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#1
Old 09-18-2006, 07:14 PM
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Should I join the Air Force or Navy?

I'm currently talking to Navy and Air Force recruiters (well, I talked to the Navy recruiters, and I'm waiting for the Air Force guy to call me back since he's evidentally always running from place to place), and I was just hoping to ask any Dopers who have experience in either (or both) of the services of their opinions of them. If it matters, I'm not planning to enlist until next summer or fall (I can currently afford to finance my way through college to finish my Associates, so I'm probably just gonna go ahead and do that while I get in shape and mill things about in my head).

The way I see it, I could probably do largely the same job in either service (scored very well on the ASVAB, and both services involve lots of technical stuff like airplanes and whirlybirds), and thus the differences would be in cases of possibilities for promotion, overal quality of life (ie: things to do for fun, quality of living spaces, stuff like that), and assuming I don't do somethign like Pararescue, fireman, or Corpsman, I'm relatively equally likely not to get my ass shot off (or any other body part I might miss, as it is, my ass is a relatively big target thanks to my Mexican heritage).

So, Seaman or Airman dopers, what can you tell me? What are promotions like? What are the possibilities of getting a commission after I finish my school (planning to continue taking college classes whenever the oportunity presents itself while I'm serving, the eventual goal being a BA in History)? Overall, do folks who join the service like it? Do people who join the service require a lot of adjustment (ie: living on a ship or hearing the sound of jets trying to rattle your fillings loose)? Are the benefits comparable or better, or the hireability afterwards?

I've talked to the Army recruiters, and while their deal sounded tempting (hey, I could get a commision in the Army Reserve with 90 hours of college!), I've decided not to do it (among other things, my sister, who is married to an Army E4, my brother-in-law, the aforementioned E4 (and possibly speaking at my sister's behest) and my dad, who has been working for AAFES for around 15 years, have all warned me off of it), and if I joined the Marines, my mom would have a fit (had an uncle who joined the marines and died in Vietnam).

Coast Guard also sounds interesting, but it's just not high on my list of services I want to join in any case (but if any Coast Guard dopers are hanging around, feel free to tell me the great things about it)
#2
Old 09-18-2006, 08:55 PM
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I;ve heard that the Air Force tends to have pretty good spaces. They also tend to take less idiots and have less crapwork. Not to diss the Navy: I've know some good peeps there. BUt there are an awful lot of morons who wind up aboard ship, taking their fire-patrol duties very seriously.
#3
Old 09-18-2006, 09:05 PM
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I was in Air Force ROTC for a while although I left it to pursue other options. My stepfather went through ROTC and became an officer in the Navy although that was a long time ago now.

We have discussed variations on this a few times here. The stock answer is that the Air Force has the cushiest facilities, the least rigid command structure in a day-to-day setting, and offers jobs that more closely mimic the civilian world. The Navy isn't that much different except that it involves a lot more boats. I have heard this question broken down as asking how much do you really like boats or not?
#4
Old 09-18-2006, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
We have discussed variations on this a few times here. The stock answer is that the Air Force has the cushiest facilities, the least rigid command structure in a day-to-day setting, and offers jobs that more closely mimic the civilian world. The Navy isn't that much different except that it involves a lot more boats. I have heard this question broken down as asking how much do you really like boats or not?
Heh, the Navy recruiter I talked to said the only difference he could think of for the speciality we were discussing (Aviation electronics tech somethingorother), was that in one service, I would work in a building, and in the other, the building I worked in would float (unless we were having a very bad day).

I like laid-back environments, but on the other hand, I have found I like having a fair bit of structure in how things work (ie: this guy is in charge, you call him "Sir", things are done this way, but not to an excessive degree).
#5
Old 09-18-2006, 10:35 PM
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Ex-Navy here.
The Air Force is probably the better duty but the Navy would have the quicker advancement. Both services are very tech oriented and have been for a long time.
Bonus to the Navy: Travel to many places you would never otherwise see in your youth.
Negative to the Navy: Potential of 100+ days straight at sea. We once broke the record by going 110 days straight without a port. Not a record you really want.

Air Force is often considered the cleanest and most elite service. They have the best quarters and the highest retention rate. It can be much harder to advance then the other 3 services and it can be tougher to get a choice assignment if you choose to stay in for more than one term.

Good Luck, they each have advantages. I both loved and hated the Navy. My father loved the Air Force. He would not have left accept his Father-in-law {my Grandpa} said he would not marry my mother if he stayed in.
By most accounts the Air Force is better, but the Travel and promotions in the Navy are a good balance to that.

