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Catman

Chances and Recommendations (ANG)

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I'm an ANG Staff Sergeant (should be getting Tech if the pandemic ever ends) working in Communications. Here are my numbers:

  • Major: Computer Engineering (Minor: Leadership, University known for good engineering school)
  • AFOQT: Pilot: 96  Nav: 96  Acad: 98  Verbal: 94  Quant: 96
  • PCSM: 94 w/ current 112 Hours, 97 w/ 201+
  • Flight Hours: Earned my PPL. 112 hours with Complex Rating and ~50% through Instrument.
  • Age: 26
  • LORs: Squadron CC from deployment, Flight CC from home station, Professor from capstone course in college
  • Civilian Career: 3 months on a semiconductor company internship, 9 months at a healthcare software company, been working for a year Title 32 as one of our base's project managers for conversion to F-35
  • Military Career: Pretty normal ANG gig. Honor Grad and Distinguished Grad during training, earned an AFAM at home station and an AFCM on deployment.
  • Clearance: Currently hold TS/SCI

I think I have good odds, having quite a frustrating time securing interviews but I am making more of an effort to rush. I'm having a hard time with a couple things though:

Airframe: I'm probably trying to go airlines at some point, but I like keeping my possibilities open as I might want to stay full-time with the unit or do something else civilian-side. I don't have a strict order of preference, but it would be something like A-10, C-17, F-35, F-15, C-130*, F-16, C-130

*C-130 with special mission, like EC-130, LC-130, HC-130, fire-fighting mission

Updates: I've interviewed at home unit twice (F-16 --> F-35), St Paul (C-130), Phoenix (KC-135), and sort of interviewed at Stewart (C-17) -- they did a phone interview to lean out the interviewees a little more, and I did not make it past that. See below feedback 😐. Recently committed to doing much more rushing, but that decision came right before COVID threw those plans on the ground. However, I've got an interview with OKC's (MC-12W) unit, and I'm crossing my fingers that Baltimore (A-10) will have me interview as well since they told me I barely missed the cut last year.

Feedback: This has been one of the more frustrating topics. With units that turn me down before interview stage or even after interview, the feedback is usually nothing more than just "You're super solid, but you just barely missed the cut", "Very competitive application, just didn't make it this time around". I did the BogiDope application prep and we found some shortcomings in the resume and cover letter that have been knocked out, but my results have been marginally better at best.

Thanks!

EDIT: Updates to my original post have been underlined.

Edited by Catman
Update

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First off It’s much easier to start off flying fighters and then switch to a heavy unit later than vice versa.

If you’ve always wanted a fighter, go for it.

Fighter guys fly airliners. There are plenty on this board that retired from fighters and are now at Delta, AA, etc.

What does your unit fly? That would be a good place to start.

You’ll change your tune about tankers someday.

At the end of the day don’t worry about things you can’t control and promise me you won’t ever say “rocks my socks off” again.

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2 minutes ago, Scooter14 said:

First off It’s much easier to start off flying fighters and then switch to a heavy unit later than vice versa.

If you’ve always wanted a fighter, go for it.

Fighter guys fly airliners. There are plenty on this board that retired from fighters and are now at Delta, AA, etc.

What does your unit fly? That would be a good place to start.

You’ll change your tune about tankers someday.

At the end of the day don’t worry about things you can’t control and promise me you won’t ever say “rocks my socks off” again.

I'll stop wearing socks then. Sorry, my macho vocabulary is weak in the morning. The F-15 makes me feel some type of way. I can feel it in my pluuuums.

We fly F-16s now, and we're slated for F-35s. I'm pretty much doxxing myself at this point, haha! The board that I did not get chosen for was the last board they were having for F-16s; the next one will be set up for straight F-35s.

I know fighter guys fly airliners, but I've heard some folks say they have to spend a lot more time flying regionals. I want to get international and heavy relatively quickly.

My attitude on tankers is somewhat skewed because of the awkward conversation in this video. I know the guy talking ain't a pilot, but man does he make it a difficult conversation haha! They definitely do set you up for airliner life, though, with the multiple engines, turbine power, CRM, and whatnot.

