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  1. #1
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    Default Which branch is right for me?

    I am 20 years old and live in Southern California. My dream is to become a paid civilian Firefighter some day. Before I do that i would like to serve in the Military but i would like to do something that relates to firefighting. I am not certain but to my understanding firefighters in the military are becoming contracted more and more each day by the DoD. With that said I would still like to serve and have a job in the military that relates to firefighting to prepare me when I finish my service. I know all branches have firefighters but I want to know if there are other jobs i can do that are similar and will train me well in relation to some of the characteristics firefighters use in their jobs.

    1. Which branch of military do you suggest i go into and why?
    2. Which career in that branch do you suggest?
    3. How difficult is that career choice and whats the job like?
    4. What are the odds i plan to go into a branch of the military and plan on doing a certain career and after boot camp I just get placed wherever no matter if I want to do something else?

    Thank you for your time and help with my questions please give all and any detail you can.

    Nick


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber ffmedcbk1's Avatar
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    1. marines...because we are marines
    2. marines
    3. the toughest... did i mention you'd be in the marines
    4. to me the only and best options in the marines is doing what marines do.... fight

    there are not alot of options for fire fighting exept crash/fire/rescue for aircraft in the corps, but i think the marines is about combat arms and that will teach a person many things that relate to firefighting.
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

  3. #3
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    Read through some of the other posts a lot of good answers to your question

    If you want to be assigned th a fd job than air force if you can get them to guaranty that is the only job you will be put in

    Otherwise Check some of the medic jobs you can get your emt

    Why do you want to join?????

  4. #4
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    You may want to consider the Air Force if you intend on firefighting. The Air Force will give you the best training and you can work on obtaining and keeping your certifications.

    The reason I am steering you toward the Air Force, is that their mission is to provide aircraft for mission requirements. Airfields need fire-rescue, so that is what you will be doing. Other services may have you doing anything else.

    Maybe some active duty FF's can provide further advice.

  5. #5
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    No offense, but your question has been asked and answered 100 times over, scroll through some of the sub-threads here in the military/federal forum and you will have more than enough material to answer your questions. Short answer is: if you want firefighting, go USAF however be prepared for a fight to get the rate. Dont enlist until you have a guarantee in your hands for the rate. When the recruiter tells you he cannot give you a guarantee or that there is no such thing as a guarantee, tell him to stop wasting your time and give you the guarantee or you'll go see what the USMC can do for you.

    Also, serve because it is the most honorable, patriotic thing that you can do to repay your country for your freedom, and because you want to; not because being a vet pads your resume.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber ffmedcbk1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Also, serve because it is the most honorable, patriotic thing that you can do to repay your country for your freedom, and because you want to; not because being a vet pads your resume.
    thank you for stating that.
    that should be the first and foremost reason. nothing less.
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

  7. #7
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    Just my 2 cents, again. The Air Force is best for training and certification. The Air Force also just said Fire Protection is overstaffed and will start limiting second-term re-enlistments into Fire. Your veterans preference will help you in most civilian departments more than the training. I have 25 years with DOD and I'm pretty sure I'd start right in the fire academy at any major city department.

    Best of luck to you.

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    You can pretty much forget the Army, they have civilians that do it. I'd ditto the Air Force. They have their own FD to protect their own. And the Air Force gets paid extra if they have to live in Army housing because it's sub-standard to them. Just sayin',

    -Former soldier who was too stupid to join the Air Force in the first place.

  9. #9
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    I have a question about all of this. If the military is cutting FF jobs and they are then employing civilians to do the same job what's going on here overall? What is the motivation to do this? Why aren't the veterans offered the civilian jobs? This doesn't make sense to me cause why would the AF, Army etc. want to put a civilian contractor or civilian dept. on base to care for their high dollar equipment(planes, tanks etc.) then pay that same person who has equal or less experience with that high dollar equipment more money than they were paying the soldier to do the same job? It all doesn't add up to me and it irritates me because I was one of those veterans that lost my position due to force reduction and realignment and now some civilian guy is doing the same job making 2 or 3 times the income. I don't understand it?

  10. #10
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    Bases have had civilian firefighters on them for many many years

    A lot of them are ex military firefighters

    Some bases are all civilian and some are a mix of military and civilian

    But bases themselves have also been closing

  11. #11
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    I guess my question is why are they closing bases and cutting the number of FF's? I could understand cutting Army infantry and Marines cause the wars are basically drawing down but what does an AF FF have to do with that? AF planes fly all the time war or no war. It can't be to save money because they aren't saving any. If you cut an AF FF guy that was making $30K a year and give his job to a civilian contractor like KBR, ITT etc. and pay that guy $90K to do the same job then you are losing money, not saving it. Same thing stateside. If you cut the AF guy and then pay the city dept. guy twice as much to do the same work, you are again losing money. I'm not disrespecting the civilian dept. or contractor guys taking those jobs at all. I say props to them they are making good money and protecting people, it's win win, but from an overall military perspective here it doesn't make a whole lot of sense financially or force readiness wise. Why are they paying to send new recruits to the DOD FA if they are planning on just cutting their job down the road and giving it to a contracting firm?

