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Author Topic: The US Air Force
Thorned0Fortress
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Icon 1 posted December 18, 2007 23:08      Profile for Thorned0Fortress   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hello all. I am not going to bore you with this year's happenings of my life(unless you ask), but the gist is ... I am going into the Air Force. Is there anyone here who was/is in this service or who knows someone who is? Can I get any pro's/con's/things to look out for?

Also, I am clueless on what job I would like to do to. Any ideas?

I look forward to traveling, so if any worldwide GCers out there would like to show me around town, I would be happy to have the assistance!

annd GO!...........

Posts: 235 | From: texas | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
spungo
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 05:19      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, I don't know anything about the US Air Force, but I work with the Canadian one. Yes, it's an interesting career with plenty of opportunity for travel and differing experiences, but also, all the officers I know bring a lot more to the job than that -- you need to be smart, organized, professional, conscientious, and you also need a good memory (all those rules and dress codes and acronyms -- it really is acronym HELL sometimes). But, of course, the pension's pretty good, and the camaraderie is a bonus, and all that. I don't imagine it's for everyone (military college sounds awful, for example). But if you're the right type of person, it's a great choice (apart from the whole deployment thing, with the bullets and the strafing and the roadside devices and the bad food and... you know the rest. [Wink] ) Oh, and you have to be prepared to move around a lot -- if you plan on settling down in one area for a while -- forget it. They're always getting posted to the other side of the country for a few years, then onto somewhere else... it does make the whole buying a home thing a bit compicated.

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Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted December 19, 2007 09:03      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think spungo nailed it on the head. We live near the Comox air force base... be prepared to travel, and work harder than you have ever had to, ever!

I'm not a big fan of the whole military thing, (see recent US history), but is there a search and rescue aspect of the US Air Force? The men and women who do that work are my heroes.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 09:15      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yup, we have a SAR (search and rescue) squadron here. Oh my Lord. The North Atlantic in the middle of winter. Nice. Gimme some of that, please. I really don't know how they do it. It boggles one's noodle.

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 09:18      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I had an uncle in the air force who was an electrician's mate (okay, I'm from a navy family, I don't really know what the official title was). He fixed radios, and when he and his buddies got bored they'd turn their canned air upside down and spray flies with it, betting on how long it would take them to thaw out and fly away.

Oddly enough, he's become a luddite since then... the man hates computers. He's not vocal about it, he just refuses to use one. He doesn't like cellphones either.

Anyways, I think as far as training goes, the air force is a very technically-focused branch; you couldn't go wrong if you went into electronics, IT, systems engineering or mechanics. You won't get payed much, but hopefully the technology won't be so antiquated that it has no application in the private sector (this is especially a worry when it comes to IT).

If you want to be a pilot, I don't know what you have to do. In the navy, you have to become a warrant officer- which means going to school (don't worry, they'll foot the bill) and getting a degree before moving ahead. I have a friend in Italy who's doing just that, and he's a machinists' mate.

I think this could be a great opportunity for you. Besides all the training you get, you get three square meals a day, clothing, and a bed for free, which isn't a bad deal either.

Good luck!

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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PapaSmurph
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 09:37      Profile for PapaSmurph   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thorned0Fortress,

I'm an old geek (hence the handle). I also spent 21 years in the USAF. If you have specific questions, just send me a message.

Pros: (vs the other military services)
Better quality of life.
Shorter deployments [Smile]
Better training [Wink]

Cons: (the same as other military services)
We're at war. That's not fun. [Frown]
People may shoot at you. [Mad]
You may be in inhospitable locations for months at a time. [Eek!]

As far as jobs, the best advice I can give you is pick what you want to do, because you'll be doing it for a few years. And don't expect to start out being important, because even when you think you're important, you are insignificant.

PapaSmurph

Posts: 13 | From: Virginia | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Thorned0Fortress
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 17:52      Profile for Thorned0Fortress   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
PAPA:
So, I heard that if you volenteer for certain deployments, you won't be deployed as often and you get extra cash. Correct?

Say you bonded with someone and wanted to go to the same places. DO you know if they are good with accepting two volenteers and letting them work in close quarters?(platonically) How easy is it to keep in contact with those that you meet in the service?

