Guard vs. Air Force

maverick_fp00

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It's always been my biggest dream to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. My plan is to go to FSU and join Air Force ROTC over there and hopefully get selected to UPT. I am now a sophomore and will be transferring to FSU in the fall. It seems about half of the people I talk to tell me to join the Guard where you can be guaranteed a pilot slot before you join, and the other half say just to join ROTC during college. If there are any comments you all can share with me (and I'm sure this will help some others out there as well) I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in Advance,
Nick Kitchen
maverick_fp00@hotmail.com
 

OPIE01

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Guard or Active

There are no Guard units that will guarantee a pilot slot before you join them unless you have a degree already. Unless your dad is the commander of that unit.

ROTC can't guarantee you anything till your junior year.

What is the answer? Well, most Guard units like to promote from within. You can enlist into a Fighter Guard unit and let them know from the get go you want to fly for them and keep hounding them while you are in college. You get paid and they will pay for your college also and if they don't give you a slot you can then Join ROTC or go to OTS and give the active duty a chance.
 

stlpilot

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Basically your commitment either way is 10 years. Both have thier advantages and disadvantages. With ROTC you can somtimes get a full ride through college but Im not sure what their policy is on telling you what you will be doing for your carreer up front or if you have to wait until your finished with college to apply for a slot. The guys I went to school with that were in ROTC knew they would be pilots, but I think they had to finish with a minimun set of grades and flight ratings. With the guard you pretty much have to have a degree and some ratings to apply. You can take a chance by enlisting in the unit now, letting them know your interested, and apply for a pilot position from within the unit. ITs definatly true that they hire within, I can personally atest to that fact! But their are no guarantees. if your determined like me, you can get in as an outsider (civilian), you just have to know how to play the game. If you know how, I personaly believe your chances can be very good. I belive if you finish ROTC your commitment is 8 years of Full time active duty. With the guard your still commited to ten years but not full time. Your only full time when your going through training (2-3 years) then you can drop to part time and can get another full time job. The other nice thing is that you can transfer units if you need to move for your job or want another aircraft.
 

maverick_fp00

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Well I am going to get my degree either way. The only way I will join the Air Force or Guard is after college.
 

OPIE01

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Never Give Up, Never Give Up

Can I ask you all a question?

Have you done any research or actually taked to a unit, or is your conclution just based on what you read in this thread?

You seem very narrow minded, you all are very fortunate to have the mega amount of oppertunities open to you that weren't availible 10-15 years ago.

Personally, based on what I have seen from your attitude so far, I can bet the Enlisted members of what ever unit you happen to lie your way into, will surely dislike like you. You sound like many of the pilots I know that think only certain people can become Officers and Pilots. I was Enlisted, a Warrant Officer, and now a Major in the USAF. I am proud of each rank and job. I am no different now than when I was a E-1, I just have more responsiblity and a different job to do.

Guy like you give Officers and Pilots a bad name, you act like you are too good to serve your country in the Enlisted Ranks while you wait your turn for Pilot Training. We all have jobs to do, each one is just as important as the next, they are all just different. If you aren't willing to even look at working your way up through a unit because you don't want to be enlisted for a while, I feel sorry for your unit.

Sad thing is there are too many guys like you out there that feel you are too important to do the small jobs, and guys like me spend most of our time trying to make Acft Mechanics understand we are all not like that.

I hope and pray that I am wrong in my assumption of you, if not, I pray to God that you have an attitude correction.
 

