I’m not talking about OCS. From what I can tell, all the military branches want a 3.2 (Army) or 3.5 (Navy) to get in after college. In short, they really don’t want anymore officers. I believe that. My daughter’s former ship had fifteen Ensigns–far more than they can use, but newly-minted Ensigns need a home.
So, all those college grads who can’t find jobs in the New Economy and figure they’ll park themselves in the military as an officer until things loosen up are having a Come to Jesus moment. For many of them, the option to enter the military as an enlisted is discouraging.
But it shouldn’t be. Yes, the pay is lower and yes, the people around you won’t have the breath of knowledge that comes with a college degree, but the armed forces is not just about boots on the ground anymore. There are a lot of technical jobs that let you use your brain and then, when you’re done with your commitment, make you more marketable in private industry. Some even have bonuses attached to them. Why, I don’t know, but if you select certain fields, they’ll pay you a bonus. Here’s what the Air Force is paying (two years ago):
Officials announce new initial enlistment bonuses by DCS, Manpower, Personnel and Services RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Pentagon officials recently released the fiscal 2011 initial enlistment bonus program list.
Three Air Force specialty codes had bonuses decreased but only for those enlisting for six years. Those AFSCs seeing decreases were airborne linguist, crypto linguist and tactical air control party. No AFSCs were added or increased for the new fiscal year.
Below is the complete IEB list. All changes went into effect Oct. 1.
AFSCs Six-year bonus Four-year bonus
1A8X1 Airborne Linguist $14,000
1N3XX Crypto Linguist $14,000
1C2X1 Combat Controller $17,000 $3,000
1T2X1 Pararescue $17,000 $3,000
1C4X1 Tactical Air Control Party $15,000 $3,000
1T0X1 Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape $16,000 $3,000
3E8X1 Explosive Ordnance Disposal $15,000 $3,000
3P0X1 Security Forces $2,000
1W0X2 Special Operations Weather $5,000 $1,000
For more information about the IEB program, visit the AFPC personnel services website at http://gum.afpc.randolph.af.mil, contact your local military personnel section, or call the Total Force Service Center toll free at (800) 525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.
Some fields in the Army (like satellites) and the Navy (like nuclear) have bonuses as high as $20k. The kicker is, the recruit’s ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) score must be top notch. A 35 out of 100 on the ASVAB will pass, but for the top-notch jobs, you want to score in the 90’s.