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  1. #1
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    Default Is There Anything I Should Do Now To Get An Air Force Firefighting

    I'm in 10th grade and my eventual goal is to be a firefighter. I figure I'll try to join the Air Force as a FF for four years and then try to get on a department. My question is if there is anything I can do to prepare right now to enable me to get the MOS. Also, how hard is it to be a firefighter for the Air Force or military, are there a lot of openings or is it very competitive?


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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    You are in 10th grade, so you have time to prepare. Get to know how recruiters work.

    Recruiters operate mainly on instructions relayed to them by their Command Officials based on the needs of (whatever branch of the service) the service you are enlisting in. For example, if the USAF needs 300 "Airframe Technicians" or 1000 "Air Traffic Controllers" they will send out instructions to all USAF recruiters to try and push these billets by offering signing bonuses or guaranteeing duty stations (to an extent.)

    Firefighter is a billet that is sought out by many individuals who know exactly what they want, therefore it is rarely a "needed" billet. However, the recruiters will not turn you away, they will just try to make it difficult for you, and steer you towards the currently needed billets. Therefore, you need to show the recruiter "who's boss." Best thing you can do is take someone with you (family member or trusted friend) who is familiar with the military and/or the recruitment process.

    Quick story: I was 18, and ready to go. Wanted to enlist in the USN as a Damage Controlman. I went to the recruiter by myself one time (stress ONE time) without knowing what I was getting into. He became my best friend. Put his arms around me, offered me the world...Any ship I wanted...Wanted to sign me as an "Aviation Electronics Technician" or something like that (An Airdale rate, which had I signed for that, my father would have kicked my ***....) I really wanted Damage Controlman as I wanted something slated towards firefighting, but I also wanted to learn welding, too. Recruiter told me "no no no, you don't want to do that, your ASVAB scores are way too high, I can't let you waste your time with that" yadda yadda yadda.....

    So after I got out of the Recruiters, I called an old family friend who was also in the USN, a Damage Controlman. Told him what happened. He had a conniption and almost stroked out until I told him I didn't sign anything. After he did three years in the fleet, he did a year in Recruitment due to an injury. To make a long story short, the next day we BOTH went back to the recruiter. He introduced himself to the recruiter without telling him his own Naval career. He explained that I wanted DC versus the rate the recruiter was trying to push, and wanted to listen to what the recruiter had to say about it....Same deal he told me.....After listening for about 5 minutes, he pulled out his wallet, and handed the recruiter one of his own recruiter business cards from when he was in...........The recruiter looked as if someone punched him in the stomach and had this "dammit" look on his face. All he said was "ok, damage controlman it is."

    Too bad I flopped the medicals......

    I had another friend who wanted a particular rate in the USAF. Recruiter started his crap, my friend told the recruiter "Its this rate or nothing." Recruiter says "Well we dont have it available." So my friend gets up out of the chair and says "Ok, thank you, I will see what they can do for me next door." (The USN and USMC recruiters were in the very next office.) USAF guy changes his attitude in a real big hurry.

    Moral of the story is, know what you are getting into with the recruiters. Be prepared to be told all kinds of stories and outright lies. Stick to your guns. They might say "that billet is not open at this time." Then you say "Ok, call me when it is."

    GET A GUARANTEE IN WRITING, AND READ AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    You are in 10th grade, so you have time to prepare. Get to know how recruiters work.

    Recruiters operate mainly on instructions relayed to them by their Command Officials based on the needs of (whatever branch of the service) the service you are enlisting in. For example, if the USAF needs 300 "Airframe Technicians" or 1000 "Air Traffic Controllers" they will send out instructions to all USAF recruiters to try and push these billets by offering signing bonuses or guaranteeing duty stations (to an extent.)

    Firefighter is a billet that is sought out by many individuals who know exactly what they want, therefore it is rarely a "needed" billet. However, the recruiters will not turn you away, they will just try to make it difficult for you, and steer you towards the currently needed billets. Therefore, you need to show the recruiter "who's boss." Best thing you can do is take someone with you (family member or trusted friend) who is familiar with the military and/or the recruitment process.

    Quick story: I was 18, and ready to go. Wanted to enlist in the USN as a Damage Controlman. I went to the recruiter by myself one time (stress ONE time) without knowing what I was getting into. He became my best friend. Put his arms around me, offered me the world...Any ship I wanted...Wanted to sign me as an "Aviation Electronics Technician" or something like that (An Airdale rate, which had I signed for that, my father would have kicked my ***....) I really wanted Damage Controlman as I wanted something slated towards firefighting, but I also wanted to learn welding, too. Recruiter told me "no no no, you don't want to do that, your ASVAB scores are way too high, I can't let you waste your time with that" yadda yadda yadda.....

