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FDNYOldGuy last won the day on June 30

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  1. Keep poking around on the boards here, as there is a TON of great info and great people to contact, but I've never heard anyone your age having any issues with the ETP Guard or Reserves. Hell, I'm non-prior giving it a shot at 36, so there's definitely hope for you. Get your PCSM up with flying hours or a retest, but your other stuff looks pretty solid to me (then again, I'm not an authority on anything).
  2. I'm not in yet, either, so take it all with a grain of salt. But, you're in a pretty good position. You're young enough to have almost 5 good years of trying before a waiver becomes an issue, your scores are decent, and you can work on a PPL if you're really serious about flying and want to increase your chances there, too. You don't HAVE to get one, but it'll certainly help if you do. You're going to have to do a lot of the leg work yourself. Recruiters are, ah, busy and can be tough to get in touch with sometimes, so you're going to be much better off putting together your own packets and making your own calls to units. I know you said above that you've had some issues with getting the right contacts, but that is (unfortunately) part of the game. Keep chasing leads until you get in touch with someone that can help. Google those units and you'll find past hiring notices on bogidope/guardreservejobs/wherever with contact info. Search these forums and you might find people who posted about applying there or are even flying there now and reach out. Be annoying in reaching out to people. Haha. At the end of the day, most will understand what you're doing (trying to get a job!) and that you're interested, so they'll get over it. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. I'll answer your numbered questions as best as I can with my limited experience: 1. Score acceptance varies widely. There might be averages out there, but don't get bogged down by numbers. At the end of the day, it really is a "whole person concept" that makes up a majority of the hiring. Bigger than that, networking and units "knowing" you (most importantly, them LIKING you) will likely get you further than scores as long as they're not at paint chip-eating level (again, that level varies depending on what you're trying for). 2.The pilot shortage is more in Active Duty than Reserves/ANG, who are not hurting nearly as much. They still have many more applicants than they do positions, although they are easing some of the requirements (like age, in my case). Still, there HAVE been a reduction of posts for openings (especially Reserves), but I don't think that means they aren't hiring. This might just mean a shift in practices as they get more applicants, so I'd recommend still just cold calling as much as you can. 3. Hiring contacts are tough. There's an Excel sheet floating around here, but a lot of it is out of date, too, and is commanders; not hiring officers. One squadron I called I talked to 3 people that previously did hiring before finally getting the current hiring officer. Your best bet is to call the main numbers for the units (listed on their site) and just ask for the contact info of the UPT hiring officer. 4. Make sure you're happy with the mission and happy with the folks in the squadron you're looking at. The distance thing is fine, but since you're in a big city, you might be better off looking at some places that might be a cheap flight over a 5 hour drive. You'll have to make the trip more than the 1 weekend a month, it seems, so maybe it's better if you're able to get inexpensive non-stop, RT tickets over driving each time. 5. Timeframes vary greatly. There's a great thread here with tons of posts to give you an idea, but a lot of variables can change your timing. Your medical DQ issue will likely cause some delays in things; especially for FC1. Scheduling that alone can take some time, plus any of the waiver issues can delay you further. Then you've got packets moving up the chain; NGB for Guard units or Boards for Reserves. You may be excited about everything, but paperwork has a way of getting stuck on desks and getting kicked back for minute issues that can cause delays. Take care of your life decisions and worry about how it fits with this dream as this option unfolds. Planning off of this happening will likely only give you more acid reflux. Haha. 6. If you make contacts at the units, they'll invite you to UTA weekends to meet others in the squadron. Just be yourself when you go to those, try to learn about the squadron's history, airframe, and mission so you can ask good questions, and don't act too much like you're one of them already. 7. Only person who cares about you getting a flying spot is you. Your outcome will be based largely on how much work you put in making contacts (at units and with other pilots), getting your application buffed up and standing tall compared to others' applications, and trying to get more flight hours/higher AFOQT and PCSM/that medical issue worked out/etc. No one wants to be presented with problems or, especially, be expected to find the solutions for you; if you have an issue (like your med DQ) also bring them the solution to it. You can only take the tests one more time each, so the best ways to increase your scores are to study the areas you were weak on and get flight hours, so might as well start working on a PPL, IMHO. This is an obtainable goal, you've just gotta be willing to bust your ass and put in the work to make it as obtainable as possible. Good luck! Use this board as much as you possibly can (that search feature is stellar), reach out to people you think might be able to help (many will be happy to talk with you), and start making phone calls!
  3. FDNYOldGuy

    Turned 28... Keep Trying? Or GO ARMY?

