1. #1
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    Default China Lake Fed Fire

    To any and all,

    I just received a "Tentative" job offer letter,and need alot of info... How is China Lake Naval Air Station FD, and how would a family of three make it by out there... We will be a transplant from Cleveland Ohio. I am returning all reqeusted info to them and am awaiting a physical to be set.

    What is the locality pay, and what is the base pay for a GS-4 step1. This position is a NTE 1 year, but may have time added...

    Please any and all infor will be greatly appreciated and taken to heart. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for,and look very forward to hearing back from you all.

    Thanks,
    Doug

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    Doug, I dont know a thing about China Lake, but TRUST ME when I say this- think LONG AND HARD before you move 2000 miles for a temp NTE 1 year position at a GS4 pay rate. You are moving across 2/3rds of the country to what I assume will be a higher cost of living neighborhood. The position is NTE 1 year, but additional time IS NOT GUARANTEED. I REPEAT IS NOT GUARANTEED.

    I for one would not be moving my family from Ohio to California for what equates to a little more than peanuts (GS4) for a position other than a career position. Especially given the way things are looking for the Navy Fire & Emergency Services right now.

    Think about it- what happens if you get out there, work for one year, and get your walking papers? What if your family hates the area but can't afford to move back to Ohio???? You are stuck there. It would be different if it were a career offer- at least you would have a job you like a little. More opportunity to move elsewhere as a career.

    If I were you I would pass.

    BTW have you asked these questions on the DoDfire.com forums????
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    FWDbuff,

    Just posted it on DoDfire.com forum... I know its going to be a toss up here, but I have been looking and have finally gotten a call from the DoN HR for a fire job... I love being a firefighter in the civilian world, and want to get back to the Fed service somehow... My resume is also being considered for a position in NDW NAS Pax River for a GS-5... Should I wait for that or should i jump on the opportunity now and see what happens...?

    I am between a rock and a hard place.... HELP....

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    Doug,

    I know you want to get back in so bad you can taste it, I feel your pain in all your posts. I am pulling for you and if there were more I could do for you I would. Several factors would keep me from going to China Lake......

    1. You (and your family) are moving 2000+ miles, (if it were you alone as a bachelor I would say "DO IT!")

    2. To what I assume is a higher cost of living part of the country,

    3. for a temp job NTE one year.....with NO guarantee of an extension.....

    4. The Navy is cutting back manning left and right and disbanding companies,

    5. For GS4 pay..... (peanuts.)

    These factors would keep me in Ohio.

    Now, regarding Pax River,

    GS5....getting better.....Cost of living, I would imagine is the same as or pretty close to Ohio.....

    Is relatively close to Ohio (I imagine you or your wife has friends and family nearby) and you can drive there in about 10-12 hours, as opposed to California being several days driving.......)

    Moving back to Ohio from Md is not that big a deal if things dont work out....

    Is this a TEMP TERM or CAREER spot? If it's a TERM or CAREER, I would take it.....

    Plus, Pax River runs a lot of mutual aid working fire off post. They are a pretty important R & D facility with a good sized airfield. I dont see them getting downsized anytime soon.


    I cant tell you what to do, but if I were you I would hold out for Pax River. But again, thats ME.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    First of all moving your family across the country for a NTE position is close to insane. Second It will be extreme culture shock. China Lake is in Ridgecrest, CA. It is not surf boards and beaches. It is Desert...Lots of it too! Your a short hop to Death Valley from there. As a GS 04 you will make $13/hr. Average temps for January Temp: 31F and July Temp: 103F. Average home price is 190K for a home that is around 30 years old. It is a R&D base so who knows what you are exsposing your family too. I had a friend that worked there and she said most of the calls she ran were building alarms and that was it. Maybe the occasional medical. The last time I was in Ridgecrest it looked run down and ghetto. Schooling is questionable. I understand your wanting to be back in the Federal system, but think about it. GS-04 and 5 wages are for single people. You make more on unemployment in this state then you do on a base paycheck. Counting on overtime from extra staffing or wildland fire assignments? Good luck. My friend had a hard time keeping her Squad boss qual current. I work for the Forest Service am married and a GS-07. Without the overtime I make during the summer I would have drowned in debt in this state long ago. My wife is attending Post Grad school and is not working and during the winter I have to do Paid call at the local VFD, Paid Call Ambulance, plus my 40 hours at the FS to keep the bills paid. You would make $5.00/hr less than I am and I live in Norcal in a cheaper cost of living. Another thing for thought is that California has and income tax plus Sales tax and it is all going up this year. Vehicle taxs are due to increase by 100% if the state leg gets its way. Jobs in Ridgecrest for your wife may be few and far between. I used to live in Lone Pine which is 45 mins north on 395 from Ridgecrest. It is a hole and commuting out there would be cost prohibitive. In the end it's your life and this is just my some what educated opinion. Good luck in what ever you do!
    "The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FortechFEO View Post
    First of all moving your family across the country for a NTE position is close to insane.
    There you have it Doug...I was hoping someone with some more insight would come on here and confirm my thoughts (remember I posted that I know nothing about China Lake.) Now that I am armed with Fortech's information, I hearby advise you- that if you move your FAMILY to China Lake on an TEMP NTE ONE YEAR OFFER AT A GS4 SALARY,you are out of your mind.