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You interviewed for the board at your home base and wasn't selected?  That's strange, because ANG usually hires from within. I've seen dudes with horrible scores get selected over more qualified applicants just because they were in the ANG.

Your scores and credentials are freakin' amazing dude.  I'm sure you will get picked up by any board.

Edited by Ligma

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Seems like you you’ve put some hard work in to set yourself up for success. I’m guessing you’ve also probably had some good advice from a mentor. If you haven’t already, you absolutely need to start hanging out with the fighter pilots in your Wing. Let them know you are seriously interested in being a fighter pilot and want to learn about their mission and airframe. Hopefully you can score some flights if they have two seaters before the conversion, maybe jump into some briefs/debriefs depending on your security clearance, and chill out with them at a few roll calls. If you stay persistent with this, you’ll probably keep paving the way for a UPT slot (probably counts for more than scores). Even better, start asking the airline guys about how being a fighter compares with airline lifestyle/pay. 

Dont worry about hours and airlines if missing out on being a fighter pilot is something you’d ever regret. From what Ive read, PIC hours in a fighter count for a lot more than most other hours. It seems like most min hour hires at the majors have pointy nose backgrounds. I’m not a fighter pilot or airline guy, but this is my best advice (I’m a rated dude trying hard to find a guard unit and trying to set myself up for the airlines after rpa’s for 7 years). Good luck dude....these aren’t really problems. It’s just an exercise in prioritizing which is part of being a military aviator. 

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Since your unit is 16's and you're transferring to 35s I'd guess you're VTANG. Since they have a board coming up in June, I'd apply for that one(again?). Your scores are very good and it's your home unit so you've got that going for you. The 16 board you didn't get selected for, did you ask for feedback on why not? As far as debating over fighters and heavies with airlines in sight, I've seen just as many fighter guys go to major airlines as I've seen heavy guys. In the end, apply to wherever you want and see what presents itself. 

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2 hours ago, elvis said:

Since your unit is 16's and you're transferring to 35s I'd guess you're VTANG. Since they have a board coming up in June, I'd apply for that one(again?). Your scores are very good and it's your home unit so you've got that going for you. The 16 board you didn't get selected for, did you ask for feedback on why not? As far as debating over fighters and heavies with airlines in sight, I've seen just as many fighter guys go to major airlines as I've seen heavy guys. In the end, apply to wherever you want and see what presents itself. 

Na, VT's last board was for 35. If I had to guess maybe WI

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3 hours ago, flammable said:

Na, VT's last board was for 35. If I had to guess maybe WI

Ahh didn't know WI was slotted for 35s. TIL. 

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On 1/10/2019 at 5:30 PM, Ligma said:

You interviewed for the board at your home base and wasn't selected?  That's strange, because ANG usually hires from within. I've seen dudes with horrible scores get selected over more qualified applicants just because they were in the ANG.

Your scores and credentials are freakin' amazing dude.  I'm sure you will get picked up by any board.

I spent a couple weeks getting my uniform squared away (huge ribbon rack change -- we wear blues pretty much once every other year) and didn't notice a glaring issue until the morning of the board. Without going into detail, think "What's the worst thing my tailor could do to my dress blues?". Attention to detail and whatnot, I completely understand, it's my fault in the end. I considered changing into a regular suit, but I thought that would be a cop-out since I would imagine they would rather hire SSgt ___ than Mr. ___. Probably a dumb move, I shot myself in the foot with that one.

But some of the other folks there were absolutely outstanding. For anonymity's sake on their part, I'm going to change the details, but imagine if a decorated Army Ranger showed up to your board. I was hoping for more dopey folks to show up 😏.

