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Army or Air Force!?!?!?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by paulbiya, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. paulbiya

    paulbiya New Member

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    So, I have just secured the Army scholarship but after some recent discussions I have been giving some thought to the Air Force. I know the two scholarships are essentially the same, but I am looking for any insight into differences in the branches of service (lifestyle differences, training differences, residency opportunities. etc.).

    It seems like the AF is more laid back and more technical/academic, while the army could be a little more combat focused. Does anyone have any advice?
    AND...I know at OBC (Army) you get to do a 5 day field training exercise....do you still get to do this at COT (AF)?

    Any info is helpful...thanks!! :)
     
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  3. DNA Helicase

    DNA Helicase Let's do this!

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  4. DNA Helicase

    DNA Helicase Let's do this!

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    From my research, there are some slight differences. However, first and foremost you have to want to do it for some reason other than the scholarship. You have to want to serve your country and give up some personal freedom for a few years to your country. Otherwise I can't imagine doing it.

    Ok, from my research, these are what I percieve to be the differences:

    Army: least organized, oldest facilities, deploy further forward, slightly easier to match into more competitive military residencies due to their being a greater ratio of slots to applicants, a little more dangerous than other branches (due to more forward deployment)

    Air Force: Nicer facilities, do things more frequently by the book (least ability to work independently), safer, work furthest from combat

    Navy: better locations if you like being by the ocean and warmer places,
    slightly more organized than Air Force, you could do a tour on a carrier which is ~27 months (6-9 months repair / upkeep, 12-14 months work up, 6 months at sea)...this could be a pro or con, depending on your perspective

    My father was in the Air Force, I'm doing Navy. Ask this question again in 10 years and I may be able to tell you more.

    Talk to your recruiters and see if they can provide you with the phone number of a doc that is still in and not acting in an administrative role. You should probably know the worst case scenarios.

    Good luck.
     
  5. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky

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    I am biased, so take this with a grain of salt, but I would do army simply because it has the lowest likelihood of having your GME interrupted. In recent years, the number of applicants to residency slots ratio has been very close to 1:1. Also, starting with the medical school class of 2008, the army HPSP numbers dipped appreciably thanks to OEF/OIF, making the likelihood of getting your residency of choice that much greater.
     
  6. DNA Helicase

    DNA Helicase Let's do this!

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    What is OEF/OIF?
     
  7. lazyanteater

    lazyanteater whatcan brown do for you?

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    operation enduring freedom/ operation iraqi freedom
     
  8. AF M4

    AF M4 Junior Member

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    Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. Basically the whole Iraq thing we're going to be doing so long as the current administration rules the roost.

    In the Army you're much more certain to match into whatever residency you want. Navy you usually have to do some sort of GMO tour after internship, and the same has become true of the Air Force.

    I've only had personal experience with the match process so I can't tell you about any lifestyle differences between the two. Although honestly I'd say don't do any of them - you can still get out of your commitment so long as you haven't accepted any money from the military. Just my two cents.
     
  9. HumptyDumptyMil

    HumptyDumptyMil Almost done...

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    No field traning during COT like you may imagine. We do an outdoor excercise where we sleep in tents, do some obstacle course and work at a simulated field hospital (like Bahlad in Iraq).

    I heard that Army guys are sent out in to the wilderness with full gear and a M-16 and do some hard core stuff. No one in the AF HPSP program shoots any sort of weapon during COT.

    As far as residency goes, the AF mandates all PGY-1 that did a transitional internship year (those who did not match into any residency program) to do a two year GMO/FS tour. My recruiter out right lied to me about this, and told me that "the possiblity of doing a GMO/FS tour is least likely with the AF"

    If I had to make the choice again, I would have choosen Army, because it seems like it will be the branch that my education toward a board certified doc will be the smoothest without any interruptions.
     
  10. Heeed!

    Heeed! On target, On time!

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    Air Force.
     
  11. FizbanZymogen

    FizbanZymogen Guitar Hero Champion

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    Growing up in the Air Force it is no surprise, the Air Force treats it memebers "better" (better housing, facilities in general etc...) than the Army but I chose the Army despite this because I believe there is more medical oppurtunity in the Army (better chance to specialize if you want, newer Hospitals although the Air Force clinic here at McChord is pretty nice). Less deployments with the air force and when you do deploy it will be for shorter periods but because it is the smallest branch their medical needs are smaller with a tradition of creating more PC docs than the Army.
     
  12. mitchconnie

    mitchconnie Member

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    Personally, I think the lifestyle advantages of the Air Force are largely irrelevant to the average MD and way oversold. Sure, the AFB’s look a little nicer and the base housing is kept up better, but who cares? You’ll almost certainly be living off base. Don’t make a decision based on generalizations that largely apply to the line-- i.e. the Air Force is more “laid back” or “more professional.” Doctors, nurses, and hospital admin people are largely the same across all the services—they are all educated professionals and if they weren’t wearing different uniforms, you couldn’t tell them apart.