    This is the best idea, IMHO. Go for it all; see what sticks and decide when your options are on the table. Fire's hot and water's wet, my brother; we all do the same thing and your advice is as good as mine. I'm just dumber thinking it's a good idea to pay the amount of rent I have to in NYC. That said, don't give up too many of our secrets. Haha. Turned the wheels all night and tried to enjoy the bologna sandwiches and cold tater tots for dinner, right? Good luck chasing your Hail Mary, too. Hopefully we both get lucky and some kind squadron out there has pity on us old geezers always putting fires out and lets us burn holes in the sky.
  4. FDNYOldGuy

    Turned 28... Keep Trying? Or GO ARMY?

    Yeah, I think that would be my angle, but there are lots of moving pieces. If you've got the free-o degree option, it's probably not a bad idea to do it. That said, the difference from in and out of state is not minor; 15 years ago it was ~$1300 for in and ~$4500 for out for undergrad. I can only imagine it's gotten worse. Definitely something to consider. Then again, as @FlyArmy said, will a MS really be worth it for you? I would say to go for the experience (FSU was awesome) and the extra step on the resume, especially if it's nearly paid for, but it might not pay off much if you're planning on rushing units and getting a PD/FD job. The experience will be fun, but the mileage gain may be minimal. That's good to hear about the solid instructors in Tally. Definitely a better situation than Austin, it seems. Money is always an issue in life, but there's always a way to make things work. You could easily bartend or wait tables for flying money while you're in school too, if you go the FSU route. I worked waiting tables for most of my college career and it actually added to the fun; you'll work with a lot of fun people, get cheap/free food, and put some money in your pocket. Personally and obviously super biased, I'd consider FD much harder if you've ever given it a thought. Then again, I'm the kinda guy that has more of an allergy to bullets than to fire, so maybe it's just personal. That said, the QoL for FD is, in most places, higher than for PD. You're working in bigger groups, you're under less stress, and people generally want to see you show up. Put it this way, my firehouse has about 60 guys and I'd say that there are probably 10-15 that were cops and jumped over to FD when they could; same figures at a lot of firehouses. I honestly don't know a soul that left FD to become PD. Not bagging on my brothers in blue and I respect the hell out of them, but it's definitely a tougher job and different mentality, IMHO. NYC is crazy expensive, but then again the pay is higher. Up here, FD/PD have parity and make (roughly) the same amount, which seems to be similar in a lot of places. That said, that ship MIGHT have passed for FD, unless you took the last test. They only run it every 4 years or so and the age cutoff is 29 (maybe 30 now, I dunno). PD opens hiring much more often and hires way more, so that could be an option. Keep an eye out on hirings in cities you'd want to live and just take the test. Lots of larger cities cut you off at 36. Which, you've got time, but always worth it to have your hat in the ring. You can always say no if you pick another path, but you can't say yes if you never took the test and opened up the option. And I'm kicking myself for not applying again years ago when I wouldn't have to worry about an age waiver. Then again, it's pointless to worry about now; you're past that point and it isn't worth dwelling on. At the end of the day, you've gotta be the one to decide what works best for you. None of us on here will be able to tell ya the right path because we aren't you, don't have your goals, and don't know what you can and can't do. But, for me, I think it's best to have as many options open as possible. If you can run two things at once (applying to AFRC/ANG spots and FSU or PD/FD), you are ahead of the game. The PPL will fit in there somewhere. Just choose what you think will make you the happiest. If you feel like you chose wrong, look back to my paragraph above and just enjoy the journey. Good luck man! Hit me up if you have any more questions I might be able to help with.
  5. FDNYOldGuy

    Turned 28... Keep Trying? Or GO ARMY?