Jim {EM3 or E4}
#6
Old 09-18-2006, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Exit?
By most accounts the Air Force is better, but the Travel and promotions in the Navy are a good balance to that.

Jim {EM3 or E4}
Heh, so it sounds like I might end up deciding with my trust D2.
#7
Old 09-18-2006, 10:44 PM
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erg... trusty D2.
#8
Old 09-18-2006, 10:45 PM
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I retired from the Navy in 1979, so I'm sure a lot has changed. I think Jim (What Exit) has summed it up pretty well. If you know what specialty you'd like to pursue pehaps we can give you more specific advice.
One slogan used to be "Join the Navy and ride the waves", but w/ women's lib and all they don't call them Waves anymore, so I guess that option's out.
#9
Old 09-18-2006, 10:50 PM
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Since all the services pay the same (and offer the same health care and vacation and so on), there is little to chose between them. There are lots of good (and bad) gigs in each branch of the service.

That being the case, why not give priority to the Army, which has more generous educational benefits?
#10
Old 09-18-2006, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
erg... trusty D2.
Well, it is a very important decision, I would use an old fashion Silver Dollar and not a quarter at least.

I should quickly explain one more thing. I kind of joined the Navy by mistake and out of ignorance. I went to the recruiter’s office at 6:30am and the Navy, Air Force and Marines shared the office.
I walked in and a note on the door to the Air Force said the hours were 9am to 3:30pm. As I am looking at the door a Navy 1st class and a Marine Sgt come out quickly to talk to me. I quickly explained I had zero interest in the Marines and I went in and talked to the Navy Recruiter. I ended up liking what I saw, but I really should have realized just from the recruiters hours that the Air Force an easier service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Saudi
... That being the case, why not give priority to the Army, which has more generous educational benefits?
From the Op it sounds like Raguleader would prefer to avoid combat duty. I think overall, that decreases the attractiveness of the Army.

Jim
#11
Old 09-18-2006, 10:56 PM
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If travel is important to you, I think the consensus is that the Navy has more interesting postings. Major port cities in general tend to be interesting, lively, historical places. With the Navy you can get stationed in (IIRC!!) Italy, Greece, Spain, the Azores, Hawaii, Japan, Guam, etc. Air Force bases can be a little more remote, though there are still some interesting posts (ie Rammstein and Aviano, for example). I talked to one Air Force wife whose husband had been stationed for most of his career in North Dakota. Just something to keep in mind.
#12
Old 09-18-2006, 11:05 PM
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I've known three people in the Air Force. They served in Korea and Japan (and enjoyed their time there very much) but also in places like Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, Arizona and Montana -- and not the fun parts of any of those states.
#13
Old 09-18-2006, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01
If travel is important to you, I think the consensus is that the Navy has more interesting postings. Major port cities in general tend to be interesting, lively, historical places. With the Navy you can get stationed in (IIRC!!) Italy, Greece, Spain, the Azores, Hawaii, Japan, Guam, etc. Air Force bases can be a little more remote, though there are still some interesting posts (ie Rammstein and Aviano, for example). I talked to one Air Force wife whose husband had been stationed for most of his career in North Dakota. Just something to keep in mind.
Don't forget Scotland, I wanted Scotland so badly and got San Diego.
But no matter where you get stationed in the Navy, you see so much more.
We went to Hawaii, South Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vancouver, San Fran, LA and right after I left Australia. That was in a 4 year span of time.
In the Air Force you will probably go to 1 to 2 places in 4 years.

Jim
#14
Old 09-18-2006, 11:14 PM
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Retired Army guy here - I've had a lot of contact with Air Force, Navy and Marine folks. If I had to do it all over again, I would have definetely have gone with the Air Force. They seem to have a less rigid and less conservative "Corporate Culture" than all of the services, and seem to be a bit more laid back...seems to be more of a meritocracy than the other services, which may explain why they have rep for not promoting as fast as the other services.
They always struck me as more "classy" than all of the others...

