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Air Force Wings

tl;dr

OMGOSH GAIS I MADE IT IN!!!!

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For those wondering what actually happened, here is the slightly longer version.

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to get into the United States Air Force for over a year now. I’ve faced more than a couple of “hiccups” along the way.  As of a month ago, things began moving relatively quickly.

I finally passed my medical!  Remember, the big thing holding me back was some dental work. Well, after about $13k worth of work and healing, I made it through.

Next was a back ground check. There was a little bit of misunderstanding between what my local recruiter was supposed to do, v. what my regular CO recruiter was supposed to do.  On top of it, my CO recruiter was out of office, which left a TSgt responsible for collecting my documentation.

Well, it turns out that when my regular recruiter got back, the TSgt left for a week of prep-work to get ready for a MSgt exam!  Oh, and all of those pages and pages of documentation that had been sent his way?  Well, it was locked up tight on his computer! My local recruiter had to send it all back to my regular CO recruiter. Thankfully, things got done in a hurry.

Now my packet had to “get signed by the general.”  Granted, I didn’t know who this general was, but I was under no illusion that my packet would be at the top of his things to do.  My CO recruiter said that it might take a week or two, if no hiccups came along (see: TSgt away at exam prep).  Still, that put the two week limit in the middle of the week my family takes off for vacation.

You know those vacations, don’t you?  They are the kind where you go see grandma, and grandma doesn’t have any wifi set up at her house. You know the one. The one where your fancy-pants iPad becomes useless, because of the said lack of wifi. The one where all you have is two out of five bars on your smart phone, unless you hold it up at the right angle to get 2.5 bars.

Surely, you’ve been on those vacations!

I find myself having some “ETT*,” when I get a call from my CO recruiter late on Monday afternoon!

“Hey, Z!  I’m going to email you the Letter of Acceptance right now. You don’t have to return it immediately. Tomorrow would be ok.”

Me – “Wait, what?  I have to print it out and mail it back?” Hoping that my mother (grandma to my children) has ink in her 10yr old printer.

COr – “No, SCAN IT IN, and email it back to me tomorrow sometime.”

Me – Did I mention the 10yr old printer?  “Sure thing. I’ll get it done, and emailed off to you tomorrow!”

I’m thinking to myself – surely there is a Staples, Kinko’s or some kind of office supply/printing shop in this small town?!

And the answer is?

No.

No there isn’t.

You know what there is?!  There is a library with a very liberal computer policy, and a laser printer.  Yeah…and it closes in 30 minutes!

My phone dings that familiar “just got an email” ding, and we are all heading off to the library (and ice cream at the local DQ afterwards).

Get there in time to print the bad boy out…and stare at it for the next hour. I forego the ice cream for some water-downed lemonade. I gotta get in better shape!

You see…THAT was it.  That single piece of paper.

It had three _________ places for me to write things down. The first being, “When are you able to begin your active duty? ______”  The second being, “Sign your complete name here: _________________, and Date: _________”

Three little blank, underlined spaces and my life is signed away to Uncle Sam for God and Country.

My wife and I spoke to some length that night about when I could reasonably go on active duty.  This was a real choice for us.

Actually, my CO recruiter had mentioned that that was the last real negotiable thing I had. That I could take as much time as I needed to finish things and end well with what I’m currently doing.

My wife and I have spoken about this quite a bit, but now the paper was in front of us.  It was real. Paper and ink, right in front of me.

By 10:00pm Monday night, I had placed the preferred starting date, and signed and dated the document.

That was my contract. That was the agreement. That was my “name on the dotted line.”

Woke up the next day. Got back over to the public library, where it cost me $1.00 for them to scan the document and email it back to me.

A quick save to drop box, and I’m emailing the signed document back to my CO recruiter. By 4:00 that afternoon I received a congratulatory email from my recruiter. He informed me that my packet was over at placement, and that I would be hearing from them at their earliest convenience.

So now…I get to wait some more. :)

But, that is ok. I know that the slots are open for me to go active duty during this fiscal year. I know that they desire to have me on board.  Now, I’m just taking the time that is allotted to me and finishing well.

One thing I’m looking forward to is my “swearing in.”  For enlisted, it is done at MEPS. For me, it seems I get to put that together on my own.

I know, weird.  Still, it gives me the chance to have significant people in my life as a part of the ceremony.  As far as I know, all I need is another Commissioned Officer (of any branch) and a US flag, and I should be good to go.  Instructions concerning the ceremony should be coming with my eventual paper work, so it isn’t anything to have done right now.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll point you to an eventual video. :)

If things go quickly, I could be going to a COT at the end of May.  While that would be nice, I’m not holding my breath.

Z

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CO – Commissioned Officer. Only a Commissioned Officer can recruit another person to be a Commissioned Officer. But, they get an enlisted recruiter to put us through MEPs, and finish up some paper work. Oh, and the local recruiter gets NO CREDIT for doing all this work on your behalf!

ETT- “Effective Toilet Time” (TMI?) I first heard this used by @The_Koltrane on the Convert to Raid podcast. The idea is to use that 10-15 minutes of potty time to read up on raid information, or watch the lates youtube video about a boss fight.

COT- Commissioned Officer Training course.

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Air Force Wings

Other working titles were:

“Pain of Dah Teeth,” and “Consequences Suck.”

Catchy, eh?