    Chiming in from the outside (I'm applying just like you), but with a lot of rhyming to your situation. First, I'm a geezer at 36 and still giving it my all to get hired at a heavy unit somewhere. If I've got a chance at 7+ years older than you, I'm sure you are fine to get a waiver if you prove worthy to the squadron; especially, as others have said, at a heavy unit. I actually got my Undergrad at FSU and moved to Austin after, then became a fireman there (although I do know a cop or two in the area) before moving up to NYC, so I'll give you a little personal advice on both of those options. FSU is a hell of a lot of fun, if you're down with living the college life, and a good school to go to. The bars are fun, the women are plentiful and friendly, and Saturdays in the fall are amazing. I didn't think Tally as a city was that bad, honestly. It's cheap, there are good food options, and it's not too far from the beach. There were some hills, there were some decent outdoor activities (Cherokee Sink, St. George Island, Apalachicola, etc.), and you could ride a motorcycle nearly all year round. I'd definitely do it all over again. I don't know about PPL schools, but Tallahassee Airport is small enough it's probably not expensive to get lessons there and wrap up your PPL while you're in school. Austin is also a great town. Live music everywhere, lots of young people so lots of young activities, great going out district downtown, and a metric shit-ton of outdoor stuff to do (hiking, SUP/kayaks downtown, biking, running trails, power boats on Lake Travis, etc.). That said, it's changed a lot from the decade+ ago that I lived there. I caught the tail end of it still being inexpensive and not ridiculously overcrowded, both of which are long gone now. It's gotten crazy expensive (places I looked at buying 12 years ago have quadrupled in price) and there are people everywhere. All of the cool little niche things that made Austin a lot of fun now have lines and you're going to sit in pretty terrible traffic to get there. Rents and housing prices have skyrocketed, so you're pushed further and further out (maybe you want that, though?) away from the nightlife and core activities. That also means driving to and from those activities and Texas cops don't mess around with DUIs. I know a TON of people there that got nicked (pre-Uber days; although that doesn't absolve the bad choice to drive) and that would likely put a serious dent in your aspirations; mil or civilian. I did a little research for a friend in Austin interested in getting a PPL and it actually kinda sucks there. There are only a couple schools and rates were high (high even by NYC standards, honestly) to rent the planes. The less expensive airports were a decent drive out of town, although I guess they may be closer, depending on where you live. If you're looking for PD, there are lots of departments in the area (and ranging from DPS, APD, and lots of school departments) and they pay pretty decent. If you have mil points, they'll give you an extra bump. Personally, if you're not locked into LE, I'd recommend giving a look to the FD side, but I'm more than a shade biased. Haha. I know little about Dallas, except it's flat, they get tornadoes and ice storms, and it's still hot as hell. But, I know a lot of people seem to like it, so maybe it's great. It's probably better to commute to your unit with DFW there than from AUS. So, not sure if that helped at all because both options aren't bad and I'd lean either way, but it was just striking a chord to read your options and taking this old man back in the old time machine. If it were me, honestly, I'd just start applying to units. It seems like timeframes can stretch beyond a year (maybe two) between applying and getting accepted. Maybe you could rack out your MS while you're waiting to ship out to UPT, then move to Austin/Dallas in 4-5 years after your MS and training. You'll go after those PD jobs armed with a few extra points having served, you'll have the flying still as a Traditional Reservist/Guardsman, and you'll have the MS. Why not try to knock all the pins down?
  6. FDNYOldGuy

    AF Reserve Age Limit

    I've actually experienced some of the opposite as non-prior service, with a few Reserves units saying no dice on NPS ETPs and ANG hasn't said anything. There's some conflicting regulations in the AFIs for ETPs for non-prior. In the Policies and Procedures (don't see an AFI number on it) for applying to UPT revised 4 Jan 2018, Attachment 3, section 2, says this about ETPs for age: "Beginning with the Nov 2012 HQ AFRC UFT selection board, applications from non-prior service members containing an ETP request for relief from age limits will not be accepted." It goes on to reference AFI 36-2205. However, AFI 36-2105, released 25 May 2018, supersedes 36-2205 and has eased the language on ETPs (leaving discretion with the Wing Commander, as I see it, and having applications go right from the wing to AFRC/A3C, apparently skipping the NAF) and says nothing about restrictions for NPS applicants. So, honestly, I'm confused. It seems like there have been a few stories I've heard of NPS getting ETPs and hired recently, but I also don't know if maybe those are just NGB hires and Reserves have had a block in place that NGB doesn't. Or is that restriction just for Unsponsored UPT slots? Am I missing or misreading something, or is there some other way that's getting bypassed?
  7. FDNYOldGuy