On 1/10/2019 at 7:04 PM, GoodSplash9 said:

Seems like you you’ve put some hard work in to set yourself up for success. I’m guessing you’ve also probably had some good advice from a mentor. If you haven’t already, you absolutely need to start hanging out with the fighter pilots in your Wing. Let them know you are seriously interested in being a fighter pilot and want to learn about their mission and airframe. Hopefully you can score some flights if they have two seaters before the conversion, maybe jump into some briefs/debriefs depending on your security clearance, and chill out with them at a few roll calls. If you stay persistent with this, you’ll probably keep paving the way for a UPT slot (probably counts for more than scores). Even better, start asking the airline guys about how being a fighter compares with airline lifestyle/pay. 

Dont worry about hours and airlines if missing out on being a fighter pilot is something you’d ever regret. From what Ive read, PIC hours in a fighter count for a lot more than most other hours. It seems like most min hour hires at the majors have pointy nose backgrounds. I’m not a fighter pilot or airline guy, but this is my best advice (I’m a rated dude trying hard to find a guard unit and trying to set myself up for the airlines after rpa’s for 7 years). Good luck dude....these aren’t really problems. It’s just an exercise in prioritizing which is part of being a military aviator. 

A lot of advice coming from airline pilot family and their colleagues who fly/flew in the ANG. I did not do enough talking to pilots in my unit, though. I did talk to a few including an O-6 in the unit, but it turned out those folks were completely uninvolved in the hiring process.

The Peoria, IL ANG unit flying C-130s is pretty desperate from what I've heard. Details are fuzzy, but something along the lines of: their unit hired 3 folks during their last UPT board, and they all failed medical, so there's a huge gap in their manning.

On 1/11/2019 at 6:32 PM, elvis said:

Since your unit is 16's and you're transferring to 35s I'd guess you're VTANG. Since they have a board coming up in June, I'd apply for that one(again?). Your scores are very good and it's your home unit so you've got that going for you. The 16 board you didn't get selected for, did you ask for feedback on why not? As far as debating over fighters and heavies with airlines in sight, I've seen just as many fighter guys go to major airlines as I've seen heavy guys. In the end, apply to wherever you want and see what presents itself. 

Feedback other than the above uniform thing was mostly that my 5-10 year plan was not solidified enough. They wanted me to talk about becoming a SME, an Instructor, a Wingman, and that sort of thing. My issue is that I don't fly fighter jets yet, so I can pretend to know what those roles entail, but without actually being directly involved, it's all playing pretend. To me, it's pointless: I'm going to end up where my talents, my desires, and the squadron's needs intersect. I don't have the talents yet, my desires will not be fleshed out until I'm flying these things, and the squadron's needs are not defined. Obviously, that stance is not what they're looking for -- can anyone attest to what the right stance is and why?

On 1/11/2019 at 8:36 PM, flammable said:

 

 

Edited by Catman
Clarification

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Bumping after updating original post.

Earned my PPL, and I'm back on the horse applying to as many Wings as possible. Hoping to get more feedback on my application package.

Does anyone know if boards give any thought to an applicant's current security clearance? Obviously it's good to have the TS/SCI that they need you to be able to hold, but how good? To me, it could be inconsequential because the squadron is used to obtaining them, but it could also be a huge weight off their shoulders seeing as the clearance interviews are backed up and it's one less thing to worry about.

What about the instrument rating? Should I place any priority on going after it? Or should I get some time with my new PPL before going down that road?

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On 1/10/2019 at 12:24 PM, Scooter14 said:

You’ll change your tune about tankers someday.

It’s an awesome community but a lot of folks (the non Air Force candidate types) think we just do circles in the sky. I was one of them until I started Rushing tanker units along with other heavies. Yes that’s part of it but there’s more to it. The people and the place make a big difference as well. 

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Being a pilot in the USAF is awesome.   Being an ANG pilot is more awesome.

Don’t obsess over the size of the ride, they are all great.

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On 6/18/2019 at 9:15 PM, CharlieHotel47 said:

It’s an awesome community but a lot of folks (the non Air Force candidate types) think we just do circles in the sky. I was one of them until I started Rushing tanker units along with other heavies. Yes that’s part of it but there’s more to it. The people and the place make a big difference as well. 

I am starting to budge that way. Just got finished interviewing [and getting denied by] the Phoenix KC-135 Wing, which was one of the coolest Guard bases and pilot groups I've ever met. Still waiting on feedback from them.

