joining military reserve - page 2

I am seriously considering joining the AF reserve in order to supplement my income while in school, and possibly reimburse some of my tuition fees. Is there anyone out there who has done this that... Read More

  1. by   filasian04
    When I was being recruited, they told me that they would count my RN experience 2 to 1 for promotion purposes. Well, yesterday, I heard that I got selected for the CRNA STRAP program (3 out of 6 got selected). Anyway, I was dismayed to hear that despite my 6 years RN experience, I'm only going in as a 2LT. I was hoping for at least a rank higher.
    Or do I get promoted after CRNA school? If so, to what? (1LT? Will my civilian RN experience then count or am I starting at ground zero?)

    Does anyone have any ideas/knowledge on how they determine rank?

    Am I starting lower because they will be paying me a monthly stipend in addition to a loan repayment of $50,000? When they say "eligible loans", what exactly do they mean? (My school is new and we don't have a school code yet---we haven't been eligible for any federal aid such as loans.)

    Do you get extra pay for "drill days" while in class?

    I am a prior service (4 years active duty), can I use my GI bill at the same time I am getting the stipend from the USAR?

    I appreciate anyone's input. You can PM me if you like.
  2. by   PhoenixGirl
    Quote from Mermaid4
    That is a great idea, but remember, they can call you up if needed and it might not be something you were expecting...Such as Iraq or other places nurses would be needed.
    NOt to mention stop loss, which means you won't get out when you are expecting to. And with the way things are now, that happens to a lot of folks...
  3. by   BigDave
    As far as the active duty AF goes, I do not see stop loss affecting RNs or CRNAs for the next several years...if ever.
  4. by   Cherish
    Do no I repeat DO NOT sign up for the Army Reserve, or their National Guard, unless you want to be pulled out of school or work and sent to the Middle East.

    I myself was in the Army for 3 years (active duty) and finished my contractual Active Duty committment. Then as everyone in the MILITARY who serves less than 8 yrs (Active, Guard, Reserve), was put into IRR. The IRR is the INACTIVE Ready Reserve (every military branch has this). Was in school for 2 yrs, then last month received ACTIVE DUTY orders to mobilize INVOLUNTARILY, as being an IRR soldier ANYONE can be activated if need and sent to deployment.

    So now I told registration at my school had to drop out all of my classes, and schools on hold now. So now I am activated for 18-24mths. Will be going to the Middle East. Do not think you are safe being in the Reserve or National Guard, because there are more Reservist and Guards combine then Active Duty soldiers. Reserve and Guard are sent to the Middle East MORE than Active because there is a greater amount of them.

    You will incur a rotation in the Middle East at least once through your contract because this will be an ongoing situation. So remember that. Unless you are in your 3rd year of ROTC then they cannot pull you into deployment situation. They give you 30-45 days to report, the only way you can be delayed or exempt is for MEDICAL, FAMILY (as in HARDSHIP not because you dont want to go but because financially your family will be broke or medical in the IMMEDIATE family), or if your within 6mths of graduation, they will delay for 6 mths then you graduate then they send you off.

    So remember this if you are thinking of joining the guards or reserve. YOU WILL DEPLOY BEING ARMY. ARMY makes up the MOST percentage of deployed soldiers. It is safer to be Airforce, or Navy NOT MARINE. But you still have a chance of deploying regardless of branch. There are over 120,000 soldiers in the IRR, but only 5600 of them (including me) have been activated SO FAR. Pentagon has issued that more of them will be mobilizing.

    Also TEMPORARILY the tuition assistance is being reduced IN ALL BRANCHES before of the newly passed congressional cutbacks, so remember that. Everyone forgets that each UNIT is set an amount that personnel can receive TA so if half of the unit is on it, and you apply for it they can say you can not get it till the next fiscal year. But since theres a cutback in the TA you may not get it at all. Talk to the Education Counselor at your Unit or MTF (military training facility).

    Hope that helps.
    Last edit by Cherish on Mar 16, '05
  5. by   BigDave
    Sorry to hear about your situation, that's got to suck!

