1. #1
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    Default Marine vs. AF firefighting

    I really want to get into military fire fighting. I've narrowed it down to 2 services; Marines and AF. I've talked to a lot of Marines, but I don't know too many AF's. IF I am gaurenteed, which one has a better living style and why, what one focuses on just fire fighting, and most importantly, which would you recommend.

    Thanks for any help... 2 minutes of your time could help 4 years of my life so I do really appreciate any help.

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    which one has a better living style and why
    Well, I'm a former Navy brat, current Army Guard Soldier, and have stayed at AF bases during my time in the Civil Air Patrol (Castle AFB before the closure, and Dryden-Edwards AFB). I've also stayed at a Holiday Inn, too, so I've got all the bases covered. *LOL*

    I'll tell you flat out, as far as "better living style", the Air Force has it hands down. Most Naval installations have decent housing and chow halls, Army installations...well, they could use some work (seriously, especially the Guard and Reserve bases!). Never stayed at a Marine installation before, so I can't really comment there...but AF? Oh my god those guys have it good! The "dorms" (they don't even call them "barracks", that's too "military" *LOL*) are pretty much like staying at a snazzy new apartment complex. The Enlisted Dining Facilities ("mess" or "chow hall" also bein "too military" *LOL*) are immaculately maintained, and the food is excellent.

    If that's what you're looking for as far as "life style", then yes, the AF has it over everyone.

    That kinda reminds me of an old joke about the differences between services when deployed...

    Navy: a young Sailor wakes up at 0600, goes to chow, has cold food heaped on an aluminum tray and sits on hard metal benches and wolfs it down in half an hour, then goes to his shop and puts in 14 hrs cause he can't go anywhere else anyways while his ship's at sea.

    Army: the young Soldiers wake up at 0500, sit on crates and pallets eating MREs within 15 minutes, then forming up and having the Platoon Leader give patrol assignments, saying "Go get em', boys!"

    Marines: young Marines wake up at 0400, PT for an hour, sit on the hard ground and chew on their boots for 10 minutes, then form up and get sent out on patrol, the PL yelling "Get some, OOOOH-RAH!"

    Air Force: the young Airman rolls out of bed at 0800, has a nice, steaming hot omelette and fresh brewed coffee at the EDF, then catches the shuttle out to Air Operations, where he helps his pilot pre-flight the aircraft...then stands back as the pilot prepares to taxi for takeoff on his combat air patrol assignment, saluting and saying, "Give em hell, sir!"
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    the AF is the best of the armed services. they have plenty of money and buy the best of everything. Plus most people come out of the AF with an AA/AS degree.

    Plus the AF takes care of you AFTER you leave the service. They are good at giving the civilians a federal fire job. (GS-081 series)

    Hands down, the AF.

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    i was an AF firefighter for a few years so my opinion is probaly a little biased but i'd say go AF. better living conditions and work conditions. i work with a few ex-marines and they're always talking about how they'd be sitting underneath a truck for 10 hours scrubbing all the grease off the undercarriage, stuff like that. the air force fire depts run more like a regular city dept. you do a couple station details in the day, maybe have a class or two and thats about it. the AF is real good about giving you classes and certifications. AF does Airport Crash Rescue, Structural, EMS up to EMT-B level, HazMat, technical rescue, etc. where in the marines you'll only do Crash Rescue. The only thing i can say about the marines is that there's a lot more pride in being a marine than an airman..... any other questions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDWolk View Post
    I really want to get into military fire fighting. I've narrowed it down to 2 services; Marines and AF. I've talked to a lot of Marines, but I don't know too many AF's. IF I am gaurenteed, which one has a better living style and why, what one focuses on just fire fighting, and most importantly, which would you recommend.

    Thanks for any help... 2 minutes of your time could help 4 years of my life so I do really appreciate any help.

    Don't join the Marines to be a Ff. Join the Marines to be a Marine. Just to give you an idea of living conditions, my last drill weekend, I spent in the rain, with a gortex coat that was too big and leaked, and gortex pants that were too small to wear. I ate 4 MREs while sitting in the rain and wind, and I caught a nasty cold....BUT I did get to enjoy my drill by conducting fire and maneuver drills during the day and on NVGs, shooting 40mm's, watching the 60mm mortars impact and the 240 MG tear into some old tank, also laughing at the same motarmen as they tried to shoot and move as 0311s. Life in the field is misrable and it takes a certain type of person to make the best of it.

    I don't know anything about USMC ARFF, there are a few here that can help you on that. Basically, one should only join the Marines because they want to be a Marine. If you want college money or a trade without sacrificing a-lot, then join another service. One more thing, Every Marine is a Rifleman (those truly gifted become 0311s ), The Marine corps has no problem with sending thier crash crews to combat patrol the streets of Iraq. Are you willing to accept that you may sit in a nice pretty fire truck one day, and the next you are on a 6 hour combat patrol to draw enemy fire?
    IACOJ Member

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    Just to give you an idea of living conditions, my last drill weekend, I spent in the rain, with a gortex coat that was too big and leaked, and gortex pants that were too small to wear. I ate 4 MREs while sitting in the rain and wind, and I caught a nasty cold....
    ...and from what I gathered from the few Infantry and Armor Marines I had the pleasure of knowing when I was a mil.com Mod, this is an example of a "luxurious" FTX for Marines.

