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Army, Navy, or Air Force?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by DeltaT, Mar 10, 2010.

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  1. DeltaT

    DeltaT

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    I'm non-prior and currently on the waitlist at USUHS. I want to know which service is the best for me. I would like to go from USUHS to internship and then directly into a some sort of surgery residency. Which service would give me the best chance to do this without a GMO or anything else getting in the way? It would be nice to hear from people from all three services about the pros and cons of their respective service.
  2. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness

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    If your main priority is straight through training, your best bet is the Army.
  3. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man

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    Yes, but the Navy would have you living near the beach. That was my #1 priority, GMO or not.
    Learn about the FAP program before you sign up for anything. It is a better way, for most, to get into the military and still maximize your training potential. At least review all of your options.
  4. dru2002

    dru2002

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    Agree with above. I however wouldn't let that be the only aspect that determines which branch especially from USUHS. With a surgery residency (5 years right?) you will be in that branch for 12 years. If you aren't happy going straight through will be of little consolation. Read all the threads about the pros and cons of the military and then get out there and talk to as many active military doctors in each service that you can find. That's really the only way to make this an educated decision. Good luck!

    But, did you just rank no preference on your branch choices at USUHS? Seems like quite a leap to apply to a military school without much knowledge of branch differences. To each their own.
  5. hwatson

    hwatson just happy to be here

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    I have served in 2 of the 3 branches and worked with medical in many joint environments. I will give my 2 cents.

    1) ARMY: best chance of training without a GMO tour (the best idea is to avoid gmo). Army also has all the specialties that you may desire. For someone not wanting to train in Primary Care, the army is head and shoulders above the other two branches. (they are so much bigger that they can train more specialists). They do deploy for longer than other branches. (for some this is a major draw back) I know many more happy Army docs than any other service.

    2) Air Force: They still are the most laid back (but keep in mind, it is still the military). They primarily have primary care positions. (anything else requires you to be prior service with a great board score. Not good but great). Don't be dismayed, their GMO tours can be awesome. You can fly in jets and planes as a doctor. (flight surgeon). Read more about flight surgeon in any air force recruiting page.
    Know that to get a competetive residency you may be required to do a GMO tour. (also same for NAVY)

    3) Navy: Very tight knit group of physicians. Also primary care oriented. However, navy is the highest GMO producing branch in the military. Rumors have circulated for years but this program still exists and will for the future. This is a source of many unhappy navy physicians. This branch seems to have people that love it and people that hate the it. Not many in between. Also, you will spend time on a boat if you get a sweet base near the beach.

    Hope it helps. that is my experience.
  6. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic

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    Not sure how Navy Medicine is primary care oriented. GMO tours are a fact of life. We hardly ever deploy on ships (most ships don't have doctors).
  7. KoopaT89

    KoopaT89

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    I know this has been discussed some where, but since the Army typically has more residencies how does General Surgery compare in the Army, let's say to your average University Hospital program? Pales in comparison? Sub-par? On-par? Just curious.
  8. Charlie0318

    Charlie0318

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    Really this is not what I have heard? Where do most Navy Docs/GMOs deploy then?
  9. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man

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    Iraq, Afghanistan, humanitarian hearts and minds missions, more remote branch medical clinics, flight surgery, dive medicine, also some ships, but it's not straightforward ships vs marines. Watch out for "tri-service initiative" creep here as well. ie. Navy can't fill a spot or deployment, than send an Army guy, and vice versa.
  10. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness

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    If this is a priority for you all three services have the option of working as a flight surgeon, and of the three the Navy offers the most pilot training to personel doing flight medicine. Also the thing about AF and Navy being more 'primary care' oriented seems baseless.

    Anyway, there are several thousand threads on this forum comparing the different military branches, but the OP made it very clear what his priority was (straight through training) and that has a single, unequivocal answer (Army).
  11. MedicoBoomstick

    MedicoBoomstick It's a trick...Get an ax.

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    This thread seems dead enough, so I won't feel bad hijacking a bit:

    What are the deployment differences between Army and Navy? Specifically length and ability to contact home (either phone, internet, or leave).
  12. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule

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    The one thing I will add, Navy Flight Surgeons get more training and fly alot more than Air Force Flight Surgeons (In most cases, of course it depends on the bird you get assigned to, also we actually get stick time:thumbup:).
  13. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule

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    Navy is usually 6-7 months (unless we get IA'd to the Army, then it is 12 months). Army is usually 12 months. Air Force is 3-4 months usually. Ability to contact home is based on where you are stationed. As a doc, you are generally somewhere w/some sort of access to communication so I wouldn't worry about that.
  14. MedicoBoomstick

    MedicoBoomstick It's a trick...Get an ax.

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    You're a wizard of some kind, cause that's the simplest answer i've ever gotten. Gracias.