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PapaSmurph
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 19:08      Profile for PapaSmurph   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you volunteer to deploy to specific locations (the ones where people shoot at you, usually) yes, you get more money, and sometimes it's tax free. It depends on the location and if they need your particular job there. Some deployed positions don't require special training. I know someone who was sent over to escort local contractors on the base while they worked. No special training except how to carry a gun and how to point it at the bad guys (the latter he never had to do).

There used to be some recruiting programs where you could stay with a buddy through basic training and technical school, and sometimes to the first base, but recruiting programs change every year or so, so talk to a recruiter about it. Make sure you tell the recruiter to be straight with you and not BS you because you'll check on what they will tell you (then check with me or someone else who was or is in). Some recruiters are not too above board, but most of them are OK.

I don't know how much exposure you have to military, so just to let you know, there is a big difference between officers and enlisted, and it's not just the pay. If you're enlisting in the AF, everything you need to know will be told to you for the first few years, and you basically don't have to think (which is OK, but not too much fun). If you come in through Officer training of some sort, very little of what you need to know is told to you and you're expected to be able to solve problems with little or no information (an acquired skill, let me tell you). I've been on both sides, and although they are both rewarding, I much preferred being an officer (and the money is much better) [Wink]

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PapaSmurph
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 19:24      Profile for PapaSmurph   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Snaggy,

The USAF does have SAR folks, and they worked their butts off during hurricane Katrina. It helped they were located in Florida, so they were close by (in fact, they were affected by Katrina, too).

I've met some great folks in the AF. However, like anywhere else, I've met some real "jerks" too. (put what ever negative adjective you want to in the quotes).

Mostly I worked with AF computer people. I've loved computers since high school, way back when computers usually filled a room (yeah, I'm old). Most of the computer people I've worked with in the AF have been great people!

I have to agree that the current world situation sucks, but the majority of the military folks don't have much of a say in the matter. All they can do is salute smartly and move on.

Posts: 13 | From: Virginia | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 19:25      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok thorny, if I needed any convincing that you definitely should not sign up for the military, your posting above provided it.

You're thinking of joining the military because a friend/object-of-your-desire is joining, and you want to tag along?

That's crazy-talk.

There's a war on, you know - kill or be killed (or both). That's what the military is for, and it's all they care about.

Specifically: the military doesn't give a flying wombat turd about your social life, and they won't make the slightest effort to keep you and your pal together. He/she will end up polishing helicopters in Germany, while you're playing dodge-the-RPG in Baghdad.

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted December 19, 2007 21:39      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TFD:
There's a war on, you know - kill or be killed (or both). That's what the military is for, and it's all they care about.

December 19, 2007 19:24
The USAF does have SAR folks, and they worked their butts off during hurricane Katrina.

So TFD, you mean to say Search and Rescue (SAR) are in the military "to kill or be killed (or both)"?

TFD, your opinion is as useful as a 6-year-old boy talking about the experience of pregnancy and childbirth.
</condescending sarcasm>

quote:
December 19, 2007 19:08
Say you bonded with someone and wanted to go to the same places.

If you're "just buddies" (my advice): Keep in touch, then take a plane and get together for a week or two when you both get time off.

(EDIT: "Your Mileage May Vary" - guys visiting guys might not be the perspective you need.)

DO NOT JOIN TO FOLLOW SOMEONE ELSE AROUND.
Ask yourself: Is it better to "follow the herd" or "find you own path" in life? Or maybe something in between? Going to a college where you hate the professors so you could be with one person you like would probably be a bad idea just the same.

quote:
December 18, 2007 23:08
I am going into the Air Force. ... I am clueless on what job I would like to do to.

found somewhere:
    When you're taking the ASVAB, remember that higher scores provide better opportunities.

Well, some people join the military to:
  • Learn a technical skill without paying college tuition, (then)
  • Get experience in that skill to put on a resume, (then)
  • Look for a job as a "civilian contractor" using an established security clearance and experience in specialized equipment, (then)
  • Get a big pay raise.
     
    Note: At a minimum, this is a four year plan, and starting as a Cook or an Infantryman is _unlikely_ to get you $50K a year as a Civilian Cook or Mall Security Guard.

I joined the US Army, spent six and a half years as a Satellite Communications Operator/Maintainer, and when I got out I also had $40,000 in Montgomery GI bill education benefits.

If electronics and tech manuals aren't for you, I know a girl that spent a few years cutting hair in the Navy:
 
 -

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 20, 2007 00:56      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Asm honey, I apologize.
Can we kiss and make up now?

