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Recent EE grad with civilian job considering AFR or ANG

  1. Jun 18, 2011 #1
    I posted before when I was considering a career in the Navy as a Nuclear Propulsion officer.

    Though I have not fully thrown the idea out, I landed a civilian job in the nuclear industry. I was looking into the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard, and was wondering how it would actually work? What I mean is, in the AFR or Air National Guard, part time employment = a few weekends a month + a few weeks during the summer. As an EE, I wonder with such little time actually on duty, what work would actually be done? It seems like there isn't enough time to actually do stuff? Suggestions regarding being an officer or enlistee? (people say go officer)

    I am not particularly keen on combat zones, but would really like to go on humanitarian deployments. Which of these would be more likely to go on such deployments?

    For those who have walked this path, please share your experiences. Thanks!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2011 #2
    This isn't meant to be rude but if you want humanitarian deployments then I would join the Peace Corps. I have many friends in both ANG and AFR that have deployed for natural disasters and others that have deployed to the "desert" for combat missions. If you're in the military your number can be picked for anything. If they need you, you go. If you're not ready to commit to that then it would be a horrendous idea to join up. Good luck.
  4. Jun 20, 2011 #3
    I understand that there is a possibility, but I was thinking more in terms of probability, seeing as I am an Electrical Engineer (what would an EE do in combat?) and that I would be part time (wouldn't the full time guys be sent first?)
  5. Jun 20, 2011 #4
    I think personnel on overseas deployments are fairly even between Active duty and Guard/Reserve. I remember hearing something about 60%/40%, respectively. Statistically, sure, ANG/AFR are safer. Heck even the AF, both Active and Guard/Reserve, has the least amount of deaths total in the current war but it's still war.

    I'll leave you with this story:

    I saw a commander (O-7) of a ANG Wing about a month ago and he just got back from the desert. He said quote "When I was over there, I had use my weapon on several occasions."

    So don't think that because you're part-time and an EE your number won't be picked. War is complete chaos and you could be over there having bullets fly over your head just like anyone else. It's a very serious decision. Good luck.
  6. Jun 20, 2011 #5
    If you're interested in weapon design, without getting shot at, consider working for civilian research arms of the government such as the Naval Research Lab.

    Though they may not pay as well as private industry, you won't starve. Most people there don't do it for the money. They do it for the research opportunities, and for being able to see what they create take shape.

    I will second DrummingAtom's advice: Do not join the military thinking you'll never see a live battlefield. Everyone from Privates to Generals knows that it can happen to them.
  7. Jun 20, 2011 #6
    I was planning to just work as a EE in the Power or Electronics areas. I was even considering going as an enlistee as some of their job functions seem interesting.

    From my understanding of the Air National Guard, you work with your unit. So if I were to be in a unit whose primary focus is refueling, that would have a low risk of deployment right?

    I understand what everyone is saying about it being possible, I have friends who graduated from ROTC who said the same, but I am speaking more with regard to probability. Yes I understand the chance is there, but some are more probable than others.
  8. Jun 20, 2011 #7
    While the topic is up, I guess I will throw it out there...what about the Coast Guard? This is something else I also considered for a part time thing...though I wonder what an EE would do in the Coast Guard...
  9. Jun 20, 2011 #8
    I have friends who have served in the National Guard and the Reserve. They have each done several tours of duty overseas. One of them, when he returned from his most recent tour of duty, had to mentally restrain himself from diving for cover every time a car door was closed. That thump of a car door closing sounded a lot like mortar fire to him. From the sort of work he did, you wouldn't think he'd be in much danger. But he was.

    As for the Coast Guard, it is still a military force. You realize that don't you? Who can say where the next military action will come from?

    Mind you, I'm not recommending that you stay away from the armed forces. Far from it. They need good people and if you're interested in that line of work, I encourage you to pursue it. But I would not want to see someone join them without having a pretty good idea of what he or she is getting in to. That is no good for the armed forces, and it is no good for you. And I as a tax payer will not get my money's worth.

    If you are looking to serve your country, I will thank you. But please do so with a full understanding of what you're doing.
  10. Jun 20, 2011 #9
    I understand the coast guard is a military force as well.

    I have recently been looking into these services (Air Force, Coast Guard) as well as Public Health Service. I know each has it's own risks, but many civilian jobs do as well. As in any situation, I'm trying to inform myself as well as reduce the risk as much as possible.
  11. Jun 20, 2011 #10
    Like I said before, statistically the Air Force and also the Coast Guard are the safest branches but that doesn't mean you won't get picked. I got some friends doing trade work type jobs (electrical, HVAC, etc.) in the ANG that randomly got augmentee duty with the Army. They went from doing their usual work to kicking in doors of terrorists and securing buildings. I think you can guess what happened in these situations..
  12. Jun 23, 2011 #11
    The best part about basic training is that everyone comes out with the same skill set. It has been said many times in this thread and you have acknowledged it, but I'm not sure you actually get it yet. If you are not prepared to go to war, do not join the armed forces.

    If you're serious, you should really talk to a recruiter and they could at least give you an idea of the type of work you COULD be doing when you're on duty.
  13. Jun 25, 2011 #12
    You are less likely to get deployed with the ANG than as AFR. Also, don't expect to go into either and do much in the way of engineering. Most of the AF engineering is done by contractors or civil service. If you are reserve, the chance of doing engineering goes down even more because you don't have constant exposure to the systems.
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