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definitelymaybe

The longest of long shots...

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Posted (edited)

P: 71

N: 80

A: 54

V: 82

Q: 27

Major: Business

GPA: 2.97 (my last 4 semesters were a 3.3 average, but I know no one will care about that)

Non prior service. Extensive volunteer work with Veterans: job application and resume help, website builds for small business/organizations, nursing home volunteering

LORs: Air Force Captain, Senior level Coworker, Director at Volunteer Org, State Comptroller

Location: East Coast. Looking at Air Guard or active duty Air Force. I'm open minded.


I'm 36 years old, F. I've been wanting to serve my country for several years but life circumstances prevented me from taking on this commitment and responsibility. I know my Quant score is abysmal, and was really unexpected given how much I studied. Was told I could maybe get an age waiver if I wanted to apply for Nav and got accepted. Yes I plan on retaking the test in 5 months.

I'm generally going for non-rated positions, and really anything that will accept me. My background is in design technology, digital product and general program management (chief of staff type roles). I have extensive employment experience at one of the FAANG companies, so I would say that my career has so far been very successful from a growth and leadership perspective.

 

Edited by definitelymaybe

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It just depends what you want. You said you're applying for non-rated positions, is that because you don't think you have a shot for pilot or because you aren't very interested in becoming a pilot?

From everyone I've spoken to that has gone through UPT, it is not something to take on if you don't have a drive to become an aviator. It's too much work for someone who doesn't really want the job.

There are people that have gotten hired at your age. I think @FDNYOldGuy was exactly your age when he got hired, and that was before the age limit was raised to 33. So if you want it, don't give up.

 

Your scores aren't anything particularly special, but again, don't give up wihout even giving it a shot. Apply to every guard and reserve unit that has a board. It might take a while, but that is just part of the process. I think AD is cutting off age waivers at 35, but I don't know for sure. Just don't apply for a job you don't want.

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I think the most important thing is if you want it go for it. You can disqualify yourself or you can go for it and maybe have a shot. Only way to find out if they're going to say no is to give the hiring board a chance to say yes. Study up, retake the AFOQT, and apply for everything you want in the mean time. Send me a DM if want help studying

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Thanks all @N730 - I'd absolutely apply for aviator. Like I said my goal is to serve, I guess I just figured my Pilot score was not high enough. @LNGH I'm going to retake the exam in January and ask one of my more mathematically inclined friends to tutor me. 

I appreciate your feedback - I'm definitely pushing forward even though the odds are against me. Waiting on my last LOR to come through. 

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@definitelymaybe Also, have you taken the TBAS yet? If so what is your current PCSM and the 201+ PCSM?

People get hired with scores similar to yours, it might just be a little harder than if they were higher. Definitely start applying now. Maybe you get an interview with your current scores, maybe not. But there is no point in cutting yourself out of boards until you retake the test.

Worst case, you get all rejections and some valuable feedback for the rest of your packet. Nothing negative comes from it though.

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Haven't taken TBAS yet since I hadn't really considered applying for aviator position, due to my age. You all have encouraged me to try and pursue this anyway!

I'm also working on making some connections within the Air Guard to possibly help with my board reviews. I hear solid networking skills are extremely helpful if you're going civilian to officer route. 

I can pass all the PT stuff easily (though I admit I am not the fastest runner by a long shot) and I got lasik like 6 years ago so my vision is perfect. 

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I am no expert, but check out flying Helos in the army guard/reserves. They used to take people generally a little older. But I have heard that they do not have the best quality of life, so that may be worth looking into as well.

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If you want to join, I am sure they will find you something to do. I knew of a bro that was hired at 35 and started UPT at 36. If the unit likes you, they will back you up with age waivers... w/e else. Be sure its what you want. When I was at WP for my FC1, had another guy next to me age 37. Joining a reserve squadron to be a flight surgeon. He had already gone to med school and was making plenty of $$ in the medical field. Just wanted to give back. Had another bro from my Army days that got hired to go Apaches at age 35 as well. WO1. Didn't make it thru flight school. He could have finished but towards the end, he realized that flying helos is somewhat stressful and flat out quit. He was a banker before going to flight school and simply wanted to go back to stress free civilian life. Its cool to say your a pilot and what not, but sometimes, it will be a true love hate relationship. Nevertheless, if you really want it, pursue it. Make the squadrons say NO to you. There are over 200 ANG and Reserves squadrons in the US. All you need is someone to say yes to you.

Good Luck. Cheers

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another old dude here...you can make it happen if it's what you want. Like others have said, make the squadrons tell you know. Don't self eliminate before you even apply.

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@CharlieHotel47 this is good to know and I feel the same way as your friend - I am not in this for the cool points. I'm pursuing this because I believe in service and hard work and giving back. I have a really great job right now - lots of perks, high salary, laid back. Military is where I think I should be. Guess I just figured that out later than some others. 

