Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2T2- Air Transportation

The job I chose with the Air Force Reserve is Air Transportation. One of the reasons I chose that particular job is because of the financial benefits that come with it. The job comes with an enlistment bonus, plus Uncle Sam will put money towards my federal student loans. Even if I don't switch over to Active Duty, it will be nice to have assistance in paying off loans. Also, the job description sounded interesting, although it's a bit ironic that I had to switch from active duty to the Air Force Reserve in order to get a job that deals with airplanes.

As I currently am lacking in first hand experience regarding Air Transportation, the following is the job description as listed on

"Career Description
You have to get the beans and the bullets to the troops, and Air Transportation specialists do just that. From food, water and medical supplies to HUMVEEs and helicopters, you'll be responsible for securely packing cargo so that it can be loaded and transported safely and quickly. And since the Air Force has bases around the world, you could easily find yourself doing your job overseas.

Career Tasks
  • Inspect aircraft cargo and mail to verify eligibility and proper documentation, packaging and marking
  • Determine quantity and type of cargo to be loaded according to allowable aircraft cabin load
  • Select and palletize loads and coordinate with air transportation clearance authority on diversion of cargo
  • Load and unload aircraft using materials handling and loading equipment
  • Review travel documentation for validity and accuracy and check in passengers and baggage."

Basically I will be assisting with loading and unloading passengers & cargo. Some people claim this isn't that great of a job, but I think a lot of it is based upon what you make of it. As I learn more about the job, and get some experience I will make sure to give a first hand account as an Air-Trans specialist.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Choices & Decisions

When I was released from my contract with the active duty Air Force, I had a few options available if I still wanted to join the military. I had already decided against the Army, while the Marine Corps, and Coast Guard never interested me. If I still wanted to go active duty military that left the US Navy. Aside from that, the California Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve were also viable choices.

There were some things the Navy had to offer which were attractive. Unlike the Air Force, the Navy allows you to choose your job and they don't have a restriction on your income/debt ratio. I was also told by the recruiter that after you finish A-school, which is your initial job training, you get some choice as to where you will be stationed based upon your academic performance. I'm an Air Force brat, but my Grandfather served in the Navy so I would still be keeping my military service in the family.

The Air Guard and the Air Force Reserve are both part time options, but I would still be in the Air Force and would have the option of switching over to Active Duty once I paid down my loans. After talking with all three recruiters, and giving the situation some thought and prayer I decided to join the Air Force Reserve.

The Reserve and Guard both were offering me some of the same jobs but since the Reserve are Federally funded they had deeper pockets. Plus the Reserve unit is bigger and more active than the Guard so I'm likely to get more experience.

Once the decision was made, I called back the local Reserve recruiter and set up a second meeting to formally switch over. It was a much easier process the second time around as I didn't have to start the process over. In order to get together the necessary items that were already complete the reserve recruiter talked with the active duty recruiter I had been working with, as well as the people at MEPS.

On 30 May 2012, I made my way to the Recruiter's office and enlisted in the Air Force Reserve. As I was switching over, I had to sign a new contract and once again take the oath of enlistment. As the oath has to be administered by an officer, the recruiter called in a gentleman who was a retired Army Warrant Officer to do the honors. Once all that was completed, I was officially a member of the US Air Force Reserve. I am assigned to the 349th Air Mobility Wing based out of Travis AFB.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DEP & Beyond

As there is a waiting period between the time you sign your contract and leave for Basic Training, the military has what is called the Delayed Entry Program. There doesn't appear to be much standardization in how DEP is run as it is mainly up to the individual recruiters. In my DEP group we didn't do a whole lot.
Normally every two weeks we would be given a day and time span during which we were expected to show up. Before signing in we would step on the scale to ensure we were within the weight requirements as set forth by the Air Force. Often the concern is not to exceed the maximum weight, but for skinny people like me we had to make sure we didn't drop below the minimum weight. If there was any additional paperwork that was required, we would take care of it during the meeting. Several times during the meetings, Airmen who recently completed Basic Training and Tech School would show up to give us advice on what to expect. On top of that, they would also tell tall tales regarding Basic Training.

In January 2012, I signed my second contract which told me what job I had been assigned and when I was leaving for BMT. I was supposed to leave on April 10, 2102 and after BMT would be going to Goodfellow Air Force Base for Tech School to learn how to do Operations Intelligence. I had a hard time finding information about the job as a lot of the information is classified. It was scary and exciting when I realized in 2.5 months I would be leaving for Basic.

However, in the end of February those plans came to an abrupt halt. The Air Force ran a second credit check and realized that I had student loans from college. It wasn't that I was delinquent on my loans, rather it was simply the amount of loans that was the issue. Turns out the Active Duty Air Force has restrictions on an applicant's income/debt ratio. After spending 2 months trying to find a way around this restriction, and failing, I was released from my contract with Active Duty. After doing some research into both the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, I decided to join the Air Force Reserve. It wasn’t' my first choice, but hopefully it will allow me to switch to Active Duty in a few years.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Greetings one and all,

          This blog is designed to keep friends & family updated throughout my time with the United States Air Force, and possibly in the future serve as a resource for future Airmen who are starting the recruiting process. 
            My journey into the military has been somewhat unique, so I shall give a brief overview of what led me to this point.

          Upon graduation from college in May of 2011 and unsure of my future I decided to look into joining the Air Force. After several false starts, I was able to set up a meeting with the local active duty recruiter and begin the enlistment process. The process consisted primarily of filling out many pages of paperwork to ensure I was qualified to join the military. Aside from any financial or medical issues that could prevent someone from enlisting, Uncle Sam also wants to ensure you aren't connecting with anybody or any organization that is not on friendly terms with the United States. 

        When all the paperwork was completed and approved I was assigned a date to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB for short. Simply put the ASVAB is the military's version of the SAT or ACT. Every person who is wanting to enlist in the US military takes this test, regardless of their branch of service as your score is used to help determine your job. I took the test in August of '11 and received a score of 76. While not an outstanding score, it was high enough to qualify me for most jobs in the Air Force. After the ASVAB, it was mainly hurry up and wait until I could get in for a physical which didn't occur until late October. 
The night before the physical, I was put up in a hotel near the local MEPS. Standing for Military Entry Processing Station, it is where most recruits take the ASVAB and take their physical. The process is the same for all the branches who then interpret the results based upon their individual standards. If you are Active Duty, you will return to MEPS the morning you depart for Basic Military Training. The morning of the physical they gave everyone breakfast before we left for MEPS. Most of the people took the shuttle that was provided. However, since the local MEPS is only about an hour from home I drove myself to the hotel and then from there to MEPS. That way, once I was finished I could go straight home without any waiting.

 I was finished with the medical portion by 12:30, but that was not the end of my day. Once cleared by medical, I met with the Air Force liaison who gave me a list of jobs I was qualified for. My ASVAB scores were good, but since I'm color blind it greatly reduced the number of jobs I qualified for. From the master list of jobs, I wrote down seven that I was interested in. This list would be forwarded up the chain and compared against the needs of the Air Force. Once everything was finished with the liaison, I had one more task to complete. That task was to take the oath of enlistment. The oath was administered by the General who was in charge of the local MEPS. From that point on, I was in the DEP program.