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Old 01-22-11, 08:20 PM   #1
RedRider2009
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Anybody Been in the Air Force Recently?

Lately I have been looking deeper into all options for a successful future. I have wanted to become a police officer for many years; however, now that I am in college, the job market is making my goal extremely difficult. Particularly the statistics of departments in the SE Wisconsin area look bad. The majority of my professors mention how few jobs are open, and how many people apply for these positions.

One of my awesome co-workers mentioned that perhaps joining the Air Force would be a good route. This would have many benefits during the employment, as well as when applying to police departments after my AF contract was over.

I have met with the Air Force recruiter a few times to discuss all of the details, and left with an optimistic outlook. Many people have told me that recruiters will not hesitate to lie, if they think it will get you to sign the contract.

The reason for this thread is to try to get opinions of others who may have recently served for the Air Force. I would really like to know if the Air Force does provide a good, solid life for you, how day to day life is, what training involves, and anything else that may pertain to my quandary.

Thanks!
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Old 01-22-11, 08:35 PM   #2
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I think I stepped in some Air Force when I was walking in the woods today.

You may get some extra points on the civil service test or whatever criteria a specific department uses for hiring for your service, but unless you were an MP in the military, not much else.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:42 PM   #3
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My best friend in HS graduated from the Air Force Academy.

He's now a Lt. Col. in the Army stationed in Iraq.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:47 PM   #4
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You may get some extra points on the civil service test or whatever criteria a specific department uses for hiring for your service, but unless you were an MP in the military, not much else.
I did call the Sheriff/ Police Departments in my area, after the AF recruiter told me how significant military service is when applying to police departments. Basically the departments told me that any applicants who served in any branch or position of the armed forces will be considered first.

The job I would like in the Air Force would be "Security Forces", which is the AF equivalent of Military Police.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:00 PM   #5
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I just retired from the Navy.

As to your last question, yes, the service (any of them) will provide you with a good solid life with good pay, great benefits and, if you stay long enough, a great requirement. You also get the Post-911 GI bill which is transferable to your dependents (wife or children).

You'll get good training and experience. You WILL deploy, too, so make sure you understand that and factor it into your decision making.

USAF is very good for becoming a police officer post military. USCG might be even better, since Coasties have actual law enforcement authority where the military has authority for only military members. Obviously in combat areas, the military handles security and police work.

You will want to make sure you speak to an Officer Programs recruiter. If you have a degree, take a commission (vs enlisting).

Recruiters are not allowed to lie and if they do, they can get in some serious trouble and you would have the option of voiding your contract. I actually worked on such a case. They have quotas and may not give you all the information you might want to make a decision. They may promise you stuff, but if it's not in the contract, it doesn't exist.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss it more.

I spent 23 years in the Navy. I have a retirement that can pay the bills, though it won't buy extras like bikes without another job. I transferred my GI bill to my daughter, so her college is pretty much paid for. I have great health insurance for a low premium whether I have a job or not. And I had fun, for the most part. I flew in combat, spent a lot of time at sea and visited a lot of cool places.

Oh, and at the moment, I'm working on an Air Force base with lots of AF types. But I have contacts in all the services, too.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:05 PM   #6
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Awesome! Thank you very much for the reply.

My co-worker who has been acting as a fatherly figure throughout my research process retired from the Navy a few years ago. What you are describing is pretty much what he told me too.

Could you possibly explain the enlisting vs commission comment you mentioned?
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Old 01-22-11, 09:14 PM   #7
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.....Recruiters are not allowed to lie and if they do, they can get in some serious trouble and you would have the option of voiding your contract. I actually worked on such a case. They have quotas and may not give you all the information you might want to make a decision. They may promise you stuff, but if it's not in the contract, it doesn't exist....
A very important detail.

Also former Navy here, though I only did 6 years.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:15 PM   #8
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I did call the Sheriff/ Police Departments in my area, after the AF recruiter told me how significant military service is when applying to police departments. Basically the departments told me that any applicants who served in any branch or position of the armed forces will be considered first.

The job I would like in the Air Force would be "Security Forces", which is the AF equivalent of Military Police.
If the department uses civil service testing, as many metro departments do, all you're going to get are points. If say, 2000 people take the test and they are only hiring 100, you're going to need to score in the Top 50 to ensure you don't get bumped in favor of a minority candidate...so those points can help a lot IF you score well on the test in your own right. (take a prep course...taught by an actual member or former member of the department). The test is just the first hurdle, from there you gotta pass the shrink tests and the fitness tests - and if you get through those, the Academy.

