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TacAirlifter

Guard to Active Duty help (seriously)

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Yep, you read that right.

I have been a Guard Pilot for about 7 years and I am wanting to make a lifestyle change and transition to Active Duty.  I have sent a lot of emails and made a lot of phone calls and for some reason keep hitting walls.  I was told by AFPC, to paraphrase: Nah, that process doesn't exist...it might at some point, but it doesn't now. Have a nice day.

Given that there is an explicit and often used process for interservice transfers, I am really surprised to find that there is not an easy way to transition from the ARC...especially with all the TFI they constantly cram down our throats.  The Active Duty is in a Pilot shortage crises (as we all know) and I am willing to sign an ADSC, it seems like complete lunacy that the door is shutting in my face.  Does anyone know of any back doors (sts) or work-arounds to make this happen?

I know of the VLPAD program, but I am looking for a permanent transition.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks a lot.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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Why are you opposed to VLPAD?  3 years to start (probably can add more if you want later), all the benefits (pay, retirement years, etc.), and no prison sentence (AKA ADSC) from AD.  I'm curious what a "full transition" to AD buys you over VLPAD.

Also, I'd like to add...

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Edited by brabus
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5 minutes ago, brabus said:

Why are you opposed to VLPAD?  3 years to start (probably can add more if you want later), all the benefits (pay, retirement years, etc.), and no prison sentence (AKA ADSC) from AD.  I'm curious what a "full transition" to AD buys you over VLPAD.

I agree with this. My game plan would be consecutive VLPAD tours. Each tour is your negotiation, accepted by you, eligible for the bonus, and only 3 years long. Do that until you get your active duty retirement.

I dont see the AF solving the pilot crisis anytime soon, so I think VLPAD is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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9 minutes ago, brabus said:

Why are you opposed to VLPAD?  3 years to start (probably can add more if you want later), all the benefits (pay, retirement years, etc.), and no prison sentence (AKA ADSC) from AD.  I'm curious what a "full transition" to AD buys you over VLPAD.

 

1 minute ago, Kenny Powers said:

I agree with this. My game plan would be consecutive VLPAD tours. Each tour is your negotiation, accepted by you, eligible for the bonus, and only 3 years long. Do that until you get your active duty retirement.

 I dont see the AF solving the pilot crisis anytime soon, so I think VLPAD is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

I agree with you completely.  It's a great program with almost no downsides.  The reason I am trying to stay away from it is that I am wanting to get into the U-2 program and I am pretty sure they want nothing to do with a 3-year guy.  This is an assumption and I will definitely ask it specifically because that is the easiest solution...but have a feeling they will not want to pursue me if I am in a temporary status.

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How long are you willing to do AD (assume you want to go to 20)? As Kenny said, I imagine multiple VLPAD tours (or simply extending one) will be fairly high probability of success given the AF's shit managing of the pilot force.  I wouldn't make assumptions - you need to talk to some U2 bros.  Be honest with them on how long you plan to stick around, and if you're the right fit, they may just give you the shot you're looking for.  Also, if you simply go back to AD (not VLPAD) you're not going to have the same "power of choice" you do on VLPAD, so what makes you think you'd be going to the U2 for sure?  At least via VLPAD you are a terrorist AFPC most certainly will negotiate with, and in the end you will have the freedom to walk away if the U2 doesn't work out (assuming you're not willing to go back to AD for a different assignment).

Edited by brabus
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Solid input, thanks a lot.  I'd honestly be willing to finish out 20 (another 10 years). 

I have been talking to them quite a bit but frankly VLPAD was something I was afraid to bring up for fear of not looking committed.  Now that I've hit so much resistance at AFPC, I am definitely willing to bring it up and see what they have to say. 

To answer your question about being guaranteed the airframe, and forgive my ignorance on this if I am missing the mark, but they used to be able to interview Guard and Reserve (in the same way they do with interservice guys now) and if you don't get hired, you go back to your humble Guard job.  At least that is my understanding of it.

8 minutes ago, brabus said:

I imagine multiple VLPAD tours (or simply extending one) will be fairly high probability of success given the AF's shit managing of the pilot force

Love it...it took em 10 years to even admit they had a problem...and they still refuse to believe its root causes

Edited by TacAirlifter

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50 minutes ago, FLEA said:

What's VLPAD? I'm AD, I'm just curious. Never heard this term. 

Voluntary something something.... It's the Air Force trying to lure guys who already retired or went reserve/ANG back into active duty for three years.