    The differences between the services that matter are the residency and practice opportunities. The AF has most drastically downsized its medical service and has the most limited in-service training program. Post BRAC, the AF will have no true tertiary-care medical centers. If you are doing primary care, this may be fine, but it is a disaster if you have aspirations to be any sort of subspecialist. It appears to me that the Army is the only service that is even attempting to have a full-service medical system, while the Navy and AF are fixated on “operational medicine,” and don’t seem to have a view much beyond filling next years flight surgeon and GMO billets.

    The only upside to the AF that I see at this time is that they still offer more civilian deferments for residency, and thus the opportunity to train at a first-class civilian institution.

    I think deployment potential is largely a wash. If the OIF is still going on when you get out, you will deploy, period. Lots of AF and Navy personnel in Iraq getting shot at, just like the Army.
     
  13. Ex-44E3A

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    The Air Force has some great golf courses.

    That is, if you golf. I merely attempt to golf.
     
  14. kzjonez

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    Here is what it boils down to . If you want to do surgery , subspecialties of any sort or a more strict gun ho enviroment, a year long deployment, go Army. If primary care is your taste FM and PEDS only, go Air Force.Lifestyle is the same across the services all of the have the same problems of milmed. Your choice should be based on what you what to specialized in.
     
  15. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD
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    The problem is you don't know what you want to do with your life yet, so it is nearly impossible for you to make your decision. If you knew what specialty you wanted to go into and what "type" (academic, community etc) of doc you wanted to be, it would be easier to give you advice. I agree with the above poster who pointed out that generalizations that apply to the line certainly do not apply to the medical corps. The other thing you must keep in mind is that the system is always in flux, and may be much different in 4-10 years when you come out of the training pipeline, so any decisions you make off current data may in retrospect turn out to be wrong.

    All that said, and assuming you don't know what specialty you want to practice, here are some generalizations you should use to make your decision:

    1) Deployments: In general the Army does a year, the AF does 4 months, and Navy does 6 months

    2) Training: The army and air force are more likely to let you go straight into residency

    3) Possible stations: The Army and Navy are bigger, and thus there will be more opportunities to live in locations you are interested in.

    4) Unique opportunities: If you want to be on a boat, go Navy. If you want to be a flight doc, I would lean toward Air Force, with possible Navy. If you want to do special forces, I think you can do it in any service, but don't know which one is more likely.

    Good luck with your decision. This is a much smaller decision than the decision whether or not to take the scholarship at all.
     
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  17. subway5c

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    Say you are in the AF and do a civilian residency. Do the years in civilian training add anything to your payback time?
     
  18. USAFdoc

    USAFdoc exUSAFdoc

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    negative. civilian residency counts as nil.

    "payback" begins once you go active duty after civilian residency, and it is "payback" in more ways than one.:smuggrin: :smuggrin:
     
  19. paradude

    paradude Junior Member

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    Excuse me while I take a moment to wipe my eyes after laughing my ass off. Believe me, there is nothing hard-core about OBC. You get to play Army for a week in the woods. Think boy scout camp, but actually that is probably more hard-core than OBC.
     
  20. megadon

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    This is pretty simple. Air Force has the reputation for best quality of life. Look on this board, people argue that its too regimented, so maybe for medicine not true. Basically, do you want to dress up as a leprechaun (army) or a bus driver (air force). Or you could go the cool route, go Navy/Marine Corps. All our bases are pretty much on the coast, unlike Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, etc. It's pure personal preference in my book, cause it's getting a lot more joint. Also keep in mind that Army has Trippler out in Hawaii. I will continue to make fun of my Army and Air Force bretheren up until an outsider steps in. It's one big happy dysfunctional family, or at least it should be. Seriously, if you are starting med school now, Iraq should be over or way phased down by the time you graduate, God help us. So that potentially throws a wrinkle in what you want to do. They're serious, maybe you need to do a lot of soul searching about what you want to specialize in, Air Force is deffinitely more primary care provider oriented. If you want to do peds, the nasty rumor floating through the Navy for the last couple of years is that they are going to outsource it to civilians. This will be a tremondous mistake, but they still may do it. Rationale: don't have to pay retirement benefits to a specialty that doesn't treat soldiers saves a lot of money. Downside, underpaying pediatricians doesn't attract even mediocre physicians. I would really factor into my decision geography, if you love the heartland, Army and Air Force are both fine, if you are a coastal person like me, gots to go Navy. Plus our uniforms are cooler and less expensive to prepare. Seriously, how many patches do you need to get sowed on? I'll just take my sub pin and left side ribbons thank you.
     
  21. HumptyDumptyMil

    HumptyDumptyMil Almost done...

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    Maybe I still have some weird stereotype about Army guys:laugh:
     
  22. HumptyDumptyMil

    HumptyDumptyMil Almost done...

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    The first thing I thought when I wore my blues uniform for AF was "I look like I am a mail carrier...":p
     
  23. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD
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    Yea, all 15 of them.
     

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