Just my opinion, and of course, ymmv.
#15
Old 09-19-2006, 11:24 AM
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The US Air Force is undergoing a massive reduction-in-force over the next several years. They'll still need new recruits to replace personnel who are mustering out, of course, but I don't know how good of an opportunity it'll be in the long haul. Also, the Air Force seems to be becoming the least crucial of any of the branches. Aside from providing critical support services (air transport, overflight and air cover support) many of their main duties, like operting the ICBM fleet and strategic bombing forces, are becoming obsolescent as these forces are reduced and retasked. Aside from operating the GMD missile defense program there really isn't one mission that the Air Force is uniquely qualified to provide, and it's been suggested that fixed wing air support, air transport, and unmanned surveillance functions could be reintegrated into the Army. (The Navy largely provides these services for itself already, and at least numerically has a stronger combat flight presence than the Air Force.)

This is, of course, quite a change from the early days of the Cold War through the Eighties when the Air Force was the key service in strategic defense. It's even been suggested that the ballistic missile defense and orbital surveillance functions could be largely distributed amongst non-military agencies like MDA, NRO, CIA, et cetera and the Air Force entirely disbanded, though I find it unlikely from both a political and legal perspective. Still, save for some significant change in strategic doctrine, I'd be expecting the Air Force to continue downsizing; there might be some personal benefit in terms of getting more training (as they have fewer people filling more billets) but possibly reducing your overall career opportunities, if you're planning to do the career thing.

Plus, the Navy seems to have the best cooks. Just don't call their combat surface ships "boats"--that term is reserved for submarines and small craft. (And if you're a submarineer, all surface ships are "cans".)

Good luck in whatever you decide.

Stranger
#16
Old 09-19-2006, 11:34 AM
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If you must sign up, go Coast Guard.

Officer Cadet admission to the Coast Guard Academy is based on academics alone. The other Service branches will admit on political preference. I believe each Congresscritter can stick 2 of his bone-lazy, idiot in-laws into each Service Academy, every year.

The only way to get into the CG Academy is to be good.

Also, you'll find it more convienent to visit friends & relative whilst stationed in North America, whilst stopping smugglers & terrorists, than stationed in the Gulf, whilst picking scorpions out of your bunk.
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#17
Old 09-19-2006, 11:42 AM
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I have friends in both and was friends with recruiters in both services. I also worked with both services hand in hand and have had a chance to visit bases for both services.

My take:

The Air Force has a MUCH higher quality of life. The travel is less and they take care of their guys more. However, if you are looking for the 'excitement' of the military life, this is not the way to go, IMO. It is as close to a 'job' as you can get in the American military.

The Navy moves around a lot and the bases tend to be a little older and a little more run down. You will spend a lot of your time on the ship, and even when on land (not at sea), you might have to live on the ship temporarily (if not married). The first two years will be the hardest because you will be given shit jobs to start out, which is not bad in the character building. The higher in rank you get, the better life is. If you are looking for travel, this is definitely the way to go. You will have more stories to tell your grandkids one day if you are in the Navy.

Remember, do not trust the recruiters. Both services recruiters will lie. And... in the Navy they can NOT guarantee you a specific MOS, but more of a field. The Air Force will guarantee you a job.
#18
Old 09-19-2006, 12:17 PM
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If a civilian can add her two cents, here's mine. So many of the people I've liked most have been ex-Navy, including one of my closest friends, my best friend's husband, and my current CEO, not to mention our own What Exit, that I now have a bit of a bias in favor of anyone who's Navy or ex-Navy. On the other hand, I once applied to be an officer in the Air Force and got shot down (pun intended).

Which ever you choose, good luck and stay safe!
#19
Old 09-19-2006, 12:31 PM
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FormerMarineGuy, I am pretty sure that if you join for 4 years the Navy will guarantee your 'A' school, but I am not 100% on that because I only signed up for 2.

Having toured AF base dormitories, they are 1400% nicer than living conditions aboard ship. Life aboard is going to be completely different from anything you are used to. You will sleep in a 3 sided steel box with 2 other steel boxes above or below you. There will be someone else's rack 18 inches across the aisle and your storage space is whatever you can fit under your rack and in a locker smaller than the one you had in high school.

That being said, I had a decent time in the Navy and you can get used to anything after a while. And I really loved being in the Seabees when I switched ratings in the Reserves

Thanks for taking the opportunity to serve.

BU3 (AW) Jones
#20
Old 09-19-2006, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August West
FormerMarineGuy, I am pretty sure that if you join for 4 years the Navy will guarantee your 'A' school, but I am not 100% on that because I only signed up for 2.
From Navy.mil :

Quote:
What kind of jobs are in the Navy?
The Navy has over 60 different job fields. The jobs range from Administrative, Mechanical, Aviation, Medical, Dental and Electronics to jumping out of Aircraft. We
have a broad selection to meet every ones needs.
From what I understand the Navy (like the Marines) guarantees only an occupational field, not an occupational specialty.