stlpilot

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hey opie01

You should think before you speak! I am in a unit and I worked my ass off to get into it. I wont have someone who knows nothing about me try and tell me i did not deserve, or earn my way into a unit. The only narrow minded person is one like you who thinks the job should only go to enlisted guys, at least thats the immpression I gather. You know to question out patriatism is not wise and to make your conclusions through a message board is even less. You know, in my own unit and a few others I am very familitar with, the last couple guys they picked were enlisted and worked their way through the ranks only to drop out or fail UPT a week after showing up, so the enlisted guy is not always the best bet, we like to believe that talent and hard working individuals comes from a variety of sources. You need to acctually read this guys post, he is just trying to find out some information. You know recruiters know nothing! And they say **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** near anything to get you to sign on the dotted line, so whats wrong with him asking some basic questions, so he can make an informed and confident decision. That in my book is thesmart path, not blindly enlisting in a unit, and hopeing that one day they might, I reapeat, might pick you for a pilot slot. Iv seen some pretty deserving guys (enlisted) bust their ass ony to get rejected or have a medical disqualify them for flight duty. Dont get me wrong enlisting is not a bad thing at all, and one should be very proud to serve thier county and work up through the ranks to get what they want. The enlisted guys in out unit make it what it is, and we could never function without them. But its not the only way! No one ever hinted to us thinking we were "to good to enlist" as you say, what a bunch of bull man come on. Are you really serious or did you just have a bad experience with a person? Dont get me wrong i see some of these civilian guys come to a interview board with no respect and way too cocky but you know not all of them are. Some really do deserve the slot. Dont personnaly attack someones desire, patriatism, or valor from postings on a message board. I fear your attitude is the hazardous one but I would save that analysis for meeting you in person. Just be carefull at what you say. I love proving poeople like you dead wrong, and thats how i got hear in the first place, and ill be humble about it not a showoff or hotshot. Ill just do the best job I know how and go home for the day, the end.
 

AlbieF15

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STL pilot--easy Trigger. Opie was pulling SOF in a miserable place far from home. Anyone who's pulled a 90/120 or longer trip to SWA knows everyone in the squadron has a "suicide watch" day or two during the deployment. He's tired, far from home, unable to get out...and probably deserves to be a bit testy. (Opie...for what its worth....let me know if I can help you at FedEx).

Opie....I know this Mav kid. He's watching me pull SOF here at Tyndall at the moment. Heart of gold...just wants to fly. No offense intended.... He just wants to make sure he gets his degree knocked out...I don't think he was scoffing doing the enlisted thing. Remember...not everyone understands that in the ANG you can SERVE and GO TO SCHOOL at the same time. Consider him enlightened. He's mulling his options. I doing an LOR for him for AFROTC in case he goes that route, but I have encouraged him to investigate the ANG option.

FYI...one of the sharpest enlisted guys I ever worked with did intel at Spangdahlem. He went to the STL unit and got a pilot slot (I think he's at UPT now...). Also had another AU buddy who did the same thing at Montgomery...now a DAL pilot and got a bunch of time in the F16. Lots of great success stories of guys working there way up in a unit--and that is my #1 recommendation for 18-22 year olds asking about how to go fly fighters.

Fly safe (and play nice),

Albie
 

stlpilot

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hey albie

Hey albie I did not mean to jump the gun on opie but it just sounded like he really had it out for us outsiders who made our way in, guess that happens sometimes when your pulling SOF. I did not know he was over there. Anyway who was the guy you know in intel that went to STL for F-15's. I think I know him, he is leaving for UPT on April 1 ....no fooling. By the way Stl has had 3 pilots drop out in this last year, one of them just came back from Tyndle not too long ago. Thanks
 

maverick_fp00

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Hey guys, I didn't write those comments to start a quarrel against one another. I just wanted to find out as much info as I can about every route I can take. I'm not saying that enlisted is too good for me, like Albie said, I wasn't aware that school and the Guard at the same time was an option. What I meant by not wanting to go enlisted is that I didn't want to join the AF/Guard full time while I'm already half way through college just to put me back a few years.

If anybody has just gone through the Guard Basic Training and can share any details with me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks Again,
Nick Kitchen
maverick_fp00@hotmail.com
 

CCDiscoB

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Guard vs AD

Dude, quarreling is half the fun!!

I'm in a Guard fighter unit and it took me years to get into the unit. I went active duty out of ROTC and finally returned home in the Guard.

Facts
ROTC = 11 years active duty - no including any future stop losses.
OTS = Hard to get into. Back in the early 90's there were zero pilot slots for OTS.

"Bird in the hand" when it comes to pilot training!