EDIT: Me stupid. Me forgot that I have to ask them for feedback. 😣

19 hours ago, JimNtexas said:

Being a pilot in the USAF is awesome.   Being an ANG pilot is more awesome.

Don’t obsess over the size of the ride, they are all great.

I appreciate the kind words and advice. It's all so true.

Edited by Catman

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Made an update to my original post with a bunch of underlined text. Hopefully not too awful to look at, would appreciate any new advice or advice from folks that haven't seen this thread at all.

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Step 1: Do some introspection with the ego set aside and think about what you may have said/not said or done/not done (phone and in person interviews) that was a contributing factor to you not getting a job (there’s likely more than one thing).

Step 2: Seek out a pilot at the home unit who was on the board and ask if they’ll give you more specific feedback on the interview. See if their answers are similar to what you came up with or are wildly different. This isn’t to say they will give you the magic answer, but it will hopefully let you know if you’re on the right track from step 1.

Sounds like you simply didn’t interview as well as the top X candidates. But, that also may mean you were 7/169 applicants, which is nothing to scoff. Ask them what did the candidates (who were offered jobs) do/show in the interview that you fell short of?  You can only improve on your shortcomings if you know what they are, but don’t expect to be fully spoon fed the answer, and you will certainly never improve if you’re ego gets in the way. 

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2 hours ago, brabus said:

Step 1: Do some introspection with the ego set aside and think about what you may have said/not said or done/not done (phone and in person interviews) that was a contributing factor to you not getting a job (there’s likely more than one thing).

Step 2: Seek out a pilot at the home unit who was on the board and ask if they’ll give you more specific feedback on the interview. See if their answers are similar to what you came up with or are wildly different. This isn’t to say they will give you the magic answer, but it will hopefully let you know if you’re on the right track from step 1.

Sounds like you simply didn’t interview as well as the top X candidates. But, that also may mean you were 7/169 applicants, which is nothing to scoff. Ask them what did the candidates (who were offered jobs) do/show in the interview that you fell short of?  You can only improve on your shortcomings if you know what they are, but don’t expect to be fully spoon fed the answer, and you will certainly never improve if you’re ego gets in the way. 

I am frustrated with the process since I have been doing this for a couple years now; there is no hiding that.

Where do you see the ego coming into play? I do not mean to challenge what you are saying, but the last person that is going to notice an ego problem is the guy with the ego problem. Maybe my tone doesn't convey well over text.

That's an interesting strategy, though, I will give that a shot. It's good timing that my last interview was with home unit and I've got a great rapport with them. And I have definitely had some shoddy interviews where I probably came off a bit stony and overly serious, but my more recent ones I feel I have been knocking it out of the park... hopefully they're making it to the outfield at least.

As for the "What did the successful candidates do that I fell short of?" strategy, that's something I have done every time. Last year, a couple units said they wanted more flying hours past PPL minimums because I had something like 50-60 hours at the time. A captain from one of those units told me that was a factor but they were still confused why a couple other people made the cutoff for interviews and I hadn't.

The main frustration, though, is getting the interviews in the first place. I'm fortunate to have a background and testing numbers that check a lot of boxes, so when I compare my rate of securing interviews with some of the folks I chat with, it's confusing for all parties. It's gotten to a point where I've seriously wondered if my applications are being filtered out subconsciously by the boards because I don't have any interesting shortcomings. I have shortcomings, but the ones on paper aren't so significant that they get brought up as talking points like they might for other people like "Why didn't you enlist in the Guard?", "Why have you flown so little?", "How come this score/GPA is so low?". The only one that comes through on paper is that I didn't play a sport in college because I thought it would be too much with the engineering workload -- in hindsight, I definitely could've managed, totally wish I continued playing tennis.