Perhaps it was different for 2 year enlistments.

To add a little more (I think this was touched on a little already), the discipline tends to be a little higher in the Navy, which might benefit you more later in life. The Navy is better for the intangibles, the Air Force for the tangibles.
#21
Old 09-19-2006, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August West
[B]
That being said, I had a decent time in the Navy and you can get used to anything after a while. And I really loved being in the Seabees when I switched ratings in the Reserves

BU3 (AW) Jones
Hey, I thought I was the only 'Bee on the boards. I'm a retired CE Chief.

Raguleader: As a Seabee, I spent 23 years and never set foot on one of those floating petri dishes. The Seabees are the construction arm of the Navy and are almost exclusively shore-based. You still deploy for months on end, but it's in places where you can change into civvies and go out for a beer after work. The downside is that in a war situation, you're in the thick of it.

Re your question about commissioning: the possibility is nearly zero. While there are "mustang" programs for enlisted persons, such as the LDO (Limited Duty Officer) program, the competition is very tough. You would be better off getting your degree first, then trying for OCS before signing up.

I would rank the services thusly:

Navy: pros - better promotion, interesting duty assignments, good schooling; cons - deployment cycles can by hell if you have a family, but sea duty is followed by lengthy shore duty assignments.

Air Force: pros - better food, better quarters, more informal; cons - poor promotion, crappy assignments, surrounded by pussies.

Army: pros - easier to become commissioned officer; cons - as easy to be demoted as it is promoted, crappy food, people shooting at you, and (and I'm sure I'll get basted for this) a generally worse quality of people to work with (the Army is not all that choosy about who they recruit).

Marines: pros - extremely high esprit de corps; cons (maybe) - hard-core physical requirements, very strong military discipline and regimen, the worst food and living conditions in the military, people shooting at you, AND you can end up serving on board ship anyway. I've known a lot of Marines over the years, and while I respect what they do and called many of them friends, they're some of the dumbest motherfuckers I've ever run across. No offense. While you may not be the first ones to assault a position, the Seabees who greet you when you arrive will let you claim the honor.
#22
Old 09-19-2006, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy
Hey, I thought I was the only 'Bee on the boards. I'm a retired CE Chief.

Raguleader: As a Seabee, I spent 23 years and never set foot on one of those floating petri dishes. The Seabees are the construction arm of the Navy and are almost exclusively shore-based. You still deploy for months on end, but it's in places where you can change into civvies and go out for a beer after work. The downside is that in a war situation, you're in the thick of it.

Re your question about commissioning: the possibility is nearly zero. While there are "mustang" programs for enlisted persons, such as the LDO (Limited Duty Officer) program, the competition is very tough. You would be better off getting your degree first, then trying for OCS before signing up.

I would rank the services thusly:

Navy: pros - better promotion, interesting duty assignments, good schooling; cons - deployment cycles can by hell if you have a family, but sea duty is followed by lengthy shore duty assignments.

Air Force: pros - better food, better quarters, more informal; cons - poor promotion, crappy assignments, surrounded by pussies.

Army: pros - easier to become commissioned officer; cons - as easy to be demoted as it is promoted, crappy food, people shooting at you, and (and I'm sure I'll get basted for this) a generally worse quality of people to work with (the Army is not all that choosy about who they recruit).

Marines: pros - extremely high esprit de corps; cons (maybe) - hard-core physical requirements, very strong military discipline and regimen, the worst food and living conditions in the military, people shooting at you, AND you can end up serving on board ship anyway. I've known a lot of Marines over the years, and while I respect what they do and called many of them friends, they're some of the dumbest motherfuckers I've ever run across. No offense. While you may not be the first ones to assault a position, the Seabees who greet you when you arrive will let you claim the honor.
I spent my 23 in the "Bees", retired as UTC. Tried to send you an email, but it was blocked.
#23
Old 09-19-2006, 02:34 PM
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Here's a sea story ("no shit, this really happened")

I was a navy journalist onboard an amphibious assault ship. For whatever reason, we had an USAF guy onboard, working and living with our aviation boatswain's mates for the trip back from Okinawa to Pearl Harbor.

I interviewed him for the ships newspaper, to see how the novelty of navy life struck him:

"You guys are a bunch of fucking pigs! I don't know how human beings can live like this."

