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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I'm going to keep all my questions in this thread from now on. That way I won't keep making threads clogging up the boards. I'll just add here when I have something new to ask.

Alrighty, so today I chatted with an army recruiter. He couldn't tell me too much about officers because he wasn't one and the guy who usually talks about officer questions wasn't there. But none-the-less this guy was pretty cool. Even though I happened to catch him just as he was getting ready to go home plus he had his little 4 year old sick daughter there with him.

Enough rambling. When I was talking about being commissioned he suggested I enlist first. That way I get signing bonuses plus I get my student loans paid off. Then after my ATI which he said would probably be 6 months after I joined I could then submit my OCS packet and then become an officer. I like the idea of that. Spend a year as enlisted which he said I would go in as E-4 at the least and then after ATI become an officer.

If I go in as an officer I'll start out at 2343 a month with no loans being paid by the army. I'd be dropping at least 500 a month towards loans and my loans are more than 30k. But as an E4 I'd make 1612 a month minus 100 a month for the first year but no more loan. Suggestions? Problems with spending the 1st 6months to a year as enlisted then going to officer? He also couldn't think of anything that directly used my degree so I will have to decide what I would like to do.

If the pay is 1612 a month what is really take home? How much does a single no dependent person get taxed in the military? And is insurance for bikes and trucks cheaper in the military?
 

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I think it's a very good idea to go enlisted first. My friend's brother in law is doing the same thing, but in the Marines. While I was active duty I had a lot more respect for Officers who were enlisted first. I think it makes for a better leader, to see how things are from the point of view from "the average Joe".
 

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While I can't say how it is in the army. I do know that its very competetive among air force enlisted personnel to get school paid for. We only had a few prior E people my rotc unit and I'm not aware of one down here among the ots grads I know.

On the $$$ side, I believe the figure you posted above is base pay. In most cases, you'll also get a basic allowance for subsistance (BAS), basic allowance for housing (BEH), and other special duty pay.

Let me know if you want to know anything specific about the air force commissioning sources - I can probably help you out. If its army or navy, well, I've got friends from school who are now in the army and I'm AT a navy base.
 

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Ther is nothing wrong with going enlisted first. That is what I did for five plus years prior to getting out to getting a commision. However one thing I will tell you is if you are being told you can get a commision after six months get it in writing! Otherwise you will have a contract for X years and they have no obligation to send you to OCS. I know of at least one person who applied twice without approval to go to OCS (AF side though - and now it does appear they are aloowing more people to make the crossover)

As for which way to go from the start, it is entirely up to you and you will have to make the descion that is best for you. Alot of branches are offering signing bonuses (for certain carreer fields) and some even help pay student loans paid off, though not all at once - I believe it is a certain percentage per year (unless things have changed).

As for pay, Officers tend to make more upfront (ie Mil pay, BAS, BAQ) Enlisted will generally have housing and Substance provided for them (chow hall/dorms). As for take home pay - that depends on a couple things but it works out very similar for the equivlent in the civilian side (federal taxes have certain tax brackets (%s) for certain income levels. Now if you deploy to a combat area that is a different answer. And for insurance, there is isnt a military discount for insurance that I am aware of.

One last thing with recruiters, Make sure you ask questions since they sometimes tend not to finish their sentences. For example, you can choose any job in the af if you go in open general. the part forgotenten to say was...from the list they give you when you get there. Not all 100% of the jobs are on that sheet. Anyway, good luck in your desision
 

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That way I get signing bonuses plus I get my student loans paid off. Then after my ATI which he said would probably be 6 months after I joined I could then submit my OCS packet and then become an officer. I like the idea of that. Spend a year as enlisted which he said I would go in as E-4 at the least and then after ATI become an officer.


Becareful, THESE GUYS LIKE TO BLOW SMOKE UP PEOPLES ARSE FOR A LIVING. The last i heard for the Air Force is that no matter what your not going to join the enlisted core and start with any more than a E-3 paygrade; although may be different in other services!? Talk to some people that are already in if you have the opportunity personally. They have no reason to ly to ya. good luck in whatever you decide. Late
 

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I wouldn't go enlisted first. In the Navy there is 2 kinds of recruiters, actually 3 kinds. They will all try and feed you BS just to recruit you and satisfy there quotes. It is pretty hard in the Navy to come in enlisted than go officer.
 