    Follow-up for anybody, typically how long is the down time between deployments (I assume it's longer for Army and shorted for Air Force, but that's just a guess)
  15. PhDtoMD2010

    PhDtoMD2010

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    The air force information is not correct. If you check the GME results for several years, there are equal proportions of all the specialities as in the civilian world. Also Air Force has stopped doing the GMO/flight surgery programs. Check with your recruiter/physicians in the branches to get correct information. I have heard the most negative things about the army, that the air force is better about deployments, about nice living conditions, and about the treatment of medical professionals. I heard this information from actual physicians, including physicians from the army that were trying to switch into the Air Force.
  16. dwb8p

    dwb8p

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    Quite an interesting development you speak of. Does the Air Force surgeon general know about this new policy? Because he gave a briefing about 2 months ago at my school saying that there are no plans in the foreseeable future to end the flight surgeon / GMO billets for PGY1 docs. And what about the 5+ recent air force grads I know personally who were selected to fill flight surgeon billets starting a year from now?

    Perhaps your policy-setting recruiter friends simply haven't gotten word down the chain of command yet...


    Nonsense.


    Sorry, but you're the misinformed one here.
  17. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending

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    I'm sorry to burst your balloon but you aren't remotely correct on any of the above assertions.

    The AF has not and will not be doing away with GMO's anytime soon

    The AF treats their physicians the worst of any of the services not to mention not supporting them with anything that looks like a functional healthcare system. Ask any of the legion of disgruntled AF docs on this site if you doubt this.

    Lastly, I have never, ever met a single Army physician trying to get into the AF - I only have 20 years of experience to base this on.
  18. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule

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    Yeah, from reading through thiis forum, it seems like most of the disgruntled military docs are air force docs. Not something I would have expected initially.
  19. YellowRose

    YellowRose Senior Member

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    i gotta agree, the AF can and will treat many of their physicians like crap, no joke.

    but in my 2 years on AD at my small hospital, i've met 2 prior army docs (one ED, one neurologist), and one Navy (ob/gyn) that jumped ship, as well as scores of army nurses. i don't get it... but it had to do with the DC area. nurses were getting deployed for 12 months in an intense environment, then coming back to the states and put right back into the intense environments with the war wounded....just no break from it all.
  20. FlyDoc34

    FlyDoc34

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    Previous Air Force here for 11 years. Thought about making it a career, then decided after 11 years the bull$hit was too much. I've talked with Army and Navy docs who seem to be happier with the way their careers are going. They have their rough spots too, but the AF takes the cake. I'll give you a little example of the nonsense.

    When H1N1 was circulating around the globe, our base commander demanded DAILY updates in person about H1N1. For two hours. Sounds ridiculous, right? Nope, not for the Air Force! They'll make you do stupid s*it all day long. I would avoid Air Force, and actually military in general, at all costs. I got out and started working in a busy private FP practice and am struggling with getting back into the swing of things clinically.

    I would say screw USUHS, and do what someone else mentioned and check out the FAP program. If you sign up for USUHS, you WILL do a military residency, WILL likely do a GMO no matter what branch you're in if you want to do a competitive residency, and WILL lose clinical skills. I guarantee it. I was proud to serve, but my professional life has taken a huge hit because of it. Had I done residency and joined a private practice right out of the gate I'd be ahead in knowledge, ahead financially, and a partner.

    Put down the recruitment brochure and walk away....
  21. FlyDoc34

    FlyDoc34

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    I just left the Air Force after they were going to ship my ass to Afghanistan for 12 months to serve as a military medical advisor. The AF is taking up the slack for the billets the Army can't fill anymore, simply because they don't have the manpower to fill them. I also know of PAs in the Air Force who are running Army convoy medic duty.
  22. SaLeeNS7TT

    SaLeeNS7TT

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    anyone?
  23. AF M4

    AF M4 Junior Member

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    It really does depend on manning. You could be at a base that is temporarily fat in docs, and be OK up to a couple of years. Or you could be at a base where things are thin and discover that just after you arrive back home after a 6 month jaunt in the sandbox that your chubby back-stabbing political turd-polishing jerk of a colleague has twisted his knee and will not be able to go on his turn because he scheduled his arthoscopy for next month. So don't unpack.

    So like all things in milmed, don't count on anything.
  24. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule

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    Really depends on what your specialty is as well. Here at the Flight Clinic which is all flight surgeons, I'd say deployment is every 2 years right now. We have like 3 squadrons out of like 15 that are currently deployed to Afghanistan or on the MEU and it rotates every 7 months or so.
  25. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, true. I have been stuck in a billet to go to Afghanistan for a year because three others had "issues" which prevented them from going. My bags will have been unpacked for less than a year from my last time in the sand.
  26. AF M4

    AF M4 Junior Member

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    When a similar thing happened to me, I sold my less scrupulous colleagues out to the Dark Side, suggesting to my nurse commanders that if docs were going to be tough in writing profiles for the PT test then they should hold themselves to the same standards.

    To the commanders' glee, suddenly all those old profiles for phantom bum knees in the deployment dodging docs stopped getting renewed. Those OPRs which they had so much time to buff when they weren't doing military medicine? Stalled due to failed PT tests.

    And now the commanders are finding themselves swamped with reports both ad hoc and anecdotal about how often Air Force personnel come back from deployments in better shape, due to both better diets and more time for exercise. The docs are then forwarded the reports by their commanders, as well as suggestions that having a deployment on the books would really help the commander when it comes time to recommend them for one of those plum squadron commands or coveted below the zone promotions.

    Create a peril, then sell a solution. It's the American way.
  27. MedicoBoomstick

    MedicoBoomstick It's a trick...Get an ax.

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    Best idea for a t-shirt ever.

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