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted December 20, 2007 03:23      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TF it is hard to advise someone on such a life changing decision, but if your age (18) as stated on your on your My Space page is not very inaccurate, and your marriage is at the very least in difficulties, I wonder if you are in the right frame of mind to take this drastic step. Many people do enlist to escape difficult situations of one sort or another, and though for some it gives their lives meaning and direction, it can also become yet another prison that you must escape from.

It also worries me that much of your motivation seems to be to follow this other person, who since you do not name him/her I assume is not your spouse. You have to want to do it for yourself alone. I hope that you are not someone who cannot negotiate life without being attached, as that brings all sorts of troubles. I hope you think long and hard about what you hope to get from this move, and what in general you want from your life over the next few years.

Good luck!

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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PapaSmurph
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Icon 1 posted December 20, 2007 05:06      Profile for PapaSmurph   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thorned0Fortress,

As you can see from the posts, there are many different opinions. I, too, looked at your MySpace page (because I research EVERYTHING). Search yourself and find out what is the right answer for you. Ask your friends (which is what you're doing now, right?). Question EVERYTHING. Don't accept anything anyone here or anyelse tells you on face value. Check it out for yourself.

That said, I have to agree with ASM. If you're signing up just to follow someone else around or get out of a bad relationship, think about it really hard. Chances are you won't be happy. If you really are wanting to better yourself by learning a new trade/skill, the AF is the way to do. And the college benefits are great. The AF paid for most of my BS and all of my MS. Your tax dollars at work. [Smile]

It all comes down to collecting as much information as you can and making the right decision for you. If you make a quick decision, you may regret it for a long time (or at least the next 4 years).

Take a breather over the next 2 weeks. Kick back and think about what you want to do with your life. Bounce ideas off you significant other, your friends, your family, the folks you go to church with, who ever you can talk to; even some stranger on the internet! [Wink] Don't make a rash decision.

Posts: 13 | From: Virginia | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Thorned0Fortress
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Icon 1 posted December 21, 2007 16:38      Profile for Thorned0Fortress   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would like to scold everyone that jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to FOLLOW someone into the military.

Yes I am married, and am in the middle of a divorce. I am no more trying to escape a situation than I am pursuing this imaginary being that you all have spoken of. I have planned on joining the military for years, and decided not to when I met my husband. NOW, I do not have anyone to spend my life with, and I don't have to worry about being separated from him for a long period.... why I did not join in the first place.

I am not running away from someone or a situation, nor am I running to catch up with someone. This is what I want to do. Thanks for the helpful input, everyone.

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Mac D
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Icon 1 posted December 21, 2007 18:18      Profile for Mac D     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think you should join the Army. I just got back from Basic (More to follow on a different post)

Anyway don't worry about the PT (Physical training) when deciding on a branch. Think about your future. My first PT test I got a score of 112 and felt like I was going to die. You need 180 to pass. By the time we got to the final PT test I got a 230 and still had energy to burn after it. No being all hunched over and gasping for air. But I'll reply to the email on everything else that happened good and bad after I make my post on here about being back and how everything went.

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There's nothing wrong with me, This is how I'm supposed to be.

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Thorned0Fortress
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Icon 5 posted December 22, 2007 08:39      Profile for Thorned0Fortress   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
PAPA:

The reason I am opting for the AF is because my recruiter told me this:
This service differs from all the others because The training you recieve is actual college. You leave with an associates degree no matter what? I realize that things vold be different from now and the time that you joined, but how accurate does that sound?

Posts: 235 | From: texas | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Mac D
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Icon 1 posted December 22, 2007 10:12      Profile for Mac D     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Thorned0Fortress:
PAPA:

The reason I am opting for the AF is because my recruiter told me this:
This service differs from all the others because The training you recieve is actual college. You leave with an associates degree no matter what? I realize that things vold be different from now and the time that you joined, but how accurate does that sound?

Something I learned when I was in basic is, everything your recruiter tells you is BS. They want you to join so they can meet quota. If they don't meet it they can't be recruiters anymore. The reason they want to be recruiters is that it's a Non-deployable position.

