The waiting period in the Delayed Enlistment Program is probably the hardest thing about the enlistment process. The Air Force recruits for several months in advance. Depending on job and training availability, you may have to wait for several months to ship out to basic training.
If you’re in a hurry to get out of town, ask your recruiter about the possibility of being placed on the “quick ship” list. At times, there are recruits who drop out of the DEP at the very last moment. In order not to waste a scheduled job/training slot, the recruiting service maintains a list of those who agree to take the place of such individuals. The only problem is that you would have to accept the same job (or aptitude area) of the person dropping out, be of the same sex, and keep your bags packed, as you may only get a day’s notice.
While waiting in the DEP, you’ll meet with your recruiter periodically (usually once per month). Often these meetings take place in the form of a “Commander’s Call,” where all the DEPers attend a group meeting. Often the recruiter will arrange for guest speakers, such as recently graduated recruits, or senior recruiting officials. Your recruiter will also use these meetings to help get you ready for basic training and your Air Force career.
You’re almost done! All you have left to do is to go over your contract and enlistment options and take the Oath of Enlistment to enlist in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP).
A counselor will go over your contract with you line-by-line. Don’t get too wrapped up in the DEP contract, because what really counts is the final enlistment contract, which you will sign on the day you ship out to basic training. This is because the DEP contract is probably going to have several omissions, especially if you haven’t been assigned to a job, yet. Certain enlistment incentives (such as enlistment bonuses) cannot be included in the contract until your job is known. Additionally, your active duty shipping date won’t be known until your job is assigned.
The time will finally come when it’s time to ship out! You’ll return to MEPS to process out of the DEP and onto active duty. The MEPS will have you fill out some forms to ensure that nothing has changed (medical, criminal history, etc.) during your time in the DEP, which could affect your enlistment qualifications. You’ll then review and sign your active duty enlistment contract, take the enlistment oath again, then be put on a plane to San Antonio, Texas, where you’ll be met by Air Force Basic Training Personnel.
Following Basic Training, you’ll proceed to technical school to learn your Air Force job. When you graduate technical school, you’ll be granted a week or two of leave, and then it’s on to your first duty assignment.