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Sawtooth12

About to graduate UPT, looking for dream sheet advice

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Haven’t posted on here before, but I’m just looking for some advice. I’m dropping in a few weeks and dream sheets are due in a couple weeks. I’m graduating out of Sheppard and have been an average T-38 student. My mass score etc. is roughly middle of the pack, which in the current environment means I could be assigned a wide range of stuff. 
Some background, I’m married, planning on having kids in the next couple yrs, and I’ve also had some long term family challenges arise with my parents/siblings. I even had to go home on emergency leave to take care of some stuff with my folks. 
Long story short, I’m curious what some of the more experienced ppl on here might think are better assignments for 1). Family life/time at home/stability and 2). The potential for palace front/chase at the 6-7 yr mark (though I know this is rare). I’m an AD guy, I love flying, and honestly could really be excited about anything from an F-16 to a B-52 to a C-130 if I feel like it will give me at least a decent amount of time and stability for family and/or a higher potential for a guard/reserve option in a few yrs. Please let me know if you have any wisdom in these areas, or have seen guys deal with this kind of perspective who may have 2 cents to share. Thanks!! 

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 Current environment you aren’t going to palace chase  until the last 6 or so months of your commitment. Who knows in 6-10 years from now. Family life is tough all around. Everyone deploys, goes TDY, etc. MAF seems to take the cake with being gone the most, including 130s. I’m a AFSOC guy, we are gone a decent amount as well. I’m not to knowledgeable on current fighter schedules but I’m going to assume they are also gone a bunch. If being at home is really that important FAIP is probably the best option. 
 

I would just put what mission set/air frame type appeals to you the most. The rest will all work out. Just because a community has a good or bad schedule now doesn’t mean that won’t change. Especially so with recent developments and geo political activities. 

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Based on what you’re saying is important, I’d recommend you SIE from UPT (kind of kidding). The only thing that will allow you the stability to be home a lot and focus on your family is FAIP or RPA. Everything else from the traditional T-38 track or T-1 track is gone a bunch. It’ll vary of course, but you’ll be away from home a good amount in whatever you fly. Even if you aren’t going to CENTCOM, you’ll be away from home a good bit (example here is PACAF Eagles and even they go to CENTCOM some). 
 

Abandon the dreams of getting several years off of ADSC for Palace Chase. The longest I’ve seen is 9 months and that guy was basically kicked out because of his actions and being a piece of crap. Most dudes get 6 months. I’ve heard of up to a year, but that’s super rare. Who knows what it’ll look like in 6-7 years though, but temper your expectations.

For dreamsheet stuff, find a mission you would like and pick jets that do that. For example, if you want to do CAS and nothing else, don’t put Raptors first because the jet looks cool. 
 

And unsolicited family advice: Plenty of guys have great family lives and adventures with spouses/kids in all assignments. It truly is a quality over quantity thing and being gone a lot makes you appreciate the time you actually have. Plus, if you pick purely based on your spouses desires for an assignment you don’t really want, that’s a recipe for disaster/resentment.

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25 minutes ago, di1630 said:

Here ya go if I had to choose today:
F-35
F-22
F-15E
A-10
F-16
F-15C
T-38 FAIP
T-6 FAIP
B-1
B-52
C-17
KC-46
C-130
KC-135
E-3
RPA



Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app

Where would you put the B-2?

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Where would you put the B-2?

Probably right above the B-1. Not trying to hurt feelings. Many of the jets near the bottom I’d love to fly, that’s just my current rack and stack.


Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app

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6 hours ago, Sawtooth12 said:

Haven’t posted on here before, but I’m just looking for some advice. I’m dropping in a few weeks and dream sheets are due in a couple weeks. I’m graduating out of Sheppard and have been an average T-38 student. My mass score etc. is roughly middle of the pack, which in the current environment means I could be assigned a wide range of stuff. 
Some background, I’m married, planning on having kids in the next couple yrs, and I’ve also had some long term family challenges arise with my parents/siblings. I even had to go home on emergency leave to take care of some stuff with my folks. 
Long story short, I’m curious what some of the more experienced ppl on here might think are better assignments for 1). Family life/time at home/stability and 2). The potential for palace front/chase at the 6-7 yr mark (though I know this is rare). I’m an AD guy, I love flying, and honestly could really be excited about anything from an F-16 to a B-52 to a C-130 if I feel like it will give me at least a decent amount of time and stability for family and/or a higher potential for a guard/reserve option in a few yrs. Please let me know if you have any wisdom in these areas, or have seen guys deal with this kind of perspective who may have 2 cents to share. Thanks!! 

Can't speak to all the communities but a lot is luck and timing... And if you're able to make yourself eligible for the right opportunities. In the Viper, you'll be gone a lot for your ops assignment, either tdy or deployments. After that, family life will depend on your assignment and if you have short tour credit. I made it through 10 years in the Viper never being on a short tour, although I did spend 5 months at Kunsan. My last 2 assignments were great for the fam, Luke and Nellis.

Life is the guard is great so whatever you pick, make sure it's an airframe that has options in the guard/res in areas you're happy to live. Flying raptors or fat Amy would be cool but have limited options outside AD.  Don't plan on getting a TX into another jet, you have no idea what the landscape will look like in 10 years.

I take the approach that if I HAVE to get 1 divorce in my life time, the USAF will definitely be the winner of that one. Take care of your family first. When it comes down to it, the big Air Force really doesn't care about you (although hopefully you'll have Commanders that do).

 

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Just bid whatever gets you senior the fastest.

Just kidding. Honestly the best deal out there is OCONUS heavy pilot. Easiest pace of life with enough time to enjoy the scenery, make some friends for life, and travel around without being gone too much. Then head to a DV/special airlift/UPT gig for a few years, and then finish it off as an ADO in an active-associate unit or something. Avoid CONUS AMC like it's Coronavirus.

That would be like pitching an AFPC no-hitter. You get to do some really nice flying, have a once in a lifetime experience raising kids in another country, see a lot of cool shit, have tons of time off to spend with the family, and have the opportunity to make a ton of contacts at the airlines and the ARC. I mean if you want to do pointy nose stuff in a vault, I guess that's cool too, just make sure you're really into it or else it's gonna be a grind.

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Pick the mission you want to do and put no more thought into it. Hopefully you’ve gleaned from above that EVERYONE is on the road, has long days, works weekends, and does it all with varying levels of outside-work issues. I have friends who thought heavies would be the jam for reasons you stated, they hated it. Other friends same story, but with fighters. LL for those guys: pick the mission you’ll enjoy, not the one you think will have “better” QOL, time at home, least workload, etc.

If you can’t stomach that idea for the next 10 years, then in all seriousness stop now. I hope you don’t though, because I think you’re young and think your problems are more difficult to manage than reality; you’ll be fine and continue to figure life management out as you mature. That’s not meant to shit on you, we’ve all been through it in our young-mid 20s (I took e-leave in UPT also). 

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If you think you want to fly fighters, do it.  You can always ask for the door after your first assignment to be useful elsewhere (bet you won’t).

Plug for FAIPing: you’ll get three years to figure out where you want to spend the following time.  Will build decision room for you and your family. Opens some doors (U-2, B-2), makes other things more difficult.

QOL in the U-2 is extremely high with pretty good family life. You pay your dues early and often, but with short trips. There should be one or two U-2 guys kicking around SPS who can tell you about it and help you figure out if you’re the right fit for that job. 

 

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Talk to as many IPs from the different MWS’s as you can. I didn’t do that when I was in your shoes but wish I did prior to assignment night. I foolishly put down what I thought I wanted largely based on hearsay from others without talking to some of the IPs that flew some of the jets. 
 

That said, put down what you want, in the order you want...not what people ”think” you should put. That was my advice I always gave studs when I was their Flt/CC.  Anyone that tells you that you should rank things a specific way can **** off. It’s YOUR dreamsheet. 

