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    Default Firefighter position in Armed Forces

    Due to the current economic hardship situation, being unemployed, bills are piling up, having a college degree (criminal justice) and a family, I am thinking about enlisting in the Armed Forces, but only if i can get a guaranteed contract that i will become trained as a firefighter. Due to my age (30), i believe i can only go active with the Army and the Navy.

    My question is, do you think i can get a guaranteed contract that states what i want (firefighter only) or will i get what they only want for and from me?

    I understand that i can go back to school (community college), get a fire science degree in 2 years, become a volunteer firefighter while going to school, but since i have bills and a family, this would all be very hard to do and to pay for, thus the reason i am thinking about enlisting, to serve our country and to get trained/educated in fire science.

    Any recommendations/suggestions on what i should do?

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    It is possible to be come in as a Army Firefighter most have to do a 5 year contract if you were never in the military. You will run in to road blocks though.
    1. They will tell you that they are getting rid of Army firefighters that is not true. they will try to get you to do another job.

    2. It is a hard MOS to get because there are so many people wanting the MOS and so few slot that are open.
    If you really want the MOS don't take no for answer and stick with you guns. Tell them 21M or your not joining the ARMY.

    The age thing shouldn't be a problem because there are a lot of people who join the military after 30. Most of the time the 30 year old's do better than th 18 year old's.

    All jobs in the Army are Guaranteed contracts when you sigin the papers. I have never herd of open contracts in the Army like the Air Force dose. You will see the Job you are sigining up for on your contract, when you sign your contract. But if you fail out of MOS school you have to pick from a list of the 10 most needed jobs in the Army.

    I am not tring to sell the Army to you. I just want to put out the best info that I can. Pick the military branch that you think you would like the most. We all go to the same fire school at Goodfellow Tx. Shop around the the different branches and see what they can offer you. Recruiters are like used car sales men any way.
    Last edited by panthers; 11-01-2009 at 03:49 PM.

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    Panthers,

    Thanks for the info and advice. I understand it is a "hard MOS," but do you know what i must score on the ASVAB in order to get firefighting as a MOS? Speaking of the ASVAB, can you take pre-ASVAB test anywhere? I want to prepare and score really high.

    Are you certain i must sign a 5 year contract with the US Army in order to get a firefighting contract? That is a long time to be in, considering, i believe i would need to also get an Associate of Applied Science - Fire Protection degree, once i get out of the US Army.

    As for the DOD Fire Academy, do you think some/many of that training/experience will count toward a Associate of Applied Science - Fire Protection degree?

    I don't want to sound selfish, but i would like to get the most out of the US Army, DOD Fire Academy, in the shortest time possible, so that i can support my family and become a civilian firefighter/paramedic.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

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    Being the wife of a retired soldier in the US Army (and a recruiter for 3 years)- now professional firefighter, I'm a little offended that you consider 5 years too long to be in. Try 21 years...
    It is a very rare MOS and is mainly available is reserves. Just be warned that the Army CAN and WILL change your MOS as they see fit, even if you sign a contact. A friend was in supply MOS with an airborn unit, and her MOS was changed to MP for a 15 month deployment to Iraq.
    I belive that some training in the Army will count towards college credit. Depending on where you apply, an Associates is not usually necissary as long as you have certs.

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    Brownsquirrel,

    I apologize if i have personally offended you in any way, but you must keep in mind, my only intention to enlist is to receive firefighting/emt training. If i can't get a guaranteed contract i won't sign, i will go the college route and receive my firefighting/emt training and experience that way. While i do appreciate the service you, your husband, and all the other men and women have served in the Armed Forces thus far, i won't sign a contract with any Armed Forces branch knowing it won't be a firefighting MOS or it will be changed later down the road.

    As my initial post read, i am currently unemployed due to the economic hardship (layoffs), plus i already have a college degree in criminal justice. I see no harm in going back to college and getting a degree in Fire Science, but i was seeking advice on this forum to see how it would be if i went the Armed Forces route to receive firefighting/emt training and experience.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

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    Like I said, the Army can and will change your MOS to "fit the needs of the Army". No matter what MOS you go in as, you are also infantry.
    If you want to ensure that doesn't happen, then don't join.
    Have you looked into grants or scholarships for "untraditional" students? Apply to fire departments that don't require certs. Also get your EMT first because that is usually a pre-req to get into a college-based fire program and many departments only require EMT certs. If you do not get onto a department right away, try to get a job in EMS. It's great for experience and networking. I've worked on an ALS rig that runs with a particular department for over a year and have worked hard to get a good reputation. They know my character and that I'm reliable, so that will pay off big time when they hire in a few months.
    Don't be afraid to relocate. If you want to apply for a department where you currently live, go to a station and ask if you can do a ride-a-long. Our guys have no problem letting someone who is interested in the fire service spend part of a day running with them.
    Hope that helps!

