Choosing between the Army and the Air Force can be difficult. Once you’ve decided you want to join the military, the next step is choosing the right branch for you. Sometimes, this comes down to the job you’d like to perform, the incentives or just the type of training you might receive.
All the branches of the military are a great choice for any recruit. However, one may fit with your specific needs and wants better than another. Let’s look at the Army versus the Air Force to help you make the right decision.
Should You Enlist or Become an Officer?
The enlistment options for both the Army and the Air Force are very similar. You can enlist full time as active duty or part time as a reserve in either. You can also become an officer with just a few small differences between the two.
As an officer in the U.S. Army, you will have the opportunity for ROTC, West Point, Direct Commission Officer or Officer Candidate School. The U.S. Air Force offers ROTC, Office Candidate School and Direct Appointment. However, the academy is different since it’s the U.S. Air Force Academy.
When it comes to enlisting, both the Army and the Air Force offer standard enlistment and delayed entry programs. However, the Army also offers a delayed training program and if you enlist in the Army Reserve, you may be able to do a two-year enlistment.
Check Out the Available Jobs!
Usually, the differences between the branches of the United States Military are found within the jobs offered. Each branch has its specific needs and while they all offer some of the same jobs, they also offer something different.
The U.S. Army offers more than 200 specialties including the following fields:
• Combat Operations
• Health Care
• Mechanical Maintenance
• Administrative Services
• Electronic Maintenance
• Engineering and Construction
• Media, Public and Civil Affairs
• Intelligence and Electronic Communications
If you choose to join the Air Force, you will have about 150 different careers at your disposal. The Air Force offers jobs in the following fields:
• Base Operations
• Special Forces
• Weapons Systems
• Information Technology
The Air Force also offers some special careers, such as the Air Force Regional Band, Air Force Chaplain Officer or the Air Force Attorney (JAG Corps) if you’re interested in a specialize career, this could be the deciding factor.
Choosing your job may also determine the branch you decide to join.
What is Basic Training?
No matter what branch of the United States Military you join, you will need to go through some type of basic training. It does vary some from one branch to another, however.
Army Basic Combat Training lasts for 10 weeks and it will be held at one of five different locations. The locations include Fort Benning, Fort Jackson, Fort Knox, Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Sill.
Air Force Basic Military Training lasts 8.5 weeks and it’s only held at one location. You will do your Air Force training at Lackland Air Force Base, which is found in San Antonio, Texas.
The Magic of Education Benefits!
Another huge consideration for many recruits is education. Many join the military to gain access to the many education benefits offered. While every branch of the military offers similar benefits, they can vary a bit.
The U.S. Army offers the GI Bill, Army College Fund, College loan repayment, Tuition Assistance Program and concurrent admissions program. These options allow you to take classes and get a degree with no or minimal money out of your pocket.
The U.S. Air Force also offers the GI Bill, Tuition Assistance Program and college loan repayment. In addition, the Air Force offers Air Force College Assistance and the Community College of the Air Force. These options are just a little bit different than those offered by the Army.
These are the main deciding factors for most recruits. However, you may be offered a larger enlistment bonus or re-enlistment bonus based on the specific job you choose. The branch of the military you decide to join could depend on the bonus you’re offered.
When you look at the Army and the Air Force, you will find plenty of differences. The Army is predominately a land power, while the Air Force is an air and space power. Both have different missions, offer different jobs and provide different training. Ultimately, it should be an easy decision between the Army and the Air Force as the job you prefer will likely determine one or the other.