New Member
Nov 30, 2018
I've recently received my form 53 on which I specify my desired AFSCs and locations (top 6 of both). I'm an electrical engineering student (3.5 GPA) in my junior year. I don't want be doing research at Wright-Patt, which is what I hear is pretty common.

My ideal situation is to be stationed oversees with a civil engineering squadron as an electrical engineer. Building/physical work is what I do well in, compared to sitting around a research lab. If anyone has any advice on how to be selected for that (in terms of contacts, what to put down, etc.) I'd appreciate it.

First off if you get put in a CE unit you’re probably going to be doing Civil Engineering work rather than electrical. The Air Force doesn’t really use active duty’s CE officers as electrical engineers.

Second off, you’re not likely to be stationed overseas on your first tour. Not saying it won’t happen but it’s more common for guys on their second or third tour to get overseas assignments. You could just as easily end up somewhere like Minot or Cannon.
I'd respectfully disagree, @Tex232 . The Air Force does use electrical engineers as electrical engineers. All the time. There just aren't that many of them. The bulk of the EE experience goes into both stateside infrastructure design reviews and theater power generation and distribution. Go talk to any BCE (deployed or home station) and they will tell you how much they wish they had actual EE's on hand to handle those functions, rather than relying on a guy with a history in soils or a lady who studied steel and timber design.

If you don't want to go to AFRL (what I assume you mean by "Wright-Patt"), then don't put down 62EX (Developmental Engineer). If you don't go rated, then it's a near 100% lock you will go 32EX. Within that world, you will have plenty of opportunities, both stateside and overseas.

EE-degreed CGOs are a critical need right now, and you are definitely eligible for an overseas assignment for your first duty station. I've met plenty of CE Lt's at both the larger OCONUS bases I've flown into, and also downrange. If you want to go OCONUS, then put down the bigger bases--> Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Yakota, Osan, Kadena, etc. They tend to have large CE squadrons (Ramstein actually has a CE group, I believe).

Good luck!
You could just as easily end up somewhere like Minot or Cannon.

And there's nothing wrong with either of those locations. :)

I've been stationed at both highly-sought-after bases, and also the less-desirable ones. Not a dime's worth of difference between the two unless you are completely inflexible to different cultures and lifestyles. Flexibility is the key to Air Power.

You'll PCS every 2-3 years and be deployed half that time anyway.
The Air Force does use electrical engineers as electrical engineers. All the time. There just aren't that many of them.
My point was that the guys on active duty are typically not utilized as EE’s. Of the non-civil engineers that I’ve met who had worked at PRIME BEEF units, they were mostly used in some sort of civil engineering role. True, you can work at a CE squadron with any specialty, but the emphasis at tech school will mostly be on the civil side. As far as electrical, the civilian GS engineers are using usually used for that. But again, just my experience and what I’ve seen.
My point was that the guys on active duty are typically not utilized as EE’s.

I am speaking about Active Duty. I am also speaking specifically about electrical engineers-- not other "non-civil engineers", where you would otherwise be correct.

Electrical engineers will be able to do some electrical engineering in a CE squadron-- doesn't matter if it is RHS or Prime BEEF. If their expertise leans more towards power, rather than-say- electronics, then they will find they are used quite a bit, especially in the AOR.
I was in Civil Engineering for 10 years, starting as a mechanical engineering officer. How much you will use of your electrical engineering skills is dependent upon what type of squadron you get assigned to and if you do a rotation in engineering design.
I was fortunate that I started in a remote Northern Tier base where we did most of our below MilCon facility design inhouse so I did a ton of hands on design and major repair work for my first two years working with my civilian counterpart engineers...helped me easily pass the PE test. And after those two years, it was mostly general engineering work, exceptions for when I was deployed for 120 days specifically as a mechanical engineer on a team to do all the bed down design on air group that had an expedited move to a new location and then consulting with the HVAC and plumbing maintenance teams on my home base.
Others who started on a base where most design work was handled by a outside design firms didn't do as much hands on design work but still used their engineering knowledge on repair projects and to some extent while deployed.
CE runs their own school at AFIT and you will take courses there as a CE officer. They have dedicated EE courses as well as general engineering officer courses....I learned a ton there in my primary mechanical engineering discipline.
Net, you will get all kinds of opinions on the use of your degree as an electrical engineer in a CE squadron because of the variability on how design work is handled in the Engineering Flight from base to base. And I don't know if going to a more remote base like a Minot or Ellsworth or a major installation like an Air Logistics Center would guarantee with most things in the military, it is a bit of a roll of the die on what you get vs what you want.
Good luck!
I'm an EE/62E-select/Hanscom AFB, MA bound. Lemme know if you have any questions about Form 53!