    So after I got out of the Recruiters, I called an old family friend who was also in the USN, a Damage Controlman. Told him what happened. He had a conniption and almost stroked out until I told him I didn't sign anything. After he did three years in the fleet, he did a year in Recruitment due to an injury. To make a long story short, the next day we BOTH went back to the recruiter. He introduced himself to the recruiter without telling him his own Naval career. He explained that I wanted DC versus the rate the recruiter was trying to push, and wanted to listen to what the recruiter had to say about it....Same deal he told me.....After listening for about 5 minutes, he pulled out his wallet, and handed the recruiter one of his own recruiter business cards from when he was in...........The recruiter looked as if someone punched him in the stomach and had this "dammit" look on his face. All he said was "ok, damage controlman it is."

    Too bad I flopped the medicals......

    I had another friend who wanted a particular rate in the USAF. Recruiter started his crap, my friend told the recruiter "Its this rate or nothing." Recruiter says "Well we dont have it available." So my friend gets up out of the chair and says "Ok, thank you, I will see what they can do for me next door." (The USN and USMC recruiters were in the very next office.) USAF guy changes his attitude in a real big hurry.

    Moral of the story is, know what you are getting into with the recruiters. Be prepared to be told all kinds of stories and outright lies. Stick to your guns. They might say "that billet is not open at this time." Then you say "Ok, call me when it is."

    GET A GUARANTEE IN WRITING, AND READ AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE.
    I couldn't agree more with the shipmate above..

    -Damien

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    You are in 10th grade, so you have time to prepare. Get to know how recruiters work.

    Recruiters operate mainly on instructions relayed to them by their Command Officials based on the needs of (whatever branch of the service) the service you are enlisting in. For example, if the USAF needs 300 "Airframe Technicians" or 1000 "Air Traffic Controllers" they will send out instructions to all USAF recruiters to try and push these billets by offering signing bonuses or guaranteeing duty stations (to an extent.)

    Firefighter is a billet that is sought out by many individuals who know exactly what they want, therefore it is rarely a "needed" billet. However, the recruiters will not turn you away, they will just try to make it difficult for you, and steer you towards the currently needed billets. Therefore, you need to show the recruiter "who's boss." Best thing you can do is take someone with you (family member or trusted friend) who is familiar with the military and/or the recruitment process.

    Quick story: I was 18, and ready to go. Wanted to enlist in the USN as a Damage Controlman. I went to the recruiter by myself one time (stress ONE time) without knowing what I was getting into. He became my best friend. Put his arms around me, offered me the world...Any ship I wanted...Wanted to sign me as an "Aviation Electronics Technician" or something like that (An Airdale rate, which had I signed for that, my father would have kicked my ***....) I really wanted Damage Controlman as I wanted something slated towards firefighting, but I also wanted to learn welding, too. Recruiter told me "no no no, you don't want to do that, your ASVAB scores are way too high, I can't let you waste your time with that" yadda yadda yadda.....

    So after I got out of the Recruiters, I called an old family friend who was also in the USN, a Damage Controlman. Told him what happened. He had a conniption and almost stroked out until I told him I didn't sign anything. After he did three years in the fleet, he did a year in Recruitment due to an injury. To make a long story short, the next day we BOTH went back to the recruiter. He introduced himself to the recruiter without telling him his own Naval career. He explained that I wanted DC versus the rate the recruiter was trying to push, and wanted to listen to what the recruiter had to say about it....Same deal he told me.....After listening for about 5 minutes, he pulled out his wallet, and handed the recruiter one of his own recruiter business cards from when he was in...........The recruiter looked as if someone punched him in the stomach and had this "dammit" look on his face. All he said was "ok, damage controlman it is."

    Too bad I flopped the medicals......

    I had another friend who wanted a particular rate in the USAF. Recruiter started his crap, my friend told the recruiter "Its this rate or nothing." Recruiter says "Well we dont have it available." So my friend gets up out of the chair and says "Ok, thank you, I will see what they can do for me next door." (The USN and USMC recruiters were in the very next office.) USAF guy changes his attitude in a real big hurry.

    Moral of the story is, know what you are getting into with the recruiters. Be prepared to be told all kinds of stories and outright lies. Stick to your guns. They might say "that billet is not open at this time." Then you say "Ok, call me when it is."

