Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 9 years ago

Just got out of the Marine Corps..looking into the Air Force...difference?

Hey guys, I just got out of the Marine Corps last December. I did 5 years active with 2 deployments to Iraq. I disliked the Marine Corps, mainly because there was just tons of stupidity and I just drugded going into work every single day and was not motivated to do anything. I got out with a soul full of happiness. Well, now I am 24, going on 25, married with a son due within a month. My wife has many friends in the air force and they say they love it and that I would like it if I gave it a try. Their suggestions I just brush to the side because they dont know me. I am in college but at the end of the semester I am going to need to switch to online college so I can work more. With little experience other than the Marine Corps there arent much jobs out there for me.

With that I am in search of questions about the air force. In the marines I was an intelligence analyst and it was ok, but when we werent deployed we did nothing of true value...just busy work, which was very annoying. So I am here to ask if there is a major difference between af life and marine life. Is there alot of that stupidty that happens in the mc in the af? What are promotions like and things of that nature. Just in general what is it like? Thanks guys

And let me just say. The Air Force does interest me and it is something I would like to learn more about, going to a recruited Im not too sure about doing because you never know what kind your going to get.


I forgot to mention I have already talked with AF recruiters and they told me they have many spots open and they are willing to accept me, so "AF not taking prior service" is not only a very unhelpful answer, it is also a myth. I have actually spoken with many AF recruiters and they themselves told me them not accepting prior service is a rather large myth.

Update 2:

Hey guys, dont worry about the prior service thing, Ive already talked with AF recruiters and they say they are in need of intelligence analyst and will actually give me a pretty large bonus, my question is just simply about the ways the AF and MC differ in regards to just the basic way of life, How is the AF ran while not on deployments, are there alot of "games" played and things of that nature. I appreciate the input so far but Im not worried about the whole prior service thing.

Update 3:

Once again my question is on quality of life, not on if they are taking prior service or not.

8 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The biggest difference is attitude

    In the AF, your E-4 is called Tom, not corporal smith

    Your E-5 is still called tom, not Ssgt smith

    Even your E-6 is called tom, not Tsgt smith

    IE: alot more laid back in how people are treated and how they interact

    Pretty much, everyone is on a first name basis, until they are E-7's, and even sometimes if they are an E-7

    and that comes as a huge shock to former marines.

    2. In the Air Force, the job is the important thing, all the other stuff kind of takes a back seat to getting the job done.

    3. Now the BS, every service has BS, back stabbing, petty games

    4. Aircraft maintenance is aircraft maintenance, whether deployed or back stateside.

    5. In intelligence, other than friendlier working environment, its pretty much gonna be the same in the AF as the Marines

    6. Stupidity ? of course there is stupidity

    Example :

    I had a master sgt order me to water the grass, because the base policy was that the grass had to be watered at least once a month and it was the last day of the month and the grass had not been watered.

    Problem ? it was poring down rain at the time

    So we had a big bay door at the back of our shop, so i opened the bay door, got the water hose and stood there watering the grass in the middle of a thunder storm.

    The Squadron Commander ( Lt. Colonel ) comes back from lunch, is walking into the building, sees me water the grass and does a double take and walks over to me.

    he asked what im doing, so i tell him Msgt XX had told me to water the grass, he asked if the msgt knew it was raining, i said " yes sir ", the commander told me I could stop now.

    About two min's later the squadron Chief MSGT ( think sgt major ) walked into the shop and told the Msgt the squadron commander wanted to see him,

    So yes, there is stupidity in the AF, just like in the Marines !!!!!!!

    2. other issues:

    promotions -- In the AF your performance in doing your job, has NO bearing on being promoted

    promotions are purely based on how well you do on two test, one on general military/AF knowledge and one on specific job knowledge

    Pretty much everyone gets perfect performance reports, things like PT, rifle qualification, education play no part in being promoted and you get no promotion points for them

    So you get book smart people with no leadership skills, being promoted

    But on the other hand, the AF promotes by percentage, IE: they decide to promote 30% of the eligible, then 30% get promoted, there does NOT have to be a slot to move into

    So all AFSC's promote exactly the same, there are no fast or slow AFSC's promotion wise

    3. realize the AF is a pilot driven service, they really do not care about enlisted people

    They do not recognize above average enlisted people, like the Marines do

    IE: there is pretty much nothing you can do to stand out, get promoted faster or earm commendations

