7 Things About Air Force Jobs that an Air Force Recruiter Would Know

By Danielle DeSimone

When considering joining the Air Force, many prospective trainees may be curious about what it means to join the prestigious military branch and what kind of career they can have – and that’s where an Air Force recruiter comes in.

An Air Force recruiter, often the first touch point for prospective Air Force members, can offer invaluable insight into what life in the Air Force is really like. Air Force recruiters can also answer any questions about the military branch, its mission and its history. For those unfamiliar with – or curious about – joining the Air Force, here are some insights into what life in the Air Force is really like, and things about Air Force jobs that an Air Force recruiter would know:

1. What Does the Air Force Do?

The Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the U.S. military, but aside from being a fighting force in the skies, the Air Force also works in intelligence-gathering, cybersecurity and in space.

2. What Kinds of Work Can I Do in the Air Force?

Photo credit U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hayden Legg

Capt. Christopher Shelly, 76th Fighter Squadron pilot, prepares for takeoff in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

There are many different fields of work one can dive into as a member of the Air Force. From technology, engineering and computer science, to emergency response, medicine, law, space and – of course – flying, there’s an Air Force job for every interest and every career path.

3. Was the Air Force Part of the Army?

Photo credit U.S. Air Force

U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bombers during World War II.

The Air Force was originally formed as a unit in the United States Army. As developments in flight first began in the early 1900s, the U.S. Army Signal Corps formed its own Aeronautical Division in 1907. Though the division fought in World War I, it was not until World War II that the true might of American military aviation came into play. During WWII, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) became the world’s most powerful air force – and it remains so today. Two years after WWII, the U.S. Air Force was officially founded on September 18, 1947.

4. Does the Air Force Have a Special Forces Unit I Can Join?

Photo credit U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht

Special Warfare Airmen with the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 227th Air Support Operations Squadron fast rope from a UH-1Y Venom helicopter with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 during training on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

For those looking for Air Force jobs with a significant challenge, there is the Air Force Special Warfare. According to the Air Force, “these elite heroes go where others won’t because they’re trained to do what others can’t.” On the front lines, these special forces work in everything from pararescue, to special reconnaissance, to tactical airstrike targeting. Those that choose to work in Air Force Special Warfare are trained in skills such as parachuting, scuba diving and survival skills, as well as unexpected abilities such as skiing and motorcycling. It is an incredibly challenging career path, but one that newly-enlisted airmen can undertake to be a part of an elite and crucial force in combat.

5. Does the Air Force Really Track Santa?

Photo credit U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow

The NORAD Tracks Santa Operation Center on Peterson Air Force Base, CO on December 24, 2018. In 2017, the operation had more than 1,600 volunteers answering 125,000 phone calls, 2,000 emails and 7,450 on-star requests from children around the world asking where Santa was and when he would arrive at their house.

Yes, the Air Force is responsible for tracking Santa Claus and ensuring that he safely makes his trip around the world, which you can tune into here in December. When they’re not tracking the jolly man in the big red suit, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also undertakes missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for all of North America.

6. How Many Barriers Has the Air Force Broken?

Photo credit The National Archives and Records Administration

Then-Capt. Chuck Yeager, the U.S. Air Force pilot who was the first person to break the sound barrier.

For the Air Force, the sky is never the limit. The military branch has been breaking barriers – in more ways than one – since it was founded in 1947. Just about a month after the Air Force officially became its own military branch, the now-Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager was the first pilot to ever break the sound barrier while flying the Bell X-1 “Glamorous Glennis” at Mach 1.05 at an altitude of 45,000 feet. He was only 24 years old.

The Air Force has continued to break through barriers, from being the first military branch to plan for racial integration, to having the first woman to ever fly the F-35A Lightning II in combat.

7. What is Life in the Air Force Really Like?

Most importantly, an Air Force recruiter can tell prospective trainees what life in the Air Force is really like. Movies and the Air Force website can only reveal so much – in the end, Air Force recruiters and other airmen can provide insight into the realities of training, potential career paths and what it means to join the community of airmen – and the greater military community as well.

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