    GET A GUARANTEE IN WRITING, AND READ AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE.
    I've done some very basic research, nothing in depth but like looking on about.com, and it said that the air force is the hardest branch to get into and that they will likely reject someone who is one-career minded. But I've also heard other people say pretty much what you're saying before so I don't know what to think. Another question I have are there any racial quotas or anything in the army that would give me preferential treatment when selecting an MOS because I'm black? The last thing I'm trying to do right now is start a political debate about Affirmative Action, but I know a lot of colleges do that sort of thing so I do want to know the facts.

    Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.

  5. #5
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyW View Post
    I've done some very basic research, nothing in depth but like looking on about.com, and it said that the air force is the hardest branch to get into and that they will likely reject someone who is one-career minded. But I've also heard other people say pretty much what you're saying before so I don't know what to think. Another question I have are there any racial quotas or anything in the army that would give me preferential treatment when selecting an MOS because I'm black? The last thing I'm trying to do right now is start a political debate about Affirmative Action, but I know a lot of colleges do that sort of thing so I do want to know the facts.

    Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.
    Son, whatever you do, DO NOT go into the Army if you aspire to be a Firefighter. DO NOT go into the Army, period. I spent 6 years as a Civilian Firefighter on a large Army post, and it was not the United States Army. Maybe the Mexican Army, but that's besides the point- the standard of living for the Army was low. Very low.

    If you want to be an Air Force Firefighter, and you stick to your guns, then you will most likely be an Air Force Firefighter.

    And if you are asking about the preferential treatment because you intend on using it to your advantage, then my assistance to you stops here and now. I was raped out of a position as a career firefighter in the City of Philadelphia because of that sh*t. When you get into a firehouse somewhere, you will quickly learn when the bells go off, there is only one color- The blue of your uniform.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyW View Post
    but I know a lot of colleges do that sort of thing
    Than go to the local college and use it to your advantage. We don't want anyone in the military fire service that lives by the motto "I Got Mine". Something tells me that if you live and die by that motto, you're not going to last in the fire service, period.

    -Damien

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFurtman View Post
    Something tells me that if you live and die by that motto, you're not going to last in the fire service, period.
    Can I get an AMEN!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Son, whatever you do, DO NOT go into the Army if you aspire to be a Firefighter. DO NOT go into the Army, period. I spent 6 years as a Civilian Firefighter on a large Army post, and it was not the United States Army. Maybe the Mexican Army, but that's besides the point- the standard of living for the Army was low. Very low.

    If you want to be an Air Force Firefighter, and you stick to your guns, then you will most likely be an Air Force Firefighter.

    And if you are asking about the preferential treatment because you intend on using it to your advantage, then my assistance to you stops here and now. I was raped out of a position as a career firefighter in the City of Philadelphia because of that sh*t. When you get into a firehouse somewhere, you will quickly learn when the bells go off, there is only one color- The blue of your uniform.
    Ok, I'll keep that in mind.
    And I don't know how I would be able to not use it to my advantage, I mean if there's preferential treatment I'm going to get it whether I want to or not. I just want to know what the policy is is all.

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    Should I talk to the recruiter when I turn 17 as a junior or should I wait until I'm a senior? And how much does a Damage Controlman rating in the Coast Guard or Navy translate into actual firefighting experience, and how much would it help me get onto a department?
    Last edited by AnthonyW; 03-28-2010 at 02:18 PM.

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyW View Post
    Should I talk to the recruiter when I turn 17 as a junior or should I wait until I'm a senior? And how much does a Damage Controlman rating in the Coast Guard or Navy translate into actual firefighting experience, and how much would it help me get onto a department?
    When you speak to the recruiter is your business. However, since USAF Firefighter is a highly sought-after position, they may not have an open slot (billet) when you get out of high school, and you may have to wait. Therefore it may be to your advantage to speak to a recruiter now about the Delayed Enlistment Program- Sign now, and there may be an open slot waiting for you upon graduation. Thats up to you.

    As for the Minority assistance programs, if you do not want the help, then you should make it clear to all those involved that you are not interested in the help.

    You should enlist in the United States Military because you want to be a PATRIOT and thank your Country for the freedoms which you have (especially the fact that you get to CHOOSE whether or not you enlist in the United States Military.) You do NOT enlist in the Military for the primary purpose of gaining an advantage for future civilian employment.

    THAT BEING SAID, I am a firm believer in using the training and experience the Military has to offer to your advantage. If you are going to enlist and do 4 years active duty, you may as well be doing something that you want to do, and be content doing it, rather than doing something selected for you and being miserable.

    Now, as far as the USN or the USCG and the Damage Control rate, short answer: There really is no such thing as an enlisted Naval "Firefighter."