This being military journalism, the quote read as "I sure gotta take my hat off to you Navy guys! You do a heck of a job under some serious conditions!"
#24
Old 09-19-2006, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slithy Tove
Here's a sea story ("no shit, this really happened")

I was a navy journalist onboard an amphibious assault ship. For whatever reason, we had an USAF guy onboard, working and living with our aviation boatswain's mates for the trip back from Okinawa to Pearl Harbor.

I interviewed him for the ships newspaper, to see how the novelty of navy life struck him:

"You guys are a bunch of fucking pigs! I don't know how human beings can live like this."

This being military journalism, the quote read as "I sure gotta take my hat off to you Navy guys! You do a heck of a job under some serious conditions!"
S.T., let me add, for the uninitiated: A fairy tale begins "Once upon a time....." and a sea story begins " Now this ain't no shit.....".
#25
Old 09-19-2006, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.R. Cane
I spent my 23 in the "Bees", retired as UTC. Tried to send you an email, but it was blocked.
Sorry about that. I just sent you one.
#26
Old 09-19-2006, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
Coast Guard also sounds interesting, but it's just not high on my list of services I want to join in any case (but if any Coast Guard dopers are hanging around, feel free to tell me the great things about it)
Coastie here. For some brief info, here's a post I made earlier this year when someone else was looking to join.

If you're looking at aviation, here's a page with some info on CG aircraft, as well as the boats and cutters. I'm not sure about the other services, but all of our enlisted aviation rates fly in the airframes that they work on. That may help with quality control; I don't know, I'm a surface guy.

I'll also take this opportunity to shamelessly plug the new movie coming out about CG Aviation Survival Technicians, called The Guardian. (In theaters Sept 29th)

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask here, or shoot me an e-mail.
#27
Old 09-19-2006, 08:42 PM
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Almost everything I've read here is true as far as what I've seen in my 12 years in the Navy. Hands down, the AF has the best quality of life. Hands down, the AF is regarded by everyone I know in the Navy, USMC, and Army as the biggest bunch of pussies in the service. So it really depends on what you're after. If it's the military lifestyle and experiences, go with the Navy. If it's job training and an easy desk job or tech job somewhere, then go with the AF.

Also, one thing I respect about the Navy: they're very goal-oriented. We tend to focus on getting the job done even if it means bending the rules, whereas I've seen AF folks over and over again cite some regulation as a reason why they can't get something done.

The flip side to that is how many times I've silently thanked my lucky stars for the AF when they start putting coffee shops and Burger King trailers on brand-new bases in the middle of the desert.
#28
Old 09-19-2006, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy88
The flip side to that is how many times I've silently thanked my lucky stars for the AF when they start putting coffee shops and Burger King trailers on brand-new bases in the middle of the desert.
That's actually not so much the Air Force as it is AAFES. Army Air Force Exchange Service, a DOD-owned company. My dad has been working for them in various management roles for the last 15 years or so. Basically, if the Army or Air Force go anywhere for any extended period of time, AAFES shows up, sets up stores, resteraunts, etc., imports the managerial staff, and hires locals to work in them.

Cause, yaknow, if the Air Force guys can't get their burgers and mocha frau lattes, it's IMPOSSIBLE to get them to do anything meaningful
#29
Old 09-19-2006, 09:53 PM
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In this post, I mostly ramble my sleep-deprived caffeine-addled thoughts on the matter out:

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I'm not actually ALL that concerned about promotions. As it is, an E3 (what I'd go in as, thanks to my being an Eagle Scout) makes a magnitude more money than I have ever made at any job I've had. And I can use the GI bill benefits from any of the services to pay for the rest of my school, at which point I can go get a "real" job if I don't stay in the military or if I get RoF'd.

Still, I would very much like to get a commission, but I guess if I join either the AF or Navy, and don't make it into one of their commissioning programs, if I REALLY feel I need a set of gold bars, I can always just join the Army. Anybody know what kind of backgrounds enlisted guys who go into OTS/OCS for the Air Force and Navy tend to have? ie: college degrees, MOS's, etc.? I'm going for a BA in History, but if it'll make a big difference, I suppose I can always take some more lab sciences and make it a BS.

In any case, to make things more difficult for me, I've got a friend doing Air Battle Management in the Air Force saying "Go Air Force, it rocks." and a friend enlisted in the Navy doing Crypto (I think) saying "Go Navy, Singapore is fun." Also, it was mentioned that it's hard to get a choice assignment in the AF after my first tour, so would that mean if I want to go to Japan or Korea, I should do it in the first go-round instead of aiming for Randolph? (I like Randolph cause I have family and friends in the SA area, and it's a weekend trip away from College Station and Dallas, two locations of various sci-fi and anime conventions I like to go to).