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In Army Basic, they pulled all the recruits that had 4 year degrees aside for a special briefing and gave them the option of trying out for OCS. Noone took them up on it though, they all wanted to stay enlisted. I had one guy in my Basic platoon that was 27 and had a MASTERS Degree, he turned them down and ended up in 1st Ranger Battalion.
 

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I'm no expert but I am prior Army and my wife and brother are still Army. So I'll try and pass on some info as best I can. As a single soldier your base pay is all you get. Unlike my cousin who gets BAS and such being in the Airforce. The reason for that is since your meals are provided for you (three a day in the dining facility) the Army doesn't pay you for them. Also since you're single you don't get BAQ which is what married soldiers get (BAQ is basic allowance for quaters) since once again the Army is giving you a room in the barracks. Now as an E-4 straight out of AIT you can put in a packet for OCS or Warrant Officer but that's not a guarantee you'll get it. "The Army's needs come first", get used to hearing that. Now on the bright side the Army's needs are pretty big right now so if you play your cards right you should be able to swing a nice enlistment bonus and possibly station of choice. I personally took a two year contract over a bonus just to feel things out and believe me two years went by quick. Also reenlistment bonuses are pretty sweet so if you do a short contract say two or three years you can allways negotiate that ocs packet called going green to gold in your reenlistment contract. Lastly I think all officers should be mandated to be enlisted for some length of time, the experience can only help you be a better officer; and as a previous poster stated I also respected officers who were prior enlisted much more. Hope this helped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, I take the ASVAB in about 2 weeks. They wanted me to take it today but no way in hell. I want to be able to study even if I only get in 10mins of study time between now and then. My question is what score should I be happy with on the ASVAB? I'm guessing I will make around 85 or so easily. Should I be happy with a score around that if I'm wanting to go for OCS after a year or so enlisted? Or should I shoot for the 90 area? I'm not sure what score I should be happy with considering I want OCS sometime in the future. If I make below 80 I know I will retake the ASVAB.

The recuiter is trying too damn hard to rush me to sign up. He wasn't happy that I wanted to wait 2 weeks before taking the ASVAB. Plus, he thinks he can get me to go to MEPS April 3-4. I hate it for him but he is going to be pissed cause I'm not going to MEPS until around my graduation. Which is May 13th. I'm still not sure which job field I want to go into yet either. I'll make another post on that later looking for suggestions.
 

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Here is the "truth". Yes, you can do this. Right now, I have gotten the military to pay my student loans and an enlistment bonus at the completion of my "A" school. The student loan payoff is 1/3 every year after the first year. So, I will be in for 3 years by the time this is paid off. You lose that if you go officer. The enlistment bonus you will lose if you were to go to OCS before the completion of your MOS/A school. Odds are, you will have to be a solid recruit/student/soldier/sailor/airman/Marine in order to go to OCS from the enlisted side. Be prepared to spend more than 6 months because the military isn't real keen on spending a bunch of money to train you to do something you don't do, and then go officer for more training.
 

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Just get everything in writing, that cannot be emphasized enough. It would be pretty unfortunate to go in thinking you're on the path to become an officer, and end up being forced to serve out your contract as an enlisted man when that's not what you wanted to do. Recruiters love to throw out all kinds of promises and then the second you sign, it's all gone. They're trying to get as many warm bodies into the service while giving as few costly incentives as possible. You can't really fault 'em for it any more than you can fault a car dealer for trying to sell cars. Just realize that your motives and his motives aren't necessarily aligned, and work with him always keeping that in mind. If you want perks, you're going to have to be assertive and get them in writing!

So...trust but verify. Get as much info as you can from neutral sources. www.usmilitary.about.com has a HUGE wealth of information and it's not affiliated with DOD. I spent hours on that site before I enlisted and I'd highly recommend it. Of course, active duty/former military friends are also a good resource.

I think going enlisted could be a good experience. This is from the Marine side but I'm sure it applies elsewhere; it may be great to be a soldier/marine/whatever, but it definitely sucks being a boot. You can only take enough of "new guy, sweep this" and "new guy, go fix what I just broke" before you want to choke someone. Yes, that will pass, but as a junior enlisted man you are going to have to put up with a lot of crap. If you have the personality to deal with it, you'll come out better for it. Just try and keep a positive outlook.
 
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