Should I go Enlist AF or try to commission through AFROTC?

Carmen_San_Diego

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I've wanted to join the Air Force for a long time. And went to see a recruiter when I was 23. But the recruiter turned me away because I had a GED and no college credits.

Since I deeply hated school as a kid and was bullied in school, I promised myself that I would never go back. And the Air Force suddenly felt like an impossibility for me.
Another reason I wanted to join the Air Force was to escape a lot of bad situations back home. All my friends were working dead end jobs and involved with illegal things and heavy drinkers and I didn't want to end up like them.

After the Air Force rejection however, I continued to fall in with a bad crowd, my parents had divorced earlier and I continued to deal with that too.
The reason the divorce negatively affected me was bc my parents turned neglectful towards me+began to pick favorites between me and my siblings. Following all this I came out to my parents and immediately after this I was treated badly because I was lgbtq+. I was not aware that my parents where homophobic until I came out to them so you can imagine my surprise when my agnostic father became upset with me. I genuinely felt tricked by his disapproval. Oh well. I expected it from my mother though, since she had a religious belief that it was wrong to be a homosexual. Anyways...

This rejection by the recruiter+my family, lead to me living a very wreckless/careless life of me pretending to be straight and using negative outlets to cope with this . I continued getting deeper and deeper in with the wrong crowd.
And within 8 months from me speaking with the recruiter and getting rejected, I got my 1st DUI.

It makes me a little sad to think about how much different my life would have been if that recruiter had worked with me instead of just giving me the brush off.

If he'd worked with me, I would have likely gone into the air force, DUI free and have been able to ween the Gi Bill, gain independence from my homophobic parents, and But I understand that recruiters are very busy and can't babysit every kid who walks into their office. I also accept all responaibility for the DUI. It was my fault ultimately.

With that said,
Im 32 now and have 2 semesters of college under my belt. And I have observed that things seem too have gotten better for lgbtq kids at school. No more bullying or homophobia. Which is great. Also, the military no longer inforces "dont ask dont tell" so that's a plus And the USAF had raised its commissioning+enlistment age limit to ***39***. Which makes me feel like the time is right for me to attempt joining the USAF again.

So I spoke to a USAF recruiter and he told me I can join with the college credits I currently have (almost 30 credits) but says my DUI needs a waiver and that the need for this waiver means I have to be open to the needs of the USAF, aka i have to take any job thats offered to me. Is this true?

I wanted an office job though. He's saying that's a no go. Im 32 now and not too interested in jobs that are going to injure my body or have me working in horribly low temps (outdoor jobs).

He said mechanics / electricians / Security Forces are the jobs I need to anticipate being offered because of the DUI limiting my ability to get TS Clearance.

Is this true?
I hate to think a 9 yr old dui can affect me this much when i have no medical and no criminal issues (aside from the DUI).

Also, my original plan was to go through AFROTC and commission but college is really expensive. Im thinking enlisting and getting the Gi Bill will be better than getting into debt.

Im still surrounded by the bad crowd i mentioned, and my roommates are alcoholics. I managed to stay away from all that (I have a very low tolerance for alcohol/all smoke so being sober was easily for me) but again my living situation Is not good at all.

I feel that enlisting will be best for me to get me the Gi Bill but that means I will only have 3 years left to commission once i separate from the USAF.

Thats cutting it real close.

My major is mechanical engineering and im a B- student so working with such a demanding major is out of the question.
Maybe if I was smarter I could but im not.

Im not eligible for any AFROTC scholarships due to my age so enlisting seems like the right move. What do you guys think?
 
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Tbpxece

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I'll cut to the chase. If you can get another branch to let you enlist, I'd go there. Of the five branches, the USMC is traditionally the most forgiving in terms of issues prior to the military.

You will have a very hard time enlisting in the AF with a GED and a DUI (regardless of how old it is). All AF personnel are now required to have a Secret clearance at a minimum, and a near majority need TS. Between the DUI and the checkered history of your peers, you will have difficulty getting even a Secret clearance. I've had young Airmen with much less in their background than what you've listed struggle to get their Secret clearance. If you don't get that clearance, well, you separate.

USAF is very reluctant to allow folks to enlist without a HS diploma-- it does not usually matter if they have college or not. They want that diploma. I'm shocked the recruiter has not pointed that out-- there is a hard cap (usually around 1% of all enlistees) on the number of "high school dropouts" (which is defined as anyone without a HS diploma) each year. You will have to compete for one of those hard-to-get spots...and you have a DUI.

