming or Bahrain. There is a routine that allows the service member to deal with stresses in a much more normalized manner.

Virtually none of the Military Police I served in the Army with are still in. The vast majority had long term relationships and marriages destroyed by continual deployments that have plagued the Army since Bosnia. I would suggest you not form any long term plans for a relationship until you have been in service for a few years and understand what the demands are.

It seems you are a young man with a eye towards securing an education. The military is a fine way to get that education, some life experience, and maybe see something of the world. But be aware of the following things: IT IS INCUMBENT UPON YOU TO SEE YOU GET THE EDUCATION. Make sure the proper paperwork is filled out, make sure the deduction comes out of your pay so the match funds get accrued. Ask for and complete the in service training and education classes. The military can do a lot of things for you but it can't go to classes or do the coursework.
 John Galt
09-18-2007, 8:35 PM
Just learned this today, but a friend of mine who goes to Pikeville College broke his leg when he was in the Marine Corps. The Corps honorably discharged him, bought him a computer, and paid for his college and he gets life insurance for around 1.50/month, courtesy of the Corps.

air force (or chair force as the other branches like to call them) would likely do the same, especially if you wanted to attend the US War College out at Quantico, Virginia, which is a first-rate institution for officer training.
09-18-2007, 8:44 PM
For me the most important thing it will be to study what I like, I would like to study Flight Engineering, and I know that the Air Force can give me the education, material and work… this is the most Important for me … but my life too … So I will get info about it at collage and well read the papers and take a decision as soon as I finish school
 John Galt
09-18-2007, 9:29 PM
Air force would most definitely help you with flight engineering, they like helping people do things that benefit them.
 Rogue Warrior
09-19-2007, 5:21 AM
An engineering education is a worthy reason for joining. What in the Air Force itself appeals to you.
09-19-2007, 10:50 AM
I suggest you look into Air Force ROTC programs. They would train you while you go to college and you would be much better off as an officer than enlisted. For the field you are interested in they may even have bonus programs.
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