    The Army is really stressing their forces right now, and I agree, there is no end in sight.
  6. by   aithug316
    When the Army was trying to recruit me they told me you get 1LT regardless of experience as long as you have a letter stating you have been accepted to a CRNA program. I am currently in the Air Force Reserves and expect to be promoted to Captain after school. You should at least be a 1LT w/ your civilian experience.



    Quote from filasian04
    When I was being recruited, they told me that they would count my RN experience 2 to 1 for promotion purposes. Well, yesterday, I heard that I got selected for the CRNA STRAP program (3 out of 6 got selected). Anyway, I was dismayed to hear that despite my 6 years RN experience, I'm only going in as a 2LT. I was hoping for at least a rank higher.
    Or do I get promoted after CRNA school? If so, to what? (1LT? Will my civilian RN experience then count or am I starting at ground zero?)

    Does anyone have any ideas/knowledge on how they determine rank?

    Am I starting lower because they will be paying me a monthly stipend in addition to a loan repayment of $50,000? When they say "eligible loans", what exactly do they mean? (My school is new and we don't have a school code yet---we haven't been eligible for any federal aid such as loans.)

    Do you get extra pay for "drill days" while in class?

    I am a prior service (4 years active duty), can I use my GI bill at the same time I am getting the stipend from the USAR?

    I appreciate anyone's input. You can PM me if you like.
  7. by   filasian04
    Is it unethical to join the AF when the recruiter has been working so hard to get me in the USAR? I'd much rather go where I'll be a rank higher.

    Is the benefit package for Air Force Reserves similar to Army? I'm supposed to get $1235/month stipend + drill pay (for going to school and doing clinicals) + the $50,000 loan repayment and attached to the NAD (and not get pulled out of CRNA school until I graduate to go to war). What sort of benefits did you get?

    In the AF Reserves, do you automatically get promoted to 0-3 (CPT) right after graduation/CRNA certification?

    Thanks in advance.


    Quote from aithug316
    When the Army was trying to recruit me they told me you get 1LT regardless of experience as long as you have a letter stating you have been accepted to a CRNA program. I am currently in the Air Force Reserves and expect to be promoted to Captain after school. You should at least be a 1LT w/ your civilian experience.
  8. by   Cherish
    Quote from filasian04
    Is it unethical to join the AF when the recruiter has been working so hard to get me in the USAR? I'd much rather go where I'll be a rank higher.

    Is the benefit package for Air Force Reserves similar to Army? I'm supposed to get $1235/month stipend + drill pay (for going to school and doing clinicals) + the $50,000 loan repayment and attached to the NAD (and not get pulled out of CRNA school until I graduate to go to war). What sort of benefits did you get?

    In the AF Reserves, do you automatically get promoted to 0-3 (CPT) right after graduation/CRNA certification?

    Thanks in advance.
    Pay is the same in ALL MILITARY BRANCHES. From E1-E9 or O1-O10, doesn't matter if your AF, Army, Marine, CG, Navy, you get the same pay for your rank, so a Captain in the AF gets the same as a Captain in the Army so on so forth. When you finish the CRNA school doesn't matter what branch you come out a CPT. BTW for those AF people CRNA school and training is conducted and run by the ARMY. That is why Army nurses have MORE slots than any other branch because they run the program. So in class there will be mostly Army nurses, than Navy or AF nurses. Bonuses and incentives depend on when you recruited your MOS (military occupation specialty) and when you sign up. So if in March you get a bonus for 25, 000 that doesn't mean the next month someone else can get the same bonus they can get MORE or LESS than you, it really depends on when you sign your contract and what you have done in the civilian world (like more time as a nurse). So don't be mad if someone in class who is the SAME BRANCH gets a higher bonus than you, it just depends on when you sign up. This happens to enlisted soldiers also.

