Date: December 12, 2019 11:37PM
What's the first thing they build on an Air Force base?
The golf course. Sure you'll get jokes like Chair Force and stuff like that, but six months on a carrier? No thanks. I poop on sea duty.
IIRC, you can serve two years active duty and two years as a drilling reservist, and then another four as inactive duty reserves. I think those were called 2 by 2 by 4s. The military is entitled to up to eight years of your life. I was active duty for six, and I was subject to recall for two more years. I was never a drilling reservist.
Please don't join the National Guard. IMHO those service members are being activated too often and for too long. They're needed for the global war on terror (GWOT), that has been going on for so long that it's now considered to have begun during the first Gulf War. Things are very hard for the Army and Guard service members right now.
If anyone ever tells you that you knew what you were signing up for, please punch them for me. None of us has any idea what we are signing up for, even those of us from military families. Your experience would be unique. The people you serve with will be unique.
What I can guarantee is that after bootcamp, you will have a larger extended family than a fifth-generation Mormon. Some of them you'll hate. But 99.999999999% of the time, when the shit hits the fan, they will have your back, and you will have theirs.
And you can't quit. When you're like, "Eff this BS!", and you will think that at times, you. can't. quit. The gov't owns you and you give up some of your rights.
If my kid were to join the military, I'd recommend the Air Force. They were some super-chill and smart folks I worked with. Also, when you choose a job, choose one that can translate into a civilian job. A lot of people become lifers because American Airlines isn't hiring someone to work on their FLIR radars. Also make sure that your training will pass civilian certification. For instance, I went to advanced x-ray school. At the time I was in, the Navy was the only branch that had x-ray schools that were accredited by civilians. Basically the Navy lets any Hospital Corpsman irradiate folks, but if you want to take what you've learned straight into the civilian world, your job has to be relevant, and civilians have to have given your training their stamp of approval. I was able to take civilian certification tests, but other people who were as good as and better than me couldn't get certified because their branch's school wasn't accredited. I cannot stress enough how important it is to leave with a marketable skill. THEN you have a ready part-time or summer job when you go to college on your GI Bill.
You do not belong to the military until you raise your right hand and swear to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, etc. etc. That means that you *can* leave before you biometrically sign those papers and say those words.
Your recruiter will most likely lie to you. A lot. And your recruiter will most likely tell you to lie when you have your physical. Don't do that. Okay? Do not do that. They'll do a background check on you, so fess up about the speeding tickets and any other stuff like that. You will be given a piss test at some point before you leave the recruiting station, and they will give you one once you arrive at bootcamp. A whole lot of pissing in cups in front of people is in your future. Don't worry - you'll be a pro at pissing in public when you get out.
Don't let your recruiter lie to you about how many slots they have open for whatever thing you want to do. You can join the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and wait until the job you want is open. I think being in the DEP is a good idea period. You'll also take an aptitude test called the ASVAB. It's multiple choice, and your score will determine what type of jobs are available to you.
Study for it if you need to. It's nothing like the SAT or ACT, but you want to knock it out of the park.
There's no shame in hiding in your bathroom when the recruiter bangs on your front door to take you to MEPS. I did it with a Marine Corps recruiter, and I turned out fine. (I bailed when I learned about Parris Island.)
So, yeah. Do your homework. Stand up to the recruiter if s/he is an ass. They have a quota to meet, and believe me when I tell you that a few people in my bootcamp company had absolutely no business being there. One woman could barely speak. And I'm not talking about English. I never heard her say a word, and she stood around looking like she was lost. She wasn't bathing, and the company commanders made three people bathe her in the showers. That might not sound like much, but it was awful for her and for them. Then they kicked her out. Think her recruiter knew that she would wash out? Yes, yes s/he did, and s/he did not care.
The thing about the Air Force is that they don't have to break your will as much as the Marines and the Army do.
The Coast Guard has one of the hardest jobs, and they don't get the credit they deserve. They basically save idiots dead set on drowning themselves, and they jump onto drug smugglers' boats. I love the Coasties.
Soooo, I guess that's all I have to say about it. My six years were a mix of awesome and really, really shitty. I was in during the Montgomery GI Bill, so my GI Bill was kinda shitty but better than nothing. I don't regret enlisting, and I guess I'm kind of proud I served. Yeah. I am.
My best to you. Whatever you decide to do, you'll be fine. There will always be bumps in the road no matter how old you are. You get better at avoiding potholes after a while.
ETA: Everything is going to be okay. I promise. I don't know when or how, but everything is going to be okay. Okay? Okay!
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2019 11:56PM by Beth.