    Ive seen Msgt's with 16 years of service who have no achievement , commendation, or meritorious service medals - simply because they were never put in for them

    About the only time you can get them, is if you PCS

    4. So in some ways the AF is better than the Marine Corps , but in some ways it is worse

    Overall you will be treated better, but if you are outstanding at your job, do not expect the recognition you would receive in the Marine Corps for being better than everyone else.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    You can join either without a college education. It generally takes brains to get into the Air Force. The Marines are the toughest physically which is why they are the only people that don't have to go through basic training of any other branch if they wanted to switch over. They aren't really known for helping you with your education either. I've seen this first hand with many former Marines who struggled after getting out of the Military. The Air Force is know for helping you out with personal development however.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    The Air Force rarely takes Prior Service (even their own) and then only in very specific jobs and only about 250 PS per FY. Good luck. Have a "Plan B"


    Myth huh?

    "The PS program will access a total of 250 applicants during FY12. The total accession is subject to change based on Air Force needs"

    Then they need to change THEIR Recruiting website...

    Let us know about the myth WHEN you actually get into the USAF

  • 9 years ago

    I joined the AF three years ago, and could write volumes on my experience. I've also had the opportunity to work alongside all other branches, so I've seen the differences.

    Hands down, the AF has the best quality of life. There are bases not only all around the US, but all around the world, and all share the same high standard of living that the AF is known for. I trained at NAS Pensacola, FL, alongside Sailors and Marines, and was shocked to see some of the differences, like when I got food poisoning from the Galley, or the rats that were EVERYWHERE around the barracks. Even single airmen have it good- I have two dorm rooms to myself here, and use one as a living room...and I'm in the "bad" dorms! Seriously, though, the quality of on-base services and amenities is great. Dependents have a MOUNTAIN of services and programs available to them, too; everything from free money for school to deployed spouses' dinners. The AF is very accomodating to families.

    The most obvious difference is the physical aspect- while the Marines are known for having a high level of fitness, the Air Force is just beginning to transition toward becoming a more capable force. They've made PT standards harder across the board, and are using fitness issues as a way to kick people out. Leadership is tired of people thinking of us as the "chair force," and we're paying for it. I attend unit PT four times a week. It's down to your leadership's choice of how they want to ensure everyone passes their PT test with an Excellent.

    The Air Force definitely has a lot of the same stupidity that you'd expect from the USMC. There are literally thousands of regulations when it comes to job performance, and some are either outdated or ridiculous. I work in Aircraft Maintenance, for example, and got in trouble for turning on a water hose without gloves and goggles on one branch is immune to stupidity. That being said, I had a friend who was in the Marines and went blue, and he absolutely loves his life now.

    The experience is what you make of it.

    As far as enlisting, make sure you're ok with losing at least one rank, because that's guaranteed. Promotions for E-5 and E-6 are done by a calculation of your score on job knowledge, air force knowledge, and performance reports. Senior NCOs also go in front of a promotion board.

    Speaking of testing, the Air Force places a HUGE emphasis on your education- not only are you constantly being trained at work, but they highly encourage you to/ make it easy to take classes and pursue further education. Going to school is a good part of your annual EPR (Enlisted Performance Review). In fact, the AF is the only branch with its own Community College (CCAF, Comm College of the AF)- your military experience gets you halfway to an AAS degree. Completing your associate degree, at a minimum, is pretty much a requirement to become a Senior NCO. Unlike the Marine Corps, the AF hasn't lowered TA rates- you're still authorized $2500 each year in TA- so you can pursue further education as well.

    As far as deployments go, the AF has moved to 6 month standard deployments across the board. Pretty straightforward there, you won't be leaving your family for a year at a time.

    I've been lucky enough to train in Pensacola and lived in Europe, and I now live in Japan. In addition, I have a good job that pays HUGE money on the outside. I'll be going Air Guard next year while I finish school with my GI Bill. Is the AF perfect? No. Did I make the right decision for my future? Definitely. It all boils down to whether or not you think this would be best for your own family.

    My concern isn't that you're prior service, but that you're about to have two dependents- when I enlisted in 2008, they were barring anyone with dependents. I hope it's changed, for your sake, though!

    Good luck!

