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Posted: 5/16/2002 5:40:11 PM EST
I will be attending a large school in Michigan next year and will be taking part in an ROTC program.  The degree i'm receiving will be in mechanical engineering, if it makes any difference.  The problem is that i'm not sure which branch i should choose to serve in-Army or Air Force.  (Navy is out of contention).
My dad has been in the Army almost thirty years, and he's saying to go the Air Force route as he's "slept in more muddy, frozen foxholes and humped more 80 pound packs for ungodly distances than I care to remember," but i'm just not sure that I would be content with a job that is as predictable as one on the flight line.  -I realize it is ridiculous to want to see war, but I'm just not sure i'd be at home 100 miles back of the front line.  
Any advice from those who've btdt?  By the way, i plan on staying in the service a while longer than the typical four year wonder.  
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 6:51:28 PM EST
Two things fall out of the sky, birdsh1t & idiots.  Fly airplanes, don't jump out of 'em.
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 6:53:29 PM EST
damn, being a jumper, I'm thinking... ahh cool topic...  I was going to say "go fer it" but seeings how it is military related, I find myself wanting to not vote for, but against the military, too PC for me from what I've been reading this past month.  I got out because klinton got in.  I miss the comraderie and missions, but all the BS that was coming down the pipeline?  NO!  The military was a good thing for me, but times were different.

Good luck in the path you choose.

ps: get EVERYTTHING in writting!
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:18:07 PM EST
...snip...By the way, i plan on staying in the service a while longer than the typical four year wonder.  
View Quote

So nm, how many years do you have to serve your country before it's respectable?

Air force Combat Controller sounds like an interesting job, or maybe PJ?
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:19:11 PM EST
Listen to your dad, grunt life sucks, although it does build character, comradery, the absense of a warm meal and hot shower, warm beer. Damn I miss it...........
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 5:03:30 AM EST
...having been in and out of Airborne units my entire carreer (about 15 out of 20 years), and "endured" the birdshit and fools jokes...sounds to me like whatever branch you choose ol' Dad will be proud of you...personally I wouldn't change any of my 'time on status', I graduated jump school at 18 in '72 and made my last jump in '90...even when its cold and wet outside and I am forced to remember some of my classic landings I'm quite happy to have served my country as a Paratrooper!!! And as the perfectly good airplane goes...I still feel the C-130 is the finest aircraft ever built, but its not the airplanes that scare me...its the pilots...I've been dropped into the wrong country before and have 'impacted' on mother Earth VERY shortly after normal opening...both were at night and overseas...How many mirrors on a C-130? Two, one ing the galley and the other in the Navigator's purse!!!!
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 5:23:01 AM EST
Good luck on the path you chose, and thanks for deciding to serve YOUR country. If you don't want a boring job in the military pick combat jobs. Nothing boring about these jobs. Sounds like treefrog has some good advice and storys about airborn. Just remember "when you hit the ground you are still a LEG" Mec infantry all the way. 11M30

Again good luck!
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 5:23:42 AM EST

Are you going to be part of the evil empire in Ann Arbor??  ;-)

I graduated as a mechanical engineer through an AFROTC scholarship at Ohio State way back in 1982.  

The chance of a mechanical engineer "working on the flight line" is almost nil.  Usually, mech engineers are assigned to Base Civil Engineering (Roads & Commodes) and spend their days planning construction projects of various types.

Folks in base civil engineering do have some wartime responsibilities -- base defense and repair.  All of this falls under a category called "Prime Beef" (I assume the Air Force still has this).  So periodically, the BCE guys would go out to the flightline for practice -- dig around in the mud, lay AM2 aluminum matting to "repair" runway holes, and hang around in the summer sun in their bio-chem gear.

I worked as a "Facilities Survivability Engineer" for the Titan and Minuteman missile systems.  Basically, I had to become an expert on the effects of nuclear blasts on hardened sites and figure out if the engineering changes that were proposed for the missile sites were at worst "neutral" in terms of site survivability.

I would go with whichever service offers you a scholarship.  If neither does, I would go with your dad's recommendation and "Go Air Force".

- CD
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 6:57:51 PM EST
I've said it before and it bears repeating: The U.S. Air Force has NO perfectly good airplanes. Airborne rules.
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 7:39:40 PM EST
[i]My Background:  This coming August will be my 19 year mark in the Army.  The job that I picked coming in was aviation electronics (Avionics), which I did until about 6 years ago, when the Army switched me over to the ground communication side.

I'm also a Master-rated parachutist, with 86 static line jumps.[/i]

It's hard to go wrong with the military in general, especially if you're young (17 to say, 24 years old).  

Excellent opportunities available based on your abilities, and NOT your age.

I picked my job and received the training as guaranteed (and then some).  After working my job for a few years, I decided that I wanted a bit more excitement, so I went through Airborne training and spent a few years in the 82d Airborne Division.  

Understand though that Airborne is only one of more than a few types of specialized training available in the Army, if you want to challenge yourself.

I've never served in the Air Force, although I've worked with them a few times.  What I will say is that their focus in completely on their job skills, without the additional "stuff" that us in the Army have to deal with.

Other than that, I don't like to comment on anything I don't have direct knowledge of, and I'd never pass judgement on another service.

Link Posted: 5/17/2002 8:25:04 PM EST

    My advice as a third year Army ROTC cadet, (actually only my second year but I am an MSIII) DO IT.  I am contracted on a federal shcolarship and got to go to Airborne school last summer.  If you get a scholarship you can drop the program in a year and pay nothing back (at least that is how it was last year)  The monthly stipend is nice and all my school and books are paid for.  Try it out for a year and see if you like it.  There is no commitment until your third year and you can learn some cool stuff.  Main difference between the ARMY and the AF ROTC program as I see it here is the AF labs focus more on Drill and Ceremony (marching, parades, etc.)while the Army labs focus more on Individual Movement Techniques and Squad Tactics (moving and shooting as an individual and as part of a larger element).  If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
Link Posted: 5/18/2002 6:59:24 PM EST
Thank you all for your assistance and recommendations.  
Kicker-what i mean is i hear about all these people who are in it solely for the scholarship, bragging rights, whatever...(stupid reasons like that), or that the draw of the higher paycheck that comes with civilian life makes them jump at the very first chance that they get to leave the service-THAT kind of four year wonder...
Camper Dad - actually, i'm gonna be part of the evil empire of East Lansing...  hehehe.  none of this Wolverine stuff for me.
As i have received a full-tuition scholarship to MSU for academics all ready, finances are not a major concern.  It would be nice to have somebody pick up the room and board...but I'm not too worried about that just yet.
Sniper-you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned what the two branches teach in their classes...I want to learn something a little more useful than close order drill.... And besides, getting paid to jump out of airplanes and blow stuff up sounds like a good job to me...
Edited to add:  I appreciate your time and advice.
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