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Air Force


The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win … in air, space and cyberspace.

To achieve that mission, the Air Force has a vision of Global Vigilance, Reach and Power. That vision orbits around three core competencies: developing Airmen, technology to war fighting and integrating operations. These core competencies make our six distinctive capabilities possible.

Air and Space Superiority

With it, joint forces can dominate enemy operations in all dimensions: land, sea, air and space.

Global Attack

Because of technological advances, the Air Force can attack anywhere, anytime and do so quickly and with greater precision than ever before.

Rapid Global Mobility

Being able to respond quickly and decisively anywhere we're needed is key to maintaining rapid global mobility.

Precision Engagement

The essence lies in the ability to apply selective force against specific targets because the nature and variety of future contingencies demand both precise and reliable use of military power with minimal risk and collateral damage.

Information Superiority

The ability of joint force commanders to keep pace with information and incorporate it into a campaign plan is crucial.

Agile Combat Support

Deployment and sustainment are keys to successful operations and cannot be separated. Agile combat support applies to all forces, from those permanently based to contingency buildups to expeditionary forces.

Core Values

The Air Force bases these core competencies and distinctive capabilities on a shared commitment to three values: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.

Life on Base

Each Air Force base is a self-contained mini city created specifically for its citizens. Your child will enjoy such amenities as tax-free shopping, world-class fitness centers and numerous recreational activities. Interested in paying your son or daughter a visit? The Air Force also offers on-base lodging where parents and friends can stay for a nominal fee.

To learn more about everyday life on base, visit our Life in the Air Force feature.


One of the best advantages to joining the Air Force is the opportunity your son or daughter will have to travel and see new and exciting parts of the world. Your child will receive 30 days of vacation with pay, far more vacation than most civilian jobs offer. They’ll also be able to take advantage of available space on Air Force aircraft, allowing them to fly for free or at a nominal cost to exotic locations around the world and within the United States.


We understand how hard it is to say goodbye to your son or daughter and send them off to parts unknown. But know that when they leave home, they’re being welcomed into a much larger family with support and understanding that are truly second to none.

Basic Military Training (BMT)

Your son or daughter’s journey to become an Airman begins at BMT. Recruits work extremely hard and are pushed to realize their full potential, but our support is unwavering throughout the entire eight-and-a-half-week period. To learn more about what your trainee will experience week-by-week, visit our Basic Training feature.

Technical Training

Enlisted Airmen who complete Air Force Basic Training will move on to technical training, where they’ll go from raw recruit to trained professional faster than they ever could in the civilian world. Training is a mix of academics, classroom instruction and hands-on learning in your child’s career field. To learn more about this intense yet rewarding program, visit our Technical Training feature.

Enlisted Education Programs

The education enlisted Air Force members receive goes far beyond career training. Our goal is to provide members with programs that will help them reach their goals and tap into their ultimate potential.
We are the home of America’s largest community college, the Community College of the Air Force, in which every enlisted Airman is automatically enrolled. For more details on this and other programs, visit our Enlisted Education section.

Officer Training

If your child enters the Air Force as an officer, training is a rigorous nine and a half weeks. During this intensive training period, your son or daughter will learn to lead the men and women of the United States Air Force. Their daily schedule will involve physical conditioning, skills and leadership training and classwork. For more details, visit the Officer Training School website, or visit the Commissioned Officer Training School website if your child will be coming in as a healthcare, legal or religious professional.

Officer Education Programs

While all Air Force Officers have college degrees, we don’t expect them to stop there. There are opportunities for graduate study at both Air Force and civilian institutions, in addition to training programs such as Squadron Officer School (SOS), which allows officers to step out of their specialty and focus on becoming better leaders. To learn more about this and other programs, visit our Officer Education section.

Financial Assistance

There are several ways Airmen can receive financial assistance for education, including the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program, the Montgomery GI Bill and the College Loan Repayment Program. Air Force ROTC program is another way your child can earn partial or full scholarships during high school or college. Other options include the Scholarship for Outstanding Airman to ROTC (SOAR), Professional Officers Course-Early Release Program (POC-ERP) and the Airmen Scholarship and Commissioning Program (ASCP).

Enlisted Careers

If your child is currently a junior or senior in high school or has recently graduated, there are many opportunities waiting in the Air Force. We offer our enlisted members careers in everything from mechanics to administration to electronics. Through our advanced Technical Training program, your child will become an expert in their field in a truly hands-on environment—and get paid while doing it. And from there, how far they go is up to them.
Want to see some of our careers up close? Visit our Enlisted Careers page.

Officer Careers

Officers in the Air Force are called upon to be experts in their field as well as leaders. While many aspiring officers dream of flying, keep in mind we offer countless other exciting opportunities in technical, scientific and specialty career fields. To see some of these jobs in more detail, visit our Officer Careers section.

Healthcare Careers

If your son or daughter displays a natural affinity for helping others, we have openings for healthcare professionals in all specialties: general physician, nursing, dentistry, hospital administration and biomedical sciences. Working together as a team, Air Force healthcare professionals focus on patient care and work with the latest technology in state-of-the-art facilities.


All Air Force members receive regular pay increases based on their rank and duration of time in service. They also receive cost-of-living increases and a monthly food allowance, and are eligible for tax-free housing. Enlisted members also receive a yearly clothing allowance. If your son or daughter becomes a healthcare professional, they may receive special incentive pay, substantial annual bonuses and continued educational opportunities.


We offer great healthcare benefits. As an Air Force member, your child will receive comprehensive medical and dental care, as well as receive full pay and allowances for any sick days needed. If your son or daughter has a spouse or children of their own, they too may receive medical care at military or civilian facilities for little or no cost.


Air Force members are eligible for retirement after 20 years of service—one of the earliest retirements in any field. Another perk of our retirement plan is that it doesn’t require payroll deductions while on active duty, and benefits go into effect the very day your child retires. If they would like to save a little extra each month, all Airmen are also eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which allows participants to place a portion of their monthly pay into an account similar to a 401(k) investment plan.

Housing Allowance

Enlisted Airmen live in dormitories located on base. If they’re married, they have the option to live in on-base housing/apartments. Their living expenses, including utilities and maintenance, are covered by us. If they decide to live off base, they receive a monthly tax-free housing allowance based on their rank and geographic location.

Food Allowances

We’ll even see that your child eats well with food allowances. Single enlisted Airmen are eligible to receive meal accounts, allowing them to eat as many as four meals a day for free in the on-base dining facility, which provides a nice variety of “home-cooked” meals as well as fast-food options. Regardless of career path, your child will also be able to shop at the tax-free grocery and department stores on base.