Air Force Reserve: Good idea?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by H2Opolodude, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    Hey everyone.
    I was thinking about things I could do this year to make me a better candidate for the academy next year, and I came across the idea of joining the Reserves. Now, don't criticize me yet because I haven't really looked into it (so I don't know if its a horrible idea or a good one), but it was just an idea as far as gaining military experience. For those of you who know about how the military reserves work, what do you think? Any type of information would be great! Thanks :)
     
  2. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    Guard is way better than Reserves. Also, depending on how old you are and what job you get, you may just end up stuck in training too long and you'll miss your opportunity to apply.
     
  3. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    I won't go into the differences between the Guard and the Reserves. I have to agree though, that unless you take a job with a 6 week Tech School, you will spend way to much time in training (most Commanders don't want to let go of assets they have paid to train, works just a little different that Active Duty, training comes out of the gaining squadrons funds-at least it did when I was in the Reserves). Plus you will still do BMT and then Tech school. Chances are you would not get in right away either. There are educational benefits if this is how you are going to pay for college though. You must also take into account the distance you must travel every month for drill weekends-the weekends are usually not very flexible (at least in my experience).
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    As a way to get into the Academy, it is generally a poor choice.
    Enlisting will put you through a lot of training, and a different process for admissions. I'm not saying it is impossible, but the number of prior enlisted people who go to USAFA is low.

    Focusing on college level classes, community service, and leadership is a far better way to improve your chances.
     
  5. dagger

    dagger Member

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    ^^ I agree with what they all say. None of us enlisted applying had any intentions of trying for the Academy until someone in our chain or FTAC briefing told us about it.

    If you can afford college, do that instead-- unless your heart is in being an enlisted member.
     
  6. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    Thank you for all the advice everyone! I figured that it would ultimately just make things more difficult, but I wanted to humor the idea for a little while.

    ColinBlueMoon--Why is Guard better than Reserves?
     
  7. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    Guard answers to their state, not the federal government. This means you have more leeway in not getting forced into doing a bunch of things you don't want to do. Guard is also far more relaxed than Reserves for the same reason as above. The simplest way to put it is Guard has more bargaining power against some of the mandates of the military.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Not entirely.... and not totally.
     
  9. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    Never said it was any kind of absolute power, but compared to Active and Reserve's nothing, a little something is a lot better.

    I was at a guard base before that had active duty squadrons sharing. We got tasked to deploy five crews. The two AD squadrons have to fork over two crews each, and guard only had to give one despite them knowing neither AD squadron had the numbers for it and the guard squadron did. They definitely had an edge over AD and Reserves, especially considering that the planes at the base belonged to the guard unit, not the AD unit.
     
  10. dagger

    dagger Member

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    So if you want a decreased chance of deploying, you should go Guard?
     
  11. airman

    airman Member

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    Not true. The Air Guard is thrown into the same AEF rotations as AD
     
  12. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    If you want decreased chances of deployment, join a career field that barely deploys. That's your only guarantee. That situation only happened at my base because the AD component was there as well to pick up their slack and somehow they found ways to throw the lion's share of the work on us.
     
  13. dagger

    dagger Member

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    Roger.

    My post was just based on your previous post about two crews coming from an AD squadron vs one crew from the guard squadron.

    I'm not entirely familiar with guard, but felt it would be key to bring out any points that others may find interest in when reading these posts-- should they look into enlisting.
     
  14. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    If you're thinking of enlisting over commissioning first, then I hope you have some dire circumstances that require you to need the military benefits now or you're just looking to pocket the GI Bill and scram after 4 years. Commissioning should always be the first thing you look into if circumstance allows you to and you want to have a career in the military.
     
  15. 2bornot2b

    2bornot2b Member

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    Bad Idea

    If your goal is commissioning, then enlisting is like trying to play water polo with 20 lb weights on your feet. It's not going to work well....
     
  16. airman

    airman Member

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    I don't know where you're getting this information. Every enlisted member I've met that was truly dedicated to getting their commission had no problem achieving one.
     
  17. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    You should never enlist with the goal of commissioning in mind. Once you enlist, you're at the whim of your commander for any commissioning source you try to apply for. If they don't want to let you go, or they're a real jerk, guess who's not getting their OTS/ROTC/LEAD applications signed off? You may also end up far too busy to pursue your goals like you originally planned.

    OTS boards are much harder to get selected for once you enlist. Most of the enlisted ROTC programs are skewed in favor of NCOs for selection so you'll probably end up waiting four or more years for your fourth stripe before you have a decent shot at those. There is the LEAD program but as a prior enlisted, you're guaranteeing yourself a 5 year commission because they WILL send you to the prep school first. If you don't care about the academy that much, ROTC is a far easier and more cushy commissioning source.

    The only reason I'm doing LEAD now is because I had no idea what an officer was before I even joined, so I had no idea about commissioning programs. Had I known, I would have joined an ROTC detachment and by now I would be a 2nd Lieutenant.
     
  18. Remember_This_Day

    Remember_This_Day Member

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    There are plenty of career enlisted military folk that are that way by choice. It's a personal preference. Like in my career field being an E means more travel, more $ than the Lts and Capts, and a lot less responsibility. Being an O isn't the only option for a good career.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  19. Remember_This_Day

    Remember_This_Day Member

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    Also on this note there are exceptions that warrant you to do so. I know people who enlisted first because they wanted to know what it was like as an E before they became an O. Also know someone that had a BA already which limited their commissioning sources to an OTS board and there weren't any. So she enlisted and is just waiting for one to roll around. I'm not saying the OP should enlist as a stepping stone to a commission (those were often the DBA's), but I am saying "never say never. "
     
  20. ColinBlueMoon

    ColinBlueMoon Member

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    This is absolutely not possible. No amount of entitlements would put you anywhere near an O-2 or O-3 pay grade. O-2s would have somewhere between $60-70,000 annually and O-3 would have $80-90,000 annually. The only enlisted entitlements that are higher than an officer's is BAS and the measly clothing allowance and those are nowhere near enough to even put you within shooting range of their pay.

    There is no point in trying to get "enlisted experience" before becoming an officer. Most of the actual enlisted experience would only come as an NCO anyway. As a junior enlisted, your only experience would be taking out trash, picking weeds, cleaning toilets and doing grunt work. All you'll take away from being prior enlisted is that being enlisted is nowhere near as good as being an officer in every aspect. And that girl who enlisted to wait for an OTS board made a mistake. OTS selection is worse for enlisted than it is for a civilian. She lowered her chances by enlisting. There are ROTC programs for people earning a graduate degree. This would've been a far better option than enlisting.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012

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