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Everything posted by Stoker

  1. Stoker

    UPT Changes

    More specifically, you now do about 20 sims during academics, then go to the flightline. We've been told that Phase II is now scheduled for about three months. You actually track prior to finishing T-6s, with split tracks within T-6s from then on.
  2. Don't know a ton about the unsponsored route, but at the AFRC board that selected me they picked up like 33/36 sponsored applicants and 3/6 unsponsored. So your odds are reduced a fair bit. And some boards just don't accept unsponsored candidates at all. I failed depth perception at MEPS as well. I was sent by my recruiter to the nearest base for a full eye workup with the med group, which I passed. I think that's a waiverable thing though, same for hearing at that level (if you're at 30 then I think you're only 5 away from passing). Ask in the medical questions forum (after searching, of course). You probably do need a PPL to go unsponsored. You probably don't need one to get sponsored by a heavy squadron. The Guard B-1 squadron is hiring people with ~20 hours, heavy squadrons are telling people with 0 hours to get a few and come back next board. If you have the money, get it, it'll save you six weeks at IFT and at least as many more waiting around to go and then waiting for UPT to start after you get back. I would only enlist if your long term life plans are fulfilled by you enlisting. Doing so as a stepping stone to becoming a pilot is a high-risk, low-reward gamble (as there's a good chance you're unhappy, and a small chance you improve your odds of going to UPT).
  3. "Unsponsored boards" are a Reserve thing, every Active Duty board is unsponsored. The Reserve unsponsored board is not going to be helpful with a waiver, you need a squadron that likes/needs you in your corner pushing the paperwork forward (plus, the unsponsored boards come and go depending on needs of the Reserve). Fighters would seem unlikely for you. From what I've seen they are much less likely to do age waivers, and most require a PPL at minimum. Going enlisted ANG and hoping to get picked up for UPT isn't the worst idea ever, it's slightly better than invading Russia in the winter. Really, though, it's a big "risk" (depending on how negative you'd view spending your time enlisted) for not a huge increase in likelihood of being picked up for UPT (as you'd now definitely need a waiver, and one for being 32 or 33, not just 30). My advice is that you should apply for Reserve heavy squadrons. They're hiring tons of people right now and your scores are competitive for them. Given how the Reserves have streamlined the process post squadron hire (AFRC boards every six weeks instead of six months, surplus of dedicated Reserve spots at OTS/UPT), you would have a good chance of getting to UPT before your 30th birthday and thus not require a waiver. That's barring any screwups with your medical at MEPS/FC1, neither of which are guaranteed. For comparison, my time between hire and UPT was 14 months, and that was with four months of delays for medical shenanigans and three months of waiting on the AFRC board.
  4. Stoker

    Leaving family behind for UPT?

    Not quite. If you're AD with dependents and come to UPT unaccompanied, you lose your BAH if you live in government quarters. So you have to find a house to split, and roommates, at your UPT base, and you only get BAH for the base you're assigned to, not where your family lives. This can be a pretty significant $$$ difference versus the Guard and Reserve folks living in the dorms for free and collecting BAH for their spouse living in Miami, say.
  5. Stoker

    Leaving family behind for UPT?

    It's not uncommon here. Two people in my class are in that situation (no kids though). Guard you should get BAH for your wife's house, and be able to live in the dorms free. So there's that.
  6. Stoker

    Pilot Shortage Deepens, USAF is SCREWED.

    If you mean the shortened course, we're in Week 4 of academics.
  7. Stoker

    OTS/ OCS chances and questions

    You can apply, your chances are significantly reduced. Most fighter squadrons and some tanker/transport squadrons require a PPL to apply. Hours also factor significantly into your PCSM score, so it hurts you on both ends. That said, people with no / few hours have been hired, it just means you need to be likeable and your resume be good on everything else.
  8. Stoker

    OTS/ OCS chances and questions

    The whole "you can't apply for two services/components at the same time" thing has a grain of truth, your paperwork can't process through MEPS for two at the same time, so if you get that far along and are still working both ends you can get held up.
  9. Stoker

