Can You Qualify as an Air Force Firefighter?

The Air Force operates with a number of different job specialties, but none are as important as the firefighting and emergency careers. The specialty that makes sure that situations are resolved safely and who fights fire and deals with emergency situations is the Air Force Fireman and emergency firefighter. The job specialty is a fast paced, highly trained skill set that provides fire and rescue services and fire suppression skills. You may be called upon to work to prevent fire on a variety of Air Force Facilities located around the world, as well as fighting outbreaks of fire as they occur on Air Force locations.

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The career selection of Air Force Firefighter is one that has a candidate ready for emergency action. A member of the Emergency Firefighter Career will be the personnel used to assist in rescue and search operations, as well as participating in fire suppression and emergency response. It is a fast paced career that involves a number of different skills and procedures that you will become expert in. You will be required to ensure different aspects of the Air Force mission, and to help insure that safety procedures and environmental readiness operations are maintained. You will be assigned to assist in providing support and emergency medical care, and may be tasked to participate in training and drills to assist battlefield soldiers in disaster drills and emergency planning.

You will fight fire on Air Force buildings, and on Air Force Aviation facilities. Some of the tasks that you will be required to participate in include: specialized training in chemical, radiological, and biological training, maintaining and operating various equipment and emergency firefighting equipment. You may be the Fire Marshall on an Air Force facility, or deal with a number of Fire Marshall responsibilities as a military situation Fire Marshall. It is not a job for the Faint hearted; you will work to train and master skills, as you become a trained and qualified firefighter. You will often be a qualified Emergency First Responder, and work to assist in damage control and other firefighter tasks.

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First responders work to aid fire crews and emergency ambulance medics in assisting military personnel in different types of emergency situations. You will be called to give emergency first aid and to help maintain and support military personnel until they can make it to the hospital.

Remember… if you enjoy this type of work and service, then the world eagerly awaits for you after your military service.

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68 Responses to “Can You Qualify as an Air Force Firefighter?”


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military dot image John Tsangaris    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

To whom it may concern,

Hello, My name is John Tsangaris.

I would like some information about FireFighting in the USAF?
What is the minimum age, requirements?
What is the pay scale for an E1?
What is deployement like/different for firefighters in the Air Force?
I have a family of 4, my wife 1 year old and a 10 year old. How long is training, how will they be taken care of? What is the BMT period like, pay, housing etc?

Any additional information will be usesfull, Thank you for your time.


military dot image scott brown    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

hi i am hopein to to join the air force firefigther career but have qustions about it.


military dot image scott brown    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

do u get firefighter 1 and 2 and emt b??


military dot image shawn culpepper    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I recently just graduated from the fire fighter acadamy and was interested to see if it would be benificial to join the airforce reservein help with employment?


military dot image jon sweitzer    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am interested in firefighting for the air force


military dot image Eb    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

John,
The minimun age requirement is 27 years of age.

Deployments range from 4 to 6 month appox. 16 to 18 months apart.
Training is about 4 months long at Goodfellow AFB, TX and your family will not be able to go with you but you will receive housing allowance which is based on where your family is living. The training to very hard with days started at 4 and ending around 5 along with PT on mondays, wednesdays, and fridays. If you are not in peek physical condition, the odds are against you. Be prepared to carry around 300 pounds of hose on your shoulders and pass a firefighter PT course under 8 minutes. Many do not pass the first time. BMT is 2 months long you may or may not be able to contact your family at all. Its up to your training instructor. The pay in BMT is your base pay and you will receive housing allowance while you are there if married. To qualify for a job as a firefighter you need around a 36 on your ASVAB.


military dot image Eve    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

John,
This statement is untrue.

Deployments range from 4 to 6 month appox. 16 to 18 months apart.

