Thoughts for Potential Recruits
Why I joined the Air Force
Right after I graduated high school, I lasted two days at junior college and said “school isn’t for me”. I found a good paying job in East Los Angeles working in a warehouse for a major retailer. The warehouse was a dark and dreary work environment. It took me about 2 hours to travel 22 miles to work each morning and even longer for the ride home. I pulled products, placed them in bins and had casual conversations with some of the folks in the aisles next to me. One day, I looked over in the next aisle and an elderly man had fallen over dead. I reflected on a conversation with the man. He had been working in that same old dreary warehouse his whole life, from the time he graduated high school. I knew I didn’t want to spend my life on the L.A. freeways and inside of a gloomy warehouse. I had more to offer and the Air Force was the path I would take.
My thoughts on an Enlisted Career
I was enlisted for 11 of my 21 years in the Air Force. Those eleven years were incredibly challenging and rewarding. I entered the Air Force with no marketable skills and within 6-months I was in Germany and fully trained in mechanical, electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic systems. Within the next couple of years I earned two associates degrees and later earned a bachelors degree. I saw many countries around the world and provided support to the U.S. President and his plane, Air Force One! None of that would have ever happened if I hadn’t joined the Air Force.
For those of your considering enlisting in the best Air Force in the world, here are a couple of things to consider when choosing a career field. First, an Air Force Base is like a small city. Any occupation that you can think of in the civilian sector is probably available to you in the Air Force. The Air Force has careers in finance, photography, electronics, computers, mechanics, communication, hotel management, etc. There are also unique careers that you might not think would be available in the Air Force. Awesome opportunities exist in space operations, flight operations, cryptology and linguistics to name a few. For more information on enlisted career opportunities visit http://www.airforce.com/careers/enlisted/careers.php
My thoughts on an Officer Career
The last ten of my 21 years were serving as an officer. I chose to become an officer because while I was enlisted the most rewarding part of my Air Force career was taking care of the people. I learned early in my career that if you take care of the people, the people will take care of the mission. I felt that if I were an officer, I would be in a better position to positively influence more people and thereby improve overall operational effectiveness of the units I was assigned to. The other reason I became an officer was this was one path to becoming an astronaut. I entered the space career field and enjoyed every minute of it!
For more information on careers for officers in the Air Force go to http://www.airforce.com/careers/officer/careers.php
Following are links to the various commissioning sources:
- Air Force Academy: http://www.usafa.af.mil/
- Air Force ROTC: http://www.afrotc.com/
- Air Force Officer Training School: http://www.airforce.com/training/officer/index.php
- Air Force Medical Service Corp: http://www.airforcemedicine.afms.mil/opportunities.html
- Air Force Chaplains: http://www.usafhc.af.mil/