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    Believe it or not you don't need to score that high on the ASVAB to get this MOS. Army recruiter has a practice test for the ASVAB. You can spend $20 dollars at book store and get book to help you for the ASVAB.

    The Army is all about education you can go to school in the Army for free and not even touch your GI BILL. I am almost done with my degree in Fire Science for free. All of my certs thru the DOD fire school went towards me degree. All my guys have EMT. I make them go thru the course. I have one soldier going thru paramedic school right now that the Army is paying for.

    All the training you can get before fire school doesn’t hurt, but don’t get into the school thinking you know everything even if you do.

    It is not selfish of you to take advantage of the things that are given to you. You have to take care of your family first.

    As for how long your enlistment will be that is mainly up to you and your recruiter. The lease amount of time I seen a 21m enlist for was 4 years.

    Just some F.Y.I. there are around 250 to 300 Active duty Firefighters in the Army and 13 Active duty Firefighting detachments with 8 ordinance companies with firefighters in there units.
    Last edited by panthers; 11-04-2009 at 12:54 AM.

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    Brownsquirrel;

    Thank for the info. I have looked at scholarships, grants, assistance, etc via the college route, but since FASFA looks at the prior year adjusted gross income (when i was employed), i wont be able to get a dime...so essentially, the first year would come out of pocket...which is hard to pay for since i am unemployed, have a family and have a deep desire to become a full-time civilian FF. I understand you are a soldier first and then a FF second, thus the reason i am soliciting info on this forum to see the pro's and con's on going the college route vs the military route. As Panthers said, family comes first when weighing in how i am going to go about this via the college route or the military route.

    Panthers;

    Thank you for the info as well. Correct me if i am wrong, but don't all the Armed Forces send their FF's to the DOD Fire Academy, but once out of the DOS Fire Academy, each branch has their own specific FF and/or EMT training? That is great to know that i could actually get a fire science degree while being the Army, etc...so basically, i would have to go to college another 2 years after the service to get an Associate degree in fire science/protection. Can you please clarify what you mean in your last paragraph? Does this mean the chances are high me to be deployed and/or re-deployed? Or does this mean there isn't many FF in the Army and the MOS limited?


    Thanks again for your time.

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    Good Evening,

    I can agree and disagree on many of the points some people have spoken about. The army is not phasing out firefighters. Although they are scarce there are only about 300 in the Active Army. How do I know this? Currently I am retraining at the DOD Fire Academy and about to move into block 3. Out of all the students in my class there are no active army soldiers. They are all reserves. If you can get into the Air Force it is the way to go or the other option would be to get hired as a DOD civilian that is willing to send you to the academy. There will be branch specific training once out of the academy but the majority of the time it depends on the equipment you have out in the field. If I can be any more help let me know.

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    I did air force, but many years ago. I also worked for the navy, and they were great to work for.

    I would look at air force, because I feel they have more openings in fd.

    What state are you in??

    there are also many online colleges you can get a fd degree from

    the academy use to count towards college hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdafd49 View Post
    I did air force, but many years ago. I also worked for the navy, and they were great to work for.

    I would look at air force, because I feel they have more openings in fd.

    What state are you in??

    there are also many online colleges you can get a fd degree from

    the academy use to count towards college hours.
    Still does... 24 credits last I recall for Air Force guys..

    -Damien

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    I have looked into the Air Force Reserves, but that will not be an easy option since i live in a state that does not have a Air Force base, so the cost, transportation would be a BIG issue for me, since i am unemployed, thus the reason i am looking at joining the Armed Forces to get FF training/experience and to help me pay my bills.

    At this point and based from my current situation, it appears active Army would be the choice for me, despite the fact i keep on hearing how much better (training, equipment, etc) the Air Force is when compared to the Army, Navy, etc. However, things could change if i can't get a guaranteed contract, so i will bypass the Army and simply go to college (again!), get a fire science degree, become a volunteer firefighter/emt, and apply where possible.

    I really appreciate all of your input/advice. I have no doubt being a FF is one of the best careers out there, if not the best...thus the reason why i am willing to enlist into the Armed Forces to better myself and support my family.

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    My husband went in as a army FF almost 5 years ago. He went expecting to only accept that MOS. THey gave us all the lines about them getting rid of the MOS (not true) and how hard it is. By the time all was said and done we were starting to walk out the door and not join up when TX called and offered him a FF position if he could leave for BCT 2 months later... we accepted.

    We are at Fort Rucker and its a great place to be active duty FF. They have had several waves over the past 2 years taking and reclassing a decent amount of FF to become plumbers. You have to always know that they very well could change you MOS - "the needs of the Army". That being said we have been here for 5 years. I can tell you that my husband is not resigning his contract and we will be out in Nov. of next year. There are several FF here at Rucker departing from the Army starting this summer which would leave openings.