Who says FSU has a slot for you. Have you contacted them? I bet the Sophomores who are there now will have something to say about that.

500 hours means dick to the Guard. We had guys with 3000 hours on our last board. They weren't picked. The guy we hired to go to pilot training....enlisted dude, #2, from the unit. #1 failed the AFOQT on his second try. HAve you taken the AFOQT yet? That may help you decide.

Flying fighters is great and worth the effort. Don't let anything get you down, to include this message. It will be a lot of work.

I guess what I'm getting at is....flying tankers or C-130s for the Guard maybe higher on my list than fighters for active duty.
 

OPIE01

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As I said before: "I hope and pray that I am wrong in my assumption of you, if not, I pray to God that you have an attitude correction."

I admit I was wrong, please allow me to appologize.

OPIE
 

Racban

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Wanna Fly

Hey Nick,

I took the ROTC route. I was very lucky and received a pilot slot during a time when the AF wasn't hiring very many pilots. I believe the keys to my success were: 1) AFOQT scores, 2) Private Pilots License, 3) ROTC performance --- commander's rating / leadership potential / camp performance, and 4) University grades. If you do well in ROTC and college, you may make pilot training, but you still don't have a fighter. To get your fighter you must perform well in all phases of pilot training. How well you must do depends on the current need for fighter pilots in the AF. When I went through they were only giving one fighter per approximately 18 students. This is extreme, but you must factor this possibility into your decision if you want to fly fighters (in the ANG, you will fly your unit's aircraft if you simply graduate). If you do not do well enough in pilot training to get a fighter, you very well may be stuck flying heavies for your entire career. There will be limited opportunities to cross-train, but the AF may not choose to give you the opportunity --- they own you.

I very much enjoyed my active duty career -- it was awesome. However, when my UPT commitment was up, I left Active Duty and joined the ANG. If I had known about the ANG when I was your age, I would have taken the ANG route. I have lots of reasons for this which I won't get into, but suffice to say, the ANG is an outstanding place to be. I recommend you take the ANG route and this is how: First, stay in school! You MUST finish your degree --- the quicker the better. The type of degree isn't as important as simply graduating. Second, pick a city with a fighter ANG unit and a city you want to live in for the long term....preferably near your school...maybe Jacksonville? Third, enlist during summer vacation from school. You can setup a situation where you are full-time school and part-time ANG. Fourth, be loyal to your unit, do your job well and remind everyone in your unit you want to fly --- remind them all the time! If you do this, in my opinion, you are giving yourself the best chance to fly fighters!! There are many pitfalls to avoid in this scenario too. I will give you a couple of them: first, it will be easy to burn yourself out...the ANG will take a lot of time...time lots of kids would rather spend hanging out with their friends and partying. The worst thing you can do is delay the pursuit of your degree. If you can't handle both commitments, don't enlist. The second pitfall I want to make you aware of is the unit that hires you may lose fighters. If the unit loses fighters, you will fly the follow-on aircraft instead. Yes, you can change units but the other unit must hire you and your loyalty/commitment to the original unit that sent you to pilot training must allow your transition. I've gone on too long, hope this helps. Best of luck -- it's worth it!
 

CCDiscoB

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Clarification

I want to clarify something Racban said. HE stated that if you aren't fighter qualified out of pilot training you fly heavies. Not any more. That was before the T-1 days. If you wash-out of T-38s or aren't fighter qualed, and it happens every class, you do not get to go to T-1s. They don't want you. I've seen it!!

Something else for everyones bags of tricks, 3000 hrs does NOT equal fighter. If fact it may hurt. (bad habits) They call the T-38 the great equalizer for a reason. We sent a dude to pilot training with 1500 hrs. Washed out of T-38 formation. T-1 for him...NO!
 

maverick_fp00

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Hey guys,

Just wanted to say thanks to everybody for the suggestions and comments. After school today I am going to try to get in touch with the chief pilot at the 125th (I believe) in Jacksonville and see if he has time to talk to me for a little bit.