My husband deploys once a year with at times as few as 6 months between deployments. For example he just got back in September 2009 from a 7 months out and was tasked to leave 3rd week of February 2010. His DOS being August kept him from leaving his wife of 10 years and his 7 and 8 year old kids for the 5th time. If deployments are an issue I’d like you to know the truth. Good luck!
Eve


military dot image abraham    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

can you join as an officer and still be a fire fighter


military dot image Andy    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

That looks awesome I want to do that some day.


military dot image anthony morrow    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I’m all in


military dot image Jen    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Hey my name is Jen i wanna be a fire fighter in the air force i dont have a clue what E1 and stuff means, im a junior in high school and i wanted to sign a contract soon so out of high school i can start. i really want to know more, and my dad is willing to sign for me when he comes home in 2 weeks…


military dot image Matt    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I joined 22/6/2009 as a DEP (Delayed Entry Program) AKA Soft Book. at the end of my Junior year. i leave 7/9/2010. You cannot be an Officer Firefighter however there are jobs that are in control of it though. Joining the Air Force was the best thing that i ever done, and can’t wait for the experience. To all those that want to join as a firefighter good Luck and see ya soon.


military dot image Eli    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

How old do you have to be to be a firefighter in the air force?


military dot image Brandon    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Im just signed my contract as a firefighter about a month ago under the softbook program which is signing before your junior year of high school is over. There is alot of benifit to doing this because you get first pick at jobs and chances are that is the only way u will get firefighting because it is very hard to get and i got lucky. So right now im going into my senior year to finish high school then leave july,5 of 2011 for BMT :)


military dot image Andy Watson    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

This is always what I thought doing it sounds interesting.

I’ve always wanted to drive in one of those air field crash-tenders.


military dot image joe    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i see people saying they are leaving for this job after highschool but the guy above says you have to be 27? and can you get this job guaranteed in writing?


military dot image kyle brown    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am a firefighter in the usaf i am going through my training now you do not have to be 27 years old to join but the job is very hard to get into right now to to low demand and high supply good luck


military dot image arin    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i think he meant the maximum age requirement is 27, unless it was a typo and he meant 17


military dot image Jake Ryan    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

The Air Force is a good choice ,but a Navy firefighter undergos more training than an USAF firefighter.
My brother Jared Ryan is a E7 in the Navy and is a firefighter. Before he joined the Navy he was enlisted in the USAF as a firefighter for 4 years. He liked it , but he wanted a different environment, so he transferred to the Navy and loves it. He said he has a lot more respect for a Navy firefighter than a USAF firefighter because they are in tough environments and have a lot more responcibility. Its great to serve in the U.S Military ,but its a fact that the USAF is the Most Pampered branch of the Military and is more Civilain like than anyother branch besides the National Guard. If you want an easier Job than go Airforce. If you want a tougher more outgoing Job than go Navy. Navy firefighters can be placed in surface ships, submarines, Land, and in air sqadreins. Airforce is of course all land based maybe some air. My brother only got the chance once to be in an air quadrein in the USAF.


military dot image MSgrt Moffit    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Well you can’t be more wrong about the Air Force. The Navy actually does way less training then the Air Force. I am a USAF MSgt and have gone through fire protection training at Goodfellow AFB. It’s a hard task to accomplish but if you keep your mind focused and stay strong it makes your time in training go by much faster. Out of the 5 Navy students in my class 0 graduated with me. All failed at least one test and had to be reclassed. The time I spent with my fellow Navy students I realized how easy they had it. The Navy does not have a time frame on when you need to complete the classes. Also the Navy allows their soldiers to fail multiple tests and continue in the fire protection courses. The Air Force will give you 5 chances during your training. They graciously allow you to retake an exam that you have failed, if you do not pass the retake exam you are reclassed. If this action persist 5 times you are the either reclassed to a different job field or revoked from the Air Force.


military dot image Jake Ryan    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

You are right about the exams,but the Navy is indeed a tougher envirionment and from what my brother said just all around harder. Me being an ex Army Ranger and my father be an ex Navy seal I have respect for all branches of the U.S Military. I’ve had family in all branches of the Military, most of them being Marines. I however regret the day I joined the army, I wanted to be in the U.S Navy like my father, but at the same time I wanted to be different from the rest of my family. Anyway it was worth it, it was worth the 20 years i spent away from family, it was worth taking rounds through my,left leg, and right shoulder. God Bless America.