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You can definitely make it, if you have the drive, can market yourself well, and a unit wants to help push the waiver on their end. I'm here at 37. What @N730 said, is right, though: if you don't want pilot very badly, it's a WHOLE LOT of work and, if you're not completely dedicated, the workload might deter you. And, 100% it is harder to do when you're older. I've got my wife and 1 year old kiddo here with me and juggling all of it is not easy; twice as hard if you're trying to compare yourself to kids in their early-mid 20s that are likely better at studying and don't have any other obligations that take study time. But, it's completely doable.

I was insanely lucky/put in a whole lot of hustle to get from hired to UPT (means 2 months of OTS and, in my case, a month of SERE in there, too) in less than a year. That's very quick and most of the time it takes closer to 2 years; especially if you get picked up by a Guard unit. Their timeline is quite a bit longer than Reserves, it seems.

Lastly, your Pilot/Nav scores are a bit on the low side. I had the same quant as yours, so they're not really gonna care about that (maybe break your chops a bit), but I had 89 Pilot and 91 Nav. You need that TBAS ASAP, too, and if you can get in the 80s or higher, you might be okay. 

All that said, time is not your friend and you need to start applying ASAP. Put together a packet, have folks on here look through it and offer input (I can try to take a look, too, but time is definitely not something I get much of these days in the thick of T6s), and start sending it out to units that have open hirings. Apply to every airframe you'd be willing to fly and be persistent. Fighters are probably too much of a long shot for you, but there might be some heavy units that'll give you a look. 

Bottom line is you never know until you try and you're never out until the last place tells you, "No." I still have quite a few moments where I laugh and can't believe I'm actually here. But, I put in a lot of work, marketed myself as best I could, and got lucky along the way. If I can, anyone can. So, get moving! Good luck!

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@FDNYOldGuy this is great advice, thank you. 

I'm actually lucky (or not, depending on what type of person you are), to have very few life commitments. I have a job that would allow me to potentially work in a different location if needed. I'm not married and I have no kids so I'm pretty free to roam wherever I want. I am in very good shape for my age - I weightlift 5-6 days per week, I drink socially maybe once a week though I admit I am not the fastest runner.

I will ask my recruiter about getting me in for TBAS and also will ask him to sign me up to retake the test as soon as I'm eligible. He informed me after he saw my scores that some recently selected pilots had lower scores than me in some areas. I just had not thought about anything rated, since I figured I was way too old and there was no point in applying. I would be more comfortable with heavies over fighters and am also very open to navigator as well. 

I will have 3 LORs ready by end of next week (waiting on a 4th one as well). just need to write my personal statement. My LORs are:

  • senior manager at my current employer
  • the comptroller of my home state
  • director of the recreation at the veterans nursing home where i volunteer (have done a ton of volunteer work with veterans over the years, as inspired by my father)
  • air guard captain (pilot - though he is taking his time in getting this together...ugh)

I am employed at one of the most sought after tech companies in the world and have a ton of management experience at other well-known companies. 

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I applaud you for what you're attempting to do and hope you fulfill your goals.

However. :D.

You're insane if you go AD and resign from your position at a FAANG Company. Don't even consider it and block the AD recruiter's number. The opportunity cost for a 20 something to choose the military route is a fraction of what the cost to successful 36 year old with a lucrative and desirable career would be.

Go Guard. I would suggest hanging on to your current career while enjoying the USERRA protections afforded to you while you serve. A Guard job can easily be turned into an full-time ADish career with you being significantly more in control of your life and having the ability later on to return to your career on your terms, or not at all.  Or, if you find military service isn't exactly what you envisioned, you can remain part time. Serving is rewarding, but completely giving the reigns to the current AD leadership after you have already established a successful life for yourself is not. If you hate your job, that's different. But it sounds like your resume is strong enough to give you options far beyond what the average new AF AD officer has.

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Posted (edited)

@torqued I really appreciate this insight and it looks like a couple of people agree with you based on upvotes 🙂

I think guard is the right direction to go in as well. While I don't hate my job (hate is a strong word, haha, I would say more like I have been consistently discouraged for a few years now) I do want the opportunity to do something meaningful.

I was also strongly told to NOT enlist at my age. My worry is that I will never get any type of commission and I will never get to fulfill my desire to serve the country. I realize there are other ways to give back. The vast majority of people have been extremely encouraging, based on my resume and LORs (with the exception of a few internet strangers to told said some choice things).

I'm working on getting signed up for TBAS immediately. I'll begin applying to non-rated positions as soon as I receive my last two LORs and write my personal statement (which is arguably my biggest struggle right now - finding the right words without skewing emotional)

Also I WISH recruiters were being annoying with phone calls 🙂 If anything I've been harassing my ANG recruiter (I already had one who was extremely rude to me. My new one is really polite) and it has been an absolute struggle to get anyone to help me network and get me signed up for various things. I'm not enlisting so I'm not on their radar at all. I understand that this is the reality of the situation and if I want anything done I have to do it myself (definitely not the corporate culture that I'm used to!)

Edited by definitelymaybe
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