    Vinnie--you mean you actually got MREs? No chewing on the boots for a few mins here and there?
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Drew,

    I am the Fire Chief for one of the 3 USMC Reserve units that have ARFF-Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. Vinnie gives excellent advice, and will be saving me a lot of typing. I hate to say it, but the AF is by far the best place in DoD for fire training. However, the Marine experience is much more than your occupational specialty. I spent the last weekend observing our Marines fire rifles, blow demolitions, and shoot machine guns from moving vehicles on a convoy reaction course. Tons of fun but no fire.

    This is where Vinnie nailed it-

    "Basically, one should only join the Marines because they want to be a Marine. If you want college money or a trade without sacrificing a-lot, then join another service. One more thing, Every Marine is a Rifleman (those truly gifted become 0311s ), The Marine corps has no problem with sending thier crash crews to combat patrol the streets of Iraq. Are you willing to accept that you may sit in a nice pretty fire truck one day, and the next you are on a 6 hour combat patrol to draw enemy fire?"

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    I spent the last weekend observing our Marines fire rifles, blow demolitions, and shoot machine guns from moving vehicles on a convoy reaction course. Tons of fun but no fire.
    Some of our guys got to play OPFOR for that sorta training a couple months back...from what they said it sounded like a hell of a time. And not a single one of them was INF or even a Combat Arms PMOS. *LOL*
    Marine/Soldier first, MOS second, Hooah to that!
    Now if only I could get into something like that next time around instead of sitting back at the armory teaching med CTTs.........
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    You have to ask yourself "do I want to learn about FF or do I want a easy lifestyle" if you answered both, then the AF is it.
    If you want Pride, Unity, and a brotherhood for life (so of like the FD)than it's the Marines....being ex-AF I'd say you would probably learn more about FF in the AF. Learning a trade, serving your country, you can't go wrong no matter what branch you pick be it AF, Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard.
    Good luck in you quest.

    Ex Air Force...Sumter AFB, SC 1977-1981

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    Plus the Marines cannot guarantee a job when you get out of boot camp... you can sign up for something, but if when you get out of boot they need you somewhere else they can switch you...so you might join to be a FF but end up infantry.

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    Yeah but can the AF gaurentee a job? I got gaurenteed a job by both of them but I don't know if they lied or if they were being straight up. Even if it's in the contract cant they just go back and change it at their pleasure? I think the AF would be better with that though...

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    ...."Every Marine is a Rifleman (those truly gifted become 0311s )"
    That's the absolute truth! It doesn't matter if you turn a wrench in the motorpool or a spoon in the messhall. All that stuff comes second. I wish you luck and hope whatever you choose works well. I also commend you for considering the military.
    U.S.M.C. '72-'75.....0311

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    this is all grea advice. i would also advise you to go to military.com and look at their disscusion forums. they have forums for both AF and marines and its a place where you can ask these question to active and retired military.

    now from what i was told when i asked the same question about being a AF-FF...

    the air force (from what i was told) is the only branch of the military that will continue to train and use military firefighters. all other branches are starting to drop their firefighting programs and leave the firefighting up to the AF or civilian contract firefighters.

    i was also told that not only should i expect being assigned to firefighting posts when deployed, but expect to go on patrols, diable mines and explosives, and defend the base and other locations from enemy attack.

    now i am not a big fan of being shot at or coming under fire, but i guess if thats part of the job description for a AF firefighter then thats just what i have to do. also........

    make sure that all of the training you get from the AF will be accepted in the civilian world. i have heard several people say they spent 4 years in the AF as a firefighter and when they got out all of their training did not carry over to a civilian fire department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man View Post
    ...and from what I gathered from the few Infantry and Armor Marines I had the pleasure of knowing when I was a mil.com Mod, this is an example of a "luxurious" FTX for Marines.

    Vinnie--you mean you actually got MREs? No chewing on the boots for a few mins here and there?
    Ah Mil.com, haven't been there since before the big shake up on the MODF. Anyway, there are A-lot of Marines who just survive on Beef jerky, vienna sausage, and pork and beans since they are sick of MREs. We take them because we are charged field rats. I still enjoy some of the entrees. They've changed 3 times since I've been in and it seems they get better and better. I usually only eat the main and keep the rest for trading or making grunt pudding. Sloppy Joe....MMMMMM my favorite, reminds me of Meal #1 from 10 years ago, pulled pork in BBQ sauce. And Apple Jelly, a rare item, I'll usuall trade some jerky for that delicacy.

    Luxurious YES, I didn't have to dig a fighting hole and live in it and there was a wooden outhouse and not a cat trench this time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewDWolk View Post
    Yeah but can the AF gaurentee a job? I got gaurenteed a job by both of them but I don't know if they lied or if they were being straight up. Even if it's in the contract cant they just go back and change it at their pleasure? I think the AF would be better with that though...

