Searchy Search

Here we go again…

I actually really enjoy this game because sometimes people end up here for weird reasons and they find some interesting answers.

A LOT of my questions seem to be centered on Sallie Mae and various components.  Obviously, those people are going to know better than I am what services they offer, but I’ll try and do what I can.

Does Sallie Mae offer Military Deferrment?  Short answer, yes they do.  There is a military deferment and and an armed services deferment.  Call them and ask them what you qualify for and which one you should apply for, then fill out the form, send a copy of your orders and ta-da.  This should also qualify you for SCRA.  If you are going to BMT, tell them that.  There is a way to defer those while you’re incommunicado.

Sallie Mae Devil – Why yes, they are.

Sallie Mae SCRA Recertify – Just send them a copy of your orders, it’s not that hard.  You should always have a copy anyway don’t ever give your last one away, always keep a spare.

Airman Tapout – If you’re referring to them being cage fighters, I think that’s prohibited.  If you’re referring to BMT graduation, it happens twice.  At the coin ceremony they will make an announcement to go get your airman or something.  They can’t move until you tap them.  Then at parade, same rule applies (or at least it did).  Basically, if you see everyone running for their lives towards a sea of blue, run too.  And be nice and tap out other people who don’t have visitors, they don’t want to stand there the whole time either.  Generally, you’ll see a few guys from other branches walking around thanking frozen airman for their commitment.  It’s pretty neat.

Air Force Wife STD / Tricare STD Testing – You can call them and ask, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to cover it.  Especially if you’re at an MTF.  When you go for an annual, just ask them to run a few tests or call and make an appointment.

Can Tech School Airman Receive Birthday Cakes – You know what, that’s a damn good question.  Here’s the tricky part though… their mail always takes an extra day.  Certain bases have a visitor policy that rivals Fort Knox (we sure do) and then you have to worry about when the cake is going to be delivered, will they be in class, do they have privileges yet, etc.  But they should be able to, I’m just not sure how you’d get it there and their friends would love to share that with them.  A lot of them are busy at weird hours or all day long, have study groups, PT, etc.  If you’re going to do it, make sure you have it planned well, I’m sure they would appreciate it, no one likes a missed birthday… and make sure they share with the MTL’s, they like cake too.

Housing in Tech School – There is housing at tech school but there are some rules (although I’ve seen them broken depending on the base).  I moved to tech school with my husband.  I lived in an off-base apartment and I moved myself.  He was stationed there for less than 20 weeks so I had no privileges in moving.  I had to do it all on my own.  I had a blast and he said he liked me being there.  I met a girl who had moved with her husband, she more or less just showed up with baby in tow and they gave her housing.  If I remember correctly, his tech school was short too but I could be wrong.  The original question was “Where do I live when they go to tech school?”  The answer is wherever you want.  The military can’t tell you where to live or not live if they don’t assign accompanying orders.  If you do move with them,  you need to change your DEERS (tricare) information so that you get the correct BAH rate and you can do that on the website or call them, they’re nice people.  If you get lucky enough to get accompanying orders, you can live on base assuming there is housing available or you can get a place off base.  This will be the first time of probably many that you will show up homeless and really just hope for the best.  How you get your stuff there depends on whether or not you are on the tech school orders.  You may have to move it yourself out of pocket, you may get TMO to move it for you.  I’m also pretty sure it’s not the length of the total tech school but the amount of time at each base (if they have more than one stop).  Otherwise, you live at your parent’s, your apartment, a friend’s house, grandparents… wherever.  If s/he’s shipping to BMT, try and live somewhere for free because you have NO idea when you’re going to be seeing the first paycheck and if it’s going to be right, and if you’re going to have access to it.  Have some money saved up or a back-up plan because being broke AND not being able to talk to your DH sucks.  I know plenty of people who had finance nightmares in BMT, we were one of them.

How early can wife of an Airman go to school – uh, whenever you want?  If you want to use their GI Bill, I think it’s 5 years.

GFAB fire academy – I MISS that place.  They do some of the coolest and most challenging things I’ve ever seen there.  They are exhausted, smell like fire, smoke, and sweat and are dehydrated.  It’s awesome and it’s a tough course.  I did hear recently that there were some changes to the Firefighter PT test so it is apparently easier than it used to be.  For the record, that doesn’t help you in the long run, only the short run.  You need that physical strength.

Does every airman get issued a 9mm – NO.  Why does everyone think this?  Superman – my firefighter husband – can barely shoot a gun.  He shoots like once a year, he doesn’t have one assigned to him.  He didn’t name it or obsessively polish it.  It isn’t even allowed in the house, per the Air Force.  He doesn’t have a rifle either and he hasn’t been trained to kill people with one quick movement.  If he deploys, he receives some training on it.  The only people around here that carry guns are security forces, they don’t take them home either, they stay locked up at their HQ.  Most airman are NOT security forces although, it seems like there are a ton of them.  I’m pretty sure the guys in cyber surety don’t get issued guns either (see: 100% positive).  They don’t need them.  What are they going to do, shoot a computer, shoot a fire, shoot a phone?  Lots of airman have jobs that are not let’s stand in front of someone and shoot.  The med people also don’t carry guns.  God, that would be terrifying.  You go to the doctor and your officer doctor has a 9mm strapped to his thigh.

