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A day in the life of an air force member

by DONNIE VAPHIDES Section Editor

Being in the Air Force is a tough and taxing job. The responsibilities are demanding and your best effort will be expected at all times. However, serving the country in the Air Force has endless opportunities for a person to explore. The requirements are basic, and the recruitment stage is made simple.

The requirements of the military are simple: you have to be anywhere from 17 to 39 years old, a United States citizen, and have a high school diploma or a GED of at least 15 credits toward college.

If all that checks out, you must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) which covers four areas: arithmetic reading, world knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and mathematics knowledge. This test maps your future success in the Air Force, and will set you up with the career to best suit you.

The Air Force runs a physical and mental screening test to see how well you are in both areas. You then receive a list of every job you are qualified for and could pursue as your career in the Air Force. Then the wait begins for basic training.

“After your physical and mental screening, it is a good idea to prepare your strength and conditioning. Basic and military training are a tough set of courses that will test you in every way,” said Air Force 3A171 Administration Staff Sergent James McNamee.

When preparation is all set and done, you pick your career in the military and your job on base is selected. There are many bases in every state to choose from, including your local area. The base in New Jersey is a joint Air Force, Army and Naval base called McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base.

When the preparations are done and you settle into your new home on base, you are given the schedule for your new job.

For McNamee, the schedule sent him off to joint base Andrews in Maryland to start. Since then, he has lived on Keesler base in Mississippi, Lackland base in Texas, and served overseas in Korea, Afghanistan, and is currently serving a two year term in Germany.

“My current job is part of the 3A171 Administration. It focuses on many things. The jobs of the people in the administration are human resource, executive support training management. It is mainly the behind-the-scenes support of the mission of the squadron you are in. Some other squadrons I have worked in have included communications, aircraft maintenance, intelligence, and now a joint special operations command,” said McNamee.

Each job is five days a week, Monday through Friday, with ten hour days. However, if you have been deployed overseas, you will most likely have a schedule where you work six days a week. The hours you start will depend on either what hours you want or the hours chosen for you. These hours can change if you do not want them, but be prepared for them to possibly decline the request due to the amount of people already working on your job during your desired shift.

“Your job can come with other responsibilities depending on your rank in your position. The rankings are from an E-1 to an E-9 United States Air Force (USAF). The higher rank a person is, the bigger responsibilities and bigger leadership gets. The rank will come over time with how your performance is throughout the work year. You take on new challenges and are expected to give 100 percent effort at all times.

“Being an E-5 makes me a Staff Sergeant. A Staff Sergeant is a non-commissioned officer (NCO) and is often put in leadership positions over airmen in the ranks of e-1 through e-4. E-4 and below spend a lot of time learning their job and how to lead people before they become a NCO,” said McNamee.

The military will expect you to be ready to work and on time. During your shift, you receive one break and lunch. After your ten hour day, you are free to do as you please.

“Typically, I get an hour and a half a day for physical training (PT) and lunch,” said McNamee.

After 20 years of service, you can retire from the military completely or pursue another career.

When you are eligible to join any of the armed forces, would you want to? If so, which one?

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