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vipermaverickk

Pursuing the dream of fighters, age has me discouraged

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I'm not sure if this belongs here but I didn't want to flood the "What Are My Chances" forum with this since my AFOQT isn't until September, and I'm not even done with school.

Anyway, I've managed to make this life-goal of mine about as difficult as it can get through a combination of delays, procrastination, and despondency. I've mostly made up for all of that, and I'm about 90% of the way there now, but I fear I may end up being too late in the end.

Like the title says, I'm feeling pretty discouraged and really just hoping to hear some words of wisdom from someone more experienced. I've been working hard to get my PPL and finish college the last few months. I'll have graduated in May and have all of my other requirements met well before then. I have some great LOR's lined up, and will have approximately 80 flight hours and my PPL. I'm planning on applying (before graduation) to Guard and Reserve units as soon as my AFOQT scores are in. I'm confident that I'll be a well rounded candidate in all areas except my age. I just turned 28 last week, and while I knew this would happen and have been planning around it, the reality of it is extremely disheartening. I've read a few anecdotes from here and other places of fighters pretty much being out of the question once you're around my age or older. 

Fighters are all I've dreamed of flying for as long as I can remember, and while I've had a bumpy road getting to where I am now, I'm not going to give up, even if my age is going to put off a lot of units. I understand that while uncommon, age waivers are a thing, but almost unheard of at fighter units. I envision my best case scenario is applying at units as early as possible, and as often. I'm 100% open to any location and going to cast my net as wide as I can.

I know I'll have to answer for the delayed applications, but as I mentioned earlier I will not give up until every unit in the country has explicitly denied and prohibited me from applying. I don't really know where I'm going with this thread but it's getting late here and I can't sleep because of this. I guess I'm just looking for encouragement or advice from anyone who can offer it. I appreciate you guys for all the info I've gotten from this site over the years, and thank you for taking the time to read my post.

tl;dr I'm 28, not done with school, still need AFOQT scores, and want fighters. Advice/guidance/criticism is greatly, greatly appreciated.  

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As you know apply everywhere and multiple times if necessary.  Get awesome scores and make a lot of visits to the units.  Show them why you are the best candidate for the job. 

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Thanks for the responses, everyone. I'm going to give it all I've got and hope for the best.

Mustang, that is very reassuring to read; thank you for sharing it. Are you referring to the LA or MA ANG units? Or is there another recently hiring F-15 unit I'm not aware of? I'll definitely look into this. 

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SPAWNmaster    15

Dude keep plugging away. I was hired at 28 and got to UPT a few months before my 30th bday. And since that time they've been pushing and approving tons of age waivers. I saw a lot of them at UPT. We had a 36 year old in my primary class and 3 people in their 30's during my advanced class (30, 30 and 32 yrs old). 

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EvilEagle    53

I can tell you that there is almost zero chance the LA ANG will apply for another age waiver.  Have you spoken with anyone that got the waiver about how their experience has been in the fighter world?  We have a guy and he's still happy to be here, but he struggles.  He thinks most of that is due to age and I tend to agree.  He was a strong candidate: Olympian, college athlete, great AFOQT scores, good grades, tons of flying time, etc.  There's a reason the age ceiling is there.  You still have some time, but you need to be visiting units and getting on boards by now.  You are behind the timeline again IMHO.  

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On 7/23/2017 at 9:28 AM, SPAWNmaster said:

Dude keep plugging away. I was hired at 28 and got to UPT a few months before my 30th bday. And since that time they've been pushing and approving tons of age waivers. I saw a lot of them at UPT. We had a 36 year old in my primary class and 3 people in their 30's during my advanced class (30, 30 and 32 yrs old). 

Thank you for sharing this, it is very encouraging. I will keep at it 110%

8 hours ago, EvilEagle said:

I can tell you that there is almost zero chance the LA ANG will apply for another age waiver.  Have you spoken with anyone that got the waiver about how their experience has been in the fighter world?

Thank you for the honesty. It won't stop me from applying, but it's good to have reasonable expectations going into something like this. I haven't personally spoken to any recently hired fighter guys, nor have I really even heard of any that were hired at such an old age. I'm sure it has happened, but it's something I'd expect to occur rather infrequently. I certainly understand the reasoning behind the policy, it makes sense given the example you referenced from your unit. 

I know the probability is slim, but it's not impossible. I will give it my all, and then some. Thanks again for your input.

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SkydiveMike    2

I'm a little late to this party, but man, keep chugging on.  I turned 29 in April, took my AFOQT and TBAS in May, had my first interview for a fighter unit in June, and got selected by that unit in July.  No prior service.  I knew my chances were slim too, but put in the work and show them that you're worth the paperwork.  You'll have to be extra competitive but it's not impossible.

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1 hour ago, SkydiveMike said:

I'm a little late to this party, but man, keep chugging on.  I turned 29 in April, took my AFOQT and TBAS in May, had my first interview for a fighter unit in June, and got selected by that unit in July.  No prior service.  I knew my chances were slim too, but put in the work and show them that you're worth the paperwork.  You'll have to be extra competitive but it's not impossible.

This is extremely encouraging, thank you for sharing.

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Rycast    2

We're in the same boat, OP. I'm 27, turning 28 soonish. Just retook the TBAS and probably will retake the AFOQT. The fact that you'll already have your PPL is a huge plus. Still working on mine. Anyway, if you quit trying, the chances of selection are nil.

Have you taken the TBAS yet? Might as well get it out of the way...

Good luck!

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2 hours ago, Rycast said:

We're in the same boat, OP. I'm 27, turning 28 soonish. Just retook the TBAS and probably will retake the AFOQT. The fact that you'll already have your PPL is a huge plus. Still working on mine. Anyway, if you quit trying, the chances of selection are nil.

Have you taken the TBAS yet? Might as well get it out of the way...

Good luck!

Thank you. Good to know there have been, and still are others attempting a very similar journey. I'm hoping all stays on track for my PPL, I understand it's a hugely important component in one's application. I definitely am not giving up, and pretty much never will until there aren't any squadrons left to apply to.

I took the TBAS back in 2015. No idea how I did on it as they don't provide that individual score, but the PCSM score which it yielded was abysmal, so I must assume I did terrible, similar to my AFOQT. My retake is next week and I'm confident I'll do well on it, but I will have to wait and see what the updated PCSM will look like before I decide whether or not to retake the TBAS as well. 

I appreciate everyone's input and advice!

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GEKO    4

Similar story.  I applied to my first unit just after 28, interviewed 5 times over the course of a year, hired a month shy of 29 and started UPT 11 months later.  Sounds like you have the right attitude and will show them that absolutely nothing will stop you from trying.   Keep up the great work.  Age waivers are definitely out there, but hopefully you'll get hired before that.

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brabus    519

Have you talked to an AD recruiter and got that ball rolling? It'd be a big mistake not too. 

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wannabe88    0

Hey man, I'm in a similar situation to you and am just finding that most of the fighter units want younger guys because of the length of training. I have a 96 PCSM and a 95 Pilot, 92 Nav but just turned 29 a couple weeks ago and I am getting shot down at every turn. I'm definitely not gonna quit trying until I have exhausted every possible route to becoming an Air Force Officer and Pilot. Good luck to you!

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