Seeking advice on whether to join the U.S. military.

powerlifter

New Member
Hello,

I'm a 21 year old college student on the verge of graduating with a computer science degree and an electrical engineering degree, 3.8 GPA, no PPL, no kids/wife. I'd love to fly any fixed wings for the armed forces full-time, especially the heavies. Unfortunately, I am very nearsighted. Other than that, I'm in good shape. I'm open to any branch, reserves/guard/airforce/army/marines, etc. A few questions:

1) If I have PRK done on my eyes before applying, and am able to see 20/20 uncorrected post-op, should there be any problem obtaining a waiver for whatever branch I choose?

2) Given that I desire to fly heavies, which branch would you recommend?

3) What is the difference between the AF, ANG, and AFR? Are the ANG and AFR like part-time flying, or can it be done on a full-time basis?

4) Which branch offers pilots the most air time?

5) Should I earn a PPL before applying anywhere?

6) What are the commitments for each of the branches?

7) Is it possible to get a flight slot before signing anything?

I've read that many military pilots regret not going the reserve/guard route. Why is this?

Sorry for all of the questions, thanks for reading!
 

n2o2diver

New Member
I think you are pretty much screwed with the eye sight thing. I don't think anyone allows eye surgery. The Navy did a test run a while back, but I think thats about it. When I looked into it a few years back it went something like this, 20/40 worse eye corrected to 20/20 and no eye surgery. Things change though call an officer candidate recruiter and get the straight facts, beware they will still try and get you for a ground officer job though.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
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Hello,

I'm a 21 year old college student on the verge of graduating with a computer science degree and an electrical engineering degree, 3.8 GPA, no PPL, no kids/wife. I'd love to fly any fixed wings for the armed forces full-time, especially the heavies. Unfortunately, I am very nearsighted. Other than that, I'm in good shape. I'm open to any branch, reserves/guard/airforce/army/marines, etc. A few questions:

1) If I have PRK done on my eyes before applying, and am able to see 20/20 uncorrected post-op, should there be any problem obtaining a waiver for whatever branch I choose?

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I don't know if the military allows PRK. They haven't for the longest time, and I don't think they waived it; though I'd have to check
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2) Given that I desire to fly heavies, which branch would you recommend?

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USAF has widest range of transport aircraft.
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3) What is the difference between the AF, ANG, and AFR? Are the ANG and AFR like part-time flying, or can it be done on a full-time basis?

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USAF: Active-duty component of the federal military
USAFR: Reserve component of the federal military.
ANG: Reserve component belonging to the individual state and reporting to that state's governor.
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4) Which branch offers pilots the most air time?


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Hard to say. Flying heavies you'll probably get a good amount of air time.
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5) Should I earn a PPL before applying anywhere?


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Not required, but helps show basic aptitude. The military will train you their way.
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6) What are the commitments for each of the branches?


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USAF is 10 years following 1 year pilot training, so 11 years.
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7) Is it possible to get a flight slot before signing anything?


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With OTS, Officer Training School only. For them, you apply for the job you wish to do and submit your paperwork. Then are informed of what you were actually selected for, and then asked if you want it. Then sign the dotted line, or decline.
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I've read that many military pilots regret not going the reserve/guard route. Why is this?


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Active-duty is small these days, yet has long committments overseas in some very crappy places. Quality of life is low, and if you do have family/kids, plan on not seeing them much. ANG isn't much better these days with most of them being activated and putting up with the same stuff. Used to be a "flying club" atmosphere with the ANG, but no more.

Big thing: BE PREPARED to want to put up with military life. Being a pilot, you still have other military related job responsibilities. You're an officer first, and you could get assignments that take you out of the cockpit for a few years. The "needs of the service" come first, and they treat it that way. If you only want to fly, it'll be a tough life being a military pilot because of the whole "officer-first, pilot-second" thing.
Sorry for all of the questions, thanks for reading!

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shooter13

New Member
That isn't true anymore chunk. You can have it done by civilians. It will have to be evaluated following the navy's PRK study guidelines to include military docs doing the eval, I believe. We had a guy here who was selected for a pilot spot from OCS who had PRK done on his own out in town.

Not related to vision but, i spoke with a contact of mine at Naval Recruiting Command yesterday and he told me that they are not picking up pilots for quite a while. He said he had a furloughed airline pilot with something like 2500 hours apply and he got turned down.
 

Eagle

New Member
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Sucks to be out long enough for your info to be "not true anymore"...

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Ha! sorry Chunk. I think you and I agree, there is very little that sucks about being out..
 

shooter13

New Member
10 1/2 months man 10 1/2 months!

Or can also be measured in...

3 miles to run left
84 push ups left
100 sit ups left
 

chunk75

Well-Known Member
Yeah...I think the longer I'm out (read:The more faded the memories of the crappy side) the more I miss it.

Soon, I'll be wearing a VFW hat and talking about how today's military doesn't hold a candle to when I was in.
 

Eagle

New Member
Chunk are you doing the Vf or American Leag thing? I have been getting a lot of calls and know some folks there. Just not sure if it is my bag.
 

ShoreFly

Well-Known Member
I can't wait to join you guys on the "other side"! Just one more day of terminal leave and I'll be a civilian after almost 13 years.
I'll stay in the reserves as an FE, can't throw away all that AD time or contacts, plus the occasional HFP/tax break is nice. Any of you guys apply for unemployment after your DOS?

What's the closest commissary to FSI???
kidding
 

chunk75

Well-Known Member
Nah....too busy. I went over there to drop off a flag for proper disposal and they gave me an app and a newsletter. Unfortunately, the newsletter was over 60% (no exaggeration) deaths notices of local members (hey, this is Florida...God's waiting room).

I dared not mention that I play trumpet.

Chunk
 

shooter13

New Member
So today is your last day of terminal shorefly? Congratulations. I want to stay in the reserves as well. It seems pretty dumb to throw away so much active duty time. Did you hear that one of the congressmen is trying to get retired pay immediately on completing 20 years in the reserves? I don't know if it will happen. His point was something to the effect of, since the reserves are getting used so much, this will entice people to join. I don't know if we can afford it but man it would be pretty nice.
 

ShoreFly

Well-Known Member
Thanks shooter.
Yes, I did hear about the retirement thing, it's called the "Armed Forces Retirement Equity Act", and it has a lot of support, it would be nice (and fair). In my opinion, 20 years worth of service, which a reservist must work pretty hard to achieve, and 20 years of active service should be treated the same.
I'm not a reservist yet (tomorrow), but I know that those guys had a rough time since 9-11.
 
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