Married airman and pay (I have like 10 of these so we’ll address again) – Airman get paid based on RANK and Time in SERVICE.  Marital status is not a determiner of pay.  BAH (housing allowance) is determined by number of dependents.  This could be a wife or a kid or a wife and 15 kids, the number doesn’t change.  They’re either single or they have dependents.  If you live on base, you don’t even see your BAH so you get paid NOTHING more than a single-dependent-free airman living in the dorms… plus you have more responsibility (and a much higher divorce rate).  When you enlist you can come in at 2 (maybe 3 different levels).  If you sign for 6, you can be an E-3 and you’ll get paid as an E-3 right away.  If you sign for 4 and have enough educational credits, you do the same thing as above.  If you sign for 4 and have no educational credits you start as an E-1 and you get a special pay for BMT kids with less than 4 months of service (it’s like 1350/month or something).  So, if you’re an E-1 w/ dependents (married or kids) and you’re at BMT, you’re going to get paid like 1378.80/month (according to for 2012), then your BAH will be determined by your zip code (found here — — use your dependents zip code for duty location).  Then, take into consideration that you will be paying taxes, SGLI (life insurance), any TSP contributions (401(k) sorta thing), dental insurance for your dependents if you chose to get it, and $100/mo for your GI Bill for the first 12 months.  Then, at your first paycheck they will take about $300-$400 out at BMT for your crap that they give you a card to buy stuff with.  Don’t let them lie to you, you’re paying for that stupid yellow cone that goes on your flashlight so you can walk around Lackland after dark.  So yeah, you don’t get paid EXTRA to be married, your spouse doesn’t get paid to be married to you, you get the same amount as everyone else you just get more BAH which you don’t even get if you live on base.

My airman broke up with me/I married an airman/what it’s like to be married to an airman/blah. – For the break-up, I’m sorry, I guess.  Being married to a military person is a pain in the ass.  We don’t do it because we love the military, we don’t do it for the money, we don’t do it because we get incredible perks.  We do it because we love our person and they love us in return.  It’s an unfair system.  If you’re not married yet, you really have no stake in anything so I’m really sorry he broke up with you but it could be for many reasons.  Your airman could be a total tool.  Your airman could have realized that dating someone long distance is a pain in the ass.  Your airman could have met someone who understands them and their job.  Maybe you’re whiny or maybe he’s a total jackass.  Sound like a regular relationship?  Yeah, it is.  Just because he’s an airman doesn’t mean anything, they come in all shapes and sizes and the uniform doesn’t make them a god.  Find someone who appreciates you for you and move on.  So you married an airman?  Well, welcome to the sorority you didn’t want to join attached to the fraternity that pisses you off.  Want to make vacation plans?  Sorry ’bout you.  Want things done efficiently and economically, HAH.  Want to control and plan anything… no way Jose.  The best saying is “Keep Calm and Millie On”.  My favorite is when the phone rings in the middle of the night or they don’t come home when they’re supposed to.  You are #2, but at least you lost to an organization and not a person.  If you can’t handle being number 2 behind a job, you should probably move on and save yourself some stress.  This isn’t meant for everyone and everyone is different.  I’m not a better person because I can handle it (currently).  I get just as angry about stupid crap as everyone else.

We are separating from the military, it’s going to be awesome. – Ok, so this wasn’t a search term but I’m going to address it anyway.  Do you have a plan?  Do you have a guaranteed job?  Do you know what you’re going to do for health insurance?  Do you have money saved?  Do you know where you’re going to live? If the answer to any of those is ‘No’, I suggest you get moving and figure some things out.  Separating is like being kicked out of your parent’s house without a leg to stand on.  If you’re single, this is way easier.  If you’re married and have kids, this is scarier than shit.  Especially if you don’t have a job lined up — which is much harder to plan for when you don’t know when you’ll get to leave, btw.  Some people do just fine, but they usually have a plan and then a back-up plan.  But when you have neither, you’re pretty much effed.  Do some research.  Make a plan.  And if you want to get out because you’re sick of working the hours you’re working but overall like the military, try other options first – crosstraining, palace chase, palace front, BOP, there are lots of options and sometime none all at the same time.  Nothing drives me crazier than watching people have full-blown meltdowns because they didn’t plan anything in advance and now they’re depending on everyone else to help them.

Do you have a different question that I haven’t answered?  Things are different for all of us, but there are some universal truths.  I can try and answer things but even sometimes I don’t know the answer.  Ask away, I might be able to send you somewhere that does have the answer.  


4 thoughts on “Searchy Search

  1. You can have guns in base housing, they just have to approved by the base commander and then registered with security forces. I'm not sure about Minot, but here you're not allowed to shoot, even in self defense, I would assumed Minot is the same though. And I love your reference to the AF being like a fraternity and all the spouses being a sorority. God is that accurate. Single Airmen sure do act like frat boys and the amount of drama from the spouses? SO spot on. I gotta say though, I'd MUCH rather belong to this sorority though over the Army wives sorority, because if there is a skanky and stupid group- it's them. There is a reason soldiers carry guns and airmen don't- one group is dispensable. Can you guess which? Yup, I just said that.

  2. My question is about BMT. I've read all your posts about it but I still feels so utterly unprepared. What do I do? What should I expect as a spouse? I just feel so in the dark about this whole new beginning and I feel entirely out of control about everything. ANY help or advice is SO VERY greatly appreciated

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