    Source(s): USAF AD
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  • Hayley
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Well, if you DO happen to get into the Air Force, you will find the culture vastly different from the USMC. Most people in the other branches already think of it as the least "military" of all the branches. That's true in many respects and false in others.

    I don't know exactly how the USMC does promotions, but in the Air Force in order to get past E-4 Senior Airman, you need to take tests. The Air Force has what are called skill levels. An airman just graduating BMT is considered a 1 level. A person who graduates Tech school will be a 3 level (journeyman), fully trained in the most basic skills that their job requires. Once you get to your first duty station, you will be given CDCs (Career Development Course) to learn and pass. Combined with OJT, your supervisor will gauge when you are ready to take the test for your 5 skill level. Once you take the test and pass, you will be awarded your 5 level (craftsman) and will be deployable. The levels go on to the 7 (supervisor) and to 9 (manager). These are ways the Air Force uses to measure skill and competency levels on what you're qualified to do in your career field.

    In order to progress to the rank of E-5 Staff Sergeant, you need to pass your first CDCs and the PFE (Promotion Fitness Examination) a 100 question test about Air Force general supervisory subjects, such as history, leadership, NCO responsibilities, first aid, customs and courtesies, etc. In order to get to the next rank (Technical Sergeant), you will have to pass another set of CDCs and another PFE and so on and so forth.

    If you pass both, you're given a line number and you wait until your number is up before you can sew on E-5 stripes. You're a Staff Sergeant Select until the day when you officially sew them on.

    When I was last in the Air Force, the lifestyle was pretty "easy going"...meaning there weren't a lot of extra "military" things we did besides going to work everyday. I don't know how the USMC does it...but in the Army you run unit PT in the mornings and basically do a bunch of other things throughout the day (formations). In the Air Force, you just basically show up to work, do your job, and go home. Not a lot of unit activities besides "commander's calls" every now and then when the leadership feels like speaking to the "people". Of course, there are all sorts of training that comes with being in the military that the Air Force can't just shrug off like mandatory sexual harassment training, CPR, First Aid Buddy Care, computer use training...and of course ancillary training pertaining to your actual job.

    The Air Force is no different than other branches...there are people in it who will do whatever it takes to get ahead. Perception in the Air Force is vital. If you look squared away, uniform crisp and clean, do your job and keep your nose clean, you will have no problems. Competition is stiff because the Air Force is small compared to say the Army, therefore promotions are slimmer in some AFSCs than you will have to watch your back if you work with a bunch of snakes.

    Know that the Air Force is pretty lax on military customs and courtesies. When speaking to a ranking usually does not have to stand at parade rest even if you're junior enlisted. In the Army, I never even knew that was required of someone...LOL. That's how different it is. The ONLY time we were required to do that was in Tech school. After you're permanent party, it's not very common and most people (at least the younger ones) don't even know most of the rules. Whenever we did have to be in formation for something like a change of command, the First Sergeant would re-teach us what to do, where to stand, how to salute, etc.

    Overall, the Air Force is pretty nice. The only thing I hated about them was how long it took to gain rank. If you're sh*t hot and know your job, you still have to wait for TIS and TIG and pass two tests. That said, the Air Force treats its people pretty well most times. And many people like it.

    Good luck...


    Jeepers said it best...

    My first supervisor in the Air Force told me the first day I met him...that when we were around "high ranking" people, to call him Staff Sergeant So-and-So...but when it was just us or people we knew, I could call him d*ck-head or a$$hole and he wouldn't mind.

    I was just an E-1 at the time...fresh out of Tech school and still standing at attention to everyone, lol. Not everyone will be like that, because there ARE some uptight people in the Air Force.

    What's worse, he contributed to my delinquency by supplying me with alcohol when I was underage at all of the parties he threw. He made sure I didn't drive...but said he didn't care one way or another if I drank before I was 21. I was in the Air Force, and my first Air Force boss says, "here, drink this beer dammit!" So I said, "Sir, yes sir!" Good

    Source(s): Prior Air Force/Army
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Dude, if prior service is so easy to join the Air Force why is your asss still on the outside looking in......................

  • 9 years ago

    please feel free to come back when you have your contract in hand and are on your way to MEPS as every other recruiter I have come across states very clearly that the USAF is in no rush to take prior service period.

  • 9 years ago

    Refer to the question I just asked last week.;_ylt=Aplli...


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