When it comes to smaller departments who don't do civil service testing, your service might give you more of an edge...but in either case keep in mind that LOTS of applicants will have military experience. Make sure you have other things to distinguish you from the pack. MP experience will be helpful...college too.

From an old Marine...we hated the Air Force security forces...they were always dicks to us, so we f'd with them whenever we had the opportunity. If you don't want to find your patrol vehicle upside down, with sugar in the tank, or stolen and parked in the base CO's petunias, don't be a dick, k?

and never, NEVER trust a jarhead...we're a sneaky, contrary bunch.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:24 PM   #9
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and never, NEVER trust a jarhead...we're a sneaky, contrary bunch.
This is true folks. I went for a ride with Chip once and we stopped for Ice Cream. Before I knew it I woke up in the local hospital with no Ice Cream and no sign of Chip. Some would say, I was "Chipcomed".

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Old 01-22-11, 09:27 PM   #10
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Could you possibly explain the enlisting vs commission comment you mentioned?
for the most part, military personnel are either commissioned officers or enlisted members. if you have a degree before you join, you can go in as an officer, which means higher pay and more responsibility. it's blue collar or white collar, more or less. this effects your career options; for example, security specialists are probably enlisted. don't quote me on that, i'm navy so i could be wrong, but that's how it is in the fleet. you'll want to talk to the recruiter to figure out which officer field is closest to where you want to go post-Air Force.

Also, as mentioned above, think about the Coasties.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:29 PM   #11
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When I worked at Vandenberg, the USAF MPs at the gate were all younger than me... and I was so fresh out of college I hadn't received my official diploma yet. I was a little jealous that they got to carry M16s every morning... and I sat behind a desk proofreading and occasionally doing something interesting.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:29 PM   #12
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My best buddy has been in the AF for 8 years. He makes a decent amount, has the post 911 bill, and good insurance. Of course he's been deployed 4 times and is leaving again the end of this year. I'd be more than happy to ask him any questions you have.

I'd just say do a lot of research to make sure it's the right choice for you, which seems like what you are doing now and good luck!
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Old 01-22-11, 09:33 PM   #13
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This is true folks. I went for a ride with Chip once and we stopped for Ice Cream. Before I knew it I woke up in the local hospital with no Ice Cream and no sign of Chip. Some would say, I was "Chipcomed".

Sofa King
I remember that, it took them an hour to get my foot out of your ass...but I had ice cream, so I was cool.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:38 PM   #14
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I remember that, it took them an hour to get my foot out of your ass...but I had ice cream, so I was cool.
So, you wanna ride together again in the Spring?

Couch
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Old 01-22-11, 10:11 PM   #15
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for the most part, military personnel are either commissioned officers or enlisted members. if you have a degree before you join, you can go in as an officer, which means higher pay and more responsibility. it's blue collar or white collar, more or less. this effects your career options; for example, security specialists are probably enlisted. don't quote me on that, i'm navy so i could be wrong, but that's how it is in the fleet. you'll want to talk to the recruiter to figure out which officer field is closest to where you want to go post-Air Force.

Also, as mentioned above, think about the Coasties.
That's about the size of it. Officers are commissioned and are the leaders. That doesn't mean we run things... any good officer knows the senior enlisted run things! You will have more responsibility and accountability as an officer and, as mentioned, better pay and some more perks. Blue collar vs white collar is the best comparison, though of all the services, the distinction between the two is the smallest and most blurred.

As Chip mentioned, there will be other vets applying for LEO jobs, so consider carefully. If your goal is one tour and out as a cop, enlisted might be the best option. You'll still get the GI bill, but will be more directly involved in actual law enforcement; walking a post, carrying an M-16, etc.

On the other hand, if you have even the slightest inkling that you may make it more than a single tour, you want the commission.

As a Coastie, you'll likely be trained in boarding, civilian legal considerations and evidence stuff since you can arrest people who will face trial in the civilian court system. As an AF SF, you are a guard and do base/military/UCMJ work but very little civilian side training.

The Navy does have an SF type career field - Master-at-Arms (MAA) which will give you a lot of the same training.

You could also consider special forces training... that'll open some law enforcement doors for you, too. Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Marine Force Recon and AF Para Jumpers are the best known. There are others, but Seals and Rangers (or Delta Force) will open doors wide for you in many LE organizations - federal, state and local.

Last edited by skiahh; 01-22-11 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 01-22-11, 10:14 PM   #16
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So, you wanna ride together again in the Spring?