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9 hours ago, TacAirlifter said:

To answer your question about being guaranteed the airframe, and forgive my ignorance on this if I am missing the mark, but they used to be able to interview Guard and Reserve (in the same way they do with interservice guys now) and if you don't get hired, you go back to your humble Guard job.  At least that is my understanding of it.

I don't know anything about that process, but it makes sense.  My skepticism isn't with the U2 community, its with AFPC if you somehow manage to go to AD not on VLPAD, you've lost at least some bargaining power; this leads me to fear there is absolutely some chance they go, "hey thanks for coming over.  You'll be a great asset at AFCENT AMD next week!"  Again though, bring up these things with U2 guys and see what they think.  Good luck, hope it works out!

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1 hour ago, pawnman said:

Voluntary something something.... It's the Air Force trying to lure guys who already retired or went reserve/ANG back into active duty for three years.

Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty

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Youll be underwhelmed compared to an ANG unit.  Sorry, but thr majority of experience lives in the ARC.  Youll get to be stationed in Del Rio though.

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1 hour ago, brabus said:

"hey thanks for coming over.  You'll be a great asset at AFCENT AMD next week!"

I have all the faith in the world in the U-2 guys, and zero in the bureaucracy of AFPC. 

Unfortunarely, if I put all my eggs in the VLPAD basket and they aren’t comfortable with it, then I’m outta options.

From a higher level perspective, I still can’t quite unterstand why the AD isn’t willing to take any and all Pilot that wants to come to them from within their own service...but I don’t understand a lot of what they do...

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24 minutes ago, TacAirlifter said:

Hopefulflyer389,

AFPC referenced Chap 6 to me...specifically ARC to AD transitions.  Said that program is not currently active, but they are in talks to possibly activate it

I’m glad it was relevant somehow. Who ever is keeping said program deactivated is an idiot and needs to get it going for those, like yourself, who are wanting to make the switch. Best of luck! 

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Haha, maybe I'll call the AF/A1P office and inquire!


When they give you a dumb answer, make sure you mention AD is sitting fat on pilots and bonus take rates are through the roof.
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The resistance/lack of interest you’ve gotten from the AF to make that transition should answer the question of wether or not you should make that transition. I’m not saying....just saying. 

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The AF doesn’t want to retain and/or bring on qualified folks nearly as much as they want to tell congress that they are struggling to retain and/or bring on qualified folks.

 

Priorities, man, all about the priorities.

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As an aside, taking a page from your own tribe...

Have you taken the time to visit an AD unit?  Asked some questions, maybe shadowed someone to get an idea if the lifestyle would be a good fit for you?

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My two cents (maybe three since I'm in it to win it)...

I was a Guard bubba (C-130 Slick Nav) and took a VLPAD 3 year tour (started July 2017) as a AFROTC Det CC.  I had about 15 years total AD time when I started the tour so the long game was to get to the 20 year AD retirement.  When the FY18 AvB Expanded Program was announced, I put in some questions to AFPC along the lines of "Hey, I'll sign a five year bonus if you just put me on AD and you can send me to whereveristan after my ROTC tour ends" to which I heard what amounts to crickets.  Therefore, I believe AFPC currently has no program for anyone to go onto AD indefinitely from the ANG/AFRC.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if they are considering it.  So, it could open up anytime I suppose.  During my AWC via correspondence course, one of the facilitators told me that is what got him to AD retirement (Reserve to Indef AD).  Back to the Bonus issue for those scorekeeping at home, they gave me the bonus anyway until the end of the VLPAD tour.  Yes, they gave me a bonus for doing what I was already committed to anyway (and for a rated position which actually no longer exists on active duty).  I guess you could say I got a bonus for all those "Nav Bonus" jokes I got to listen to for all those years. 

For the original question, I recommend taking the VLPAD tour if they will give it to you and just consider yourself a "Free Agent" going forward.  From where I sit on this VLPAD tour, I can start "negotiating" my next VLPAD tour about a year out from the end of this one assuming the program is still open. Yeah, no guarantees but I definitely hold the cards on the next assignment.  If I don't like what they offer, I'll just go back into the AFRC/ANG.  To be honest, is that all that bad?  Cheers! 

 

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The Air Force has a pilot shortage. The AFPC  person answering the phone/emails does not have a pilot shortage. It makes perfect sense for them to wave a magic wand and make a fully qualified Guard guy an Active Duty pilot, but you're one guy in a gray area for which a process either doesn't exist, is used so little no one knows how, or is so complicated that the effort can't be expended.

Are you aware of all the long term AD orders available around the world? If your unit is willing to allow you to become a free-agent, the possibilities are endless if you dig for them.

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