Journey into the United States Air Force
It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted on my tumblr account…. obviously. But there have been some great changes that have taken place in my life in the past few months. I’ve finally gotten comfortable with being single [and actually prefer it! But that’s not to say that I don’t still get lonely… or horny].
In deciding that the single life was the best choice for me right now, it opened my eyes to my future. Around the middle of last month, November, I experienced an Ah-Ha moment. I took a look at the fact that I am graduating next semester [I’ll still have some credit hours to finish in the summer] & I have ZERO job prospects. The market for environmentalists in Kansas City isn’t terribly prosperous, or anywhere else for that matter unless I’m living in California, Colorado, or Arizona. And lets face it, I don’t have the deep pockets to cover the cost of living in any of those states!!
So anyway, after my last trip to visit a “friend” [asshole], who happens to be in the Air Force & was graduating from Airman Leadership School, and whose sister is also in the Air Force, there was a conversation that took place with said sister. I told her that I almost joined the Air Force when I was 19, but chickened out due to how badly the shit was hitting the fan in the Middle East; didn’t wanna chance it. She had said that if you’re going to go into the military, going into it with a college degree is the way to go. I have no idea what made me begin researching it a couple weeks later, but I was on an information finding frenzy! I began coming across information about what going into the Air Force with a degree meant, & it meant that I would be an officer, 2nd Lieutenant to be exact! I couldn’t believe what I was considering. Me? In the military? That was something I never thought I would ever consider doing again, none the less seriously consider doing. The one thing I was very apprehensive about? Telling my parents of this decision I’ve made…. I first called my father. I was EXTREMELY surprised by his reaction. He seemed a little taken aback by what I was telling him, but then he started to quickly warm up to the idea. Considering all the benefits that being in the military would bring me. He then said, “ya know, I think it’s a great idea. I mean, it provided your Uncle Tony with a great life and it’s a government job. What that will do for you in the civilian world if you choose not to retire… I think it’s a smart decision.” I kind of sat there slightly dumbfounded. Wow… that went well! But I still wasn’t done. I still had to tell my mother. My dad told me that she’d be getting home around 5:30pm, & should wait about an hour for him to talk to her about it first, get her warmed up, then I should call her. She hadn’t even been home 15 minutes & there she was, calling me. I was thinking, “oh dear lord. Here we go.” I answered. I said “hello.” She then says, “well… your father just told me what you said, & I think that’s the best decision you’ve EVER made.” I was like, “what the fuck?? Is she really saying this right now?” My jaw dropped. We, the three of us, talked for about an hour or two about my decision to join the Air Force & I was beyond pleased, and that point very excited about where I’ve decided to guide my life.
A few weeks later, after much more extensive research on what it means to be an Air Force officer, I started to second guess the decision to try for a commission. Not second guess my decision to join the Air Force, but the decision to shoot for the 2LT position itself. I was slowly beginning to find the bad in all of it. Sure, the pay is great, the benefits greater. But, in order to become one you have to submit a 22 page application [of which I submitted, then later withdrew. It took for fucking ever to fill out]. You also have to have your bachelor’s degree & a minimum 3.0 GPA, although you can apply if you’re within a year of graduating. In my case, I was within a semester. Anyway, I was finding out that the process isn’t all puppies, kittens, & rainbows. Although the only requirements for someone to apply for OTS [Office Training School] are a bachelor’s degree & 3.0 GPA, that’s not a competitive enough edge. Only about 6%-10% of all applicants are accepted. A competitive GPA is in the 3.7+ range and they typically always look for the technical degrees [i.e. pilot, doctor, dentist, engineer, etc.]. The past couple years, non-rated selection boards have been cancelled. Non-rated being anything that isn’t what I listed above; I would be considered non-rated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. And applicants can wait up to 2 years before they even find out whether they’ve been selected or denied. At that point, all the air was let out of my balloon.
After I thought about it though, I began to warm up to the idea of the enlisted side of things. It’s not so bad. Once you get to live off-base, you get BAH & BAS [Basic Allowance for Housing & Basic Allowance for Subsistence] which basically means you live rent free & utility/grocery free, no matter where the apartment is, but it’s all based upon cost of living of where the particular base is located. You still get free health insurance, tax free shopping at the BX, travel all over the world for free essentially [and yes, I am aware that it’s not all fun & games when it comes to the military. I’m traveling for work, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never get to enjoy the sights. Sights I’ve never seen before, might I add. How often does one get to live in Europe for 3 years for free aside from the obvious expenses?], and meet incredible people that you’ll build relationships with. If I don’t graduate before I get a BMT ship date, they’ll pay for me to finish it. Then, they’ll pay for me to get my master’s degree. Win-Win. Plus, being that I will have had well over 45 college credit hours, I’ll graduate BMT as an E-3 [A1C, Airman First Class]. It’ll be easier for me to rank up, not to say that it will be easy, but I’ll be able to do it more quickly than if I were an E-2. I’ll be getting E-3 pay through BMT & tech school, which means I will have saved up a lot of money by the time I go to my first assignment.
Sure, being enlisted rather than being an officer means grunt work & you’re the peon of the Air Force, but they still take care of you & want to ensure that you’re happy one way or another. Being enlisted, I’ll actually get to do my job, hands-on, rather than being a “paper pusher” & telling everyone else what to do. I don’t want the responsibility of officership yet. I’d like to know the Air Force before I run the Air Force.
I plan on taking the ASVAB around January 25. At that point, the ball will really get to rolling. After ASVAB comes MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Station]. MEPS is where the physical & job counceling takes place. The final step, after the 10-12 hour day of physicals & so forth, I’d swear in. I just have this grave fear that something is going to go wrong that will prevent me from entry into the Air Force. This is a situation where “it’s too good to be true” & I want it so bad that something is bound to go horribly wrong.
Until January 25th, I’m a studying fool. Wish me luck!