    An article on a Blended Retirement System quirk

    It's worth noting that the $18,500 limit is for your contributions, not overall contributions. So you can contribute $18,500 over the course of the year, and still get whatever match you're due from the gov't (provided you are contributing at least 5% per paycheck).
  10. Stoker

    Depth Perception DQ and Waiver info

    I failed it at MEPS as well, couldn't get past line B either. My Reserve recruiter had me drive to the nearest base for an appointment with the med group, where I did basically every eye test you'll end up doing at the FC1. Was able to pass depth perception there due to having more time with it, less stress, and an examiner who gave me some tips (wiggling your head and trusting your gut got me a long way through it). After passing there, I was back on track to my FC1. Don't sweat it, I stressed too much about it but you'll get through eventually.
  11. Stoker

    PRK and LASIK Information

    Absolutely. Tons of people show up to FC1 (or even UPT) and are issued glasses for the first time, and continue no problem. The whole "you must have perfect natural vision to be an Air Force pilot" myth has led countless applicants to self-disqualify. Don't make the same mistake.
  12. Stoker

    PRK and LASIK Information

    I think it means you'll need glasses.
  13. Stoker

    PRK and LASIK Information

    Still? Lasik / PRK aren't really disqualifying provided you meet the pre-op limits, and the surgery is successful and without complications. The waiver process seems pretty much pro forma at this point.
  14. Stoker

    Blended Retirement System Puzzle

    Slightly off topic, but have any recent hires had issues with opting in to the BRS? I thought I'd be automatically opted in since my first paycheck came in January, but apparently I have to choose to opt in because I swore in in 2017. But there's no BRS opt-in button for me on MyPay. Base finance is no help because I'm Reserve, Reserve squadron just keeps telling me to call DFAS, DFAS says I have to call AFPC, and everyone I've managed to get on the phone at AFPC says it's not their problem.
  15. Stoker

    Syria strikes underway

    Any speculation on the calculus of Assad actually using the weapons? Seems like he's contained the rebel groups quite well, and has the upper hand in the conflict. Why do something that risks inviting more direct US involvement? We've already made clear that we're more or less OK with him killing people, as long as it's with conventional weapons. So why use chemical weapons to achieve what appears to be a marginal military advantage?
  16. Stoker

    Syria strikes underway

    Does it? 500,000 people have already been killed in the war. The suspected chemical weapon attack in Douma killed under 100. Yeah, chlorine isn't a good way to go, but neither are the myriad other horrible methods of killing people that Syrians face. It's extraordinarily clear there is zero positive endgame in Syria, so why get involved? Even if we were to do what it takes to kill Assad and drive his allies from power, you're still looking at an ongoing civil war with at least three direct participants and a dozen-odd sponsors. Sometimes the best (only) move is to not make any move at all. Maybe at some point in the future there will be a situation in Syria where US influence, brought to bear at the right time and in the right way, could have positive longterm effects. When and if that day comes, then we should consider if doing so aligns with our interests and act accordingly. But it's not going to happen if we bomb every side of the civil war just to flex our muscles.
  17. Stoker

    Sanity check - Should we buy our dream home?

    If you don't plan on living in it, can you get homeowner's insurance on it? If not, what's the plan when the neighbor kids break in and start trashing using the place for weekend house parties? As for whether you're crazy, it depends on how common something that meets your criteria for "dream home" is. If this house is really one-of-a-kind, on a unique piece of land, or substantially below market value (and not for a bad reason!), then no, you're not crazy. If your dream home looks a lot like the other forty houses on the cul-de-sac, and builders in the area are laying out three new identical neighborhoods in the surrounding area... then I'd say wait, because like others have said, there's a lot that can change in 18 months.
  18. I didn't go quite the same path as you, but I definitely had to swear in as enlisted before going to OTS. You'll probably be fine, the Air Force isn't so hard up for personnel that they're pulling the old switcheroo on officer applicants.
  19. Stoker