military dot image Jeff    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I am current active duty Navy Seabees, been in 6 yrs. How hard would it be to cross over to Air Force fire protection? I am trying to get closer to home (Washington state) which is why I am leaving the Seabees. Does anybody know how long of a wait it would be to get picked up for Fire Protection at McChord AFB?


military dot image matt    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I am debating on going to college for two years and get my assos. in fire science. I am also going through fire 1 this january. what are the requirements i need to become a usaf firefighter? how long is boot camp? what can i do to make myself ready an should i go to college first then usaf? please help i dont know what to do an i need guidance…….. My mom is tell me do school first so im become hire rank in the usaf when i join. hope you can help?????


military dot image Joe    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Wow there’s a lot of questions that haven’t been answered on here. I’ve been in the Air Force Firefighter for five years, and I’m a Staff Sergeant (E-5).

Your first step is to talk to a recruiter and see if the USAF has any openings to be a firefighter. If they do, then you enlist for 4 years. If your an eagle scout or have some college credit hours you’ll receive the rank E-3 while your in BMT, about the fifth week in. If you don’t have that, don’t worry about it because you’ll be promoted to E-3 quickly enough anyways. (Most make E-5 in a little over 4 years from when they enlisted). You have be 18 years old. And yes, like all Air Force contracts, your job is guaranteed in writing; they cannot change it after you enlist.

There is absolutely no firefighting experience to be a USAF firefighter. In fact, if you’re on a civilian department first you might be trained differently then us, and it might screw you up a few times when your at our academy. If you do have previous experience before you go to our academy, its best to keep your mouth shut about it, especially if your a volunteer firefighter (we call them Jolly Vollys).

After you enlist, you’ll find yourself in BMT pretty quick. It sucks hardcore, and the USAF basic training has gotten much more difficult within the last few years. Its physically and mentally demanding. BMT is 8 weeks long, just remember its all a head game and don’t take anything personally. Work out a lot before you go. By the end of it you have to run a mile and a half in 12 minutes, 50 push-ups in a minute, 55 sit-ups in a minute (at least that’s what it was 5 years ago). You will be able to call home for 30 seconds your first week, and a 3 minute phone call around your third week if you earn it. After that you can call more more often if you earn it

After your done there you’ll go directly to San Angelo, Texas for the fire academy; one the best and toughest in the world. Its full name is the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy, Goodfellow AFB. All 5 branches train together to be firefighters in the military. In my class I had 10 USAF, 2 army, 2 marines, 1 Navy, and 1 Coast Guard, most of them will be fresh out of their bootcamps just like you. The academy is about 3 months long and I had some the best and worst times of my life there. It’s the second most physically demanding school in the Air Force, right behind Pararescue. By the end of the academy you have to do firefighter’s PT in under 8 minutes. If you don’t know what that is just look up some videos on Youtube, I know theres one that was filmed at the academy. If you can’t do it you can’t be a firefighter and you’ve just wasted 3 months of your life. You’ll have your choice of quitting the Air Force all together or switching to another job like services and go to their school. Don’t worry though, if they see you struggling at the beginning they’ll make you do extra PT after class with a personal trainer. When you’re out of the Academy, you’ll finish with Firefighter II, HazMAt Operations, First Responder, and Airport Firefighter. You’ll also be very close to earning an Associate’s of Fire Science, you just have to take a few online classes afterwards to earn it. Also, you won’t learn to drive the fire engines, crash trucks, and tankers until you’re at your duty station.

After the academy you’ll be shipped to your duty station. You usually get one of your first three picks of where you want to go. I know a guy who’s first choice was Germany and he got it. At this point, your wife and kids can live you again (of course they can’t while your in BMT or the academy). The Air Force will even ship all things to your new base for free. Deployments have just changed within the last weeks. Starting next year, all fire deployments will be 6 months. Deployments are just like your manning a normal fire station, only its in some other country. You’ll work a 24 on/ 24 off shift the whole time.

