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Air Force Enlistment
Why the Military?
So, you're thinking about joining the military, huh? Well, if you're anything like me when I joined, then you may feel that enlisting into the military is your only option. For one thing, it isn't, and my biggest piece of advice is this: Join the military on your terms. Enlist because you want to serve your country. Most importantly, do it for yourself, not because someone told you to do so.
Which Military Branch of Service?
Okay, with that little lecture out of the way, the next question is: Which branch should you choose? Well, if you are going by the title of this article then you probably are leaning towards the U.S. Air Force; however, much of your decision should be based on what best suits your needs and desires. If you require discipline and physical activity, my advice is either the U.S. Marines or the Army. If you want to learn a specialized field and "on the job" experience, I would suggest either the Navy or the Air Force.
Of course, this is not to say that you couldn't learn a specialized field in the Army or Marines, or that there isn't a presence of discipline and physical activity in the Air Force or Navy. Truth is, each branch provides soldiers, airman, and seaman all of the above; however, each branch also has its own strengths and tendencies.
Why the Air Force?
Wait, what am I writing about again? Oh yeah, Joining the U.S. Air Force, I remember now. Okay, I'm going to use my experiences in the Air Force to help guide you through the process.
I enlisted into the Air Force in 2001 and was honorably discharged in 2007. Why did I join the Air Force? Honestly, because my father told me not to enlist in the Army. At the time, he had just retired from the Army, and he said that the main problem was that if you are enlisted (meaning non-officer) they work you like dogs and you don't get to actually work within your career field until much later in your enlistment.
So, the first the reason to join the Air Force is...You get to do your job right away. I can personally vouch for this statement. Once you complete your training, be it basic training and technical school, you will do your job. In fact, a lot of times you feel like you're not even in the military. You put on your uniform, work a 8-5 workday, and you're back lounging on your couch in no time.
Which leads us to the second reason why you should join the USAF...You immediately receive On the Job training. No matter what career field you choose, rather it be fiance, services, supply, flightline specialist, special forces, administration, medical, etc, they will throw you right into the mix on the first day. Of course, they won't shove all the responsibility on you all at once, but you'll immediately start to learn your specialized career field the day you arrive from training. This is something that is somewhat unique to the Air Force, although I have heard that the Marines don't waste much time either. Heck, if you want to be a Marine, then have at it! You just might not get the same treatment you would if you had joined the Air Force.
So, the third reason you should join the Air Force is because they know how to treat their own. Compared to the rest of the armed services, the Air Force has better bases, dining facilities, dormitories, offices, gyms, barracks, what have you. I have often heard many other branches refer to Air Force Bases/Facilities as Disneyland. It's simply that wonderful. Why? The main reason is because when the Air Force asks for funding they look out for two things: their aircraft and their personnel.
Speaking of Disneyland, you know what else is a piece of cake in the Air Force?...Basic Training. Don't get me wrong, it sucks and it's a culture shock, going from civilian to an airman, but Air Force basic training is easy stuff. For one thing, the actual length of Basic is shorter in the AF than anywhere else. The physical training portion is literally a joke. Just blend in and follow directions and you should do just fine.
Enlisting in the AF
Once you have decided that the United States Air Force satisfies all your needs, then all you have to do is actually join. That's the easy part...First, you need to go to an Air Force recruiter and tell them you are interested in joining. From there, they will run a background check, ask to see your high school diploma or GED equivalent, and drug test you. In fact, you'll get drug tested at least twice, so if you're on the drugs, stop...it's bad for you and you'll get screened for it anyway.
The Air Force standards are pretty high, so you'll have to give them sometime to process. If you fit the Air Force requirements, they'll have you take a standardized military test called the ASVAB. You need to take the test seriously because this will determine what career fields you are qualified for. There are certainly several resources out there to help you study for the ASVAB.
Once the results of your ASVAB scores come back, the recruiter will give you a call and discuss your options. It is imperative that you take your time, scan the jobs you qualify for, and chose a career you want. Believe me, the recruiter will push for certain jobs...usually low-manned jobs. These jobs are low-manned for a reason, trust me. And the recruiters will throw anything at you, bonuses and higher rank...don't do it! I can attest to this because I did it. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and I picked the job with the highest bonus. You should choose you want to do. It's your life, take care of it!