Originally Posted by CatPat
I'm researching the costs of learning how to fly an airplane. There are many levels to the lessons; everything is in steps from a single-engine propeller engine to a four-engine jet.
I wonder if I were to join the US Air Force would they teach me this? Do you have to be born in the USA to join the US Air Force?
It's quite expensive to learn how to fly a plane, as I'm sure you're finding out!
Yes, the Air Force will teach you to fly, if you qualify to be a pilot; qualifying standards, both physical and mental, are high, and it's very competitive. The other four services (Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard) have pilots, too, for flying fighter jets, transport planes, or helicopters. In exchange for that expensive training, you're expected to volunteer your service to the military, which can include combat or flying into dangerous places, for at least eight years. You may sign up for two, four or six years (not as a pilot, though), but you have to serve the remainder in the National Guard or Reserves in order to make the eight years. And when you're in the National Guard or Reserves, you're subject to being called back to active duty at any time.
This page - Military Service Commitments - What is a Military Service Commitment?
- says Air Force pilots have to serve a minimum of 12 years, so the AF gets its money's worth for that expensive training
You can retire with a pension at 20 years of service, so many military people I have known felt that, once you've served 12, what's another 8 to get the pension and Veterans Administration health care for life? If you're, say 25 when you join and 37 at the end of the 12 years of service, another 8 years will bring you to 45 years old. Plenty of time then to go back to school for that journalism degree and a second career
Definitely talk to a recruiter and, as Addie said, don't sign anything at all at your first visit. It would be a good idea to take a friend with you as well.
Going into military service is a major commitment. My husband was in the Navy for four years and we have lots of friends and family who have served for much longer. It can be a very difficult life, because your life belongs to the military. As my mom told me, when I complained about DH being away at sea for 2.5 years of the first four years of our marriage: "If they had wanted you (the military member) to have a family, they'd have issued you one."