    FYI just for those who are wondering about promotion once in the military. Army gets promoted FASTER than the Air Force. The Air Force promotes their personnel less than any other branch. Lets just say a buddy of yours signs up for Army and you sign up for AF, you sign up at the same time. You both come out of school as CPT, but then 2 years later your still a CPT and she's now CPT-P (which means promotable), now 6mths later shes a Major getting paid more than you are and you both have the same time of service and you get promoted 2-3yrs after she gets her Major, after 4-5yrs of her being a Major she is going to soon be promotable and you have only been a Major for a year or two. It sucks for those AF people but Army gets promoted faster and they have MUCH easier promotions. In the Army you get promoted based on points and going to the board then getting promoted. In the AF, they test you (book type test), and go to the board and have to wait till slots are open. The Army has slots to but they process them MUCH faster. So money wise and promotion wise you can make more in the Army because the promotion turnover is WAY faster than the AF.

    Being Active Duty, you get promoted faster than Reserve to so remember that. But being in the Army you WILL get deployed (but you get deployment pay). A lot of people come back from deployment (mostly single people) with 15,000-25K saved up in the bank. You can and will make money being deployed, but AF doesn't deploy a lot and they do not stay deployed more than a year, they usually deploy just for 6mths. So think about that if you have a family, if you don't mind being deployed and getting promoted faster than join the Army. But if you do mind then don't!!! Join the AF, if you have family and DO NOT want to be deployed.

    If you have any other questions PM me I might be late answering them since this Sunday I am leaving on my deployment but will answer them with my laptop, will take a couple of weeks to get the answer though. BTW I am in the Army

    Heres the military pay chart its in ADOBE:

    http://www.dfas.mil/money/milpay/pay/
    Last edit by Cherish on Mar 18, '05
  9. by   BigDave
    As an active duty captain in the AF I agree with most of what you say.

    The nurse corps in the AF is the slowest promoting branch. My wife, a dietician who I met at officer's school (MIMSO, COT, officer basic, or whatever you call it) and all the other non-nursing medical officers from our class got selected for major this time last year and should be pinning on that rank very soon. Me, as a nurse, was supposed to meet the major's board this fall...but that board has been held off for a year. The average time to pin on major is around 9 years, but 11 for nurses (including CRNAs). There is no test to take, your records go in front of a board of maybe 5 colonels who get an average of 3 minutes to decide on each record. These guys are not nurses...they most likely work outside the hospital altogether. We have been trying hard to make ourselves sound like non-nurses so that pilots and such don't get a lot of lingo on our records to deal with.

    As for CRNAs, as I posted earlier, the active AF has dropped its CRNA slots from 176 to 123. This led to a decrease in slots for existing AF nurses to go to school from 25 to 8 for the guys starting this Summer.

    The major deployment for us is Balad Air Base in Iraq. Formerly known as Camp Anaconda to the Army, we gave them a break and took over the tent hospital there. Our deployments are for 4 months. The folks that left in Jan are to be replaced in May. There is talk here and there that it may someday be a six month rotation, but who knows. It is nice when you own the airlift to get you there and back!

    The AF has done a lot of good things for me, but 24 years is enough. I'm glad to be getting out in 3 months. Going into the military is a big step. I agree with the other posters here, you have to want to do this for your country. If money for school is your only motivator, you will soon forget that and be in pain for the rest of your obligation. Big loans may be scary, the the earnings difference may enable you to be free (finacially vs. obligated) sooner.
  10. by   Duveed
    My uncle is in the Army, He has been an RN for about 12 years and he just got sent to one of Germany's Big Hospitals for the Second time in two years, he will be there for 18 months or more this time.. not something he had planned or wanted to do, but thats army life I guess.

    David
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from kmchugh
    14 year Army veteran here. There are upsides and downsides to military service. But, look at the contract. A standard clause in ALL military contracts is that whatever you are promised can be changed at the convenience of the government. So, if the Air Force needs RN's while you are in school, you are out of school and on your way to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Alaska. No questions asked, no allowances made. Just be wary.

    Kevin McHugh
    10 year USAF vet here. this is absolutely 100% true. Be sure this is what you want.
  12. by   SigmaSRNA
    I just ETS from active duty as a captain in the nurse corps and applying for the army strap program. As far as overall benefits, the army program is better (drill pay while in school and more money for loan repayment). 4 month deployments for CRNAs aren't bad either.
  13. by   deepz
    Here's a cogent editorial for those contemplating a military career:

    http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,...776488,00.html

    .

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