10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 22, 2008
Attending Physician
So I'm trying to make some key decisions--whether and when to do the FAP, which branch, AD vs. Reserves, etc--and I'm looking for some insight from those of you who've "been there, done that".
A little background--I'm prior enlisted in a Cardio-Pulm/RT field (AF), did about 6 yrs active before med school, a few years reserve as part of a CCATT team (was actually called back to AD to be deployed in the middle of med school--thank you stop loss!!). Anyway, I am pretty familiar with the mil med scene, at least from the CP/RT viewpoint.
I'm finishing up my intern year (IM), and am planning on applying for a CC/Pulm fellowship, so I've got a solid 5 years of training left to do. I've done the math, and I know I can do better financially if I stay out of uniform. But I'm drawn to the military for other reasons, and am leaning toward going back in. I just want to make sure I maximize the value I get out of it in exchange for this big commitment.

So here are some of my questions as I muddle through this decision process:
1) Branch--I'm leaning toward AF, but would like to hear from the physician standpoint what the pros/cons are for the various branches.
2) Any idea what rank I would come in at given prior service, 3 yrs of residency and 3 yrs of fellowship training? And if O3, how long would it take before I'm up for a promotion to O4?
3) I think I figured out the speciality pay tables, but would appreciate a plain english explanation of how the ISP and MSP work, and a link to the most current classifications (i.e. what category is IM, and CC/Pulm) if there is one out there.
4) I also need to confirm whether FAP can be applied toward fellowship, as well as one or two years of residency (total of 4-5 years)? The recruiter from the AF implied that they don't support fellowships, but I believe this is completely false (I think he's trying to sign me up as an IM doc only, a quicker sale, I guess).
5) If I sign up before securing a fellowship, will I have to forgo a fellowship slot to begin payback, or can I defer until my fellowship is complete?
6) What is the current deployment schedule/cycle for AD physicians? What about reserves? I realize this varies by branch and is always changing, but am interested in hearing what the typical rotation looks like right now…example: 6 months out, 18 months home, etc.
7) Pros/Cons of doing reserves vs. Active Duty? Again, not so much the money, but the kind of experiences I could have as a physician? I want to do trauma/CC, and the frontline medicine, CCATT type role definitely appeals to me.

Anyway, appreciate any insight you all can offer. Thanks!