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A Day in the Life of a Air Force-Officer

If you dream of flying an airplane off into the wild blue yonder in the service of your country, this is the place to start. The United States Air Force ranks among the finest in the world – some debate whether the U.S. or Israeli Air Force is the best and most prepared. All astronauts come from the Air Force, and many of the U.S.'s finest pilots train here as well. In the Air Force, you could find yourself flying a bomber, fighter, a helicopter or an experimental plane that no one else has ever flown. Being an officer in the Air Force can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it carries heavy responsibilities as well. You must be willing to take orders and to give them, and those without very strong leadership abilities will probably not be able to handle a commission.

Paying Your Dues

There are several ways to become a commissioned officer in the Air Force.  One is to attend the US Air Force Academy, a four-year college that trains cadets to be scholars as well as leaders. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) allows enrolled college students to become officers. Finally, for those out of college who want to enlist, there is Officer Training School. Some of these paths are shorter than others, but they are all arduous.

Present and Future

The advent of the United States Air Force came in World War One, when planes were used in Europe to strafe ground targets and for reconnaissance. In World War Two, air superiority served America well in both European and the Pacific theaters. Bombings helped to limit Axis production, and fighters were generally used as support for their operations. The Gulf War of 1991 is seen as the first war fought almost entirely with air power. The United States continues to utilize air support to enforce resolutions passed by the United Nations to preserve security in areas such as Iraq.

Quality of Life

PRESENT AND FUTURE

One can receive a commission in the Air Force through three different channels: Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), Officer Training School (OTS), and the Air Force Academy (AFA). AFROTC allows college students to become officers while still in college. Scholarships are available, but you must join the Air Force as an officer after you have finished college.  OTS is a twelve-week, in-depth training course for college graduates or enlistees who have shown remarkable leadership qualities. Finally, the AFA takes students out of high school and provides a college education as well as military training. The AFA recommends that you begin your physical training and heavy course load preparation as early as junior high school. A recommendation from a senator, congressperson, or the Vice President is necessary to gain admission.

FIVE YEARS OUT

After four years as an officer in the Air Force, one is almost guaranteed a promotion to First Lieutenant or higher (if he or she hasn’t earned it already). With more money and the privilege of rank comes increased responsibility.

TEN YEARS OUT

As an officer in the United States Air Force, one receives many perks. Monthly food allowances are provided, and all money received from the Air Force (except for the monthly paycheck) is tax free. An officer may choose to live on an air base, in which case he or she may do so for free. Officers who live off base receive allowances to help them pay for housing. There is also insurance available for $200,000 dollars for a fee of $16 a day. After twenty years of service, you may retire "and receive full retirement benefits." Retirement benefits for include a monthly paycheck (the amount is determined by time spent with AF, honorable/dishonorable discharge, rank, and other factors). There is also an Air Force retirement home, should you need one.