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A Day in the Life of a Air Force-Enlisted

There are dozens of completely different jobs available to a high-school graduate in the Air Force. The apprentice system puts one under the command of an officer in a variety of jobs. For example, in the Administrative field are such positions as Operations Resource Management Apprentice, who keeps tracks missions and flight personnel, and Radio Communications Systems Apprentice, who helps to run radio and satellite communications. The Operations/Support field includes personnel such as Helicopter Maintenance Apprentices and Fuels Apprentices, who are responsible for storage and maintenance of fuel operations. There are also numerous jobs available in Operations, including intelligence and surveillance. Systems careerists will work with machines that chart the weather, launch missiles, and detect threats to the country. In short, those who expect to fly a plane as an enlistee should be prepared for disappointment, as all of the flying jobs go to officers.

Paying Your Dues

In order to join the Air Force, enlistees have to sign an enlistment contract, which in most cases involves a commitment to 8 years of service. Depending on the terms of the contract, 2 to 6 years are spent on active duty and the rest spent in the Air Force Reserves. The enlistment contract obligates the Air Force to provide the agreed-upon job, rank, pay, cash bonuses for enlistment in certain occupations, medical and other benefits, occupational training, and continuing education. In exchange, enlisted personnel must serve satisfactorily for the specified period of time.

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

"The Air Force is a way of life," says its official website. Unlike in some other branches of the armed forces, the Air Force allows one's spouse and children to share that way of life by allowing them to live on base after their loved one has gone through the basic 6-12 week training course. Of course, the Air Force can decide to station you at any one of its bases, and there are 56 bases widely distributed in the continental United States.

FIVE YEARS OUT

As the pay progressively increases for every year served as well as any promotion in rank, the Air Force enlistee continues to enjoy other benefits of military service, including extensive health, medical, dental and life insurance. There are also sick days, and a month-long paid vacation every year. There are also numerous opportunities to finish your education if you dropped out of college to join the Air Force. There is also up to $200,000 dollars of insurance available for a fee of $16 a day.

TEN YEARS OUT

Most Air Force enlistees don’t stay with the service for this long, but if one wants to make a career out of enlistment it can be done, and opportunities for promotion do exist. Expect placement at a desk job after this long. 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.