Career Focus: You can’t beat this

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- A few weeks ago, I received a call from a young man who was very interested in joining our Air Force. His name was Erik. He wanted to join the elite pararescue career field. However, he was a little skeptical about some things his recruiter had told him. So he contacted me and asked if I could give him "nonsugarcoated information about the Air Force." I wholeheartedly agreed to meet with him and discuss the benefits and costs of serving.

I met Erik at the Wyoming Gate and took him to the Consolidated Support Building. We took a short tour through each work center and talked with Airmen about their careers. We then visited the force development center and talked with first-term Airmen to get their perspectives on Air Force life. Afterward, I took him to my office and used a copy of the Air Force benefits fact sheet to explain the benefits of serving.

Erik was astonished at the benefits we receive such as generous pay, specialized training, 30 days annual vacation, 100 percent tuition assistance, full medical and dental care, a pension plan that pays 50 percent of an average of our final pay and many other benefits. I also described our commitment to core values and our proud history. He was ready to enlist at that moment, but I cautioned him that I had not revealed the costs of serving.

I told him about our demanding careers, deployments, short tours and periods of family separation. I told him that he may engage enemies hell- bent on killing him.

I informed him that he would have to obey orders - even if he disagreed with the rationale of those orders. Additionally, I let him know that he would live and work within a very disciplined and structured profession and would be required to represent the Air Force honorably at all times.

Finally, I explained the differences between military and civilian cultures. After I presented the benefits and costs to him, I treated him to lunch at the Thunderbird Inn Dining Facility.

Erik was impressed with the dining facility. He loved the taste and variety of food we have become accustomed to having. He was amazed at the low prices and the friendliness of the employees. After a hearty lunch, we continued our base tour.

We visited the fitness center, swimming pool, commissary and base exchange. I also took him to see aircraft assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing and Air National Guard. As a grand finale, we met with Col. Robert Suminsby, the 377th Air Base Wing commander, who took time out of his busy day to speak with Erik. In just two hours, Erik had seen enough. Satisfied with what I had shown and told him, he left that afternoon ready to enlist.

Spending time with Erik reminded me of how good we have it. We have access to incredible benefits, and it would be hard to find any corporation who could match what we do for people. Truth be told, you can't beat the benefits of serving in today's armed forces.

If you would like to know more about Air force benefits or career advice contact me at 846-6636 or e-mail me at joseph.mulcahy@kirtland.af.mil
See you in the wings!