Quality of lifestyle Air Force vs Navy vs Army vs Marine Corps

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by NROTC-Hopeful, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. NROTC-Hopeful

    NROTC-Hopeful Member

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    From active duty, retired, or family members' perspectives, weigh in on the living conditions of the different military branches.
     
  2. BeatNavy

    BeatNavy USMA Cadet

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    First I would say that choosing a branch of service is best done by looking at the jobs available in that service and wether or not they are of interest to you. This is a lot more important than suff like housing imo. However there it is often said that the air force has the best housing but I have no experience to speak on that personally. honestly it is going to vary post to post for each branch And Bah is standard dod wide should you choose not to live on post housing.
     
  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    It really will depend base to base and deployment to deployment; however, in general you can say this:

    Air Force > Navy > Army > Marine Corps

    For base locations I think the Navy has the best, but then again I like living near a coast. The Air Force, Army and Marine Corps has some 'interesting' locations for bases.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    My opinion

    Air Force > Army > Navy > Marine Corps > Coast Guard

    I have yet to visit or stay at a Navy base that does look like half of the base was forgotten, generally in the worst part of town, and the front gate generally is lined with neon signs, if you know what I'm saying. Maybe it's because all of the "pretty" stuff is floating. Air Force has the $$ to build some impressive bases. I haven't been on a Army installation that hasn't had a nice exchange. Colors weirds me out on an Army installation. Marine Corps installations are smaller and harder to find. The ones I have been to tend to be fairly nice. I'm tempted to put it ahead of the Navy. Finally Coast Guard installations are hard to find, are often on the forgotten corner of a forgotten Navy base. Coast Guard housing is some of the worst in the military, although I have seen some nice facilities, at least from the outside.

    Again, I think the sea services focus on the facilities of their afloat community. Grounds pounders tend to focus on the actual grounds.
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I agree with the base locations comment from kp2001. Army has the worst locations, but once you're there, the installation isn't bad. It's really on a different scale than I'm used to. There are more soldiers stationed at Fort Hood than exist in the Coast Guard.
     
  6. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Just how many soldiers exist in the Coast Guard? :wink:
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    :eek: ouch! :eek:
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    SPOUSE WRITING!

    IMHO Beat Navy is right...NEVER SELECT A BRANCH BASED ON THE QUALITY OF LIFE. To me there is no way you can say "Well I would be happy in all of the branches equally. Each branch has an individual purpose, even if it comes down to the JAG, INTEL or PA. Any of them in the AF will 99% of the time be stationed with the wing in a more secure area than the Army, and if you don't like boats you might be boffed when they place you on a boat.

    Choose the branch and accept what is offered.

    Now, let's roll with the assumption all branches are equal. It should be no shock to anyone that I will say AF. I do not necessarily agree with LITS that the AF has the $$$ to build impressive bases. The thing to remember is that out of the ARMY, NAVY and AF, the AF is the newest. Also, it is the smallest, thus the wear and tear on the system is less.

    Here's my view:
    1. BASE/POSTS
    AIR FORCE: Majority are in the most obscure places within the state(Cannon, Mt Home, Almogordo), due to a SILLY THING called JET NOISE and the smell of JP8. Can't understand why people don't want to hear afterburners rattling their windows:rolleyes:
    ARMY: Majority are also located on outskirts due to their need for land to play War Games (Bragg, Richardson, Dix).
    NAVY: Best of all of them because you have the beach. Whidbey, Norfolk, San Diego

    2. HOUSING:
    AIR FORCE: Youngest branch, so homes are no older than 60 yrs...not so for the other branches. Smaller bases, which means less wear and tear, faster ability to update. Waiting list is shorter, houses are usually bigger.
    ARMY: Housing shortages exists mainly due to their demand.
    NAVY: Can't expand upon since I have no experience

    3. MEDICAL:
    AIR FORCE: The best and the worst. The majority of AF bases have transitioned their base hospitals to what we would consider "civilian care" 8-4:30. Get pregnant and you are immediately sent off base, that means if you break your arm you must go to Tri-Care, have the flu go to Tri-Care. This costs money, even your pre-natal care is Tri-Care. Positive: Flight Docs are like Marcus Welby, will do house calls. The AF is cognizant that if the flyers family is taken care of the AD member is a better asset. There are also less military members, thus your wait time to get to see a doc for an appt is less.
    ARMY: Over burdened even at the biggest installations. Our DS broke his arm while we were joint with the Army (Belvoir was our assigned medical). They splinted him on Monday night and told us to bring him back on Weds. to have it casted. Flip side: Our child at age 4 was originally diagnosed with ASD (Aortic Septeral Defect...hole in the heart), the AF did not have the ability, we were went to Womack and they had a DUKE PEDIATRICIAN on call.
    NAVY: Can't speak

    4. PAY:
    ~ All of them have the same base pay, however...
    JUMP PAY is only based on a 90 day rotation...stop jumping and you lose the pay. Additionally, unfortunately, it is still the same $$$ 40 yrs later.