    UPT Chances

    Awesome to hear that you've gotten a spot and you're headed down the road to doing what you want to do; fly for the Air Force! There have been some good posts on here about unsponsored slots and it seems like not a bad spot to be, since you can rush squadrons knowing that you're already headed to UPT. Good luck at UPT and with the rest of the journey!
  8. FDNYOldGuy

    UPT Chances

    You got picked up? Congrats! It's great to read success stories! If you don't mind getting into it, what was your journey like from when you posted last year to now?
  9. I posted up in another thread, so sorry to beat the same drum, but being a firefighter (or cop) is another option if you don’t want airlines or an office job. A lot of larger-city options might be off the table if you did 20+ military due to age restrictions (36 is a cap in a lot of cities; but many smaller cities don’t have age caps), but it’s worth looking into. Most cities give points to veterans, let you buy back 3 years military time, are very conducive to Reserves/ANG if you still want to fly, may provide another pension, and are seemingly (only say that because I don’t have military experience...yet) similar mentalities/excitement levels to military service. There are 12 other people all day, every day in my firehouse, with nearly 60 assigned to the house in total. Lots of different personalities to keep things interesting. We have each others’ backs, are close-knit and social (both at work and with our families), help each other through thick and thin, laugh a whole lot (at ourselves and one another), and get to do some pretty crazy/exciting things that change daily. 10-20% of guys are prior military service, too. I’ve not flown a military jet (yet), but driving a 70,000lb fire truck through traffic, pulling up to a building with fire blowing out the window, and heading in when everyone else is heading out is pretty damn exciting. You’re forcing open doors and heading into an environment that’s hot and you can’t see your hand in front of your face to look for victims, or pushing a hoseline that’ll unleash 180-250 gallons of water a minute and nearly send you flying backwards. You will save a cat. Likely many cats over a career. I’ve heard of guys rescuing a cop, who got stuck in a tree trying to save a cat. In front of a playground full of school children... You’ll see the best and worst; often times within a few hours of one another. You’ll laugh pretty damn hard. You’ll go home feeling like you made a difference, even if it’s just a small one like opening up an arthritic old lady’s cat food can or making sure the local drunk is still breathing when passed out after his/her latest bender. It’s not a perfect job always, but it sure isn’t a bad one. Especially if you already have the mindset, as I’d imagine many pilots/military members do.
  10. I’m not sure I’m reading it right, but does it seem to you like they made it less strenuous on the burden of proof to give the ETP and laid most of the policy decision on the Wing Commander? Or am I missing the gist and it actually got worse? If I’m not crazy, then that might give me more than the small glimmer of hope I had before and give me a better shot. I’ll certainly reach back out to the hiring Captain and give another push. I’ve made good headway with a place I’d love to call home, if I were fortunate enough, if I can get over this hurdle.
  11. Thank you so much for the point in the right direction, @FlyArmy! Once I knew what I was looking for, I poked around a bit more and found this updated (published 5 days ago) policy on the site you linked. Looks like it might be AFI 36-2105 now. I just gave it a quick skim, but I didn't see anything that precluded me and it was exactly what you said; they just have to prove that I'm worth the risk. As you said, too, maybe it's just because I don't have the "documented" history because I'm not prior service, although I could show quite a bit from the FD and it's where I've been for 10 years. It seems like a lot of the power, discretion, and decision making lies with the Wing Commander/CC. I'll go back to my contacts and see if maybe it's just that the Wing Commander doesn't want to put in the paperwork, but I'll certainly do whatever I can to make it as painless as possible. Thank you again for your help and housing that out. I greatly appreciate it.
  12. Just an update and a big question. I've been moving forward, been cleared through MEPS and starting to make contact with squadrons/send out application packets. I've definitely been shot down due to my age by a few squadrons (Reserves and Guard both) that say they flat out aren't doing ETP/waivers or that they're not interested above 32/33. Maybe it's their way of saying they don't like my packet enough to put the extra leg work in, but that's what I got. On the flip side, I've had a great convo with a couple POCs at a Reserve squadron I'd love to be a part of and been told that I have a very strong packet/they would interview me, which was certainly great to hear. However, they said there is another issue that's stopping me: that there's an actual AF regulation stating that ETPs/waivers for age can't be given to non-prior service members. I have heard this exact same thing from two squadrons under the same wing. The POCs ran it all the way up to the wing commander and the same response was given. Being as though the wing commander said that there was a reg, and did not seem to tell either POC in either squadron that the wing specifically isn't doing waivers, I'm very confused. I'd figure that they'd just tell me they aren't entertaining ETP/waivers, or that they just didn't like my packet, if they didn't want to put in the leg work. This was more that, even if they did hire me, they couldn't push my packet up the chain for approval because it would get kicked back due to this reg. If it was something written in AF policy, I'd have figured I'd have been shot down much earlier by a recruiter, other units, or seen it here in the forums/heard it out in my talking to others in the process that I wouldn't stand a chance as a civilian at my age. I've also made a solid contact at AFRC and he said the waiver shouldn't be an issue if I could get squadron sponsorship and a proper push up the chain. So, I'm unsure where the roadblock is and who I need to bug incessantly to see if I can overcome this hurdle. The squadron said they're willing to do it (if I did well enough meeting the squadron/during the interview and got the offered the spot, of course) and the contact at AFRC said they didn't see an issue, as long as I had sponsorship. Any ideas of where I may be getting hung up, or if the regulation/way forward is just being misread in there somewhere? Or should I just get the hint that they are just being reeeeeaaaaalllly nice about telling me that I'm too old for them to want to mess with instead of just saying no? Thanks for the help. Hope all had a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.
  13. FDNYOldGuy