As for the not-so-choice locations in the AF, where are they? I've heard of such garden spots as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Minot AFB, North Dakota. What are some of the other places you get sent to for staying out late with a general's daughter?

Same question for the Navy, I figure there's got to be postings there that suck (this isn't a deciding factor, I'm just curious now).
#30
Old 09-19-2006, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader

In any case, to make things more difficult for me, I've got a friend doing Air Battle Management in the Air Force saying "Go Air Force, it rocks." and a friend enlisted in the Navy doing Crypto (I think) saying "Go Navy, Singapore is fun." Also, it was mentioned that it's hard to get a choice assignment in the AF after my first tour, so would that mean if I want to go to Japan or Korea, I should do it in the first go-round instead of aiming for Randolph? (I like Randolph cause I have family and friends in the SA area, and it's a weekend trip away from College Station and Dallas, two locations of various sci-fi and anime conventions I like to go to).

As for the not-so-choice locations in the AF, where are they? I've heard of such garden spots as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Minot AFB, North Dakota. What are some of the other places you get sent to for staying out late with a general's daughter?

Same question for the Navy, I figure there's got to be postings there that suck (this isn't a deciding factor, I'm just curious now).
You need to know right off that you don't have a choice as to where you are assigned. It's "needs of the service" and your personal desires have little to do with it. So get the notion of going to Japan "in the first go-round" right out of your pointy head. You'll more likely end up in Iraq or nearby. When I joined the Navy, I asked to be assigned in Alaska. I ended up in Viet Nam. Then I asked for California and ended up in the Aleutians (technically Alaska). Then I asked for the east coast and got California. I went to precisely two places I asked for in 23 years.
#31
Old 09-19-2006, 10:33 PM
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Raguleader, how are you doing in college so far?
If you are willing to go Army, look into ROTC at least. Trying for OCS in any service, even the Army is quite hard. Plan on staying enlisted if you go in enlisted.

Remember Army is the most likely to put you in harms way. I do not say do not do this, I only say to be fully aware of the added dangers of Army or Marines.

Jim
#32
Old 09-19-2006, 11:07 PM
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I understand not wanting to fight. It is quite common. But I do not understand the desire not to fight combined with the desire to join the military.

Lots of Air Force enlisted guys die in Iraq (and elsewhere). Who do you think drives those trucks on the supply routes? Just flying in and out of the country is dangerous.

While many jobs are less hazardous, few are without risk. I would suggest that is you are unwilling to fight you stay out of uniform.
#33
Old 09-19-2006, 11:23 PM
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Location: Central NJ (near Bree)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Saudi
I understand not wanting to fight. It is quite common. But I do not understand the desire not to fight combined with the desire to join the military.

Lots of Air Force enlisted guys die in Iraq (and elsewhere). Who do you think drives those trucks on the supply routes? Just flying in and out of the country is dangerous.

While many jobs are less hazardous, few are without risk. I would suggest that is you are unwilling to fight you stay out of uniform.
That just does not make sense Paul, I served 4 years in the Navy and I was never at any great risk. I had no great desire to fight, but I did desire to serve my country and better myself. The Navy and Air Force both extend a great opportunity to do both. The nation needs volunteers to support the ground troops by Sea and Air.

I have never fired a gun, but I did act as 1/5000th of the crew of one of the most powerful projections of power in the history of mankind. Translated I served on board an Aircraft Carrier. I served well and honorably.

We should all support any young person that wishes to serve his country, be they a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman. These are all honorable trades and our country needs good, smart volunteers to continue to keep us safe and continue our traditions excellence and duty.

Jim
#34
Old 09-19-2006, 11:30 PM
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Air Force is probably the best if you're mainly looking at living and working conditions.

If you are interested in aviation and not in flying a commercial airliner, Navy has more interesting equipment... and you can still go the big bird path in the Navy, too.

If you want to become an officer and you have the ASVAB scores for it... you could try enlisting as a Nuke and putting in a package. Seems like most of the people I know that put in a package eventually made it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.
#35
Old 09-19-2006, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Exit?
That just does not make sense Paul, I served 4 years in the Navy and I was never at any great risk. [/B]
Jim

Perhaps not great risk, but even in peacetime, military life is more dangerous than most. It is muddy thinking to think that signing up nowadays is perfectly safe.

