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  • Value of Military Experience

    Posted by Jay_See on October 12, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    I’ve been in the Guard for 12 years and I’m currently serving as an Avionics Section Chief and QA inspector for the F-22 (was an aircraft weapons troop for 11 years). I’m at a pivotal point in my career where I could stay where I’m at and eventually retire as a Chief or pursue the aviation path I started years ago before starting a family. Now that I’m done having kids, I’m putting all my energy into taking a shot at landing a slot. I’m currently AGR with 16 ½ years left before I’m eligible to retire (low TAFMS due to years of civil service prior to AGR conversion). Bachelor’s degree done. Awesome letters of recommendation from Wing and Group leadership received. Before sending out applications, I am flying up until solo to demonstrate competency and taking the AFOQT and TBAS within the next month.

    I’m certain I will do well with testing and flying; however, I just turned 32 years old. For family stability reasons, I promised the wife that I will only seek Guard/Reserve slots for a guarantee to stay in one location while the kids go through school over the next ~12 years. How much is prior Guard experience taken into consideration for candidates? Specifically exceptional service. I’ve gotten straight 5’s on all EPRs since the Guard had to start doing them, except the very first. I’m hoping my current reputation of dedication, competency, and flexibility will hold a bit of weight for consideration in lieu of extensive flight experience. Regardless of my odds, I will shoot my shot. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Jay_See replied 9 months, 1 week ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Snip

    October 13, 2023 at 10:43 am
    175 BogiPoints


    You’re late to the game so time is critical. If you are just looking at your local unit, where you have served, hopefully you’ve built a relationship with a decision maker in the flying squadron (typically a Lt Col-type) and ask for a one-on-one with them. Ask them if your age is a deal crusher in this pursuit. Some units are more age-focused than others. No need to waste your time if he tells you ain’t no way.

    Also, you know you’re going to get asked the question, “why now?, what took you so long?”. Be prepared to answer this question with honesty and then turn the age negativity into a positive by talking about the skill set you bring to the table now. They are going to want to know that you can block out most distractions/external influences in your life in order to focus on the monumental task at hand; to learn how to train, study and master piloting in your new weapons system – it’s more than just flying. Good luck!

  • Jay_See

    October 15, 2023 at 5:29 pm
    7275 BogiPoints


    Thank you for your insight. I’ve had a sit-down with my Group and Squadron Commander (both F-22 pilots) and they let me know that attempting to fly the raptor is impossible without prior fighter experience, so that’s out the window. However, they both support me in my pursuit. I’m not picky though, so I’ll fly whatever I’m qualified/selected for, wherever I’m able to go.

    I’m definitely prepared to answer the “why now?” questions and look forward to putting in the work to learn and master my airframe! Thanks again!

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