Tell your daughter to get a guaranteed AFSC (the job she wants to do) - and not be talked into “Open General” - it could be a looooong 4 years! I was active duty AF from 1995 - 1999. It was a good use of 4 years - I became responsible, got a GI Bill and a VA Home Loan. Basic Training was unnerving for me because I was 18 and fresh from my parents home. Don’t send cookies but do send lots of supportive mail - Basic makes you feel very isolated (intention and effective). Good Luck to her!
Prepare her for a very demanding two months. The physical, mental, and emotional stress is a challenge for all. This is a great opportunity and a tremendous contribution. Write her every day. Mail is a huge deal. Our Drill Sergeants made us do push-ups if we had no mail at mail call. They told us to write people and tell them to write us…morale issue. They are really into sleep deprivation so she should expect to run on about 3 hours a night, maybe four. Tell her to pay attention to details…be perceptive but not eager. They really punished eager “suck-up” types. From what I hear, Air Force is more humane in the training than Army…I hope so. Overall, this was one of the most significant experiences I have ever had. I think almost everyone should serve their country.
Tell her thanks. Good Luck.
Thank you all so much for your wonderful responses
Mr. Adoptamom and I have adjusted to the idea of her joining the Air Force and now share her (and your!) enthusiasm. I have shared all of your posts with her and she also extends her gratitude for your honest advice and experiences. She is really pumped up and excited now
We will definately schedule our family vacation to coincide with her graduation from basic.
Sounds like congrats are in order for you, too, Space Ghost!
One additional question please - my daughter has asked if any of you can shed any light on this situation:
Since she is going in with 50+ college credits - if she completes her education (earning her degree) during her four year hitch - will her rank immediately go up or will they hold that out as a “carrot” for her to re-enlist?
Also :::: a question from me - starting at the bottom (Cadet?) and working toward the top, will someone share the order of ranks with me?
Her rank won’t go up automaticaly. It does help on your EPR’s (Enlisted Preformance? Review?) though and it is HIGHLY encouraged to go to school.
Air Force Enlisted Rank are as follows:
E-3=Airman 1st Class
E-8=Senior Master Sgt
E-9=Chief Master Sgt
If they haven’t changed the rules, if she goes in with 45+ college credits she will go in as an E-3(A1C) and E-4(SrA) will be automatically given to her at her 2 year mark (unless she gets in trouble). The rest of the ranks you have to test for. Its a 2 part test. 1st part is career orientated and the 2nd part is general millitary(Air Force) knowledge.
Sleep deprivation is not common practice in AF Basic Training. (At least it wasn’t in 1985.) We had seven or eight hours from lights out until reveille.
AF Basic Training is only moderately physically challenging. The longest distance I had to run was 3 miles.
I didn’t find it too traumatic overall. The old “break you down and build you back up” thing is true to some extent, but it’s not that bad. That was my personal experience. Different people have different perceptions about how tough it is. Training Instructors will vary also.
The hardest part for me was the lack of free time. Nearly every hour of your day is planned to the minute.
In Tech School they gradually ease up on restrictions. There are “phases” with progressively more privileges as you move along. (The theory is that people will go berserk if they go from Basic to freedom all at once.) They still manage to eat up a lot of your free time with pointless chores.
After Tech School she’ll go to her first duty assignment. THEN she can go nuts.
Which reminds me, Basic Training and Tech School are NOT the “real Air Force.” That’s something for her to keep in mind if she gets discouraged. After Tech School I’ve had very few inspections, never marched in formation, and never had mandatory group physical training.
I assume the recruiter told her how much her paycheck is gonna be.
One last thing: There’s a reason that they call the Assignment Preference Worksheet a “Dreamsheet.” Here’s a link with info on Airman assignments.
Congratulations to your daughter and good luck in her new career!
Don’t worry, it’s all provided for you up here. They literally throw so much cold weather gear, you need a pickup truck to haul it around. I know, 'cause I just bought one for the purpose.
I work with the Airfield Ops people. I may run into her.
Okay, it’s been 21 years since my separation date, but I don’t recall hearing that the USAF had done away with E-4 Sergeant (also known as Buck Sergeant). I also advise getting a guaranteed AFSC - don’t let her sign without knowing exactly what she’ll be doing for the next few years.
Does your daughter have any musical ability? Particularly brass or drums? She may be given the opportunity to volunteer for Drum & Bugle Corps - take it. It will get her out of all K.P., most weeds & seeds detail, may get her off base to represent Lackland and the USAF in some civilian function. She will have to do a few parades and retreat ceremonies, but the trade-off is worth it.
-mdf USAF 1978-1981
Yup, mdfBuck Sergeants are a thing of the past. I went from SrA to SSGT. Sra’s have the old Sgt. chevrons.
your daughter will probably benifit greatly from the experience and opportunity to travel. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.