    5. PROMOTION:
    ~ Line officers in the AF have a higher retention rate than non-line. The theory is you can take a Flyer out of the jet and make them the Maintenance Squadron Commander, but you can't make the Maintenance Commander a Pilot!

    6. PME SCHOOLS:
    NAVY: Number 1 for every O-4. Newport, Leavenworth or Maxwell, not a hard decision!

    7. TDY:
    AIR FORCE: Places your spouse will resent you...i.e. TDY to Hill or Nellis in March from AK. DOWNSIDE: It costs money out of your pocket because they go to dinner at Cheesecake Factory
    ARMY: POLK...UPSIDE: You make money since there is nothing to do and they are living in a hummer! DOWNSIDE the TDY pay stinks!

    8. PERSONAL TIME:
    AIR FORCE: Duty day is 8-4:30, end of subject. No PT
    ARMY: Duty day is when your commander decides you can go home. Anecdote: Bullet was at Bragg in a JT position, he and his Army counterpart were both young Captains (5 yrs in) getting their Masters. Army guy told him "he didn't feel guilty leaving 1x a week before 6 to attend classes", Bullet on the other hand left every night with the commander's blessing at 4:30 because he was taking 3 classes. REF: AF DUTY DAY. NO LIE I knew what BFM, 4 v 4, blue air, red air were, but after 5 yrs of marriage I had no clue what PT stood for until he went ARMY and left our bed at 5 in the am to do it!

    9. FAMILY:
    AIR FORCE: PREGNANT SPOUSE your butt is going nowhere. This will flame people, but the truth from a wife that has spent 4 yrs with the Army out of 20, and 1 of the 3 pregnancies were while stationed with the Army, the AF does not adhere to the adage "if the military wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one".
    ARMY: When she goes in LABOR we will send you home, never mind the fact that her due date is past!

    These are my true life anecdotals...Pregnant with DS2, passed due date and they (ARMY..82nd) had Bullet jump into the field for a TDY. Gave birth to DS1 14 days earlier and the commander and flight commander brought me into the squadron to ask if I had family that would be with me for 10 days while he was gone, if the answer was "NO" he would not go. DD was bitten by a copper head snake and Bullet rode in the ambulance with her, as they were in triage the commander walked in...Bullet's reply...Sir, who are you here visiting? Commander: YOU! We have removed you from the schedule (30 minutes after the 911 call) and I called the flight doc to let them know...within an hour the flt doc called and spoke to Bullet on what he should be asking the medical personnel. The doc called daily for the 4 days our DD was hospitalized in the county hospital. The 1st flowers delivered to her room were not from our blood family, but our squadron...12 hours after her ambulance ride. I had casseroles, salads and desserts at my doorstep the next day.

    IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THIS WILL BE TRUE FOR EVERY BRANCH REGARDING FOOD AND SUPPORT WITHIN THE SQUADRON. The only difference is how the command will view the AD member's responsibility to their family.

    10. SUPPORT:
    AIR FORCE: Great commanders wife and you are in the loop...bad one and you find out through the grapevine.
    ARMY: TWO WORDS: RED LINE! The Army has a system, spouses are given several up dates through this program...i.e. THIS IS A RED LINE MESSAGE...THEY ARE ON LOCK DOWN...it is followed with LEFT THE BASE...ARRIVED. The Army has this down to a tee and should be given KUDOS!

    I really can't say anything about the Navy, but I do have a lot of experience regarding the difference between the Army and the AF. I will say from a spouse point of view, that the quality of your life really depends upon your spouse.

    If you are single there really is no difference in the QUALITY...you will not care about housing, you will be able to get priority doc apptmts, and I highly doubt if you care whether the commissary is sold out of pecans before Thanksgiving. Only when you get married will you truly care about quality.

    Choose wisely when it comes to a spouse. A spouse who does not know how to survive without you will hamper your career. If she/he believes that you have a "DUTY" to your family first than the quality will not matter when you say "I can't take Johnny Joe to TBall" or you're deployed and she doesn't know how to change a flat tire. In the end of the day, the military taught me that I was much stronger than I ever thought, I can change a tire, mow the lawn, scrape/paint the exterior of the home and pack out 20K lbs of household goods without Bullet. Flip side I know wives that have stated it is "his job".