    Border crisis

    I guess it's just a matter of viewing how big the "problem" is. To me, people breaking the law to sell Americans something they want (cheap, dependable labor) isn't something worth spending billions of taxpayer dollars trying to fix. Especially when it's not clear that, even if we do spend that money, you'd be able to deter or eliminate illegal immigration. The incentives are just too strong to stop. People illegally crossing the Mexican border already stand a good chance of being raped, murdered, or left for dead in an inhospitable desert. I don't know what more of a deterrent the US can realistically put in place (unless you're talking minefields and machine guns ready to fire, which brings up uncomfortable questions like, "Are we the East Germans?"). It's nice of you to consider what you know is best for the illegal immigrants, in that you really don't want them exploited, but I think the individuals making those decisions are probably better equipped to make that decision for themselves, than you are. I get the appeal of the law and order argument, but the question is then, if our borders were open now (as they historically were for the first 300-ish years of our existence on this continent), would you be arguing for them to be closed/restricted? If yes, then it's not really a law and order argument you're making, it's an anti-market one. As for your points about this being different than 1907, the welfare state is not going to be harmed by young, productive people who have lots of kids coming in to the country. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the demographic challenges the current system faces. As for your other point... people should be excluded from the American dream because someone said mean things?
  20. Definitely don't need it prior to UPT, even. I mean, I'm here, anyways, with a rapidly approaching start date, and I still don't have mine.
  21. Stoker

    Border crisis

    1. AFAIK we already have fences/walls/rivers in every urban area. The unfenced areas tend to be incredibly rough, desolate terrain. If a fifty mile walk through the Chihuahuan Desert doesn't deter a border crossing, a small fence probably isn't going to, either. 2. What are military patrols going to accomplish that 20,000 sworn Border Patrol agents aren't doing already? Illegal border crossings are at a 50 year low as it is. Seems like a good way to degrade military readiness. 3. Expedited how? And, sure, that makes sense, but seems extremely expensive. 4. We sort of already have this with E-verify (varies state to state), but absent a massive increase in enforcement apparatus you aren't going to see much of a change. All E-verify did was ensure that illegal immigrants got a fake identity before going to work. It's going to take a rare US Attorney who wants to waste his time proving that an employer knew his employees weren't legal. 5. Seems expensive, and again, you're hurting military readiness to accomplish a law enforcement goal. 6. Just seems like nativism. We allowed about the same number of legal immigrants in last year as we did in 1907, when the population was less than a third what it is now. And somehow we managed to assimilate them. Reducing legal immigration is just about the one surefire way to increase illegal immigration. Basically, most of the things you mentioned might reduce illegal immigration somewhat, but at a huge cost. What's the point? Illegal immigrants only come here because people want to hire them. If you want drastically more expensive housing and food, and pay for it with higher taxes to boot, go for it, I guess.
  22. Doesn't hurt to apply, but my guess is that fighter units are going to be more stringent on age waivers than transport/tanker squadrons. They have a ton of candidates already, so why go through the work? But hey, what are they gonna do, not hire you? For seasoning days, right now the Reserves have ~6 months of active orders once you get to your squadron, full time, and then at that point they'll offer you a GS-9 Air Reserve Technician position (grade increasing as you gain hours). Depending on where you live this can be a good deal, but for the NYC area it's like a $10k paycut from O-1 pay. I'm thinking of not taking the ART position and just volunteering for as many deployments/trips as I can once qualified, then enjoying the "vacations" in between orders.
  23. 36 is definitely within the range to get an age waiver these days, and the rest of your info looks good enough. Luckily for you there's a ton of units within a reasonable commute to NY, though many are going to want you to be full-time for a while (if you show up the interview acting like you'll finish training then immediately go to one weekend a month, two weeks a year, it might not be received positively). I wonder if you might have luck with the Guard HH-60 squadron in Long Island. Start putting in applications everywhere you'd reasonably want to work, though, because you aren't getting any younger.
  24. Stoker

    Columbus AFB Information

    For anyone showing up who plans on staying in the dorms, the manager tells you it's a twin XL mattress, but it's really a full XL (53x80). Just in case you want to order the right size sheets/mattress topper.