Matt- I’ve never heard of “hire rank” before, you can be a USAF right out of high school. I can’t tell what to do, but personally I had my Associate’s in Liberal Arts before I enlisted at the age of 20. Did it help me? Not really. I enlisted in the Air National Guard, I was never active duty. This means that after I went to BMT and the academy, I only go do the the military thing one weekend a month at my local airport. They also pay 100% tuition while you’re in. And since a guard enlistment is 6 years instead 4, you’ll have about 28 days a month for about 5 years to earn a bachelors degree in whatever you want. I’m actually graduating with my B.A. in Environmental Science from my local state university in a few weeks, I’m 24 years old, still in the guard and I’ve never been deployed. Now I’m looking for a full time job like any other college grad. If I find a job in another state, then I’ll just transfer to a job that’s closer to my new job. You just have to call a guard recruiter, not an active duty one.

Hope that helps


military dot image Joe    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Probably should have proofread that last comment before I posted it lol. One thing I forgot, the dorms at the academy are REALLY nice. They were built about 7 years ago and everyone gets a 10×10 dorm room. You even get your own personal bathroom. Classes are 8 hours a day, with an hour lunchtime. The food is also great and is free.


military dot image alexis    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

how old do you have to be to join AF FireFighting?? And can i be based at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter,SC??


military dot image Chris    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Thanks for all the useful comments. I just signed for a firefighter position and will leave for BMT in March. I am psyched about my job.


military dot image Colleen    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I just passed the NREMT and I am going to the Fire Academy in April, then on to medic school. I cross fit, I work hard and I have a lot of drive to be great in the EMS field. I have considered the military many times. I moved 1200 miles away from my family who I care about dearly, so I am familiar with not seeing my family for long periods of time. My father helps me financially, and I would love to repay him some day and also hate to keep needing his support. I need to hear the positives and negatives that would relate to me and what is the best decision for my situation? Also, I appreciate Joe for taking the time to explain all of that.


military dot image C.j    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

How often is it to be deployed? I dont really know the right way to ask. But like is the chance of being deployed as a air force fire fighter big or small?


military dot image Robert    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Do Air Force Fire Fighters go into combat at all?


military dot image Richard Reid    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

My name is Richard Reid and I am joining the Army and attending basic training in January, then I will be attending the Louis F. Garland firefighting course at Goodfellow AFB around April 1. I had a question regarding my private car and can I take it with me during the training course. Will I have housing assigned on base, I am single?


military dot image Coby    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

My name is Jacoby. I am a fire fighter and certified Firefighter II. I attend fire college every summer held at my local community college. I was wondering if i joined the USAF as a firefighter would i have to go through firefighter acadamy?


military dot image Airman    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

im towards the end of the fire academy here at Goodfellow AFB. let me just say that the Navy has it was easier than the Air Force because my class leader an ABH3 (E-4) has not only failed many test and objectives but has also told us that the Navy has it easier and he isn’t afraid to admit it. As far as age is concerned there is a 35 year old in the class ahead of me and there is an 18 year old in my class so age really doesn’t make a difference. As far as having schooling before you go into the Air Force it would be nice to have rank early but you will make rank quick being young and you will also get a lot of college credits durning the fire academy and bmt towards a degree. As far as test goes it is true AF are only allowed to miss 5 however what is not true is that you will NOT get reclassed! You will get discharged there is not second chance for you in the AF where as in the other branches there is. I would pay attention to the comment Msgt Moffit comment up above because everything he says is correct for the most part. If there are anymore questions that I can help you with I will be more than happy to answer them since I am still here ending the academy soon.


military dot image Paul    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Airman, so your saying that if your in the air force and you fail the test one time your discharged from the airforce all togeather or just from the program?