    SAPPY CRAP...THE QUALITY OF LIFE MEANT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO ME OR OUR KIDS! Bullet coming home and saying to me "I can't believe they pay me to do this!" MEANT EVERYTHING! The fact that he loved his job made me know that the sacrifices we, as a family, were well worth it. One day you all will fall in love, and if it is real, they will place everything below anything you want/desire/need just to see the one they love live their dream.

    For Bullet and I, the only advice I can truly give is to share what you can. Your spouse will give up a lot to follow your dream, the least you can do is make them your safe place to land, take the time to explain your daily life. You will be amazed, even though we might not get "it", you will at least feel better venting. Your venting and confiding will mean the world to them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I think I would tend to agree with LITS comments. For example in the mid90's the Navy housing in Pearl Harbor was scandalously bad- It was unbelievable how lousy their junior enlisted quarters were and the Exchange wasn't much better and they were bumped up against the Hickam AFB so they got their noses rubbed in it every day. Today though- the Navy have spent a ton o'cash on new and pretty good quarters at least in the places I 've been- and certainly at Pearl Harbor. In general most of the services benefited a lot from a lot of high dollar housing projects in the last 8 years. The Army does have some dog locations (Ft Polk & Ft Irwin come to mind) but location isn't everything- and one person's hell on earth is usually someone elses near-paradise and the job and the people offset the location in a big way. I wouldn't make too many decisions about the service I join because of the bases.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Haha, none. There are over 10,000 more soldiers at Fort Hood than there are Coast Guardsmen in the Coast Guard.:thumb:
     
  11. BeatNavy

    BeatNavy USMA Cadet

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    :yllol: :yllol:

    Very insightful post Pima. Thank you!
     
  12. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    ^^^^^^

    Pima keeps passing this unmitigated fabrication about my (and the AF's) commitment to physical conditioning, and I have to keep correcting her!

    We did PT in the AF, we just spelled it differently -- G-O-L-F :thumb:

    And we would have gotten up at that ungodly awful hour of 5 AM to do it, but the courses were closed at those times. So we had to wait until at least 9 AM.

    Sheesh, how many times do I need to keep telling her I took my PT seriously! :shake:
     
  13. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    This is a really good info post...however, there is a lack of Marine Corps info for each...would it be the same as Army, basically, and maybe some Navy as far as post locations, etc.?
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    For the Promotion......best branch to be promoted in....Army. They're making O-3 in 3 years, no other service is doing that.
     
  15. gunner1zeus

    gunner1zeus Member

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    Did you do curls at the 19th hole it's good to have a well rounded PT program.:yllol:
     
  16. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    So which locations come with the meatballs? :thumb:

    Actually, I was teaching my son how to make meatloaf (similar recipie) tonight before hitting the grocery store for stuff to make Christmas breakfast cassaroles for 20. I decided to let him try using the mixer with dough hook to do the bulk of the mixing of ingredients and it worked fairly well. And to think I've been so old school mixing ingredients by hand all these years...

    Been enjoying the useful info on this thread.
     
  17. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I've never looked upon golf as PT; rather, it's tactical reinforcement of air-air/ground weapons delivery and BFM techniques.

    I mean, let's look at it: weapons delivery, aerodynamics of projectiles (also known as computation of ballistic trajectories), SA in all aspects (ALWAYS a risk of incoming missiles), transfer of energy and energy management for optimum performance and delivery of ordinance. :wink:

    Multiple targets, multiple ingress/egress routes, economy of forces, limited weaponry...there's a serious amount of tactical training involved here. Low level training is also a MUST!!! (When has hitting a tree EVERY been a good thing???) :eek:

    Nope, we always saw golf as a tactical training environment. Any physical training aspect was a bonus! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Well I know the mess hall at MCRD San Diego serves "Fruit Loops" and has sweet little signs in the head that say "Please don't overfill me, I will be a sick toilet."
     
  19. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Yeah, took me six years to make O3 :shake:

    Navy: you can pretty much count on it at 4yrs unless you do something foolish. (Like get promoted to jg and then go to medical school :biggrin: )
     
  20. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Which meatballs? :yllol::yllol::yllol:

    Can't say as I've ever tried a scooping tool either. Perhaps I'll try the ice cream scoop next time. Thanks for the inspiration, although it is tough to imagine not rolling them between my palms.

    Now what I miss is my grandma's old hand-crank Foley Food Mill (grinder, extruder, etc.) Used to make great hash with leftover turkey the day after Christmas. Sometimes we'd also make and stuff our own sausage with it.

    I think this brings up what is most important about any base housing - the fact that home is where your family is and is much more than just a building. Enjoy those years when your kids are growing up. They fly by fast.
     

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