You can catch up by reading the USAF Update: Worse Fears.  That should give you a sense of where I’m coming from.

You can also check out my other posts tagged with USAF.

Since that time, I’ve done a few things. 

First, I’ve gone to some other dentists for second and third opinions. 

No one likes the idea of the “all-on-four” procedure.  They want you to keep as many natural teeth as possible. The procedure would necessitate some being taken out.  They also agree that just getting dentures is the poorest choice for a couple of reasons.  They agree that as a professional communicator/counselor; I need to be able to talk without something coming lose.  I also get mouth ulcers when I’m stressed, and they all cringed at the thought of an ulcer forming underneath a denture plate.

They want me to get the teeth removed that have to be removed.  That’s about seven to eight regular teeth, and all four wisdom teeth.

Removal of my teeth will cost around $2,000.00 (estimate).

I’m still looking at getting 5 implants (eventually).  Each implant will end up costing $4,000-$5,0000 a piece.  I’m sure that you can do the math on that one.

Either way, that is a butt load of money.

I also have another $2000.00 of other incidental teeth procedures (cavities, porcelain build up, etc.).

To begin the process, we are looking at spending between $2,000 and $4,000. 

That hurts.  It would take a year to pay that off at our current income level and cost of living.

Which brings me to the second aspect of what I’ve been doing.

I’ve been looking for another job.

I would either end up with two jobs, making enough to pay for the dental procedures.  Or, I would end up with a new job that pays more than my current position.

At this time, I’m applying for a chaplaincy position at a local hospital.  It would be a weekend salaried job, Friday through Sunday (36 hours).  I would at least make as much as I’m currently making, and I would probably have better benefits.

Here is the clincher… The reason I want the position so badly, and that I’m willing to give up my position of 10+ years.

I would be able to keep my boys at home on Monday through Thursday and save us $1,200.00 per month is childcare costs.

Read that again.   That is $1,200 SAVED IN CHILDCARE COSTS!

That, in and of itself is an amount consistent with a part time job (within my field of experience).

One kid is starting Kindergarten, the other would stay home with me on those days.  Heck for $105 per month, I could put him in a “Mother’s Day Out” program for two days a week, so that I could get stuff done around the house.

That still saves us over $1,000 per month.

That, right there, can begin the process of getting my teeth fixed.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I want this job. I don’t have the words to convey the depth of sadness this whole thing has brought into my life, nor the amount of hope a single position can hold out for me and my family.

I had a preliminary interview with a recruiter for the hospital’s parent company. She has passed my application and resume on to the Director of the department.  I’m waiting to see if she/he thinks I warrant a second interview.

Oh God, please let me get this job.

Z

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USAF Recruitment, Phase 3!

Air Force Wings

I just received a call from the recruiter.  My application has made it past the review board, and now I’m officially into Phase 3 of the process!

From what he told me, it means this:

  1. More paper work.
  2. A local recruiter is going to contact me to help facilitate a few things… like…
  3. MEPS! Which may happen in April.

Assuming that 1-3 go well, I may be heading to COT at the end of May!!!!!  I thought it may be August, but he said May.  On top of it, there is a good chance that I may get in as a Captain (03).

You wouldn’t believe how my hands are shaking as I type this!

So, these are my goals:

  1. Get into as great of shape as I can between now and MEPS.
  2. Get any, and all, paper work done (asap).
  3. Make sure my files (electronic and paper) are up to date.
  4. Don’t slack in my current position (job), just because I may be gone in 3-4 months.

I’m sure that I’m missing something, but that will work for now.

Z

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Phase 2 Update

Z, you’ve not updated us on your journey to enter the Air Force! What’s up, man?!

I’m nearing the end of “Phase 2″ of my recruitment.

All of my paperwork is in for this phase.  All of my recommendations are in.

Now, I’m waiting on a “Major Command Interview” to be scheduled.  This will be an interview with a Colonel (06) or above, and may happen sometime in mid-December.  If not, then I’m probably looking at it happening in January.

After the MajCom Interview, the recruiting office will decide if my application gets to go before a Review Board.  Successfully making it through the Review Board puts me at the end of Phase 2, and the beginning of Phase 3.

What does “Phase 3″ look like?

I have no idea what happens in Phase 3.  I’ve asked the recruiter, and his reply has been: “Well cover it when we get there.”

It’s in the bag, yes?

This is my Worried Face.

No, not really.  I’m a little nervous about it all.  You see, the position(s) I’m trying for are some what competitive. While I don’t know exactly how many people are making applications to the USAF in this area; I do know this:

  • They are losing 53 folks from this spot due to attrition/retirement/etc.
  • They are only hiring around 23-25 to fill those open slots.

Sounds like they are trying to do more with less.

Yes, they are doing more with less.

So, Z. Why are you trying to be a part of this? You think you’re special!?

Yes, I believe I’m one of those qualified and gifted to excel at this position.  Perhaps I’ll tell you why I believe this someday.

;)

Z

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Phase 2

I’m making application to the USAF (as an Officer).

My application process has now entered into Phase 2!

There are three phases.  Phase 2 includes:

  • References (3-5)
  • School transcripts
  • Lots of paperwork
  • A “Major Command” Interview.
  • and my Application goes before a “Review Board” at the end.

Yes…I’m excited!

And a little bit scared. ;)

Z

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