As for commissioning... you will not be able to commission with a DUI in the AF.
 

Carmen_San_Diego

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I'll cut to the chase. If you can get another branch to let you enlist, I'd go there. Of the five branches, the USMC is traditionally the most forgiving in terms of issues prior to the military.

You will have a very hard time enlisting in the AF with a GED and a DUI (regardless of how old it is). All AF personnel are now required to have a Secret clearance at a minimum, and a near majority need TS. Between the DUI and the checkered history of your peers, you will have difficulty getting even a Secret clearance. I've had young Airmen with much less in their background than what you've listed struggle to get their Secret clearance. If you don't get that clearance, well, you separate.

USAF is very reluctant to allow folks to enlist without a HS diploma-- it does not usually matter if they have college or not. They want that diploma. I'm shocked the recruiter has not pointed that out-- there is a hard cap (usually around 1% of all enlistees) on the number of "high school dropouts" (which is defined as anyone without a HS diploma) each year. You will have to compete for one of those hard-to-get spots...and you have a DUI.

As for commissioning... you will not be able to commission with a DUI in the AF.

Its strange that you say I will have a hard time enlistin/commissioning because both the local AFROTC det Cadre and my current recruiter said that getting a waiver for the DUI wouldn't be an issue.
They both said that things have relaxed slightly regarding DUI waivers and that 9 out of 10 times the reason respective recruits/cadets are denied waivers is because most recruiters/cadre are too lazy to even put in for a waiver. Or are too ashamed to admit they dont know how to put in for a waiver. Or worse, don't care to make extra effort to work with "difficult cases". Luckily for me, my recruiter is not lazy and actually cares.

But you are entitled to youre opinion.

However, If I cannot join USAF I will simply not join the military. My dream is to join the Air Force not whatever branch accepts me.

My peers are an issue? Thanks for letting me know. I simply won't put them down on the paperwork clearance paperwork. Which is obvious.

I successfully attained a secret clearance prior to the DUI. But It expired. I don't believe the addition of a 9-10 yr old DUI to my 2nd attempt to get a secret clearance will affect me.

I worked security for a government facility that contained classified documents and other classified items and gained the clearance with in 90 days of application for the purposes of working there. And all was fine. Im confident the recruiter wouldn't put himself on the line if he believed I wouldn't be able to get a waiver for the DUI or able to get a security clearance.

This ain't my 1st rodeo.
But thank you for youre input.
 
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kinnem

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There is no doubt in my mind that a DUI is going to be an issue. There may be a waiver but it WILL be an issue in any branch of service. Irresponsible drinking in the military has been a problem for years and the past many years there has been a crack-down. I know on Okinawa all Marines were recently confined to base for an extended period of time (a month?) because one of their brethren was driving drunk and killed someone. Trust me, they take this stuff seriously, which is why it's a question on ROTC and Academy applications. It might be easier for enlisted to get by but it's still serious. I wouldn't be counting my chickens, so to speak....
 

Tbpxece

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We currently separate and/or demote actively serving members for DUI's in the USAF. And take away their security clearances. Why we would admit someone with a pre-existing DUI is beyond me. The USAF has gotten stricter on DUI's in the past decade-- NOT more lenient. When combined with your likely inability to provide clean personal references on your SF86 (do you really think DoD isn't wise to cherry picking references??) due to hanging out with the "wrong crowd" for the past decade, I do not see how you will be able to overcome this. For crying out loud, I've had troops lose their clearance for excessive debt or bounced checks. Despite fighting to retain them, I still had to let them go, as every job in the Air Force requires a minimum of a Secret security clearance.

But... it seems that argument isn't carrying water with you as it is just my "entitled opinion", and you've apparently been to a rodeo at some point.

I'll revert to my answer to your original question--> I do not think you should attempt either enlisting USAF or pursuing AFROTC as both would be wasting your time as exercises in futility. I think you should look at other, more permissive branches. Despite what your recruiter may be telling you, the facts simply do not match up.

Take my "opinion" or leave it. It's coming from someone who is actually in the Air Force, and has been for some time.
 

