I had one man in particular side-eye me at MEPS after seeing my ASVAB score and ask, “did you ever think about going Air Force?”
And the answer is YES! For those who have been in on my enlistment decision from day one, the Air Force Reserves was undoubtedly my number one plan for a long time. For a girl that is terrified of heights and hadn’t even ridden on a plane before a few months ago, why Air Force?
My goal in enlisting in the military is to learn a new skill. When both civilian and military personnel have asked me if I want to get into a medical/science career field, my answer has always been no. I didn’t want a part-time job that was the same thing as I do 40 hours a week at work. When I thoroughly contemplated joining the Air Force, I was interested in mechanical or in-flight jobs–something very outside my comfort zone but hands-on jobs I thought I would enjoy. BUT, my long-term goal in any military branch was to commission as an officer. Because all the research I had previously done regarding the Air Force made it seem relatively impossible to commission without prior service, I was resigned to enlisting (which was not a big deal to me. I figured I would enlist, serve a few years and attempt to commission after having already enlisted).
The more research I did, and the more enlisting became a viable option with grad schools not panning out, I decided to broaden my research to make sure the Air Force was indeed the branch I wanted to pursue. I had always thought Navy Reserves would be a solid second option as they also have aviation specialties, but I had never really considered Army or Marines, as they seem to attract more of the “straight out of high school” crowd and, as a 25 year old woman, that did not particularly pique my interest. That was, until I discovered I would have a fair shot at commissioning with the National Guard without prior service AND had student loan repayment options, which the Air Force (save the Air Guard) does not offer.
The first phone call I had with my Guard recruiter was very brief and introductory, as I already had most of the information I would need to make an informed decision. I left my discussion with him at ‘well I also have a voicemail out to the Air Guard and would like to wait to hear back from him to see what my options are’. However, no phone call was ever received from the Air Guard and I was already excited about joining the Guard after hearing about the perks and ability to commission right away. It was no longer a second choice.
I will go into more details about the few times I met with my recruiter and what the actual enlistment process for going to BCT (Basic Combat Training) and OCS (Officer Candidate School) actually entailed. But, as another semi-introductory post, I wanted to give my perspective as to why I chose the National Guard and why I feel it suited my interests the best.