    The Air Force GUARANTEES the job. Without a doubt.

    Just don't trust any recruiter when they say they guarantee a base.

    Heck, just don't trust any recruiter period! Get it in writing.

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    Where do you think is a good base to be stationed at for FF in the AF? Can you request both FF and a base? I know to question everything they say, but even that seems quite hard.

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    I know the Navy gurantees a job also. I cant speak for the AF because I never knew anyone besides my dad in the AF. The marines I know they dont, because it happened to a buddy of mine...He joined as a FF and then as he was leaving boot camp, they said sorry we need you to be an ordinance man and load bombs...so he got switched. From what I understand your contract you sign with the Marines allows for them to switch based on their needs when you finish boot camp.

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    Yeah, I'm definately glad I didn't join for Crash Fire Rescue in the marines then...

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    Since this seems to come up all the time..

    The USMC will only guarantee a specific MOS (ie, job) for Reservists. This is because the new Marine will be attending drills at a specific location and unit. In MI, we have 4 infantry units, Bridge Co., and the engineer detachment of a Wing Support Squadron. Therefore, you can't join a reserve unit in MI and get an MOS for tanks or artillery.

    Active duty recruits, depending on ASVAB scores, can be guaranteed a specific occupational field. The occ field for ARFF, 7051, also includes 7011 Expeditionary Airfield Technician (lighting and arresting gear operator/mech) and 7041 Airfield Operations Specialist (clerk/pogue). If your recruiter never served in a Wing unit, he probably won't understand the difference between 7041 Airfield Ops and 7051 Aircraft Rescue Firefighter anyway. If you enlist as a 7000, Basic Airfield Services, and don't have the ASVAB score for 7051, they will send you to 7011. Needs of the Marine Corps also apply, as does timing for the MOS schools.

    This happened to me. I enlisted in the Reserves as a Combat Engineer, 1371, and was told I would learn how to operate bulldozers and heavy equipment. That is a separate MOS, 1345, Heavy Equipment Operator. The heaviest operating I ever did was with a shovel. Turned out to be the most fortunate mistake I ever made. I loved being a 1371, and my squad and fire team leaders, as well as the 1st Sgt, were firefighters who steered me into the job.

    Hope that helps.

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    here are some videos with the AF-FF:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIBpbdwwuwk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poBu3WFCGNQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkWsZXdU-8I

    i was, and still somewhat am considering AF firefighter. my only question concerns that first video. to be AF firefighters they seem to be doing a LOT of firearms training. if you are a firefighter then why to do need to much training on how to use a rifle??? and if you are a AF firefighter will you be exposed to that kind of enviroment where you need that type of training?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinFFVFD View Post
    ... AF firefighters they seem to be doing a LOT of firearms training. if you are a firefighter then why to do need to much training on how to use a rifle??? and if you are a AF firefighter will you be exposed to that kind of enviroment where you need that type of training?
    Back about 4 yrs ago, the AF decided to "re-militarize" itself and adopted the "(Airman/Soldier/Marine) first, your MOS (or AFSC as the AF would say) second," and extended their BMT, including a "Warrior Week" where all boots would learn basic land combat: squad movement, using cover/concealment, improving cover, firing points, reacting to direct/indirect fire, etc.
    Can you be placed in a situation where you need weapons? Absolutely... and I'm not just talking about deployment to Iraq, although there're plenty of logistic, admin, and other "non-Combat Arms" types over there who've found themselves in full battle rattle and doing convoy escort or road patrol...
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Kevin,

    Although we Marines may snicker at them, the Air Farce is still a military service. While FFs are not infantry, there is always the need to train to protect yourself. The AF FFs in Iraq also respond off base to extricate troops from vehicles hit be IEDs.

    There is much more to being in the military than your MOS. From the comments you've made-and I don't mean this to be offensive-it looks to me like the military is not what you're looking for.

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    Thanks for all the information. I really appreciate it.

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    I was an Air Force FF from 1984 to 1988. Just like a civilian job other than the 72 hour work schedule. I was single and lived on and off base during my 4 years. Most posts about AF life are accurate. The big point to remember is that the Marines(The Best There Is) send their enlisted personnel to the battle field. The AF sends there Officers and Planes to Battle. While stationed in Alaska I saw how tough the Marines had it and how easy those of us in the AF had it and was glad I picked the AF. Either branch is a good option as it will provide you with Vets points on FD tests. I work with men and women from all branches and job titles and they all make good FFs. But, the Air Force would be my first choice.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions and not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree with.

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    There is no more true statement than.. " you join the Marines TO BE A MARINE" and no other reason.. the MOS you get while there is just something to keep you busy while serving. if you want easy.. hilton hotels.. better look elsewhere.. If you want to be a Marine.. and happen to do some Firefighting also then Oooh rahh.. but if Truely being a Marine isnt your first priority.. then your looking in the wrong place. good luck to you whatever path you choose.

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