How To Join the Air Force with Prior Reserve

Some people with prior service may not be able to join the military again once they are out. If your discharge has an RE code of 4 then you will not be eligible to reenlist into the United States Armed Forces. Unless, however you go through Washington D.C. and send them a forum DD 293 which allows you to take your characterization of discharge up to the big wigs in D.C. If your discharge is an RE code 3 you have to send a letter to the service that you served telling them why you want back in and how you have changed since you have been out. With an RE code 2 you are ineligible for enlistment into the Air Force but you will be eligible for all other branches. With an RE code 1 you may join any branch including the Air Force but have to be of the age of 42 or younger.

If you are still having trouble getting into the Air Force then you may be able to talk to your state's senator. In some cases the senator can help with government issues. At the least it’s always good to have a government official on your side. To be eligible you must hold an MOS "your prior service job" it must directly convert to an Air Force specialty. Applicant cannot have a break in service for more than 6 years, as well as having a waiver to get in, such as, getting a tattoo after your service would make you ineligible for enlistment into the Air Force.

Your rank will be determined by an Air Force Liaison when you go to MEPS if you do end up getting in. That means that your prior rank in the branch you served in may or may not be given back to you. If you were discharged on good conditions with your commanding officer during your prior service you may be able to get him to help you as well. The Air Force considers you "prior service" if you have done 24 months or more of active duty. If you have less than 24 months of active duty service than the Air Force will consider you as "previous service" and treat and process you the same as non-prior service.

Right now, about the only prior service the Air Force wants for enlisted personnel is:

  • Army - Rangers and Special Forces
  • Navy - SEALS
  • Marines - Force Recon
  • ALL - Linguistics

If you were a prior service officer the Air Force would be glad to take you because you have a college degree so they know that they will get their money's worth out of you. Secondly they love to take prior officers because of the leadership skills and knowledge from college and the prior service you provided.


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