Carmen_San_Diego

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We currently separate and/or demote actively serving members for DUI's in the USAF. And take away their security clearances. Why we would admit someone with a pre-existing DUI is beyond me. The USAF has gotten stricter on DUI's in the past decade-- NOT more lenient. When combined with your likely inability to provide clean personal references on your SF86 (do you really think DoD isn't wise to cherry picking references??) due to hanging out with the "wrong crowd" for the past decade, I do not see how you will be able to overcome this. For crying out loud, I've had troops lose their clearance for excessive debt or bounced checks. Despite fighting to retain them, I still had to let them go, as every job in the Air Force requires a minimum of a Secret security clearance.

But... it seems that argument isn't carrying water with you as it is just my "entitled opinion", and you've apparently been to a rodeo at some point.

I'll revert to my answer to your original question--> I do not think you should attempt either enlisting USAF or pursuing AFROTC as both would be wasting your time as exercises in futility. I think you should look at other, more permissive branches. Despite what your recruiter may be telling you, the facts simply do not match up.

Take my "opinion" or leave it. It's coming from someone who is actually in the Air Force, and has been for some time.

I never called you're opinion entitled. If they're was no ability for me to get into the Air Force why would my recruiter waste their time on getting me that DUI waiver?

I have seen people get into the Air firce with DUI and small debt $(300) and tickets. You don't seem to rely know how things work on the revruiting end.

And that's fine.
I have also seen airnmen stay in the air firce after getting a DUI.

Care to explain how the above is possible?
 

Carmen_San_Diego

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There is no doubt in my mind that a DUI is going to be an issue. There may be a waiver but it WILL be an issue in any branch of service. Irresponsible drinking in the military has been a problem for years and the past many years there has been a crack-down. I know on Okinawa all Marines were recently confined to base for an extended period of time (a month?) because one of their brethren was driving drunk and killed someone. Trust me, they take this stuff seriously, which is why it's a question on ROTC and Academy applications. It might be easier for enlisted to get by but it's still serious. I wouldn't be counting my chickens, so to speak....
Being an issue = valid.

Making it impossible to join+gain a clearance when others in the exact same situation have TS clearances = invalid
 

Carmen_San_Diego

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And i say what i said with all do respect. We all have the right to our own opinion but what the other poster said makes no sense to me since there ate people waking around right now who have DUIs, are enlisted and are still in the USAF with valid clearance
 

Tbpxece

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To anyone else with a similar situation:

Understand that enlistment waivers only exist to allow for a certain, specifically limited number of otherwise well-deserving applicants to join with disqualifying personal histories. In order to enlist under these circumstances, you have to be aware that:

(a) you will most likely be barred from joining certain AFSCs-- perhaps most AFSCs,
(b) the waiver process is an exception, NOT a guarantee- and enlistment waivers generally are not approved,
(c) your enlistment may be subject to additional personal restrictions, like abstaining from alcohol use for the duration of your enlistment after a DUI conviction
(d) you will need to have a compelling reason for the Air Force to allow you to enter.

Understand that a recruiter's sole task is to get you to sign the enlistment contract and fit you into an AFSC. Sometimes that involves glossing over certain realities or omitting probable outcomes. Sometimes it involves overlooking certain undesirable traits. Once you have processed through MEPS, their job is effectively done. Anyone who has been through OTS or BMT has seen these recruits show up, and then self-eliminate or be eliminated after a few weeks.

If you have a disqualifying life event in an area like substance abuse, domestic abuse, financial mismanagement, etc, understand that your waiver will require a powerful narrative showing how you have completely turned your life around, are no longer engaging in the activities that led to your disqualifying life event, and have stayed on that path for some time (I am speaking years here, not months).

A DUI demonstrates a lack of personal control, an inability to follow the law, and disregard for the welfare of others. The Air Force generally does not enlist people with those traits. Furthermore, in most states a DUI is a misdemeanor (in some it is a felony)-- i.e. a criminal conviction. The Air Force very rarely allows people to enlist with criminal convictions.

Do not rely on knowledge of active members' misdeeds to justify your entrance. In the same way that there are active duty Airmen with food allergies, asthma, eczema, bad vision, and cancer who have not been separated and continue to serve, there are active duty Airmen with DUI's, bounced checks, minor criminal convictions, and minor domestic abuse who remain on active duty. Accession, though, is a completely different thing than re-enlistment. It is much harder to enter the armed forces with bad personal backgrounds and undesirable medical conditions than it is to stay in. Go over to the DODMERB forum and you will see proof of this.

