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Active Duty vs ARNG - I Want To Fly But I Want To Do Other Things Too


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#1 btwilliams51

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 06:15

Hey everyone. I hope all is well. I'm sure the question has already been asked but I was wondering: if you had to choose between active duty and the guard, which would you pick? I feel like the guard option is going to give me the best bang for my buck as far as having balance between military service and civilian life. I have a little over a year left and I just wanted some insight from aviators on both sides of the fence. What are the major pros and cons and things I need to consider in my decision making process? Thank you all in advance!

#2 SBuzzkill

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 14:45

A year left of what?  College? 


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#3 kona4breakfast

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 15:25

What are you planning to do for a living if you join the Guard?


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I told my mom I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up.  She told me I couldn't do both.

#4 mike0331

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 18:27

What are you planning to do for a living if you join the Guard?

Not an aviator yet, but I did spend a little over 6 years in the USMC Reserves. This is an important question. The reserves is awesome for some people (it was for me, I finished college and got to go to Afghanistan), but I know many who would have been much happier and better off in the FMF. I'm sure its similar in the ARNG.

 

Mike


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#5 btwilliams51

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 18:40

A year left of what?  College? 


I'm sorry for not specifying. A year left before I (can) ETS out of the Army.

#6 btwilliams51

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 18:43

What are you planning to do for a living if you join the Guard?


I have a background in logistics so I would pursue a career in that field. If not, I would look into law enforcement and the fire department or sanitation. I'm not one to make demands when I'm unemployed. The jobs that people don't want are the ones always hiring. Anything steady in civil service would be fine with me.

#7 btwilliams51

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 18:45

Not an aviator yet, but I did spend a little over 6 years in the USMC Reserves. This is an important question. The reserves is awesome for some people (it was for me, I finished college and got to go to Afghanistan), but I know many who would have been much happier and better off in the FMF. I'm sure its similar in the ARNG.
 
Mike


Mike, absolutely. My biggest thing is wanting to finish college. I've taken a few classes on line but I know for a fact that if I become an active duty aviator, the majority of my time will be spent studying and keeping up with the times. Especially, since the Army is going through major upgrades and integrations with all of its frames.

#8 mike0331

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 07:58

Any idea what you want to study? Varying majors will require varying degrees of time and attention. I had virtually no issues with the reserves and college as a bio major. My friends in engineering worked much harder, but there were some ME/EE guys in my unit. My reserve unit would sometimes schedule our drill periods Thurs-Sunday, especially the year leading up to our mobilization, and my school was very accommodating. I've found from talking to friends most colleges will virtually bend over backwards to accommodate military service. The caveat to this is it can be a pain in the ass during finals period, but it isn't anything you can't work through. 

 

From what I have been told, however, ARNG aviation is much more than a 1 weekend a month commitment, which is something to keep in mind. I found even the regular reserves took up more than a weekend a month, especially as an NCO. 

 

I'm not saying don't do it, just keep it in mind. Frankly college scheduling is 100000X easier than "real life" scheduling when it comes to moving things around. 

 

Mike



#9 btwilliams51

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 08:23

Any idea what you want to study? Varying majors will require varying degrees of time and attention. I had virtually no issues with the reserves and college as a bio major. My friends in engineering worked much harder, but there were some ME/EE guys in my unit. My reserve unit would sometimes schedule our drill periods Thurs-Sunday, especially the year leading up to our mobilization, and my school was very accommodating. I've found from talking to friends most colleges will virtually bend over backwards to accommodate military service. The caveat to this is it can be a pain in the ass during finals period, but it isn't anything you can't work through. 
 
From what I have been told, however, ARNG aviation is much more than a 1 weekend a month commitment, which is something to keep in mind. I found even the regular reserves took up more than a weekend a month, especially as an NCO. 
 
I'm not saying don't do it, just keep it in mind. Frankly college scheduling is 100000X easier than "real life" scheduling when it comes to moving things around. 
 