All the branches are going to give you about the same benifits. If you go Air Gaurd or Army Gaurd you do get Fedral and State benifits and thats about the only difference I saw. All the branches are going to give you free online classes, as many credits as you want plus Rosetta stone online for free. Then you get the GI bill then if you go gaurd you also get the GI bill Kicker. It's basically $200 extra a month to pay for other school related expenses.

But the branch is up to you. As far as education goes it's going to be the same because they are military benifits so just choose the one that suits you best or that will give you the biggest bonus lol. I won't go into how much I got but I will say I've got to go to the Apple store and upgrade to a shiny new MacBook and iMac (24").

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There's nothing wrong with me, This is how I'm supposed to be.

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ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted December 22, 2007 22:49      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If at all possible -- get a degree while you're still in the service. When I got out, I didn't bother immediately looking for a government job doing the same line of work. When I finally started applying for tech jobs, I didn't have a degree and it seemed like no one cared what test equipment, communication systems, or level of repairs that my experience covered.

Personally, I believe a person with 2 years work experience is far more valuable than a person with a 2-year college degree, but once again, your results may vary. (I think a lot of jobs should be initially trained as apprenticeships.)

quote:
December 22, 2007 10:12
Something I learned when I was in basic is, everything your recruiter tells you is BS.

I wouldn't exactly agree with that......

However, don't look gullible. Act like you've got other good, viable options in mind. Make it clear that you know what you want.

When I went to the recruiter, I said "I want a high-tech job that I can apply to computers when I get out." When he told me that Armor Crewman (19K) had a good bonus -- I told him "that's not good enough." After that he gave me about four Signal Corps MOS's that needed high ASVAB scores, and I took satellite communications.

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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 23, 2007 04:24      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thorned0Fortress ________________________ Just some thoughts from 1968. Most Sailors I knew treated their female conter parts as fresh meat, I do not know if the mentality has changed, I doubt that it did. I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman, Bedpan dumper, how ever I did avail myslf to some special schools and finally ended up making house calls.

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The next photo was during the last wet pickup I made.

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Looking back if I was to think about a branch of military, I would not go regular Armed Services. but there is the Coast Gaurd, they do much the same as the other branches just the budgets come from a different source. See the movie with Kevin Costner "The Gaurdian", not too Hollywood close to real.

Good luck

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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PapaSmurph
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Icon 1 posted December 23, 2007 13:21      Profile for PapaSmurph   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mac D,

Not EVERYTHING your recruiter says is BS (well, you did join the Army [Wink] . Maybe everything an Army recruiter says is BS). Most AF recruiters are strait shooters (I said most).

Thorned0Fortress,

Sorry if I assumed. I just wanted to make sure you were doing this for YOU and no one else. If you do it for someone else, it doesn't work out well most of the time.

The Air Force has the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) where you can apply credits toward an associates degree in your field (or something closely related). I already had finished my 2nd year of college when I joined, and as I was working toward my BS I got a letter saying "Congrats on finishing your associates through the CCAF". Basic and Tech school count toward your associates, as does any other "professional military education" as they call it. With all that and taking some well planned CLEP tests, you should have your associates when you finish 4 years, and most 4 year colleges will accept the credits toward a BS later on.

TheMoMan,

I'm glad you specified the Navy and when. Things have improved a lot for women in the military. If you're into getting into harms way, there are just a few jobs that women aren't allowed to do. Also, women are most often treated as equals in the office and in the field. Sometimes things get a little "coarse" but most of the guys in the AF understand they can get into REALLY deep trouble if anyone finds out they are involved in any form of harassment.

TF, I'm glad you have decided to dedicate at least a few years to serving your country and making things better for yourself as well. [Big Grin]

Merry Christmas
(the only thing PC about me is my computer!)

Posts: 13 | From: Virginia | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Thorned0Fortress
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Icon 1 posted December 31, 2007 01:17      Profile for Thorned0Fortress   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, I remember seeing an Oprah show where AF Academy women confessed the gender disrespect. They were all raped by higher ranks, but the 'law enforcement' didn't want to do anything about it. Hopefully that was only an ACADEMY horror :-/ ...
Posts: 235 | From: texas | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted December 31, 2007 10:49      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've heard similar stories about the academy from people who have been there. The question you must ask yourself is this - If the top training school for Air Force officers permits this to go on, what does that say for the rest of the service?
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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 31, 2007 12:49      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dunno if I should link this or not, but I'm going to do it anyway
http://www.backwash.com/content.php?id=292

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

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