(Of course some jobs are very dangerous indeed. Others are much safer, but few are without danger.)
#36
Old 09-19-2006, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Saudi
Perhaps not great risk, but even in peacetime, military life is more dangerous than most. It is muddy thinking to think that signing up nowadays is perfectly safe.

(Of course some jobs are very dangerous indeed. Others are much safer, but few are without danger.)
Excluding CBs and SEALS, I would not be surprised if even over the last 4 years, it has been no more dangerous to be in the Navy than as a civilian back home. There are risks and then there are great risks. I do not have enough data to guess about the Air Force, but Shipboard duty has been extremely safe since WWII. Occasional fires and explosions but not much more dangerous than being 20 anywhere else in the US.

Jim
#37
Old 09-20-2006, 01:06 AM
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Location: Kansas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Exit?
Raguleader, how are you doing in college so far?
If you are willing to go Army, look into ROTC at least. Trying for OCS in any service, even the Army is quite hard. Plan on staying enlisted if you go in enlisted.

Remember Army is the most likely to put you in harms way. I do not say do not do this, I only say to be fully aware of the added dangers of Army or Marines.

Jim
Had an Air Force ROTC contract for Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M, but I give that up when I dropped out of the Corps of Cadets and decided I wasn't going to be able to handle all the math involved in majoring in double-E. After that, my four years at A&M were fairly poor since I never developed study skills, though I did better at community colleges during the summers. Right now I'm doing a full-time semester at a community college in Arizona, and I seem to be doing fairly well so far.

The ROTC option for me seems to contain lots of "Maybes" and "Ifs" from the ROTC admissions officer at UofA, since what I have been told is that to try to get into the POC course, I have to first go to a university that has an Air Force ROTC, take the lead labs for the first two years of ROTC (I already took the first two years of Aerospace Science), and then complete Field Training before they decide if they'll let me do POC. The big problem here is that I still have to *pay* for the university where I will be doing this, and my $2500 Stafford loan isn't going to cut it at UofA or ASU, the two relatively affordable options in Arizona (the others are a private college and the DeVry Institute).

The big problem I'm having with talking to military recruiters about commissioning options is I don't get the impression any of them know anything about them.

Oh, and Paul in Saudi, it's worth noting that I haven't said anything about particularly wanting to avoid combat (at least, not that I remember; it has been a long day for me today), just that my family has very strong objections to me joining the Army or Marines.
#38
Old 09-20-2006, 01:36 AM
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You know, I hate to push another site, but there's a lot of good info at the airwarriors.com mb. Most of the guys there are no-shit Naval Officers and Enlisted who are more than willing to answer your questions, although they do expect you to do a little digging first. I think all of the questions you've asked here have been addressed there at some point or another, although from a decidedly Navy pov.

[soapbox]Here's a piece of advice for you, which will apply if you want to be successful either as a Junior Enlisted or an Officer candidate: Be proactive and confident. It's nice that you're gathering information here about which path to follow, but at some point you're going to have to make a decision: either Navy, AF, or neither. Whatever you do, don't wallow in indecisiveness. Make a decision and move on with your life, and whatever you decide, don't look back. Generally speaking, there are no successful but bitter Petty Officers, Officers, or Seargents. You're either one or the other, and no one respects a bitter shipmate. A positive mental attitude and a willingness to step out and aggressively tackle a situation will take you far.[/soapbox]
#39
Old 09-20-2006, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodgers01
If travel is important to you, I think the consensus is that the Navy has more interesting postings. Major port cities in general tend to be interesting, lively, historical places. With the Navy you can get stationed in (IIRC!!) Italy, Greece, Spain, the Azores, Hawaii, Japan, Guam, etc. Air Force bases can be a little more remote, though there are still some interesting posts (ie Rammstein and Aviano, for example). I talked to one Air Force wife whose husband had been stationed for most of his career in North Dakota. Just something to keep in mind.
The Air Force can post you to Spain too. Dunnow about the other places.
#40
Old 09-20-2006, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
Oh, and Paul in Saudi, it's worth noting that I haven't said anything about particularly wanting to avoid combat (at least, not that I remember; it has been a long day for me today), just that my family has very strong objections to me joining the Army or Marines.
Some other poster said it. They were not my words. I would still push for the Army. In order to meet its recruiting goals, Congress has given them educational sweeteners the other services do not have.
#41
Old 09-20-2006, 10:24 AM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: The Cheese Belt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy
Hey, I thought I was the only 'Bee on the boards. I'm a retired CE Chief...