    Another thing to remember is that there is not a lot of room for advancement in this MOS. The ability to go above an E5 is very limited. There are only about 300 active duty army FF so it really slows down the promo process.

    Hope that helps,

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    Quote Originally Posted by FuegoHombre View Post
    I really appreciate all of your input/advice. I have no doubt being a FF is one of the best careers out there, if not the best...thus the reason why i am willing to enlist into the Armed Forces to better myself and support my family.
    With all due respect, based on your attitude, I'm glad you aren't considering the Marine Corps. Last thing I need is an E2 with a family in tow that is only in the service for a paycheck and school. Not that you would make it through boot anyway. Let me explain a little bit about the military:

    The military is about service before self. Any education and training you get out of it is great, but consider it a bonus. Your beliefs that it is all about getting fire training and going to school are not going to cut it in the Army or any other service. The military is a 24/7/365 profession, and you will be expected to work hard on things you may not want to do. You will go where you are told and do as you're told, or you will be out with a discharge that will prevent you from getting into the Post Office, much less any paid FD.

    Military pay at the E2-E3 level is not going to support a family-even if your wife works. That's assuming she can get a job at whatever dustbowl army post you end up assigned to. What are you going to do when you get orders to Iraq or Afghanistan and she can't get child care?

    Stay out of the armed forces, and go the college/EMT/volunteer FF route. It will be best for you, and for the military. Contrary to public opinion, we are not so desperate that we have to take everyone.

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    I have to disagree with Gunny here a bit - My husband was 26 when he joined the Army as a firefighter and we had two small children. I am a stay at home mom and currently he is an E4. While finances dont have us going on cruises every other weekend we have been careful with our money and we make it just fine. We bought a house, have no car payments and are happy. When my husband joined he was not at all excited about being in the Army but we joined up as a family for long term experience, training and stability. He has accomplished our goals in getting his fire training which he never would have been able to do working at a full time job + going to school full time and trying to support our family. Our best option was to join and get trained while serving our country. It has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Many people join the military for many reasons and the point is that they are there, doing what they are suppose to do, through the good and the bad.

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    Ok i have been reading alot of the talk about 21m and i guess my concern is that i am 33 years old with 9 years of prior service in the N.G. as 11B and 13 years as a volunteer firefighter so what do you think my chances are?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristmatt View Post
    I have to disagree with Gunny here a bit - My husband was 26 when he joined the Army as a firefighter and we had two small children. I am a stay at home mom and currently he is an E4. While finances dont have us going on cruises every other weekend we have been careful with our money and we make it just fine. We bought a house, have no car payments and are happy. When my husband joined he was not at all excited about being in the Army but we joined up as a family for long term experience, training and stability. He has accomplished our goals in getting his fire training which he never would have been able to do working at a full time job + going to school full time and trying to support our family. Our best option was to join and get trained while serving our country. It has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Many people join the military for many reasons and the point is that they are there, doing what they are suppose to do, through the good and the bad.
    if you've read any amount of posts on this forum, you'll see that gunny and many other are strong in the area of military service above all. i understand what your saying, but i'll have to stick with what he said... too many people join the military to "get that degree" or to "escape from po-dunk towns" or whatever reason, and i have seen these people firsthand... they are the ones that gripe and complain about the military and say why do we have to go play war or go to another commanders call....

    yeah, i signed up for a 3E7 afsc (21M) but i also signed up to be an airman first (or solider, salior, marine), alot of guys end up enjoying serving thier country and thats great, but you have to come in with the mindset that you want to serve above all... not, serve after i finish my college, or serve after they repay my loans, or serve after that nice enlistment bonus posts in the account...

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    Kristmatt;

    Thanks for your input, as for Gunnyv is concerned, we simply do not see eye to eye when it comes to the importance of family, whether in the armed forces or the civilian world. As i said before, i have no problem serving our country, however, i am on this forum to seek out i

    Gunnyv;

    I just like the fact you say "I," when referring to the Marines, as if you are the Marines. I can tell you for a fact my family and friend who are Marines, don't talk like you do. I don't know you and you don't know me, however, i will move on to reply to others who provide educated and informative responses.

    As i said before, i have no problem serving our country, however, i am on this forum to seek out information about becoming a firefighter in the Armed Forces, not to bash others to make me feel superior!

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckl41 View Post
    Ok i have been reading alot of the talk about 21m and i guess my concern is that i am 33 years old with 9 years of prior service in the N.G. as 11B and 13 years as a volunteer firefighter so what do you think my chances are?
    You need to talk to someone in your unit who works on retraining.