  12. #12
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    History repeating itself check jimmy carter era

    When I mean civilian it is federal civilian GS employees working on the bases

    And they do not get much more then a person in the service and I think they still work 72 hour weeks.

    Plus the role of a service person is to possibly deploy so if you staff a fire station with all service people, a little hard to deploy them

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    I wasn't around for the Carter era but I hear nothing but negatives from the people that were. We're talking about different situations. I'm aware of the GS level FF's that work on base and I've worked along side some before on TDY. The situation I went through was different. Idk if this is the right terminology but the city FD where the airport resides "absorbed" the former military FD and duties where I used to work. Imagine there being a reserve base in the city of Dallas for example. Well it would be like the Dallas metro FD taking over the flightline and base. There are no GS or military FF's there now, just city FF's and those guys are making big money. GS employees do in fact get paid better. An E-3 military which would be like a GS-5, 6 or 7 employee skill wise gets paid a salary in the low 20K range. I've seen postings on usajobs for GS-5, 6 & 7 FF's stating the pay was between 40K-55K depending on experience and skills. Contractors which I also mentioned get paid much more than their military counterparts. Now they are of course in dangerous or potentially dangerous areas so it makes sense that they get paid well but that doesn't change the fact that they could be making 3, 4 or 5 times the pay of a soldier doing essentially the same job. I don't know who exactly is cutting the budget for this but if the Federal government is paying or subsidizing these salaries there is no way they are saving money cutting the military as they claim. I don't work in Pentagon or Congress though so I really have no idea. I'm just speculating based on personal examples and observation.

  14. #14
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    Ex Federal FF here, medically retired as a GS7-4 driver operator from a large US Army facility in Maryland. 10 years for the DOD: 7 US Army and 3 US Navy. Almost all Federal facilities in the CONUS are protected by DOD Civilians (NOT Contractors) with the exception of airfields at larger USAF Bases (2 that I know of are Dover AFB and Joint Base Mcguire/Dix/Lakehurst NJ.) Almost all of these larger USAF bases are protected by combination DOD Civilian/Military FF's with the military on the CFR rigs out on the flight lines. Seems to be a USAF thing- Naval facilities use almost exclusively DOD Civilians on flight lines as well as in shipyards like Norfolk/Little Creek and sub bases such as Groton or Kings Bay.

    Some combination bases (Niagara Falls IAP as an example) uses a DOD Civilian FD to protect the entire airport even when a combination military and municipal airport. I think they may also have some military. Not sure how the funding for places like these go.

    It is a mixed bag outside of the CONUS as to whether DOD civilians (of local descent) or deployed US Military Personnel protect these bases. I am pretty sure that Rota, Spain has a Military Fire Chief and some deployed personnel, with some local spanish civilians. I have been told that the US Military Base at Rhineland-Pfaltz Germany is comprised of deployed US Personnel and some US civilians. Any and all Military personnel of course are subject to deployment elsewhere which can and does happen. The USAF also has reserve firefighting units of which several are currently under deployment to several "Stans" and sandbox locales. BIAP up until several years ago was entirely a USAF Fire Dept. until released to local civilian control, but I think may still be augmented by USAF personnel for administrative and training purposes.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    The Army does have Active duty firefighters, they are mostly deployable units. The majority of the active duty firefighters in the Army are located in Ft. Rucker Alabama. IF you were to go there you would be doing your job on a regular basis. As far as the deployable units, they also work alongside the DOD civillians while in Garrison. However, they do get pulled off alot to fufill their soildering requirements, (ruck marches, pt tests, rifle range etc.)
    As far as the training goes, all the branches go to the same place, Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo Texas for 13 weeks or more of the identical traning. After you reach your base, additional traning will follow.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    You can pretty much forget the Army, they have civilians that do it. I'd ditto the Air Force. They have their own FD to protect their own. And the Air Force gets paid extra if they have to live in Army housing because it's sub-standard to them. Just sayin',

    -Former soldier who was too stupid to join the Air Force in the first place.

  16. #16
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    I would say Air Force. Yes I did 9 years active duty and I'm currently a Reservist. I say that as the Air Force fire departments have both military and civilans on bases. Only a few Air Force Bases are contract. The Air Force will fall in line with a civilan department more then anything else. If your a firefighter that is your job. Yes the MARINES and ARMY firefighters get to blow stuff up however they are trained to. They deploy longer and dont have the luxuary of newer equipment like the Air Force does. The Air Force firefighters are coded as to they will not get tasked with other jobs unless they volunteer for them. The Army and Marines dont really have that choice. Yes the Fire Academy is at and Air Force base and yes alot of Air Force attend advanced courses there. I have heard it is hard for other branches to get advanced courses due to deployments or requirements for their department. As for the NAVY well EVERYONE is a firefighter in the NAVY but you have to get lucky to be routed that way. When I joined I was Guarnteed a firefighter position cause I was lucky enough to know how to play the recuirting game. On the Last note what do you want to do. Ask yourself that. Ask the surrounding departments what they think of the idea. its a long shot but you might just find a guy who was in your shoes at one point and he can give you information in person rather then through the net.

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