I plan on joining in a year, and was wondering if anyone on this forum has any advice / expreience in the Air Force. I plan on joining either TACP, or Security forces to become a counter sniper. Any input on anything AF would be very greatly appreciated.
You're going to join the AF to be a sniper? You might want to reconsider the Marines or Army...AF is fucking worthless as troops. I love their support via CAS/transport but the only guys they have worth a shit are PJ's and you will rarely do anything other than train as a PJ
lol well thanks for the blow tommy229 ...Sentll im gonna be straight up with ya TACP, PJs, Combat Control...are all EXTREMELY hard to get into...and i cannot stress how hard it is...I was Security Forces...and I met alot of Extremely fit guys and alot of ex Special Forces washouts...and they washed out of those careers quite easily...all you have to do is fail one portion and your done....your chances of making it are about as good as walking on to a professional sports team... as for Security Forces... counter sniper is an also very rare position...I was a Designated Marksman in my unit... and in my 5 years i saw only one counter sniper unit...if you can call them that...they were more like an overwatch with an M24...and also before i waste my time explaining security forces to you...do you like Law Enforcement and Security? if you interested I can explain the career for ya..
Look man, I respect you being a Marine. But you shouldnt go around bashing other peoples choices. Ive seen alot of people who join the Marines who wish theyd join a different branch becuase they got tricked into something they didnt want, or found out they got lied to.
And you don't think that that doesn't happen in the other branches? You might want to wake up and smell the coffee. The DOD will own your ass for the entire contract length. They will do with you as they please regardless of what you want. You can sign a contract to be a jet mechanic and they decide to make you a bulk fuel specialist. They can make you a cook and then send you out on convoy security. This happens across all of the branches. Don't fool yourself into thinking it doesn't.
The Marines pretty much self select; it isn't for everyone and I'm okay with that. That's why we are the Few and the Proud. But I have to say if you want to be a shooter, the AF is less likely to provide you that opportunity. If you want to be a cop, any of the four services can help you meet your goal, but I would recommended the largest branch as you will have the most opportunity.
Whenever somebody asks me what they should join, I ask them why they want to go in or what exactly they want to do. If they want a better quality of life, join the Air Force. If you want to "see the world" join the Navy. If you just want to fight, join the Marine Corps.
On the other hand if they want to join the elite, I'll tell them to join the Navy and go to BUD/s. (Disclaimer: I am NOT a SEAL, just an Ordnance Support Tech for the Teams for the past 7 years.) That being said, we have worked with a LOT of foreign and domestic SOF. This has allowed me to see how other units shoot and operate. Though totally biased, especially having a bro-in-law that's a 2nd Phase Dive Chief at BUD/s, I firmly believe they are the best. The Teams and Air Force SOF also get the best equipment.
Good luck with your choice, and let the flaming begin...
I know quite for few TACP's. They all seem to love their career choice. As a TACP you'll get opportunities to train and deploy with some of the best the military have to offer because that skill has very good demand with a lot of people. This includes ally nations, so expect some great travel/training opportunities abroad.
Also, they are well funded, so the gear is typically top notch. Grooming standards are moderate, you'll be well taken care of, and you're given a lot of breathing room to make mistakes without some useless higher rank breathing fire up your ass. Plus the firepower at your disposal is epic.
I say go for it.
Good friend of mine just got home from the shit box. He absolutely loves being a TACP.
With respect to the Marines here...(I know they are obviously better than AF cops in a combat role) we are not so "chair force" think...thats one of the misconceptions i hate...I tell someone i was AF security forces they think i was a "Chair Force" despite the fact i would work 14 hours in the sun unlike the rest of my colleagues in the AF... Security Forces conducts base defense, off base patrolling, law enforcement... fuck in my own experience..06 Basic / Tech School....07 i deployed to Iraq (Camp Bucca) under the command of an army unit 16th MP Battalion... I did Detainee ops....08 i didnt deploy... 09 I was deployed to Kuwait where i did off base patrol and on base law enforcement and security (off base was cool because we were able to interact with the locals) and finally 2010 I was deployed to Balad AB where i did Base Defense...we had 2 Squadrons (Battalions) one that did on base law enforcement and the other did Base Defense / off base patrol..again very interesting tour...worked with Iraqi Army and was pretty cool.. and finally 2011 I got honorably discharged... and with respect to Tommy229 our careers do not switch out...you will never see a finance, medical, flight crew etc work SF (security forces) duties..only we do it..obviously because we are taught combat tactics etc... (Not to the extent that the grunts learn!) but basic AF personnel dont know shit about any weapons... now with weapons again...we learn our fair share.. I learned on and fired the following.. M2 machine gun (.50 cal) M249 (SAW) M240, M203 (40mm grenade launcher) M4,M16 M107 (Barrett .50 cal) and I posted out (went to work) with all these weapons except the 249 lol (luck i guess)
now to the guy wanting to join Security Forces....heres the job options for ya...first off you will start off mostly doing Security...then Law Enforcement...after bout 3-5 years you will be open to lateral train to K-9 (dog sniff sniff....ooh bomb!) or CATM (Combat Arms) other options are Raven who do presidential security and other fly away type security.. (guard people in flight and guard the plane when landed) other options are smaller things like Counter Sniper (which I would recommend another branch personally) ...anyhow i strongly encourage to anyone going AF to demand a "guaranteed job" meaning they cant change your career unless you flunk it in tech school...as Security Forces you WILL work 14 hours a day on panamas in garrison (back at home station) and will deploy very frequently (see my tempo in previous post) over there you will again work 14 hours a day and will vary overseas from a 6 on 1 off work schedule to a 3 on 1 off schedule....either way overseas you work all the time... the reason I got out was that I was working over 3000 hours a year just at home station...and I found that complete horseshit....especially with civilian police offering overtime....I could make 80K a year with that work tempo..as a civ cop...so i got out...plus I was tired of the leaderships armchair quarterbacking...
