3d0x4 Assignments Abroad

Yes, this is all well stated.

In basic training, I ended up being very close to a lot of different people that I would have otherwise never come in contact with, to that level.

And in my opinion, this is a very healthy thing.

One thing I'd like to share that cracks me up, all these years later. Pardon the forthcoming ramble.

I had been handling guns from a pretty early age, but I was still looking forward to training on the M-16.

Well, at least in the early 90s, there is exactly one (1) day of weapons training in USAF basic training.

In the morning, we got on a bus and went to the ass-end of Lackland AFB where the gun ranges were. We then received our weapons, with no ammo in sight, and 'trained' on them in several hours of classes.

Note, this classroom was just a classroom, with desks, with the normal classroom density. And so 50 young men and women were sitting at desks with M-16s. And, on various cadences, we all held them up, put the clip in, simulated chambering a round, aimed, and pulled the trigger.

But we had to aim...kind of up and to our left. Because we were never suppose to point the weapon at another person we didn't mean to shoot, loaded or otherwise.

It was an absolutely absurd scene.

Many of my class-mates were openly afraid of handling these weapons, and it showed.

After lunch we marched, weapons slung, over to the firing range. We were to each fire sixty rounds that day. The first thirty were warmup/practice. The second 30 were for qualification. We each lay supine with the weapon on sandbags. Only then were each of us handed three rounds each, which we pushed into the clip. And then we fired those three rounds.

The young lady next to me was terrified of guns, and had never touched one. I noticed that she was closing her eyes before each shot.

After we fired our 30 rounds into the targets, our final scores were calculated. My target had 30 holes tightly grouped in the middle. But there was another hole, off all by itself, right on the edge of the target.

Somehow I managed to score 31 out of 30 that day, though it was recorded as 30.

The young lady next to me repeated 'gun day' twice more, with different flights (groups), before she qualified.

Sorry for the ramble!

The real punch line came when I asked my training instructor, later on, why we bothered with only a single day of weapon training.

He laughed out loud and said something like, fuck if I know. Think about it, Diederich. What do you think would be going on if Airmen were forced to actually use their weapons against an enemy. The war would already be over!

Indeed! The USAF: where the best chance of direct enemy contact comes from becoming one of the few tens of thousands of officers who actually venture into enemy territory on occasion. The 'grunts', the enlisted, no way.

3D0X4 - Computer Systems Programming

Submitted by /u/Katholikos, send them a message if you have questions!

The postings on this site belong to the user that submitted the information and don’t necessarily represent Air Force positions, strategies, or opinions.

Official Description

As you can imagine, the Air Force employs countless computers to accomplish its mission. But a computer is only as good as its software, and that's where Computer Systems Programming specialists come in. Airmen in this career field write code and programs that are critical to our war-fighting ability—from maintenance tracking programs to programs that organize and display intelligence data. From airforce.com.

ASVAB RequiredG - 64
Security ClearanceTop Secret
CCAF EarnedComputer Science Technology
Civilian marketabilityVery good
DeploymentsVery rare
Base choicesVery limited

Detailed Description

Programmers are kind of a "jack of all trades". Many assignments have you writing code. Sometimes, you'll write small programs for internal use to help your unit out. Other times, you'll be working on a massive project with 15-20 other programmers, utilized by both the US and foreign militaries. If you're not writing code, don't be surprised to find yourself testing it - many contractors write programs, and we're required to test them. Finally, many assignments have you filling other 3D roles. It's not uncommon to see programmers working as help desk technicians, server admins, DBAs, and more. We're expected to know how to do at least something in every 3D role.

What an average day is like

Your job as a programmer will vary from coding/development, to project management, even to auditing your assigned systems. If you’re not coding, then your day could consist of just going to meetings and discussing systems that you’re working on in particular and coordinating with the development team for specific customer requirements. Coding is just like you'd expect in the civilian world. Sometimes you're working with a small team (or by yourself). You go into work, open up your IDE and start coding. You can typically design those small programs however you want. In those assignments, much of your experience with coding will be self-driven. You can sit around all day doing nothing or you can improve your skills by writing programs to automate things around your unit/base. With the bigger stuff, you'll have an entire team dedicated to designing how it works, product owners that dictate which features are implemented first, and testers that ensure your software is functional.

