So I have decided I definitely want to be a pilot in the ARNG. I am a resident of MA, and I am looking at MA and NH.
A little relevant background. I am currently halfway through with Law School at a good school that I expect will allow me to get a job pretty easily. I will be 28 the summer I graduate, but think now may be a good time to get started on the process, as I understand there may be a couple different routes.
I joined the USMCR out of highschool as an 0331 (Infantry - Machinegunner) in 2008, and was in Helmand, Afghanistan in 2011. I was going to try to lat move to the army and then put in a WOFT package when I got back in 2012, but my unit wasn't really playing ball, and then I got promoted to Corporal, got a bunch of responsibility, was a Sergeant a year later, and finished out my time as a Squad Leader. I checked out of my reserve unit in 2014 when I completed my undergrad degree, and due to a career planner messing up my IRR extension, I just recently dropped from the iRR. I am entirely out at this point.
I have a few questions from here.
1. As I understand it, I can sit for the SIFT as a civilian, is this accurate?
2. Is the only way to become a WO aviator to first enlist in a unit and then put in a WOFT package? I don't really want to be a grunt again and then hope I get accepted for WOFT, so if this is the only option, can I check into an air wing unit and essentially OJT while I wait for my package to be approved rather than get sent to some maintenance school?
3. Is there a contract commissioned aviator route for the guard? As I understand it, if I found a slot like this I could do the State's version of OCS throughout my last year of law school, and then go straight to BOLC at Rucker after I take the bar (about 18 months from now, so long as I schedule it right).
4. I took a "groupon" flight lesson in an R44 and I loved it. I am in law school, so I don't have the money to take flying lessons regularly, but I am someone who likes to over-prepare so I do plan on trying to log 8-10 hours over the next year. If I land a well paying summer internship, then I would probably take more. Is there a type of training in R22s I should ask for that would maximize the value as far as preparing myself for WOFT? I have a very thorough and knowledge of aviation, helicopters, etc, but obviously virtually no experience short of having gone up with friends in fixed wing and this one R44 flight (and being in the back of CH53s in the USMC).
Not too concerned with the career vs guard thing. I've done the whole reservist thing and I understand there may be more of a time commitment here. That's not a problem. I understand, my wife understands (she is also a veteran), and everyones onboard. This is something I am going to do barring any unforeseen circumstances. At this point it is just figuring out the best way to make it happen.
Of course if any of you guys are pilots in MA or NH, I'd love to buy you coffee.
Thanks for all the help guys,