If you got anymore questions please ask...this career eats people up...its underfunded and almost always minimally manned...meaning your ass works and deploys alot! so please ask any question no matter how dumb...If its a Nuclear Security question I cant answer directly but i do have friends in the Nuke field i can relay the question to...
I was Security Forces as well for almost 12yrs. Did my last several years over in CATM and loved that side of the career field. I'll give respect to anyone who has served in any capacity, I'm old enough now to realize we're all on the same team and service rivalry or whatever you want to call it is part of the deal. I will say comparing an infantry Marine to being an SP isn't even apples to oranges though. They both carry a rifle but that's pretty much where it stops. I do remember going TDY and seeing the Army and Marines living in hardened billets while we lived in old GP mediums so the hotel and cable TV joke isn't always true.
I humped around an M24 for awhile but someone said it above, it's just an overwatch job. I did that training before they came up with that CPE stuff but that course was run by prior service guys, Army and Marine trained snipers, so back then it wasn't a bunch of Air Force fluff. Don't know what it has become but anything Air Force will eventually go to shit! lol!
If you go 820th, 786th or 610th(IIRC the PACAF unit correctly) you'll have an opportunity to go to jump school, pathfinder and all the embroidery of the month schools for their Army LNO tasker. And you will deploy almost non-stop. We were always on the go when I was down there but it was a good time even if the rest of the career field felt we were arrogant and "skating". lol! The squadrons down there get so tight because you're constantly together training or overseas so you hang out with your own folks most of the time was all.
Just like Von Curry said, any questions feel free to ask me as well. I still have a bunch of friends still in too.
Thanks for the help! Just how hard is TACP though? I've heard alot of people say its easier than CC, but I doubt its what was said above earlier. I have seen some of the class grad pics, and its like 30+ guys. CC however is like 6 lol. I just want from the Air Force something that will help me get my foot in the door in a civilian law enforcement job. What I really want to do is go into a SWAT job. Or be a U.S Marshal. any input in any of this would be well taken. Thanks again for your help!
TACP is about being a grunt and calling in CAS and such other tasks. Which I won't deny, sounds like a bitchin' job and the folks we got to work with were great guys, but if you're looking into life after the military as an LEO then it may not be a good choice. The tech school is so many months then you're doing OJT and other new guy, make-work stuff. If you prove yourself then you go through the cert to actually be a JTAC. As I recall, that may be wrong so please check my math. How hard it is all relative. How bad do you want it?
Doing SP or MP work in the service will have some (read: some) correlations to that work on the outside. There are a lot of differences of course but there are some professional education opportunities to take advantage of that can help you out later on. Depending on the location you can do joint training with the local LE. We did training with the Marshals, FBI, etc. You pick up some good info.
It almost sounds like AFOSI is more your goal though. You have to have so much time in service and apply for OSI but you'll go through FLETC and be credentialed when you complete it.
Joining the Air Force specifically for an MP type career sounds strange to me, like saying I want to join the Navy but I don't want to go to sea. Serving in any branch is an honorable thing, some are just better fits for what you want out of it.
Before you worry about Special Forces and such, just concentrate on being the best at what you do and developing skills and maturity. Seems like I always here people saying they want to go in the military as Special Forces and I think someone else already mentioned the professional sports analogy. Its like saying I want to go to med/grad school to become a doctor but don't want to spend time getting an undergraduate degree where you prove you are smart enough and you will learn the skills and habits that will carry you through such a rigorous graduate school. That is why most Special Forces across the branches require a minimum rank to try out, you need a few years of service to develop that core skill set and some maturity before you can be expected to master more complicated topics. I would assume the same applies to a SWAT job, you need to be a cop for a while before you can try out.
If all you want is some a resume builder there are other things to consider, do you have a bachelors degree? They tend to help a lot with federal law enforcement. A friend of mine just became an Air Marshal, he had a degree and 3 combat tours in the Marines. Another one of my friends that only had a degree has been on the Diplomatic Security Service wait list for their academy (I think the same academy FLETC) for 6 months and is danger of having to reinterview since they keep bumping him lower for more qualified candidates.
There is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and working towards that end. You can just come off childish if your not in the military and say something like I want to join to be a Air Force Special Forces Countersniper and then get out and be on a SWAT team. Maybe you can do those things. Just have a realistic view of how few people can actually handle that, the years of dedication and service, and some tact. If you are a civilian, maybe address a combat veteran more respectfully before you start labeling "those" people. End rant.