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Getting frustrated with the process is part of the process. Its not a "one and done" deal for most people, especially if you're going fighters. ANG fighter slots are incredibly competitive, as I'm sure you are aware at this point. It took me 3 interviews (4 applications, one time in the middle they didnt invite me to interview) with the same unit (tankers) before I got hired. I had been applying to another local unit for a year or so prior to that with no luck scoring an interview. So, it can take a while. But you cant let that drag you down. The unit that hired me gave me feedback that they wanted to see ###, ###, and ### for me to be really competitive. So I worked at those and it it helped in the end. Like its been mentioned before, on paper it seems like you check the boxes. So you just gotta show them you want it. In the interviews, just be yourself. Dont give them the  answer you think they want to hear. Give them your honest answer to any question asked.  Be prepared, but dont be scripted. Most important, just be a good dude. The Guard hiring process is all about being that wingman, or co-pilot that someone wants to fly with for the next 20 years. During the interview weekends, talk to EVERYONE you can in the squadron. Everyone. They all have a say in who gets hired. While the board has the final verdict, you want to make sure as many people as you can have met you. That was the hard part for me, being a pretty reserved dude. Ask questions, sit in on anything they will let you, find out about the people there. Ask them military related stuff, but also about non military stuff. One guy and I shot the shit about hunting property and whatnot for a half hour. 

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1 hour ago, Catman said:

Where do you see the ego coming into play?

I didn’t, just making a general statement as a reminder when doing introspection. 100% of us let ego get in the way of seeing clearly at times.

reattack your cover letter...that’s first impression along side scores. If I read a boring cover letter or one that is ridiculously over the top (e.g. it says what the author thinks I want to read vs. truth from the heart), it goes straight to the “meh” pile. Also visit as much as you can afford to; face time goes a long way. 

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On 5/18/2020 at 11:13 AM, ryleypav said:

Getting frustrated with the process is part of the process. Its not a "one and done" deal for most people, especially if you're going fighters. ANG fighter slots are incredibly competitive, as I'm sure you are aware at this point. It took me 3 interviews (4 applications, one time in the middle they didnt invite me to interview) with the same unit (tankers) before I got hired. I had been applying to another local unit for a year or so prior to that with no luck scoring an interview. So, it can take a while. But you cant let that drag you down. The unit that hired me gave me feedback that they wanted to see ###, ###, and ### for me to be really competitive. So I worked at those and it it helped in the end. Like its been mentioned before, on paper it seems like you check the boxes. So you just gotta show them you want it. In the interviews, just be yourself. Dont give them the  answer you think they want to hear. Give them your honest answer to any question asked.  Be prepared, but dont be scripted. Most important, just be a good dude. The Guard hiring process is all about being that wingman, or co-pilot that someone wants to fly with for the next 20 years. During the interview weekends, talk to EVERYONE you can in the squadron. Everyone. They all have a say in who gets hired. While the board has the final verdict, you want to make sure as many people as you can have met you. That was the hard part for me, being a pretty reserved dude. Ask questions, sit in on anything they will let you, find out about the people there. Ask them military related stuff, but also about non military stuff. One guy and I shot the shit about hunting property and whatnot for a half hour. 

I appreciate it! Yeah I understand frustration is part of the process, I'm just being open about it. In my first year of applying, I made so many great changes to my application package as I became more and more competitive, and now I'm sort of at a wall when it comes to my package (aside from the cover letter, there's always work to be done there). My expectation was that I would be interviewing all the time at this point, so my hopes got higher than they should have. And I'll definitely work on talking to more people. I've gotten more comfortable in conversations and have been able to have some really fun ones, but I definitely feel myself resisting talking to the next person and the next.

On 5/18/2020 at 11:55 AM, brabus said:

I didn’t, just making a general statement as a reminder when doing introspection. 100% of us let ego get in the way of seeing clearly at times.

reattack your cover letter...that’s first impression along side scores. If I read a boring cover letter or one that is ridiculously over the top (e.g. it says what the author thinks I want to read vs. truth from the heart), it goes straight to the “meh” pile. Also visit as much as you can afford to; face time goes a long way. 

I appreciate it!

MO ANG's 180th Airlift and NY ANG's 102nd Rescue Squadrons have me interviewing in the nearish and near future respectively. 

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