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Joining The Air Force For 4 Years.

Can I save 40k, over 4 years in The Air Force?

Hello Andrew,

You can save money IF you don't buy a car, pay car insurance, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, stay on base, and take 10% off the top to put away. But you won't make $20,000 cash a year.

Your pay is taxable for income tax, social security tax, G.I. life insurance.

Base pay for E-1 is: $1,467 a month
E-2 promotion 6 months later is: $1,645
E-3 promotion 10 months after that is: $1,730 (after 2 years service: $1,839)
E-4 pay at 3 years is: $2,123 for year 3 and $2,123 for final year

So, year 1 is a combination of E-1, E-2, E-3 pay. It's going to be less than $20,000
So, year 2 when you are Airman First Class (E-3) you get: $1,839 x 12 = $22,068
So, when you make Senior Airman (E-4) you get: $2,123 x 12 = $25,476
So, Year 4 = $25,476

You can make BELOW your goal as you have to take taxes into consideration and money that you do need to spend to live. You are going to spend money getting haircuts, laundry, snacks, BX purchases, clothing, movies, other things that people do.

You can not be a hermit. It can't work well like that.

Yes, you will not have to pay for food and dorm space and utilities. Actually, that makes "real" pay much more like:

AF pays $9 a day to feed you 3 meals. For 4 x 365 days x $9 = $13,140 for food for 4 years or $3,285 a year for food.

Dorm rental could be about if a civilian: $900 a month - $1,000 a month = $12,000 a year x 4 = $48,000 for 4 years.

Can't put a price on medical care or dental care which you don't have to pay for.

So, each new Airman basically costs the AF about $165,000 to keep you for 4 years!
(minus any cost for medical/dental care)

My guess is that you can bank away about $200 a month and still be able to live.

$200 x 48 months = $9,600 saved.

I can't see any more than that. And, I wonder why you actually need $40,000 because your school will be free under the G.I. Bill. You can live in school dorms and get school jobs and use student loans for the extras.

Best wishes,

Larry Smith
Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret.)
First Sergeant

My boyfriend is joining the Air Force, any advice?

I love him and he loves me. I'm not at all worried about him dumping me, and I'm not afraid of the "what if" thing. Why? Because I know we are meant to be. Long distance relationships don't frighten me. We aren't engaged just yet, but I know we want to be married when he is done with serving. He wants to serve for four years.

Here's the thing that does scare me though, I'm scared. I need to know that he will be alright. I mean, joining any branch is difficult, right? I'm more scared that something dangerous will happen and that he will be taken away from me. Does any one know the odds of that happening?

And also, for the ones staying at home, do you write letters? Do they receive them?

What should be my next step? I have until the end of the Summer until he enlists.

Scared out of my mind,

Is 21 too old for a woman to join the Air Force?

You'll be fine. I had some Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines under my command who were much older than you when they joined. Not everyone joins when they're 18. You'll learn that experience and maturity are what matters, and you'll learn to respect rank. You're still really young at the age of 21. You're taking a big step, especially when you're already mid-way through your college career (as far as obtaining a 4-year degree is concerned). Just make sure you weigh all your options and study up on what your job will truly entail before signing any contracts. Don't believe everything your recruiter tells you. Make sure your job in the Air Force will be able to translate into a good civilian job in the event you decide to transition back, but at the same time, make sure you'll actually enjoy that job. Whatever choice you make, good luck. The Air Force is probably the nicest branch of the military to be a part of.

Joining Air Force as E-3...How long till E-4 and E-5??

You'll be an E-3 after you graduate bootcamp. E-4 is an automatic promotion. If you keep ourself out of trouble, you will make E-4 after 36 months Time In Service with 20 months Time in Grade , or 28 months Time in Service, whichever comes first. Since you are starting as E-3, you will get that E-4 promotion after 28 months.
For E-5, you have to test for it. The promotion test is difficult and you will have to study your butt of to make it the first time around. To get the promotion to E-5 you must have enough points to be promoted. You get points through your evaluations, PT Tests, Awards, and the test itself.
My husband also joined as E-3. He made E-5 in 3 1/2 years so it can be done quickly if you put your mind to it! Be exceptional! My husband is a Crew Chief with a total of 7 deployments, 2 achievement awards and 1 commendation.

Should I Join the Air Force with a bachelors degree?

Enlisting right out of high school you come in as an E1. If all goes well, you will be an E-3 after 16 months. At the end of 3 years, you will be an E-4. You are a 21 or 22 year old E-4.

Now, if you get your degree you wait 4 years and enlist as an E-3. Then 28 months later you put on E-4. You are a 25 year old E-4.

Promotion to E-5 and up are all based on testing... your career field and professional military knowledge, with additional points for Time in service, time in grade, decorations and medals, and your performance reviews. Doesn't really matter if you have your degree or don't get any extra points. It is only at E-8 & E-9 that they look to see if you have your degree or are working on it. Even then, it is still not a requirement.

Air Force 4 year enlistment vs. 6 year enlistment?

As someone who went through the same thing, I would go for the extended enlistment.

Basically, it just means they own you for a little bit longer, and honestly, that's a good thing. Most people who join are still young, and don't really have a clue about much of anything. Please don't take offense to that, I didn't know anything either, but in the military I learned more about life and the world than I ever could have on my own. It's a secure job, they pay 100% for your higher education if you decide to take advantage of that, and you make more life long friends than you can even imagine.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have done six years instead of five, and I would have re-enlisted for another tour. I'm 32 right now, and in five years, I could be retiring.

Think about it. I know it seems like a long time, and when I was setting up my initial contract, I kept thinking I might not like it and would want to get out sooner. In retrospect, I packed more life into those five years than most people do in an entire lifetime.