    ANG Non-Airline Jobs?

    I'm saying this as a cart WAAAAYYYY before the horse, as I am just beginning my long shot attempt at interviews and at getting picked up by a squadron for a UPT slot, and my input may not pertain to you if you're looking for engineering work/for a contractor. Nor am I sure if you're looking for short/mid-term employment, or for the long haul. So, this might be pointless to you, but may help someone else that stumbles upon this thread looking for non-airline employment options that work with military service. From a purely non-airline employer in addition to Guard/Reserve duty standpoint, I can certainly recommend municipal civil service if you think you're going to be putting roots down wherever you're assigned and plan on staying for the long haul. Fire and police departments are very similar to military life, they have decent benefits and many still have pensions, they give preference points to military members in hiring and promotion, and they're usually very pro military service while you're employed above and beyond what they have to by law. I'd imagine most bases are close enough to large enough towns with good paid departments that you'd have a solid civil service retirement, too. Again, not sure if you're looking for temporary employment options or something more long-term, but figured I'd mention it as an option.
  14. Hey, guys and gals. First, a disclaimer: I'm not (yet) in the military and just a long shot old guy trying to get a Reserves/Guard UPT slot, so I am not posting this from the inside. That said, I am a big fan of the financial world/retirement options and, in my travels researching squadrons and poking around their pages for info today, I randomly stumbled across this article that could be important to some folks. It basically says, if you're one of the fortunate ones that can max out your TSP at $18,500 and you're in the BRS with a match program, you want to make sure you're spreading the $18,500 in contributions out over the ENTIRE year and not maxing out early. According to the article, Uncle Sam is only matching 4% PER PAY PERIOD and, if you max out early, you'll be missing out on the government's match for each pay period after you max out until the end of the year. So, the government would be paying MORE of the $18,500 if you ensured you didn't max out too early, as opposed to the individual paying more of the $18,500 because the government caps at 4% per pay period. Here is the article about the BRS match that goes much further in depth. It is a recent article that I didn't see listed here yet or discussed in the other BRS thread, so I figured it may be of some help here. My apologies if I'm speaking out of turn because I'm not in yet/dealing with the BRS personally, but I thought it might be valuable to some here.
  15. FDNYOldGuy

    AFRES unsponsored slots

    Thanks for the input, @va121mir. It does seem to vary WILDLY by unit, so it's probably worth reaching out everywhere. I just wasn't sure if I should be firing applications to EVERY one, or if I should just be ensuring there's even a possibility before sending them. I'm happy to fly anything and just want to get a seat, but it's just a bit too much to be going for everything and I certainly won't be able to rush everywhere. It's just hard to know where is worth the shot. Good luck with the hunt!