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Thread: Questions about active duty????

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    #1

    Nutts Questions about active duty????

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    Alright everybody,
    So DB currently is in the national guard with less then a year left. We recently started talking about the possibility of trying to go active duty. We are both pretty unfamiliar to it so we just wanted to get some information, our appointments with the recruiters are on Friday.He has a degree so we would like to go the officer route.
    How did you guys all pick what branch?(if you guys decided together) DB is leaning toward Air Force, Navy or Army.
    What is the process of going the officer route?
    I also know not all the branches are looking for officers, but which are more likely to have openings?
    What is active duty life like for family's?
    ups and downs of everything?

    Sorry for all the questions but we are just flooding with them right now.
    If anyone would like to DM me instead i would really appreciate it.
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    #2
    All branches have openings for Os. I will depend on the job he wants to do.

    Be aware that it can take a very long time. I am mostly familiar with Naval aviation, but I know in that field, it often takes a year or more from package being submitted to leaving for OCS. And the process of getting together a package and waiting for a board to meet and select candidates can add months as well.

    Make sure you meet with an O recruiter. I can't stress that enough. An E recruiter might tell you he can help you, but you want an O recruiter. I can't stress that enough. If he wants to go O, talk only to an O recruiter. You'll likely need to talk to a different recruiter for each branch unless he decides what he wants to do and narrows it down.

    The process (for Navy, at least) is basically gathering the necessary info, taking any required aptitude tests, and then submitting your application (aka package). Periodically (it varies based on the job and on how many people the Navy needs) boards meet to review the packages and select the best ones. Those people then get a professional recommendation. After that, they wait for an OCS date. This can be 6+months out in some cases. After OCS, they will go to a school to learn their job, which can take months or up to 2+ years.

    Generally, when you submit a package, you can list more than one job category. So you might list aviation as #1, follow by SWO (sSurface Warfare Officer--basically the ship driver and workers) as #2 and Intel as #3. some specialties won't consider you if they are listed below 1 or 2. That's the kind of thing a recruiter can help you with.

    With the Navy at least (not sure other branches), if you become an officer via OCS (instead or the Academy or NROTC), you are guaranteed a spot in a specific job. You know, for example, that you have a pilot slot waiting for you, assuming you complete OCS and are medically qualified.
    .
    At some point in there (before OCS), there will also by a physical.

    As for the life, it depends so much on the branch and the job that it is so very hard to say. IMO, the navy overall has the best locations. Very few small town, middle of nowhere bases. The AF has the best and nicest bases. But even within a branch, some jobs may move all the time and to crappy locations, other may move less often and/or only be available in 4 locations, all of which are decent.

    It seems like most people do the research before they meet with a recruiter. They have an idea of what jobs they might want to do. I'd encourage your DH to figure out what types of work interest him and then do research on whether those jobs exist in each service. And then he should research what he can about the culture of each service and see what is a better fit. The AF, for example, is much more business-like. The Marines (I know you didn't list that) are super military gung-ho.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #3
    Thank you sooo much that was really helpful!!!
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    #4
    I'm active duty Army, but I am enlisted not an officer. So I can't really answer questions about that for you, because I have not actually gone through the process. I only know from what I'm told.

    Everyone always asks me why I picked the Army over any other branch. And I still haven't found a good way to answer them. At the time that I chose, there wasn't the knowledge I have now that confirms for me I made the right decision. At the time, I chose the Army because I never even once considered another branch. The thought to research or try other branches just.. never even crossed my mind.

    Now, I still tell people I'd chose the Army all over again. I like the challenge this branch brings, I like the job options of this branch, I like that you get to actually CHOOSE your job for sure rather than having it chosen for you. But how much of this applies to your DH's situation when going officer? That he would have to decide for himself.

    Ups and downs of the Army as a whole? Ups and downs of active duty? Ups and downs of being an officer? That is a pretty broad question. Would you be more specific?
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    From a spouse perspective, I like the AF. It is often called the "Chair force" which doesn't apply to all the jobs, but even in the non office jobs, they seem to be treated slightly....nicer. I don't know how to phrase it to not offend anyone else's branch DH works with other branches, and I often get to talk to them and swap stories. In my experience, DH always gets his own hotel room for training whereas other branches would get shared rooms, sleeping in a field across from the base hotel, etc... Just generally a bit nicer hours, accommodations, etc...Deployments also seem to be, I suppose just more standardized in length, which I like as well.

    They all have ups and downs. I'm sure I focus on the good parts of the AF and the bad parts of other branches for my own sanity

    No advice on officer views. Going AD from prior service is really challenging, DH made it through that red tape gauntlet a few years back and it was ...we were really happy when it was over.
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    #6
    Villanelle is correct. He will need to meet with an O recruiter. Any time someone with a degree walks into DH's recruiting office, he has to send them straight to an OSO (Officer Selection Officer).

    As far as what it's like for a spouse? I'll start with the bad: You'll move somewhere new every x years. Depending on his job, your DH may work 5/6/7 day work weeks with unpredictable hours. Every now and then your DH will be sent away for days/weeks/months for training. And then there's always deployments...
    The good: You will get help with school. Your medical is covered. Your housing is taken care of. Your DH has job security. You will get to meet a lot of new people and experience new things...
    Your experience will be what you make of it. If you can learn how to become independent and self reliant, then you will thrive.