Now, yes, flying a fighter is my dream, but I will gladly accept a bomber/tanker/transport over a non-flying career anyday. I understand that some things weren't cut out for certain people. Anyway, thanks again and hopefully I'll get some more responses.
 

maverick_fp00

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One more thing....

If anybody knows where I can find out who the chief pilot of the 125th FW over in Jacksonville, Fl is and/or a number I could get in touch with him/her, please let me know.

Thanks Once Again! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
Nick Kitchen
maverick_fp00@hotmail.com
 

av8instyle

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...not necessarily true.

There are no Guard units that will guarantee a pilot slot before you join them unless you have a degree already. Unless your dad is the commander of that unit.
Not true. I was hired by an F-16 unit in 1995 with only 90 credits complete...and I knew no one, didn't even have a pilot in my family. (I obviously had to finish school before going to training.
If I had known about the ANG when I was your age, I would have taken the ANG route.
Amen. I don't know a single Guard pilot that was prior active that disagrees.
If you wash-out of T-38s or aren't fighter qualed, and it happens every class, you do not get to go to T-1s. They don't want you.
Note the key words..."They don't want you". What this really means is that even though the guy could get through the intense T-37 training but could not quite make the transition to single -seat, 500 knots, the T-1 guys take it as a slap in the face when the T-38 guys think some of their washouts just need to sit in the right seat and get experience under supervision. Some pilots don't learn as fast. What a waste of assets. I know several civilian pilots that couldn't quite keep up with a fighter but are great heavy drivers.
Something else for everyones bags of tricks, 3000 hrs does NOT equal fighter. If fact it may hurt. (bad habits)
I showed up to UPT with 3100 TT. I graduated #1. It's not a habit thing, it's an attitude thing. It WAS hard to see all of my buddies from the commuter getting seniority #s at the majors while I was doing Tweet standups. But, the light at the end of the tunnel was an F-16 and I REALLY wanted it. Some guys with lots of flight time and good civillian jobs might see it as a tough transition.
They call the T-38 the great equalizer for a reason. We sent a dude to pilot training with 1500 hrs. Washed out of T-38 formation. T-1 for him...NO!
No kidding?
 

Squanto

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Mav FP,

If you are dead set on the USAF I would seriously look into the guard. They always said that it was the best kept secret in the Air Force and it probably still is. You want to put the odds in your favor to get the kind of airplane you want to fly in the first place.

Back when I was in the USAF the UPT school that you needed to get into if you wanted fighters (active duty) was EURO-NATO out in Wichita Falls Texas. They trained the NATO countries as well as our own. Now the Germans, Swedish, whatever are going to send over their most competitive candidates. The USAF is going to send their most competitive studs they can get they hands on.
Everybody that finished would get a fighter. I don't even think they used Sims out there they just flew a hell of a lot.

The point I'm making here is that if you didn't make it to Wichita Falls your chances of getting a fighter was seriously reduced because you are fighting with 22-28 guys for 2 fighter slots. The Air Force was basically picking the people they wanted for fighters and would throw "scraps" to the average UPT Schools. If you were sharp enough to be that No. 1 or No. 2 guy hats off to you but the odds were, that you were going to be an Instructor (ME) or fly a heavy.

Now, saying all that, the way the Navy does it is actually a little more democratic. They send everybody and I mean everybody to Whiting Field NAS in Pensacola to duke it out in T-34's. I don't give a dam# if you were No. 1 in your ROTC class or the greatest thing to hit the Naval Academy you will have to fight it out in a T-34. Navy seems to be a little more laid back also. I was going through UPT while my best friend from college was flying A-4's in Navy Flght School. He came up to see me and actually sat in on our morning brief. After it was over he said, "Dam# you guys are way too serious up here and you get to land on a 12,000 ft runway to boot!" I went down to see his operation and they were more laid back, no stand up EP's, but their school is 2 years long not 1.

So to put the odds in your favor for flying fighters:

1. USAF Guard

2. NAVAL AVIATION

3. USAF Active Duty

Good luck in whatever you decide to pursue.
 
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