The Depot

Air Force Vs Army: Which Branch Is Better?

A considerable amount of subjectivity comes into play when selecting a branch of service to join. If you are thinking about joining the U.S. military, your personal preferences should play heavily into what branch you select.

For example, if you like the ocean, maybe the U.S. Navy is a good fit for you. Do you want to learn an automotive technician vocation, then maybe becoming an U.S. Army mechanic is best for you? The point is that knowing what you want to get from the military is important before you go and visit a recruiter. There are several branches, with many jobs, but if you’ve narrowed it down to joining the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Army, then maybe this comparison Air Force vs Army post can help you.

three army drill instructors yelling at a recruit

Air Force Vs Army (Deployments)
Let’s face it, the primary mission of the U.S. military is to fight and win American wars. However, when it comes to deploying, there is a big difference, generally speaking, between the Air Force and the Army.

Since aircraft are extraordinarily valuable, many, not all, Air Force deployments tend to be locations that are relatively safer. For example, a fighter squadron might deploy to Kuwait to provide routine combat air patrols over an area, as opposed to an infantry company that might deploy to a combat outpost where they are in regular contact with the enemy. In this part of the Air Force Vs Army argument, one can argue that the Air Force is better, because it is safer, but if your goal is to join a ground combat specialty, then the Army wins here. As mentioned before, subjectivity weighs heavily.

Air Force Vs Army (Quality of Life)
Air Force personnel get a lot of grief from members of other branches of service and most of it is because of envy. Air Force bases are notorious for their world class gyms, first rate chow halls, and college-dorm-like barracks. Not to mention, Airmen tend to have the nicest and newest equipment.

Why does the Air Force have a great quality of life? The easy answer is if a person feels supported and cared for, they will likely stick around. In addition, there is an old standing joke in the Air Force ranks that has enlisted airmen saying, “I joined the Air Force because we send our officers to war.” While that is partially true, the Air Force does send its pilots into harm’s way while the majority of the support personnel are in relative safety back at base.

In the Army, that’s a little different. Given the Army has ground forces, it has to be within reach of its forward forces, so many times non-combat arms support personnel will be closer to combat than Air Force personnel. In recent years, The USAF has sent many combat arms personnel into harm’s way, but overall, the Army usually has more personnel in combat zones.

Back at garrison, the Army has made a lot of strides to improve its quality of life for soldiers on post. Soldiers have access to various eateries on post as well as ample recreational opportunities like golf, gyms, horseback riding, rod and gun clubs, auto hobby shops, bowling and other activities. The Army tends to be located in more places around the globe as well, but again, when examining the quality of life, Air Force Vs Army, much depends on what you want for yourself.

Air Force Vs Army (Occupational Specialties)
The Air Force and Army are pretty evenly split here. Both branches offer aviation, law enforcement, cyber, engineering, administrative, mechanical, culinary and other career fields. The key is figuring out what job you want to do and where do you want to do it.

When choosing between the Army or the Air Force, each branch has a number of jobs in similar areas. You’ll find health care, engineering, aviation, administrative, arts and media and mechanical jobs in both branches. If you prefer a job that sees more combat, though, the Army may be the right choice for you. If you have more interest in technology, you’ll find more opportunities in the Air Force. But there are ample opportunities for combat ground roles in the USAF and also plenty of tech jobs in the Army. Much depends on you.

A good way to find out what jobs are a good fit for you is to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB test, which is required for anyone signing up as an enlisted member in the Army or Air Force. The ASVAB measures your abilities to predict which jobs you’re most likely to find success in in the military. This can help you if you do not know what professions interest you.

Air Force Vs Army (Pay and Benefits)
It is important to note that members of the military are paid the same amount as long as they are in the same pay grade. For example, an E-4 in the Air Force makes the same as an E-4 in the Army. Now, if the Air Force E-4 is on flying status or deployed, they might make more money. Similarly, an Army E-4 who is in the airborne can collect jump pay and combat pay if he/she is forward deployed. There are lots of opportunities to make extra pay depending on your duty, but it is important to note in the Air Force Vs Army discussion that all branches pay their grades the same. How fast you climb through those grades is a different story and collection of special pay is up to you and the paths you take professionally.

army officer shaking hands with graduating recruits

Air Force Vs Army (Training)
Let’s cut to the chase on the topic of training, there is Air Force basic training and Army basic combat training. Both achieve the same thing; they give attendees a basic understanding of the Army or Air Force and that base training allows a service member to start his or her life in uniform. While the training may vary, the objective is the same.

Training after basic training depends on what occupational specialty you enter. Every technical or advanced school has its requirements. Some Air Force schools might require an airman to train for upwards of two years to be fully qualified while some Army schools might require someone to train for 10 weeks to be fully qualified. Much depends on the occupation.

When it comes to making a decision, Air Force Vs Army, you need to consider what works best for you. Every member in the U.S. military serves for different reasons. Some are motivated by patriotism, some are motivated by adventure, some are motivated by finding a better life. Others want to travel, earn money for college, or gain job skills.

If you’re thinking which is better, Air Force Vs Army, you can’t lose by selecting one of these services. Just ensure you pick was is right for you and what fits into your plans. Follow your head and heart and it will work out.

Comments on this post ( 3 )

  • Sep 23, 2022

    Thank u

    — Akeema

  • Jul 26, 2022

    Nice information :)

    — Pak Shaheens

  • Mar 31, 2022

    The AF had better dorms and chow halls (DFACS) 20 years ago. Today the Army has better food and exchanges. At least that’s how its been from 2013 on. Most people repeat old stereotypes because they have no experience with the other side. Ft Bliss, Ft Sam Houston, Ft Gordon, and Ft Jackson > Wright Patt, Lackland, Kingsley Field and Randolph. I have been to the exchanges and eaten numerous times at both DFACS. I don’t know why people haven’t figured it yet.

    — Josh

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