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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SamanthaAniwaya View Post
    I'm active duty Army, but I am enlisted not an officer. So I can't really answer questions about that for you, because I have not actually gone through the process. I only know from what I'm told.

    Everyone always asks me why I picked the Army over any other branch. And I still haven't found a good way to answer them. At the time that I chose, there wasn't the knowledge I have now that confirms for me I made the right decision. At the time, I chose the Army because I never even once considered another branch. The thought to research or try other branches just.. never even crossed my mind.

    Now, I still tell people I'd chose the Army all over again. I like the challenge this branch brings, I like the job options of this branch, I like that you get to actually CHOOSE your job for sure rather than having it chosen for you. But how much of this applies to your DH's situation when going officer? That he would have to decide for himself.

    Ups and downs of the Army as a whole? Ups and downs of active duty? Ups and downs of being an officer? That is a pretty broad question. Would you be more specific?


    I chose my job in the Navy as did my husband.
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    #8
    Thank you everyone i really appreciate all the information!!!
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BraveLilToaster View Post

    I chose my job in the Navy as did my husband.
    To my understanding (and when I was researching which branch to join), the Army was the only branch that guarantees your specific MOS. The others asked me to choose a "job area" and would then place me in the sub-specialty available. I think that is what she was referring to. Officer selection works a bit differently though as far as selecting their "branch" within the service selected.

    Another thing about the Army... he can go Warrant Officer instead of Commissioned. It is the ONLY branch with this option. Why would he do that? Army pilots for example are either WO's or CO's. Many commissioned pilots give up their commission to become a warrant because typically the warrants fly more, while the commissioned guys get stuck in the crappy command jobs half of the time. My old commander is one such example who gave up his commission. So, if he wants to be a pilot for instance, warrant might be a good option.

    Air Force has the highest quality of life (both at home, and deployed). By a long shot. Army has more variety is jobs, and a lot of possibilities as far as locations go. Navy gets to see interesting places and some people get to operate on super badass aircraft carriers (but living in super tiny rooms, ha).

    If I did it all over again, I would have gone Air Force no doubt. The Army was great because I was specifically interested in attack helicopters but the quality of life just isn't nearly as high. To put it in perspective, I spent 2 months of my Iraq tour at a primarily USAF base and they had a STEAK RESTAURANT, a HOOKAH BAR, DFAC's with REAL SILVERWARE AND PLATES, and the Air Force guys lived in CHUs (basically trailers) while we were stuck sucking in mud-bottomed GP medium tents with no AC because a mortar blew up our generator. LOL. It's a totally different experience. Go in any Air Force office vs. and Army office and be immediately shocked at how casual and less stressful it is on the USAF side.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Aviatrix View Post
    To my understanding (and when I was researching which branch to join), the Army was the only branch that guarantees your specific MOS. The others asked me to choose a "job area" and would then place me in the sub-specialty available. I think that is what she was referring to. Officer selection works a bit differently though as far as selecting their "branch" within the service selected.

    Another thing about the Army... he can go Warrant Officer instead of Commissioned. It is the ONLY branch with this option. Why would he do that? Army pilots for example are either WO's or CO's. Many commissioned pilots give up their commission to become a warrant because typically the warrants fly more, while the commissioned guys get stuck in the crappy command jobs half of the time. My old commander is one such example who gave up his commission. So, if he wants to be a pilot for instance, warrant might be a good option.

    Air Force has the highest quality of life (both at home, and deployed). By a long shot. Army has more variety is jobs, and a lot of possibilities as far as locations go. Navy gets to see interesting places and some people get to operate on super badass aircraft carriers (but living in super tiny rooms, ha).

    If I did it all over again, I would have gone Air Force no doubt. The Army was great because I was specifically interested in attack helicopters but the quality of life just isn't nearly as high. To put it in perspective, I spent 2 months of my Iraq tour at a primarily USAF base and they had a STEAK RESTAURANT, a HOOKAH BAR, DFAC's with REAL SILVERWARE AND PLATES, and the Air Force guys lived in CHUs (basically trailers) while we were stuck sucking in mud-bottomed GP medium tents with no AC because a mortar blew up our generator. LOL. It's a totally different experience. Go in any Air Force office vs. and Army office and be immediately shocked at how casual and less stressful it is on the USAF side.
    The Navy lets you pick your rate (job or MOS for you guys) and guarantees it unless you don't score good on the ASVAB. Then you're at the mercy of where they want to put you. Score good and you have your choice of jobs when you sign up, it goes in your contract. It's been that way for at least 2 decades that I know of from personal experience, though I'm sure it's been that way for quite some time.

    As for second bolded, no you are completely wrong. Navy has Warrant Officers as well.

    You seem to have the Army info down since that is the branch you belong to, but I'd hesitate to give information on other branches if I were you, especially since you seem to be misinformed about a lot when it comes to the Navy.
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