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Old 01-09-2017, 06:43 AM   #21
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Military guys, including myself will b#tch about the military all the time. But I wouldn't trade my last 19.5 years of military service for anything!
I will second others on this thread, ask yourself,
"Do you want to serve?" If the answer is yes, then answer the follow on question.
Do you want to go $100k+ in debt just to get your ratings? Or do you want to get paid to fly high performance airplanes for a year while making some of the best friends for the rest of your life?
If the answer is yes, then by all means stick it out, I know the Beuraucratic crap waiting sucks, but it's worth it. I have been flying the tanker for the ANG for 8 years now. I have been all around the world, some crappy places (the desert) but plenty of awesome places that no regional job will ever sniff. The best part of the job, and all my bros will agree, is the camaraderie that you will have with fellow ops guys/gals for the rest of your life. You and your wife will never have better friends than the people you serve with. Management aside, the operations squadron is like our family (especially away from work!)

Just stick it out and don't listen to anyone on here who says otherwise especially if they aren't military or a military aviator. We had a new guy get back from UPT last spring and through flying his butt off, mostly in the desert, he's already at 750 hours with a regional job and a paid for ATP waiting for him in April. And he accumulated zero debt, made tons of tax free $$$, and is still only 27.

But still comes down to, do you want to serve?
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:20 AM   #22
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The guy two seats to the right of me in Delta indoc was 26 years old. He went the regional route. It's impossible to get hired at 26 years old at Delta/United/American/FedEx/UPS via the military route. The people telling you that the military is the better career move for a professional pilot are misinformed at best.
From where I sit, military is still the faster and more reliable route, particularly the reserve + regional combo. 26 y/o legacy hires are pretty much going to have an ace of some sort up their sleeve (diversity, family, etc).

Most of my mid/late-20-ish FO's are contemplating going to LCC's just to get paid more (and an airbus type) while they wait for the bigs to call.

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Join the military if you really want to be in the military. I did. Parts of it were fun and rewarding. Parts of it sucked. I would have been hired at Delta earlier in life had I chosen a more traditional civilian route.
Don't join the military if you don't really want to do it. The flight training can be a factor to tip the scales but you will need an interest in the military or at least the service aspect.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:18 AM   #23
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Lots to consider, so I will throw add my two cents...probably worth less than that.

I joined the military because I wanted to serve my country. I also really wanted to be an airline pilot one day, and I saw AFROTC and UPT as a way to make both things happen. My plan was 7 years, (6 after UPT) then get out and try to get to Delta.

UPT turned out to be an incredibly enjoyable year. Made great friends, flew jets--sometimes upside down and sometimes in very close formation. Got my wings and a Miss Mississippi finalist for a wife. It was a great year.

Went to my first assignment...slept through the AFROTC briefing about how some Air Force pilots go out on the ground with the Army. When my training RIP for the OV-10 showed me going to learn to drive HUMVs, qualify in the M-16 (in addition to the M-9), and go on a REFORGER exercise in Germany during the winter, I realized some of that "officer first, pilot second..." crap they were spewing wasn't'...well....crap after all. Got to practice what I learned in Desert Storm..then got my dream assignment (F-15 Alaska) as a follow on.

Now--the F-15 came with a price, because the Air Force changed the rules (who would have thunk it, right?) that a Basic Course obligated you for 5 years instead of the previous 3. That meant I was committing to most like 2 more tours, not one, if I stayed in. Air Force said anyone who wanted out could go in the post cold war drawdown. With about 1500 TT and maybe 700 PIC turbine in 1992, nobody was going to kick in my door for an airline gig. I actually flirted with idea of pursuing the WC-130s down in Keesler in the reserves but figured not many get a chance to fly an Eagle so I stayed active duty.

Three F-15 assignments meant a lot of time and work upgrading, deploying, and taking on some leadership roles. Won't go into a long list of them but any of the guys on here with military planes as avatars or in their profiles can attest to the personal challenges and growth that came with the job. I eventually did leave for the airlines--at 14 years--but did 20 in the ANG. I got about 2 ranks and 14 years more than I ever planned on giving. Ironically, many of the "career aspirants" from my AFROTC group and first squadron were RIF'd or ended up leaving along the way. I found that I liked the job, the people, and the mission--and felt it was important enough to stay around and serve.

Not trying to make this an "all about me" post--its about you--but I wanted to give you some context. Here's my big take-away:

Being a military aviator made me more than a pilot--it helped make me the person that I am. I think every young man wonders how he will do in high stress situations. The military gave me plenty of those to develop my character--combat, ethical challenges, mentoring opportunities, and a bunch of things in life beyond flight time and hours. Did I enjoy all of it? Hell no. Would I take anything for it? Of course not...

When I look at the boy-wonders who were hired at 2x at FedEx or a legacy, I see a guy who ended up with great seniority and income. Some get bigger homes, or go on better vacations, or have nicer GA airplanes. But I often wonder "Do they KNOW what they are like when the chips are down?" I didn't always want to be there, but helping blow up Iraqi tanks in 1991, refueling in the weather over the Pacific, the Atlantic, at night and in the weather...getting scrambled off alert for a 5 minute practice scramble....and even being asked to be ready to escort Air Force One on 9/11 (that job went instead to some F-16s on alert) and countless other experiences have taught me that I know what I will do during those times. That piece of mind, and the confidence it has instilled, go way beyond the value of just hours in a logbook.

Do not join the military to get a head start to the airline gig. Join because of what it will allow you to provide to your country, and ultimately to yourself.

If you want to chat...send a PM.

Excellent response, and IMHO correct. I also would do it all over again.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:02 AM   #24
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Excellent response, and IMHO correct. I also would do it all over again.
I would do it all over again also, but with the realization that those amazing experiences can come at a steep cost to your family. While you may have the time of your life, sometimes your family pays for it. For years there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't wonder if the costant deployments/time away during Desert Storm of me and my spouse weren't the source of our sons social difficulties. However, till it's over, you don't know how it's going to shake out.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:15 AM   #25
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Yes, I would agree that their is a price paid by the family, I also feel that airline flying extracts a toll for the family through furloughs, bankruptcy, loss of defered compensation (retirement) 6 airlines later.
It's a crap shoot, son just left on 5th deployment.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:25 AM   #26
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"The goal is guard and 121 and work half the days of the month."

Guard + airline and only work half the month? You're going to be bitterly disappointed.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:28 AM   #27
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"When I look at the boy-wonders who were hired at 2x at FedEx or a legacy, I see a guy who ended up with great seniority and income. Some get bigger homes, or go on better vacations, or have nicer GA airplanes. But I often wonder "Do they KNOW what they are like when the chips are down?"

Lots of guys hired at 2x got their civilian time, then joined the reserves/ANG, then got hired at a major. It's considered by many to be the best avenue to choose.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:10 PM   #28
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"The goal is guard and 121 and work half the days of the month."

Guard + airline and only work half the month? You're going to be bitterly disappointed.
Tanker only requires 2 days a month to maintain currency.

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Old 01-09-2017, 02:22 PM   #29
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Stick it out with the guard. You will have a better chance with the majors of your choice and get to do some things you would have never done without the military. The wave will still be going strong in 4-5 years.

These 26 yo all civilian guys getting hired at the majors are very rare. There are thousands of regional captains that still can't get a call. Mil is still the best shortcut to many years in the regionals IMO.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:51 PM   #30
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In my limited experience, the Guard is terrible at bringing in flyers from off the street. I mean terrible.

Last edited by HuggyU2; 01-09-2017 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Just because.
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