Other details


The culture within the programming field is heavily corporate. Your bosses typically understand that you can make a lot more money outside of the air force. Also, programmers aren't exactly known as troublemakers - as a result, they typically treat you like an adult (read: they treat you like an equal). Some programmers are very reclusive, others are very outgoing. The personalities you come across run the whole spectrum.

Tech School

Tech school is an interesting one. They only host a few classes a year, due to the very small number of programmers within the USAF. The instruction portion of Tech School is 70 days long. If you're unlucky (or lucky, depending on how you see it), you might be waiting for a month or two to start classes. You'll go to Keesler AFB for training. The buildings you'll be in are where almost all 3Ds are trained, and the wifi in them is somewhat decent. It's especially active on the weekends.

As for how the classes themselves go, you learn very little coding in class. They teach you the basics - loops, if statements, instantiating objects, etc.; stuff that's standard across all languages. After that, they take a while to teach you how to look up anything you don't know. That, in a nutshell, is your tech school. It's surprisingly effective, and when you get out, you can typically meander your way through writing a program. Unfortunately, they don't teach you anything about testing, and they teach you very little about working with a team. You will learn to code in C#, and you'll use Visual Studios for development. They now also teach a bit of SQL, too.

Career Development Courses (CDCs)

There are two sets of CDCs. You'll have the 3DXXX volumes (2 of them), which are given to all 3D AFSCs. This will cover a lot of stuff that doesn't pertain to your particular field, but is generally good to know. You'll also be given 3D054 CDCs (2 of those as well). That covers programming. Unfortunately, the code they use in their examples is BASIC, rather than C# - just a heads up.

As stated above, you'll get the Computer Science Technology CCAF. You earn 19 college credits for completing tech school.

Advanced Training

You'll get the chance to learn about many different languages as you skip from assignment to assignment. I've heard of programmers using C#, Java, JavaScript, F#, COBOL, BASIC, ColdFusion, SQL, and more. Aside from that, you might get some "Secure Programming" classes or a subscription to a site like lynda.com, but that's probably about it.

While many developers end up working base-level systems, there are some opportunities with cyber warfare available to programmers. Programmers are sometimes utilized as malware analysts that reverse engineer computer viruses and trojans. Advanced training can include A+, Security+, and CEH certifications.

Ability to do schoolwork

There's usually lots of time to do schoolwork. There are two modes for programmers: feast and famine. Most programmers are in famine most of the time. Feasts are crazy, and you'll occasionally be expected to work long long hours to get the job done on time. Homework is hard, but not impossible, during those times. During the famines, you can typically do homework even while you're at work.

Security Clearance

You'll be given a Top Secret clearance upon tech school graduation. This will lapse into a Secret over time unless you get an assignment that utilizes Top Secret. That being said, being a programmer requires that you retain Top Secret eligibility throughout your entire career.

Base Choices

  • Offutt
  • Maxwell
  • Gunter Annex
  • Scott
  • Ft George Meade

Base choices are tricky because they have a pretty big number of assignments with slots for 2-ish programmers at the 3-level. The three listed above are by far your most likely assignments. Most of the programmers in the Air Force reside at those locations. Scott is looking for new software developers and Ft Meade is now taking an abnormal amount of 3D billets.


Some people go their entire career without ever deploying. Typically speaking, if you do, you're either managing SharePoint pages or watching foreign nationals dig ditches. There's no reason to have you programming overseas - you can do the job just as well (if not better) in the US. Unfortunately, because of this, overseas assignments are few and far between.

Civilian marketability

In the USAF, programmers are expected to fill two MAIN roles (though, as I stated before, we're expected to know many more): Programmer and Project Manager. These jobs are both available in the civilian world, and they are both particularly high-paying jobs. It's not uncommon to get hired on for as much as $100k/year in both professions, if you look hard enough. Programmers (the thing you're most likely to get hired as after the military) can make upwards of $250k/year in some jobs, and as little as $65k/year in others.

revision by SilentD13S/ROTC Cadre— view source

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