Mike


Mike, I understand. I have a few things in mind. It sucks having an interest in so many things. I started my online degree in business management. I have about 50 credits towards it with the majority being core curriculum credits. One of my biggest reasons for wanting to come off of active duty was to go to a (larger) school and reap the benefit of having more choices in degree programs. I speak Spanish and I want to learn French. Obviously, I can learn on my own but I've always been partial to the idea of studying a foreign language in depth at a higher level of proficiency; especially if I were going to pursue a career in business. Outside of those two, I've looked into forensic science and political science. The career fields that I considered entering (law enforcement, fire safety) woke benefit from it. Once again, I can bore you with a list of all the things that spark my interest but I don't think any of them are particularly time consuming. I'm not into STEM! LOL.

#10 mike0331

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 14:13

Happy to talk school stuff. Frankly polisci is a waste of time unless you are planning on going to grad school and want the easiest 4.0 possible, and your grad school options would be limited at that to something like law school. If you want to go LE, I think the best majors are going to be finance and/or computer science. If you understand computers and computer forensics, or how money gets moved around, you will be much more useful than someone who studied crime from a policy perspective. These degrees will be MUCH more work. I'd suggest looking into mixing your business management credits with a more financially heavy business undergrad degree. You'd probably have enough post 9/11 GI bill time left if you kept those 50 credits to roll a masters in. 

Engineers seem to do the best straight out of undergrad for what it's worth. Again, a very intensive course of study.

 

Mike



#11 DaveC

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 07:57

I'm sure there are some out there, but I'm yet to meet a single Guard pilot who wishes they were AD. Plenty who want to go the other way though. If I could do it again I would have gone Guard or Reserves. The day to day BS of active duty Army gets to be soul crushing after a while.

See the light, push the button, get the banana.


#12 mike0331

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:16

What are people's experiences with getting flight hours Guard vs AD? I was told at the Guard unit I am applying to that they have more trouble filling available flight hours than finding flight hours for people at the unit. Essentially if you want to fly a lot, you will fly a lot. I guess the biggest drawback would be balancing all those additional hours with a civilian job -- one of my main concerns $$ wise. One doesn't make nearly the AD salary picking up AFTPs from what I understand.

 

Mike



#13 DaveC

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:28

AD you're at the mercy of big Army. I've flown 200 hours in the last four years due to a shitty assignment and a downslip from a PT related injury. Many people on AD fly a lot, but you're always one f-ing over from HRC away from a flight hour drought.

See the light, push the button, get the banana.


#14 mike0331

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:32

200 hours each year, or in total?

 

Mike



#15 WOFT applicant

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:58

AD you're at the mercy of big Army. I've flown 200 hours in the last four years due to a shitty assignment and a downslip from a PT related injury. Many people on AD fly a lot, but you're always one f-ing over from HRC away from a flight hour drought.

 

If you don't mind the question, what were your duties like while you weren't flying? Was there a lot of down time, did you find yourself doing more planning/logistics/paperwork-type tasks, or something else? Thanks.



#16 METT-TC

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 10:33

AD you're at the mercy of big Army. I've flown 200 hours in the last four years due to a shitty assignment and a downslip from a PT related injury. Many people on AD fly a lot, but you're always one f-ing over from HRC away from a flight hour drought.

 

Don't project a downslip as the fault of Big Army. "Shitty assignments"? Yes, they are there (going to a unit that is JUST coming back from the desert and its aircraft go into reset equates to sad face / same for units switching models as that isn't a "just in time" process). FYI for those not in the know, 200 hours over 4 years does not equate to meeting mins for any airframe as a line (company / troop ) RL 1 aviator. Something has to "happen"--most common (including downslip--which is individual) are mentioned above.

 

Want to fly a lot active Army? MAKE PC, then track Standards. There ARE other ways, but that is the shoe in.


Edited by METT-TC, 15 August 2017 - 10:34.

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#17 mike0331

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:23

I guess another question may be what is "a lot" for both active and Guard? I was told a rough timeline was a couple years to about 500 hours which is typically when one may look at PC in the Guard. 

 

I guess the answer will vary with mission, airframe, deployments, etc. Just curious, though. 

 

Mike



#18 kona4breakfast

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:23

I was a PC before I got a flight platoon. Didn't fly for 6 1/2 years after being a PL, but that's because I was commissioned. I'm an IP in the guard now as a warrant. They call me asking if I can come in to fly.


Edited by kona4breakfast, 15 August 2017 - 12:24.

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I told my mom I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up.  She told me I couldn't do both.




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