nigelcorn

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Sep 15, 2009
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I am trying to decide between the Air Force and Army for HPSP. I had originally decided on Air Force because of what others told me about quality of life differences. Probably the biggest thing for me was the Air Force's deployment policy (18 month cycle, average of 4-6 months deployed as a doctor). From what I hear, the Army has no policy regarding deployments, meaning that you could theoretically be deployed for 4 years at a time. Having two small children, that just doesn't work for me.

So, two questions, really. First, are there any army docs out there that are either in the payback or recently finished it that can fill me in on what the situation (with deployments) is really like in the army? How long were you deployed, how often, etc? Any comments on quality of life would be appreciated.

Second question; I submitted my AF application in time for the first round of boards in January. I still haven't heard anything. My recruiter told me that I ranked fairly high, and the chances are good, but the Air Force decided to wait until the March board to make any offers. So, here I am several months later, and they still have said nothing and have no idea when they might say something. That just rubs me the wrong way. I know I should get used to that as I am signing up for the military, but I get the idea that my recruiter isn't telling me the truth. I REALLY don't like being lied to. So, for anyone else who has applied for the AF HPSP, have you heard anything or had any offers?

Thanks for your help.
 

BioENG 215

10+ Year Member
Feb 7, 2009
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I am trying to decide between the Air Force and Army for HPSP. I had originally decided on Air Force because of what others told me about quality of life differences. Probably the biggest thing for me was the Air Force's deployment policy (18 month cycle, average of 4-6 months deployed as a doctor). From what I hear, the Army has no policy regarding deployments, meaning that you could theoretically be deployed for 4 years at a time. Having two small children, that just doesn't work for me.

So, two questions, really. First, are there any army docs out there that are either in the payback or recently finished it that can fill me in on what the situation (with deployments) is really like in the army? How long were you deployed, how often, etc? Any comments on quality of life would be appreciated.

Second question; I submitted my AF application in time for the first round of boards in January. I still haven't heard anything. My recruiter told me that I ranked fairly high, and the chances are good, but the Air Force decided to wait until the March board to make any offers. So, here I am several months later, and they still have said nothing and have no idea when they might say something. That just rubs me the wrong way. I know I should get used to that as I am signing up for the military, but I get the idea that my recruiter isn't telling me the truth. I REALLY don't like being lied to. So, for anyone else who has applied for the AF HPSP, have you heard anything or had any offers?

Thanks for your help.
nigelcorn,

My application for the Air Force HPSP was completed and submitted around mid December 2009. It reached the January board and I was selected for the scholarship the end of January. I am currently waiting on commissioning scroll approval. If you think your recruiter isn't doing his job properly, you can try to find another recruiter within that office. The recruiters are given recognition (and I believe additional bonuses) for bringing more accepted applicants. A good recruiter is worth his weight in gold.

I don't have any personal experience with the Army HPSP but ss far as I know, based upone SDN research, it seems that students have the highest likelihood of getting into an army residency of their choice. I think you need to speak with some Army physicians who have gone through the HPSP program for a better answer.
 

DocArmy

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Aug 16, 2009
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Army doctors deploy according to their echelon of care. Battalion surgeons deploy with the battalion for as long as they are gone. In the event that zombie Hitler rises from the grave to try to invade Australia, then yeah, 4 year deployments are likely for everybody. Back on planet earth, the longest you can deploy as a physician is the maximum combat battalion deployment in the current op tempo, which, right now, is a 12 month deployment, if you are attached to a combat battalion. If you are in an upper echelon of care, FST/CSH, etc, then your deployments are closer to 3-6 months.

I would imagine that number of deployments would depend on your assignment. Here is a link to some deployment stats for Army Brigade Combat Teams. Looking at those numbers, had you been in during the thick of it, you would have been gone 1, home 1, gone 1, or thereabouts. It is hypothetically possible that you could be with a BCT for 2 deployments (3 years) and then transfer into a unit that is getting ready to go, but even then, I don't know if they would ship you again, or give you a year home.

Upper echelons of care have shorter rotations overseas, and, I believe, longer home rotations.

Also, I have friends whose AF recruiters told them that there were no GMO's in the AF. That's just not true, so don't believe it.

I'm on the Army's dime in med school right now, so I don't know anything about the AF HPSP apps this cycle. A quick perusal of the facebook group for the class of 2014 at my school shows that someone heard back from the AF on March 1. I would be calling back every two weeks to make sure they have all of your paperwork. I know, you probably submitted everything once, but who knows what new form letterhead has come out that they simply must have on your file to proceed. Just keep checking. If your recruiter says they have everything, then you will need to get the number of the office that your paperwork landed at and hound them until they tell you that they have everything.
 