military dot image Brandon    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Im currently a member of the Florida Air National Guard, and will be finishing my first 6 yr committment , here in Sept . My questions are, Do I have the option to go Active Duty for my next enlistment? Can I keep the same MOS in Fire Protection? Will they even take me, if Im a SSgt ? I am not married nor do I have any dependents of my own. Im 24 yrs old.


military dot image leigh    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am prior service and now am in fire acad soon to graduate and would like to know if they is a place for a certified fire fighter/prior service in the airforce thank you for your time


military dot image Brett    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

How hard are the tests and how many do you have to take?


military dot image Fire Dawg    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I am an AF veteran who served as a firefighter from 1999-2005. I’ll be returning here often to answer any questions I can help with.

Brett (March 13th, 2011), In tech school/fire academy (held at San Angelo, TX) we had about 6 pretty major tests. They definitely require studying time to pass. It is no cake walk, but that is a good thing because you don’t want someone who coasted through to be in a burning house with you. Once you make it out of training and into the AF, you have upgrade training which requires maybe one written test and a fairly big training exercise every few months or so for about 1 1/2 years.


military dot image Coleman    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

The acadamy is the best one I have seen. As far as the physical test goes. It is the toughest Physical test I have seen so far in my military career. A few failed the test and they had to go through “remediation PT.” Every day after class they were geting the butts kicked while those who passed were studying and taking it easy in the afternoons. The acadamy becomes real tough if you go into it in not the most tip top shape. If you fail a second time they usually kick you out.
I am wondering if anyone has recieved a transcript from the acadamy of the airforce. I cant find a transcript on their website and it wil knock out alot for my degree. I am national guard wondering if anyone can tell me about this.


military dot image Darian    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i am 17 and a junior in high school(going to be a senior soon)and i was wondering what is the full process for me to get in to the air force for firefighting?i have read alot of the responses on here but im unclear on some of the things that were discussed.is there anyone willing to explain somethings to me?and also is there any programs or anything i can apply to or sign up to that would help things get kick started so i have a plan of what i need to do my senior year and after i graduate?


military dot image Darian    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

And also do you have to stay in the air force for your career?because i was wanting to go for the required amount of time then find a job at a fire station with my new learned skills and some air force firefighter training and experience under my belt and finish up college


military dot image C.j    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Darian, This is what happens , ( by the way im in the same grade and have the same age ) one more year bud! haha… anyways i am pretty sure that we take the ASVAB after talkin to the recruiter and what not, but in senior year you can get a bunch of ASVAB practice books, you can go to a public library and check it out. When you take the ASVAB i think you need to get a certain score to be what you want. So, lets say you went to a recruiter and said you would like to be a firefighter, if he says the airforce needs more fire fighters you can take the asvab and see if you reach the score. if you dont wanto go to the air force right after high school then try to get into a local fire station so you know what your getting into. and To answer the other question, i think you have to serve atleast four years then you can just get out and do whatever you want. IF ANY OF MY INFO IS WRONG, DONT BE AFRAID TO CORRECT ME! i only go off what i have learned from my dad.


military dot image Joe    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Wow, alot more questions. I’m actually about ready to be done with my 6 year enlistment with the Air National Guard. First, if you are active duty you will probably be deployed on multiple 6 month deployments during your 4 years. If your Guard or Reserves, not so much, but if you want to go deploy you can always do paperwork to ask to go with another unit if yours isn’t going for awhile. Second, no, air force firefighters do not really go into combat, but you are highly trained if you need to be. Usually while your deployed your just “manning” the fire station on base and respond only to emergencies that happen on the base. Sometimes they go “outside the wire” to things that happen off base, but that’s rare if you’re in a hostile country. Third, about the private car at the fire academy. Yes, you’re allowed to have one, but you have to find a way to get the car there. Thats a problem if your car is multiple states away. Personally I wouldn’t worry about it because there is an excellent and cheap (like two dollars) taxi service that takes you into town. Fourth, while at the academy you MUST live in the dorms and your family IS NOT allowed to live with you. Fifth, even if you already have firefighter II you still have to attend the academy. It’s possible that they will let you skip ahead by two months and go straight to the ARFF add-on class, but don’t count that. Sixth, you will have 2 chances to pass firefighter’s PT, once at the beginning, and once at the end. If you fail twice your kicked out of the Air Force. Happened to a friend of mine. Seventh, Darian, if you have that many questions you need to talk to a recruiter and ask him, I’m not going to explain every step of the Air Force to you. I had the recruiter hook me up with the fire house and they gave me a tour and answered all questions. Finally, you do not need to make a career out of this. You only sign up for a few years then you can keep reenlisting if you want to stay in after that. Most don’t, people get married and have kids or whatever. Please read thru all of the above posts before you ask questions. “How old do I have be” got asked and answered like 4 times


