BLUF: Trying to get as much info on flying in the National Guard as possible.
I've been spinning up a packet to apply to an AD WOFT board as a sister-service (USMC) IST. I'd like to weight all my options, so I'm looking into flying for MT National Guard. I know virtually nothing about how the Guard functions, so I got in touch with the WOSM and she answered some questions. There were a few things she didn't know so I wanted to reach out to this community and see what I could learn. Hopefully this will help others weighing their options as well.
1) Any personal experience or opinions in general? Has anyone in here gone AD to Guard or vice versa?
2) How does flight time work? Do you only fly during drill weekends or can you fly when you have spare time as well?
3) Does Guard rate flight pay? What about BAH/BAS?
4) For retirement, as I understand, pay is a percentage of whatever you would rate on active duty based on yearly points. Are there any restrictions on medical benefits?
5) Are there any current signing bonuses for aviation?
6) Are there any opportunities to attend AD training for things like 160th SOAR?
1. Guard the entire time, currently also a full-time tech likely heading to the airlines within the next 6 months. I've flown about 170 hours so far this year, which is more than I would have if on active duty. The Guard is a great route depending on what you're looking to get out of being in the military and if you can make it work with your civilian life. If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to give them a shot.
2. You will typically be authorized 72 additional flight training periods (AFTPs) per fiscal year. These are the equivalent of one half day of drill pay and are yours to come in and fly, do academics, or provide mission support at your flight facility. Whether you fly on drill weekends will be unit dependent. Some will while others tend to focus on admin stuff since the whole unit is together in one place.
3. You will not get the full flight pay that active duty does. I have to do the math, but I believe for each AFTP I get 1/30th of the monthly rate. The same applies for drill. You will not get BAS or BAH unless you are on orders.
4. No idea. Someone else probably has the answer to this though.
5. Not that I'm aware of, hence why everyone is going to the airlines. If your state is severely hurting for pilots they may offer you one, but that will more than likely be individual. I do not know of any blanket bonuses being offered by NGB.
6. Not sure what you're asking here. Depending on your airframe, you will be able to support training events for active duty units. Chance of training with the 160th as a NG aviator? Likely slim to none. I'd recommend just going active if you are trying to eventually assess with them. Getting released by your state will be tough and your unit likely won't appreciate you using them as a stepping stone to go AD. They want people who will be there long term.