...While you may not be the first ones to assault a position, the Seabees who greet you when you arrive will let you claim the honor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.R.Cane
I spent my 23 in the "Bees", retired as UTC.
SeaBees Can Do! Glad to know there are few of us here, I was in NMCB 25 (Reserves) and when I did my 2 weeks was usually attached to NMCB 4, wherever they happened to be.

I wish I had done my active duty enlistment as a SeaBee, but I don't think my recruiter ever brought them up. Instead I was a AO, which is how I earned that (AW) that is pretty rare in the 'Bees.

You make a great point about assignments, my first duty station was to the drydocked Enterprise in Newport News VA, my best friend in ATD was assigned to VXE-6, the Operation Deep Freeze squadron. He was from VA and I had always wanted to go to Antarctica, but they absolutely wouldn't switch our orders, didn't even want to hear about it.
#42
Old 09-20-2006, 11:53 AM
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Whatever you decide, Raguleader, good luck and Godspeed. We're all grateful for your (prospective) service to the nation.
#43
Old 09-20-2006, 04:29 PM
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I've never been military, but I have been a military contractor for 17 years, so perhaps I can provide a different persepctive. (And, I have been on a cruiser and an aircraft carrier, but for less than a week.)

When I was in college, the various services and their ROTC programs were rated by most students in this descending order: AF, Navy, nothing, Army. Now that I have worked with the AF and Navy, I rank them: Army, Navy, AF.

First point. None of the services teach you to fly anywhere you want to settle down, but at least the Navy puts you on the coast. (Although, Del Rio's reason for existence escapes me.)

Second point. If you don't fly, being in the AF and Navy can suck. Pilots are number one, although the Navy allows an out with the nuke force, and the AF with Space Command.

Third point: Being on a ship for any length of time must get old. Being on a sub just plain sucks. At least for most people. But, the smartest guys in any service are on submarines. Submariner is also about the safest possible job in a service; we've only ever lost two nuke boats.

Why do I rate the AF lower than the others? It is one large beauracracy. There are reasons that the AF has the highest ratio of officers to enlisted of all the services. (One joke runs that the AF needs to change their camouflage to make them look like office equipment.) Getting anyone to take responsibility for something can be all but impossible, unless you are working with the guys that fly. (Remember none of the forces is only about flying. There's logistics, procurement, satellites, etc.) I've never met an Army or Navy officer who wouldn't make decision; I've met AF officers who couldn't pick a bar.

I think it comes down to the fact that the Army guys do what they do in peace time or in war. If you are in the artillery, you will fire big guns wherever you go. If you are in the Navy, you spend two years out of four afloat and doing the things you would at war. In both services, there is real motivation in making sure you know what you are doing and that your coworkers do. In the AF, not so much. If you totally screw up in Space Command, no matter how badly, you don't die. If your buddy totally screws up, you don't die.
#44
Old 09-20-2006, 08:06 PM
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So, on a related note, if I decide to do ROTC and hope for acceptance into the Professional Officer Course, what are some of the more affordable schools? I'm an Arizona resident, and I think I can just barely afford Arizona State if I can somehow get some scholarship money coming my way.

It has been suggested that I just take out some loans outside of my stafford loan, the reasoning being that if the gambit pays off, the 28,000+ salary of a military officer should be able to pay off the college loans easily enough, and if not... hey, what's another couple thousand dollars of debt after 4 years of college? (Note to self: Build a time machine, travel back in time to 2002, kick the shit out of myself until I start studying. Also, stock up on Pasta Anytimes back when I could find places that sold them, and advise me to ask out that cute brunette before she gets/got a boyfriend)
#45
Old 10-06-2006, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
The big problem I'm having with talking to military recruiters about commissioning options is I don't get the impression any of them know anything about them.
The Navy has distinct enlisted and officer recruiters. Ask the (enlisted) recruiters flat out who else you need to talk to to find out about the officer programs... they'll probably give you the number of the officer recruiter in your area.

Do not enlist with a note "interested in officer programs" in your file and think you're following the right track to commissioning. You can go into the military as an officer (to be) from Day One if that's what really interests you.

You can get the military to pay for your school by signing up for a certain number of years of service. Seriously, find a way to talk to someone whose job is to recruit people to be officers.

After they make an offer to entice you to sell your soul remark that the recruiter from the other service made an offer that seemed better.
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