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Old 05-29-2008, 09:34   #1
Grayson
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Lots of questions from a guy who's THINKING about POSSIBLY enlisting...

Put in here because I'm not sure of which branch yet.

I guess it's pretty well narrowed down to Army, or Air Force.

***Uh...then again, do you have to be able to swim *well* to join ANY branch?

Air Force...I'd love to be able to fly, but my eyes are HORRIBLE. I've heard something about a new eye surgery that is approved by the .mil, however...hmm...

***So...how old is "TOO old," in y'all's opinion, to be enlisting? I'm 26, and if I did decide to do it I would want to wait at least half a year before going to get myself SERIOUSLY whipped into shape.

Also not sure of what..."MOS" is it? To look into? I've been a certified pharmacy tech for 9 years, so Pharmacy Specialist seems like a natural. Then again, if I have the opportunity to learn a NEW trade on Uncle's dime....?
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:03   #2
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I enlisted in the AF at 27.5. You don't have to be able to swim for the USAF or the Army (they do water survival training now and then, but if you can dogpaddle, you can probably survive it) as a requirement.

If you're 26 you're already really pushing it for pilot training especially with eye problems. PRK is approved for flight, Lasik is not. I had Lasik, which is how I know. Med-group guys in the AF have a pretty easy life assuming you stay in reasonable shape, they pretty much just cruise on through life. I'm Security Forces (the other end of the spectrum).

In the Army it's MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) in the AF it's AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code I think). I went through basic with a guy who was 31, another who was 34 (both reserves) and another guy who was 27. It's not easy, but it's do-able if you want to. I've known guys in the Army who've gone through Army basic (which is harder) in their 40s.
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Old 05-29-2008, 21:57   #3
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Thanks!

PRK - have to look into that...
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:57   #4
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Usually, the line is, "If WE give you PRK it's approved, if you get it done yourself, it's not" or something along those lines.

If you're already not in excellent shape, smart as hell, and excellent reaction times (and even then) you probably won't make it as a pilot. At 26, you're already "old" to start the process (which isn't short) and probably wouldn't be chosen. However, you could be a loadmaster, aerial boom operator (refueler), aerial gunner or many other enlisted AFSCs that fly, essentially, all the time.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:58   #5
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(1) eye surgery - if you can enlist without doing it, don't do it. I'm pretty sure it will medically DQ you and then you have to go through a lot to try and get a waiver.

(2) Age - I enlisted the first time at 17 and the second time at 42 - it seems easier at 42, to be honest. Most of it is mental and maturity/experience is a big asset. You will be a lot better off and get through easier than the 18 year olds.

(2) MOS - Do you want a future civilian career, a 20-year army career, or some adventure? Only you can decide - personally, I wouldn't join the military to do the same thing I do in civilian life. I'm a lawyer in civilian life and while I work with reserve JAG officers from various services, I'm an infantryman/drill sergeant in the USAR, with no interest in switching.

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Old 05-30-2008, 15:50   #6
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Darn it, I keep forgetting to ask...

I wear contacts all the time now. No dice in the army, right? I'll need to go back to glasses?

As for MOS...

Would I have some advantage in the service already going in as a CPhT and 'transferring' that over?

Still...I don't know if I could hack it, but for some reason the idea of being a combat medic has been kind of appealing to me.

That would be something I COULD fall back on in civvie life later (EMT/Paramedic), and more than that - that's the kind of "practical know-how" I'd like to have. Er, you might notice most of my posts are in the S&P section.
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Last edited by Grayson; 05-30-2008 at 15:55..
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Old 05-30-2008, 19:18   #7
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You need to be in very good shape for the Army, and fairly good shape for the AF. The medical crew on the AF side has a lot of options, all the way from PJs (spec ops, the dudes who jump out of helos after downed pilots. Basically, super combat medics with guns) down to the standard motrin dispensing moron. Combat medics in the Army get treated just like grunts......except you get more crap to carry.

Having filled the squad medic role in deployment training, i was actually fairly good at it, but I'd rather be on the lead-dispensing end, not the fixer-upper side.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WNC_Ghostbuster View Post
Darn it, I keep forgetting to ask...

I wear contacts all the time now. No dice in the army, right? I'll need to go back to glasses?

As for MOS...

Would I have some advantage in the service already going in as a CPhT and 'transferring' that over?

Still...I don't know if I could hack it, but for some reason the idea of being a combat medic has been kind of appealing to me.

That would be something I COULD fall back on in civvie life later (EMT/Paramedic), and more than that - that's the kind of "practical know-how" I'd like to have. Er, you might notice most of my posts are in the S&P section.

You can come in the Army wearing contact lenses. You CAN NOT wear them in basic training, in the field or while deployed.

As far as getting Lasik, PRK or any of the other eye surgeries you can get those when you come in.....for free. Most of my Soldiers (I am a 1SG here at Ft. Bragg) who are eligible for the surgery have had it done.

Remember this: A recruiter is trying to sell the Army to you....not a specific job. You need to do your research and find out what you would like to do.

As far as your leaning towards being a combat medic goes I can jst tell you that I have a lot of respect for my medics. n my last trip to Afghanistan I had 29 Soldiers in my company wounded, and my medics performed extremely well. We left a couple of limbs behind, but all the Soldiers came home in large part to the efficiency and bravery of the field medic.