    I think I made that clear enough. Hold out for Pax buddy, but understand the competition for Pax will be fierce.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Guys thank you for your input on this very important life decision. I have been doing alot of research on this and am finding out alot of good info, both from you and current employees of China Lake FD.

    I spoke with a current GS4 step 1 and he says he is actually making more money than he was in San Diego. He says it is a great place to work, and after 6 months he got picked up for a permanent position.

    I am willing to move there myself and see how it works out, but the family is going to be coming with me. No questions there.

    The other thing I have to consider is that I need to get into a fed system that will accept entry level, and let me get my certs while on the job. I have my Ohio certs, but they are not IFSAC or PROBoard compatible, so I need to get my DoD certs so I can move up in the system.

    I respect your opinions and your experience and will take all information to heart and consider all of my options.

    Thanks again guys,

    Doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug7899 View Post
    Guys thank you for your input on this very important life decision. I have been doing alot of research on this and am finding out alot of good info, both from you and current employees of China Lake FD.

    I spoke with a current GS4 step 1 and he says he is actually making more money than he was in San Diego. He says it is a great place to work, and after 6 months he got picked up for a permanent position.

    I am willing to move there myself and see how it works out, but the family is going to be coming with me. No questions there.

    The other thing I have to consider is that I need to get into a fed system that will accept entry level, and let me get my certs while on the job. I have my Ohio certs, but they are not IFSAC or PROBoard compatible, so I need to get my DoD certs so I can move up in the system.

    I respect your opinions and your experience and will take all information to heart and consider all of my options.

    Thanks again guys,

    Doug
    Doug, no matter what you do, GOOD LUCK and best wishes. If you need anything else, feel free to email me at yardo@rcn.com
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Yep, not a problem. Of course he is making more money out there. The cost of living is cheaper than Diego. Diego has like a 146 COL designator and Ridgecrest a 95 COL. The national average is 100 COL. Deigo is 46% more expensive than the National average and Ridgecrest is 5% cheaper than the national average. So it really does not suprise me that they are saying they are making more money. He's paying 51% less. I really do not like telling or speculating on how you should run your life, but maybe the option is coming out here for six months without the family and working. See what you think of the place and concentrate on establishing yourself in the department. Then if it all goes well you can everything set up and ready for the family 6 months later when you have a perm job and positive you want to be there. I grew up in the Navy and the one thing I hated was moving coast to coast. I admire your passion and i am sure your family does too. You need to look at the numbers and really really think this through! This is not a decision you should be making with your heart or for a couple pieces of paper.
    "The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action."

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    Thanks FortechFEO,

    You are very right... My heart is in it and it is not just for a few peices of paper... I am looking for a possible long term career, and a stable environment for my family. But it appears that I may have to get over this one hurdle to do just that.

    Again i thank you for all your advise and it will all be taken to heart and thought over very hard.

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    Doug,

    I am in the same position right now. Accepting an Apprentice firefighter position with a municipal department or staying career where I am with the Forest Service. It would be a 5.00/hr pay cut and the loss of benefits for my wife and I. She has one more year of school till she is done. The question I have to face is can I make ends meet till she gets out of school with summer deployments and even during the slow times? To get my foot in the door and possibly pump out my medic. I'm writhing inside with this chance and the thought that I may not get another being 30 and getting close to the cut off age.
    "The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action."

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    FortechFEO,

    Well at least you are still at the 30 y/o limit... I am 34 and my last chance to get a fire job is with the federal government. I am torn so bad right now on what to do. I am most likely going to turn down this offer and hopefully not ruin my chances for another offer from them down the road... I wish I knew it would lead to a full time permanent position.

    Thanks for all your input...

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    Doug,
    I live and work in Death Valley, about 1 1/2 hours east of Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest is where I do most of my shopping, so I can give you some first hand info on the town. We went to CLFD for liquid fuel training, and were impressed with their professionalism. I know they are building more buildings on the base, I have not talked to anybody in the FD for several months, but I know a BLM firefighter left BLM to go to CLFD last year. Yep, it's a desert town and the wind blows there. But not a bad as we have it here. CLFD does respond off base with Kern County FD and are on some first alarm assignments in town. If you have any more questions feel free to email me at equisdv@yahoo.com.

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