WACAT

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Not to detract from the USAF, but NOTHING is guaranteed. No matter what service you can deploy for as long as they need. For example, I know of three USAF docs currently deployed in Army positions for 12 months. So going air force may mean you have shorter deployments, but it can't be guaranteed. Especially if you go IM or a primary care specialty.
 

175961

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A good friend of mine is still waiting to hear from the AF as well. He was told he wouldn't hear until the end of April and has had everything complete for a good while, so go figure.:confused:
 
May 16, 2009
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Second questionb; I submitted my AF application in time for the first round of boards in January. I still haven't heard anything. My recruiter told me that I ranked fairly high, and the chances are good, but the Air Force decided to wait until the March board to make any offers. So, here I am several months later, and they still have said nothing and have no idea when they might say something. That just rubs me the wrong way. I know I should get used to that as I am signing up for the military, but I get the idea that my recruiter isn't telling me the truth. I REALLY don't like being lied to. So, for anyone else who has applied for the AF HPSP, have you heard anything or had any offers?

Thanks for your help.
We will know next Friday (April 16th) if we got the Air Force HPSP or not. My recruiter said that EVERYONE will get a final judgement released from the Air Force by then. So we only have 1 more week, so just chill.

I have a Navy application HPSP going also. I am trying to decide between the Air Force and the Navy. With the air force...if you get a deferment....and do civilian residency....for like 4 years....do you owe an additional 4 years active for a total of 8 assuming you did a 4 year HPSP program?

This is a tough decision....Air Force or Navy. I think the training in Navy might be better or atleast since it is bigger there might be more options.

I was also told that its possible to do a OFI at an Army Medical center as an Air Force or Navy HPSP graduate...the impression I got is that it is military so you would still get credit for retirement etc.

One thing that might sway me away from Air Force would be that the Air Force seems more rigid compared to Navy.

Also, I can get an earlier Date of Rank (relevant in quickly accruing time to be rapidly promoted) from the Navy from my date of rank being my graduation date, because I already have a MS and Ph.D already........


Plus, the promotion board meets yearly with the Navy, and only every 4 years for the Air Force from what I heard.

I am not sure if the Air Force does the same thing...if they don't....then it makes the Navy an obvious better move. More options for military residency, hospitals are located in nicer places.
 
May 16, 2009
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We will know next Friday (April 16th) if we got the Air Force HPSP or not. My recruiter said that EVERYONE will get a final judgement released from the Air Force by then. So we only have 1 more week, so just chill.

I have a Navy application HPSP going also. I am trying to decide between the Air Force and the Navy. With the air force...if you get a deferment....and do civilian residency....for like 4 years....do you owe an additional 4 years active for a total of 8 assuming you did a 4 year HPSP program?

This is a tough decision....Air Force or Navy. I think the training in Navy might be better or atleast since it is bigger there might be more options.

I was also told that its possible to do a OFI at an Army Medical center as an Air Force or Navy HPSP graduate...the impression I got is that it is military so you would still get credit for retirement etc.

One thing that might sway me away from Air Force would be that the Air Force seems more rigid compared to Navy.

Also, I can get an earlier Date of Rank (relevant in quickly accruing time to be rapidly promoted) from the Navy from my date of rank being my graduation date, because I already have a MS and Ph.D already........


Plus, the promotion board meets yearly with the Navy, and only every 4 years for the Air Force from what I heard.

I am not sure if the Air Force does the same thing...if they don't....then it makes the Navy an obvious better move. More options for military residency, hospitals are located in nicer places.

I also have heard so many people say not to go to the Air Force who have been HPSP. Don't hear that as much with Navy.

Also I have experienced the Air Force being very incompetent in my recruiting process....and so have others....they constantly are comming up with new surprises as far as what needs to be done. Navy recruiting has been an educational experience and very upfront. They would pay for me to go to a hospital to visit to see how it is.....and have me talk to Navy physicians. Air force hides there physicians....the recruiter does not help you in guiding your medical career and getting you in contact with military physicians.
 

Jet915

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This might be anecdotal and I may be biased since I'm in the Navy but if you read the threads on this forum, most of the complaining seem to come from current or former Air Force docs...
 

backrow

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I was also told that its possible to do a OFI at an Army Medical center as an Air Force or Navy HPSP graduate...the impression I got is that it is military so you would still get credit for retirement etc.
Possible to do OFI? Sure
Likelihood of doing OFI? Next to nil, except for certain residencies already set up as multi-service: eg Peds/OB at NMCP which has AF residents, WRAMC/NNMC combined programs, etc.