    Each and everyone on board a ship is trained minimally as a Firefighter. There are rates however, that do encompass firefighting as part of their job duties- Damage Controlman, as part of the Ship's Company, will act as "advanced" firefighters (bunker gear & SCBA.) They will also coordinate firefighting teams & firefighting activities with other rates. They also perform care and maintenance to firefighting systems, and give refresher training to the other rates. And this is among their other duties.

    Aviation Bo'suns Mate (Fuel Handler) I think is the rate for Crash Crews on board ships with aircraft. Again, As part of your rate you will get a little more training in the type of firefighting you are expected to perform, but you are not explicitly a "firefighter."

    There are SOME (but they are very, very few and far between) shore-based crash crew firefighters in both the CONUS and outside that do actually work in Firehouses, but from what I understand, the few that exist are being phased out in favor of civilian firefighters.

    So, the bottom line is, if you want to be a Firefighter, you should go Air Force.

    I was interested in the DC rate as it offered a wide variety of training, and I wanted to be assigned to a Ship's Company, rather than be an Airdale (or assigned to an air wing...) number one because I think Navy ships are cool, and two, because my father would have kicked my *** if I became an Airdale!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damage_controlman
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyW View Post
    Ok, I'll keep that in mind.
    And I don't know how I would be able to not use it to my advantage, I mean if there's preferential treatment I'm going to get it whether I want to or not. I just want to know what the policy is is all.
    dear god........

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    You should enlist in the United States Military because you want to be a PATRIOT and thank your Country for the freedoms which you have (especially the fact that you get to CHOOSE whether or not you enlist in the United States Military.) You do NOT enlist in the Military for the primary purpose of gaining an advantage for future civilian employment.

    THAT BEING SAID, I am a firm believer in using the training and experience the Military has to offer to your advantage. If you are going to enlist and do 4 years active duty, you may as well be doing something that you want to do, and be content doing it, rather than doing something selected for you and being miserable.

    Now, as far as the USN or the USCG and the Damage Control rate, short answer: There really is no such thing as an enlisted Naval "Firefighter."

    Each and everyone on board a ship is trained minimally as a Firefighter. There are rates however, that do encompass firefighting as part of their job duties- Damage Controlman, as part of the Ship's Company, will act as "advanced" firefighters (bunker gear & SCBA.) They will also coordinate firefighting teams & firefighting activities with other rates. They also perform care and maintenance to firefighting systems, and give refresher training to the other rates. And this is among their other duties.

    Aviation Bo'suns Mate (Fuel Handler) I think is the rate for Crash Crews on board ships with aircraft. Again, As part of your rate you will get a little more training in the type of firefighting you are expected to perform, but you are not explicitly a "firefighter."

    There are SOME (but they are very, very few and far between) shore-based crash crew firefighters in both the CONUS and outside that do actually work in Firehouses, but from what I understand, the few that exist are being phased out in favor of civilian firefighters.

    So, the bottom line is, if you want to be a Firefighter, you should go Air Force.

    I was interested in the DC rate as it offered a wide variety of training, and I wanted to be assigned to a Ship's Company, rather than be an Airdale (or assigned to an air wing...) number one because I think Navy ships are cool, and two, because my father would have kicked my *** if I became an Airdale!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damage_controlman
    Let me correct something on here in regards to Navy fire protection.

    The Navy rate Aviation Boatswains Mate Handler (ABH) rate is the only Navy rate that attends the DoD Fire Academy at Goodfellow AFB, TX. In order to get the school, you must be an E-3 to E-8 in transition to a shore duty station that requires the 7012 NEC. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightening than getting this school right out of boot camp.
    The page below tells ya a little about the 7012 NEC.

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/navynecs/p/AB7012.htm

    DC-men are basically the below decks fire department of the ship. They maintain hose stations, AFFF stations and pumps, repair lockers and are the quick response team for the ship whenever just about any damage occurs aboard the ship. they fight fires, patch leaking pipes, pump out flooded spaces, shore up structural weaknesses among many other tasks. When they are not responding to emergencies, they are out running trouble calls, fixing pipes, doing metalwork repairs or any multitude of tasks.

    I ended up doing 8 years in the Navy as an ABH, got out, joined and did nearly 4 years with the Air Natl. Guard as a Firefighter and will start a job in 2 weeks as a Fed. Civilian Firefighter at Kirtland AFB Fire Dept.

    -Damien

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    My best friend spent 4 years in the USN as a DC. He went DC because he wanted to be a fireman. When he got out he decided to pursue something related to what he actually did in the Navy. He's a plumber.

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