As one of the seven American uniformed services and the aerial service branch of the United States Armed Forces, there is great pride in belonging to the Air Force. It also happens to be one of the most technologically advanced air forces in the entire world with core functions in the following areas: Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Special Operations, Air Superiority, Global Integrated ISR, Space Superiority, Command and Control, Cyberspace Superiority, Personnel Recovery, Global Precision Attack, Building Partnerships, Rapid Global Mobility and Agile Combat Support. This branch of the military provides air support for surface forces and gives assistance in the recovery of troops in the field.
But other than offering national security, the Armed Forces is also a provider of many job opportunities for US citizens. Then again, being part of an organization whose purpose is to preserve peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States and its territories comes with its share of pros and cons.
List of Pros of the Air Force
1. It allows you to go to college for free.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers education benefits for service members who have been on active duty for 90 or more days since September 10, 2001. Through this bill, you can pay full tuition and fees at school, get a monthly housing allowance while going to school and receive up to $1,000 for a year to purchase books and supplies. The bill also provides a one-time relocation allowance so you can move to the location of your school.
Another great thing about the Post-9/11 GI Bill is it allows you to transfer unused benefits to family members. Lastly, it can be used for college or several other types of training.
As you can see, this benefit helps those who cannot afford to go to college or those who don’t want to be burdened by student loans. Then again, being able to go to college for free is just one of the considerations you have to weigh before joining the army. Yes, there are certain benefits but it’s always best to weigh the good with the bad.
2. It guarantees you get paid.
While you might not become a millionaire if you join the Air Force, one thing is for certain: you can expect a check every pay day. Although there were rumors about the government shutting down at certain points in the past, servicemen still got their paycheck.
We all know how hard it is to make ends meet these days but when you join the military, you’re guaranteed to see money in your account every first and fifteenth of the month. In other words, a career in the military offers job security. While the stability of other jobs depends on how the industry is performing and other factors, your stability depends on good conduct and service.
3. It provides you with free rent and utilities.
The government will not only pay for your rent, but they will also give you a certain amount of money to pay for utilities. However, this benefit is not for everybody because it is applicable to those who are married and those who have a high rank. But if you do fall under those categories, you can keep what’s left of the utility money if you didn’t spend it all.
Lastly, you also get allowance for clothing each year to spend on uniforms. However, since everything is cared for, this “clothing allowance” can be used for other means.
4. It offers lots of paid time off.
The average paid vacation leave for US workers is around 16 days. On the other hand, the military offers 2.5 days of leave each month. Meaning, you get about 30 days paid leave every year. Not only that, you are given free leave days to use for looking for a house when you arrive at a duty station (this is also provided to you when you have a child and this applies to both parents).
Lastly, as long as you command allows it, you can rack up as much as 75 leave days, plus there is no clause forbidding you to use all of it up in one year.
5. It provides for discounts and you get free health care.
Almost anywhere you go in the country, you get a discount if you are part of the military. This applies to almost all establishments, be it gardens, museums, restaurants and even flights. It’s a nice gesture for those who are serving the country.
Health care is also provided for free when you’re an active member of the military. Essentially, you’re covered from simple issues to major concerns.
List of Cons of the Air Force
1. Your age doesn’t determine your rank.
Simply put: you can have superiors who are younger than you are. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (after all, we are calling for equality these days), this doesn’t sit right with some people. To put this in another way: you have to be willing to accept hard facts when you join the military and while being outranked by someone younger hurts you, you have to deal with it.
Getting outranked by someone younger is common even in the workplaces of today but scenarios in a military setting are quite different and some may not be too welcoming of a young person barking orders.
2. You will find it hard to quit.
You can easily leave your job when it’s not making you happy anymore. In the military, on the other hand, you serve until your contract is over. This doesn’t mean that you can never get out – after all, there are ways to get relieved from duty – but doing so involves methods that you don’t want attached to your name: either you do jail time or get a dishonorable discharge.
3. You will be limited by policies and you will be far away from family and friends.
Joining the military means adhering to certain grooming standards. Plus, there are certain regulations when it comes to fingernail length, earring size and so on. Also, you are limited with regards to clothing because there are only certain items that you are allowed to wear.
Lastly, being in the military keeps you away from friends or family. In short, be prepared to miss a whole lot: birthdays, weddings and even deaths.