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military dot image Aaron    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

i just swore in the air force reserve yesterday as an Air Force Fire FIghter! i was wondering how had the training was? and is it easy to find a job on the outside as a firefigher?


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I just talked to my recruiter today. I am completely interested in joining the AF for firefighting but he told me that he has only gotten 2 people the firefighting job in 3 years and that i most likely wont get it. At this point what should i do? I have a great score on ASVAB of 87 and easily meet all physical requirements..other forums have posted saying to other people to tell recruiter that you wont have anything but what you want and they will work around you. Is that what i should do? or talk to a different recruiter?


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Hey Mike
Same over here im tryin to get in on the reserve side and thats all i wanna do its pretty frustrating. Dont stop at nothing until you get what you want. I told my recruiter that thats all i want to do i looking right now at other jobs and i juat see myself doing anything else SMH.


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military dot image ron gillis    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

It’s been quite a few years since the 60’s when I rode O-11A and O-6 crash trucks on SAC bases and damn but times have changed. My training was in the crash station and drill pits. I retrained from radio repair because while I did great on all their tests I couldn’t fix radios. That was a handicap for a radio repairman so I ended up at a reclassification board. My first choice was AP’s and dog handling but the Col in charge of the board just looked at me and said: “your test scores are too high.” While they were talking about making me into a chaplains assistant (and I was beginning to panic) I saw a base manning board that showed the fire department was under strength. When I asked about it I was again told that my test scores were too high. I asked the colonel if he was in a burning airplane would he want the firefighters to have high or low test scores. I’m not sure if it was my argument or just that I would be less dangerous to the air force if the planes were already on fire when I went around them, but he sent me to the crash station: “If they will take you.” At the station the station chief put me in bunker gear and took me outside (in front of the crash station) and showed me how to duck walk through a fire. He then dumped 10 or 20 gallons of contaminated fuel out , lit it, and told me to walk through. I walked through and he told me to walk back. When I did, he simply said: “you’ll do” and I was a 3 level crash fire fighter and a hand line man on an O-11A. Times have changed but I hope the job is still as much fun as it was 50 years ago.


military dot image Rhein    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I am speaking first hand. The Air Force FF training and deployment is a lot tougher than the Navy. During Vietnam I was crew chief on an O-11b. On top of the cab, next to the foam turret we had a 30 cal mounted for combat. My FF training was at Rantul Ill. 8 weeks. The navy deals with fires on ships while the Air Force can be deployed in the combat zone


military dot image larryf    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Hey Rhein, nice post! Thanks for your service! Go Air Force!


military dot image RT    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

what is the required ASVAB score to get the AF Firefighting program? My son is very interested in this program.


military dot image larryf    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Hey RT,
Great question, but I would only recommend getting an answer from your recruiter. He/she could also advise what options you have if your son did not score high enough. Are you comparing all the branches?


military dot image mack trent    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

I was a A57170 fire-fighting supervisor in the Air Force from 1970-1974


military dot image larryf    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Hey Mack, appreciate your service! You’re one of the best! Again, with deep gratitude and from a thankful heart, THANK YOU!!


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