Regardless of which branch or job you choose you can make things easier on yourself by getting in shape. Your Drill Sergeants ( I was one from 1995-1998) will help you out in that regard but if you are in better shape now, it wil be easier on you later.

Do push-us, sit-ups and running. Add sme pull-ups, dips and squats as well.

Most importantly have a good attitude and remember......every day has to come to an end...eventually.

Good Luck
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:59   #9
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Air Force now accepts a certain form of LASIK for its Pilot Candidates. I had PRK, its been two years and I have never looked back. If you have a College degree, you should think about commissioning as an officer. The Air Force/Army both offer Officer Training Schools. I think it is 12 weeks long. If you focusing of enlisting and not commissioning, there are lots of cool enlisted jobs. Pick one you will enjoy and can apply in the "real world", but I see you have thought of that already. Good Luck
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:01   #10
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Lasik cuts your eye open (a flap) PRK does not as far as I know, which is why it's allowed, the flap in your eye, no matter how healed, if subjected to airstream from a blown cockpit or whatever, theoretically could rip back open from what I've been told.
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:17   #11
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Quote:
Lasik cuts your eye open (a flap)
*shudders* I mean, I knew that anyway, but still gives me the willies to think about it...

Armed Forces or not, that's a big part of why I'm in NO hurry to get any kind of eye surgery. But I can see how it would be a great help either way. I have a co-worker that had LASIK and she's had no major problems that I know of.
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Old 06-01-2008, 22:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMurphy View Post
Lasik cuts your eye open (a flap) PRK does not as far as I know, which is why it's allowed, the flap in your eye, no matter how healed, if subjected to airstream from a blown cockpit or whatever, theoretically could rip back open from what I've been told.
That has been Un-Mythed. The Air Force Now ACCEPTS LASIK for Pilots.

If you don't like the flap idea, try complete eye skin removal, lol. That is what PRK is... I had that done as I stated above. PRK takes about a week to heal, because the skin has to grow back. With LASIK, the skin flap is just "put back", that brings heal time down to hours.
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Old 06-01-2008, 22:49   #13
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I'd go Air Force. Better standard of living. If you go Air Force medical, you'll eventually fall in love with some AF nurse.


Good thing.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:07   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman View Post
I'd go Air Force. Better standard of living. If you go Air Force medical, you'll eventually fall in love with some AF nurse.


Good thing.
Depends on what you want from your standard of living, of course. You can have carpet and air conditioning at home.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:48   #15
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Well, as far as I knew (from two captains and a lieutenant who was fresh from fighter transition school) that was what they told me. Not being a pilot, didn't really matter to me, the only time I'm concerned with fighters is on the ground.
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Old 06-02-2008, 21:05   #16
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You in Maintenance?
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Old 06-02-2008, 21:11   #17
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Seriously look at the Air Force. Don't let the recruiters talk you into the hero stuff. One day you will get out and what you did the military will matter to get a job. It is easier to find a good paying one if you did something while you were in the service that translates to a civilian job.

Take it for whats its worth from this former Infantry Officer.
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Old 06-02-2008, 21:48   #18
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Want to be a Medic in the Army? I say go for it! (Not that I'm biased )

But seriously, I enlisted when I was 27 and not in smokin' shape either. I wasn't a lump, but I had let myself go a bit. It was hard at first, but I got over it and did fine in basic. Just took a lot of work and yes, the DS's definitely helped.

If you want to know more about what becoming an Army Medic is like, check out the forums at military.com > Army > Medics or PM me and I'll tell ya what I know. I'm still in TRADOC for my ASI (M6) so I haven't been to a unit yet, but I do know what happens in AIT and stuff like that.

But enlisting in any branch is a big change, so take your time and be as prepared as you can before you contact a recruiter. And be FIRM with them. Don't let them push you around. Know what matters to YOU. And good luck!
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:04   #19
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USAF Security Forces.....not a maintenance geek.
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Old 06-03-2008, 15:33   #20
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Well, I'm a ROTC NAZI. Pardon the term, but I imagine that you active duty guys view us ROTC cadets as a bunch of TOOLS, lol. I got two years till commissioning. Find my job out in March. *crosses fingers* I'm not interested in Security Forces, but I damn well respect you guys. It's a real demanding career field. Keep Up the good work!
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Old 06-03-2008, 19:10   #21
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I reserve that level of stupidity for Academy grads.
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Old 06-03-2008, 20:58   #22
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Ha, don't we all.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:34   #23
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Dude, you're Air Force, not Army.

Check out AF Specialty Code 1C2X1 if you can get over that vision and swimming thing while you're young.

Either way you can be 1C1X1.

Check that out, too.
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Old 06-04-2008, 16:17   #24
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The Air Force has an AFSC for pharmacy, 4P0X1. They work in the clinic. You'd probably have to go to the Air Force's tech school for it, but everyone has to go to tech school.

I joined at 28. As long as you are in shape or can get in shape, and make an effort, you'll make it.

I've been in the Army Reserve and in the Air National Guard. I wouldn't give up my Army time, but am glad I "crossed into the blue."
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Old 06-06-2008, 13:01   #25
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I joined the AF in 1975. My recruiter told me it would be the fastest 6 weeks of my life. Within the first hour I was at Lackland, my TI told us we would be there for 8 weeks. My recruiter forgot to tell me that weekends do not count. Also, your TI knows more about your mama than you do.
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