The US Air Force is the most selective of the five branches and the most restrictive in terms of enlistment and officer accession. NEVER count on a waiver for something that the AF actively separates or disciplines members for. Outside of domestic abuse and drug use, I can think of nothing the Air Force prosecutes more intensely than DUI's.
 

Tbpxece

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To the OP,

You have stated the following :
  • You have a GED, not a high school diploma
  • You have lived "a very wreckless/careless life...using negative outlets to cope"
  • You blame a recruiter for your DUI, simply because that recruiter followed AF policy by not lying to you and pretending you could enlist with a GED
  • Your childhood "friends were... involved with illegal things", and you are "still surrounded by the bad crowd" of your childhood
  • You indicate you got your "first DUI" due to your "homophobic parents", and a recruiter following AF policy--suggesting there may be more DUI's
  • You express a strong desire to enlist to be "able to ween the Gi Bill", presumably to pay for your college education, where you are a "B- student" who is (paraphrasing here) "not smart enough" to be able to simultaneously work and attend classes for your Mech. Eng. degree.<-- your position, not mine
  • You have been told you are only eligible for jobs that are tailored "to the needs of the USAF", which are jobs like "mechanics / electricians / Security Forces"
  • You desire an office job in the Air Force and are "not too interested in jobs that are going to injure my body or have me working in horribly low temps (outdoor jobs)"
  • You have been told an office job in the Air Force is a "no-go" due to your DUI
  • You will only serve in the Air Force-- no other branch
During the course of our conversation, you have:
  • Blamed a recruiter in-part for your 1st DUI and "wreckless/careless life"
  • Blamed your "homophobic parents" in-part for your 1st DUI and "wreckless/careless life"
  • Insinuated that 9 out of 10 times, other recruiters are "too lazy" or "too ashamed to admit they dont know how to put in for a waiver"
  • Flippantly stated (without a shred of evidence) that I "don't seem to rely know how things work on the revruiting end."
Your expressed personal ethic in this thread is not generally conducive for successful military service. Your personal history is incompatible with military service, and you do not appear to have any basis for a waiver to allow you to enter into military service.

Why would the recruiter "waste their time on getting [you] that DUI waiver?" Quite simply, I do not think they will. My guess is that you have had the same combative, argumentative attitude with them and they do not wish to spend time fighting with you. They have told you that you will need a waiver (which you will have to complete yourself, in large part), you will have to be open to jobs you do not want to do, and the waiver depends on the needs of the Air Force (and by extension, not on your needs). If you are willing to jump through all those hoops successfully, then they are willing to submit the waiver. I think that is fair.

Do what you want, OP. Unlike your recruiter, I do not have any more time to argue with you. I've answered your original question three times now with my attempt at a thoughtful, frank, and useful answer. In return, I have gotten a sloppily-written, insulting, argumentative response each time.

Hopefully my responses prove more useful for future readers in similar situations.
 

Carmen_San_Diego

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This is the information I was given last night:

"Don’t be afraid of moving forward. The future is bright! Moral wavier (AF Recruiting approved) for service entry is totally separate from a favorable security clearance “adjudication” (DOD approved) … no second “wavier” type action required. A single alcohol-related incident like a 10-year old DUI conviction (assuming no other aggravating circumstances, full court compliance at the time) should not deny you an initial clearance, unless evidence surfaces of an underlying alcohol problem. AF wavier is the bigger "admin" hurdle to clear … once “approved” you should be good to go!"
 

NavyHoops

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OP, folks have given their time and opinions. You have yours already made up it sounds like. If the USAF is the only branch you are willing to pursue and have a recruiter currently who says they can work with you, then follow their guidance. Some, not all, recruiters will say things that are technically true, but often fall in the gray area. We aren’t there and don’t know the details. Waivers often go with the needs of the USAF and a lot of it depends on the USAF meeting recruiting goals. Not sure I buy off on those are the only jobs you qualify for... My guess. without being there, is those are the most available jobs with the most need. I have seen plenty of folks get lots of various clearances at all levels with DUIs, but many have years or decades of solid work experiences and top notch references on their SF-80. Ultimately this is up to you. Enlist and take what you can get or don’t. Best of luck.
 
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