Couch
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Old 01-22-11, 10:21 PM   #17
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for the most part, military personnel are either commissioned officers or enlisted members. if you have a degree before you join, you can go in as an officer, which means higher pay and more responsibility. it's blue collar or white collar, more or less. this effects your career options; for example, security specialists are probably enlisted. don't quote me on that, i'm navy so i could be wrong, but that's how it is in the fleet. you'll want to talk to the recruiter to figure out which officer field is closest to where you want to go post-Air Force.

Also, as mentioned above, think about the Coasties.
+1 on the Coasties. I just recommended them to my youngest. You won't have to worry as much about getting shipped off to some overseas crap hole, you might just land duty in some nice warm port with lots of gals in bikinis...and go to college with them...and may even decide that it beats being a cop all to hell.

Trust me, being a cop ain't all you think it is. My dad was a cop, thought it was in my blood to be a cop, so I became a cop when I first got out of the Corps. I didn' make a career of it, life is too short to spend it as the garbage man.
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Old 01-22-11, 10:37 PM   #18
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I'm in my 27th year with the AF both Active Duty and AF Reserve. I'd second the commissioned officer route vs enlisted. Depending on your location, you might have Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve units nearby. Most people think of the Guard and Reserve as "part time" but they have people within those units who are full time. The Guard/Reserve units do the same thing as active duty but are not quite as anal. Deployment schedules are still heavy.
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Old 01-22-11, 11:58 PM   #19
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skiahh, i'd like to officially register my displeasure wrt the flagrant omission of a submarine from your "Team" Navy cycling jerseys.


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Old 01-23-11, 12:26 AM   #20
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WOW, when I came home I was not expecting to see so many additional responses. Thank you all for giving me advice!

So, can the status of an employee change in the middle of their contract. For example, I will have 60 college credits if/when I join. However, I would like to continue part time schooling while I am working. If I get a degree after 2 years of the 4 year contract, can I change from enlisted to an officer?

Part of the perk of the Air Force deal, is that school would be paid for. Did any of you get a degree while working for the armed forces?

I have tried to imagine myself as a police officer somewhere in SE Wisconsin, and considered how I would deal with certain situations and people. My goal, both as a police officer, and potentially as part of the security forces would be to avoid becoming an *******...

The coast guard was another service mentioned to me by my co-worker, but I did not really look into that one much yet. I will definitely do more research on that, and possibly meet a recruiter for some more clear info than the website can provide.

After another conversation today with the parents, I have finally gotten a bit of support with this venture. I have lived at home for all of my time at college, and have never been away for more than a few days, so my mother really got worked up when she thought about me leaving. It may seem lame that I am considering that, but I have strong family ties, and will not sever them over a job. It appears that she thought about this a bit since our first conversation and perhaps realized that I am going to leave sometime anyway... hahhahaah

Thanks again for all of the advice!
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Old 01-23-11, 12:34 AM   #21
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I get a degree after 2 years of the 4 year contract, can I change from enlisted to an officer?
short answer is "yes" there are programs for that. details vary, but there are multiple options in each service. there's another homework assignment for you!
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Old 01-23-11, 12:37 AM   #22
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Sure is, perhaps another call to the recruiter would be good on Monday.
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Old 01-23-11, 10:53 AM   #23
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So, can the status of an employee change in the middle of their contract. For example, I will have 60 college credits if/when I join. However, I would like to continue part time schooling while I am working. If I get a degree after 2 years of the 4 year contract, can I change from enlisted to an officer?
Yes... but.....

It's not automatic and you're competing with everyone else who got a degree and is applying. I would venture that the percentage of selection is lower than if you had a degree and came in as an officer, but I have no stats to verify that.

I got my Master's through the Navy, at the Naval War College. There are lots of programs to get advanced degrees through the military, too. You can use your GI bill for advanced degrees, you can use Tuition Assistance, there are the service advanced colleges like the War College and there are other fully funded programs for advanced degrees.

Great options both ways.

How old are you, by the way? That could play a part in your decision, too.
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Old 01-23-11, 10:53 AM   #24
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skiahh, i'd like to officially register my displeasure wrt the flagrant omission of a submarine from your "Team" Navy cycling jerseys.


They're there!

They're just doing what submarines do best... being submerged and invisible!!
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Old 01-23-11, 03:20 PM   #25
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They're there!

They're just doing what submarines do best... being submerged and invisible!!
Now that is funny, I don't care who you are. I think crewing a ship that is suppose to sink is up there with jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
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