    -Damien

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    Thanks Damien I went down that road and was told that 11B was my best option since the 21M is so hard to get a slot for. I guess What I need to do is talk with sommone who is currently doing the job to get the real scoop

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    Do you plan to try to go Active or Guard? Currently enlisted? If you're looking at Guard or reserves, the chances are based on the manning at the base you are enlisting at. active is based on the needs of the army. A firefighter in a unit most likely will not know your chances vs the needs of the army or the manning or overmanning of their respective FD.. I know my Air Guard FD is overmanned with a waiting list of 6 people.

    You've played the military game before.. You know that recruiters are all about the numbers.. let them know that you will wait until you get a 21m slot. You have nothing to lose, but they do..


    //EDIT// I just remembered you're 33.. there may be age limits in place regarding enlisting again. If you're not getting the answers you want from the recruiter, go find another..

    -Damien

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    Quote Originally Posted by FuegoHombre View Post
    Kristmatt;

    Thanks for your input, as for Gunnyv is concerned, we simply do not see eye to eye when it comes to the importance of family, whether in the armed forces or the civilian world. As i said before, i have no problem serving our country, however, i am on this forum to seek out i

    Gunnyv;

    I just like the fact you say "I," when referring to the Marines, as if you are the Marines. I can tell you for a fact my family and friend who are Marines, don't talk like you do. I don't know you and you don't know me, however, i will move on to reply to others who provide educated and informative responses.

    As i said before, i have no problem serving our country, however, i am on this forum to seek out information about becoming a firefighter in the Armed Forces, not to bash others to make me feel superior!
    KristMatt-I'm glad things have worked out for you and your husband.

    FuegoHombre-

    First, you said this: "but you must keep in mind, my only intention to enlist is to receive firefighting/emt training. If i can't get a guaranteed contract i won't sign, i will go the college route and receive my firefighting/emt training and experience that way."

    That is why I said "Last thing I need is an E2 with a family in tow that is only in the service for a paycheck and school."

    I am not the Marine Corps, just one Marine, but I have been around this block a few times.The I is in there because if you were to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve as a FF, I would be your boss. And since I personally know almost every other senior Marine FF, I am well aware of what our Marine Corps fire service leaders think of boots who believe the military is about career training and that they deserve special treatment because they entered the service with a family. It is common knowledge that junior service members are far more likely than NCOs to have serious financial and family problems.

    Look, mister chip on the shoulder-I have 20+ years in the service as a military FF, along with almost 20 as a career Fire Lt/Medic-not to mention a wife and two teenagers, so don't lecture me on the importance of family. You asked for advice on what you should do. You can go back on dozens of threads on this site and military.com to see I have given plenty of advice to potential military FFs, and you will see I have consistently stated that the MOS is always secondary to being in the military. My opinion was, and is, that you are better off going the college/volunteer FF route based on your stated goals. My opinion is based on plenty of hands on life experience, which is what you claim you were looking for. Too bad if it wasn't what you wanted to hear. You can take the advice or leave it, I could care less.

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    I got to agree with Gunny. You got to have the mindset that serving your country is number one. We all also had other reason or another for coming in, but the military is about our nations defense. I saw too many Airman, who came in for school and training, and they were usually the ones that complained their whole career about how sorry the Air Force is. But yet, the Air Force or military was paying for their schooling and training and providing some of the best opportunity that most civilian jobs don't offer (free housing, BAH, BAS, GI Bill).

    Firefighting is a great job, and the military will provide many roads towards getting certs, but in the end, when our nation calls, its about fighting the enemies, not fire.

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    Serious question here for anyone UNDER the age of 25- Have you ever heard this phrase: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country."

    If you are contemplating joining the Military for job training, keep walking past the recruiters office.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnyv View Post
    ....

    Stay out of the armed forces, and go the college/EMT/volunteer FF route. It will be best for you, and for the military. Contrary to public opinion, we are not so desperate that we have to take everyone.
    Gunny is correct. And I'll speak for the Army. Not the PC obamaista BS either.

    The Army/USMC are about killing people and breaking things. The grunts do this to and for the enemies of the USA. The Navy and AF exist to support that mission as do the majority of the people in the Army and Marines. You want to join the Army or Marines? Raise your right hand and become a grunt. Or perhaps a tanker, cannon****er or Cbt Eng. Everything else and you're just a REMF/overhead. Perhaps occassionally useful overhead but essentially useless.

    To you want to join the military to defend your country and earn you keep or are you a candy... with his hand out? Maybe there is a place for you in the AF.

    You got a BS college degree (see also marketing or political science). Live with it, was your choice. Go back and get a technical degree that is actually useful and can lead to a PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY job. Or get useful training in a job where you get your hands dirty. Show up for work with a good attitude (you'll have to work on that) and you'll always be able to find a job.

    Junior enlisted who are married (and with children) are a huge problem for the Army. If not financial, depolyment, and moral problems its widows and fatherless children. NOT smart, very expensive in peacetime and worse during war. There was a good reason the old Army did not junior enlisted and officers to be married.

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