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Don't know what awareness the guys mentioning F-35 first or as a "not many guard/reserve options exist" are smoking...

F-35 is going to be the new pred porn, on demand asset and you will be gone ALOT (outside of stability of an AETC job, i.e. Luke/Eglin) However the Guard/Reserve options will be out there, VT just got delivered the 500th production F-35, and Fort Worth, Madison, Bama will all have them before you get an option to Palace Chase

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It is high demand, but Hill (for example) is no worse now than it was in the Viper days. Shaw is still playing the constant rotation game. Point is in general, nobody has it better/worse than the rest when it comes to time away, work load, etc.

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To the OP, I was also an average T-38 stud who tracked C-130s, disappointed at assignment night but has since loved it!  Current C-130 Weapons Officer and I’ll tell you right now, great things on the horizon for us.  It is an awesome airplane; we get to call ourselves MAF so of course there are fancy hotels in Thailand and mai tais on the beach...we are also a tactical platform so we get to fly in the same environment as the pointy nose guys; of course we can’t shoot back but that’s okay.  Flying a formation low level in mountains to an airdrop or dirt LZ and dropping an entire Battalion of the 82nd airborne with supporting F-16s in escort are pretty cool ways to earn a living.  AFSOC is also an option if you are more mission focused but I hear Cannon AFB is paradise.. 

I strongly urge you to put C-130s but at the end of the day, any airplane you fly will become your second girlfriend/wife/husband/etc.  Good luck! 

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If you can get a fighter (preferable single seat), go there.  If you can't go fighters, find the closest ANG squadron to your home town (or wherever you want to live some day) and pick whatever plane they fly.  

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First of all, get palace chase out of your mind.  The likelihood is extremely low.  If you’re always focused on an early exit, you’ll continue to perform in the middle of the pack, and your options will reflect that.

In terms of family stuff, welcome to the party. I had my 4th kid during ENJJPT over a decade ago and my 5th during an AFSOC ops assignment. It doesn’t get easier, for you or the spouse.  That said, once you get to your squadron, you’ll find that most people are doing the family thing. It’s a big shift from upt. 

For airframe, there was some good advice above. I’ve been in many communities and fwiw, I like flying low and making explosions.  I also like hanging out with people who enjoy those things, because they make me better. Figure out what you want, and then do that. 

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Posted (edited)

This will be a wildly unpopular take but wide body ISR is pretty stable. You’ll have to fight to fly as a co but you can spend years a base, a career even. People often understandably hate this but it could potentially work for you. I would STRONGLY recommend talking to more than one person from this community (someone from the 38/tone side) before putting it anywhere near the top as perception and experiences vary wildly. Community has it’s problems but is nowhere near the night of the living dead it was sold to us as. Deployments every year and a half. Varies across the fleet but everything from new jets to new cockpits to boneyard are coming for us. Some 11R cross flow/UPT/PCS  opportunities with special duty programs mixed in. Highly limited mechanical xfers.

 

EDIT: sounds a lot like you should try and FAIP, my two cents 

 

 

Edited by 12xu2a3x3

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Posted (edited)

Not a T-38 guy but FWIW...

I was convinced I wanted F-16s when I started UPT and that desire evolved as I went through training.  With that loss of direction I reached out to the instructor corps for their experiences on both the CAF & MAF sides.  That was helpful but their knowledge was a little dated.  I ended up cold calling Sq/DOs  to get real time info on jet/mission life and that sealed the deal for me.  Everyone I reached out to was very helpful so don't self restrict your search.  In the end, everyone in my UPT class ended up liking the jet/mission they got...even the 135 guys/gals. There are some cross flow opportunities that may open up later in your career if you really want a change of pace.   

Good Luck!

Edited by USAF Pilot

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Posted (edited)

Everyone is going to give you their story and the stories of guys they knew, but those stories may or may not have anything to do with what you experience. Even within MDS's there are drastically different experiences all depending on luck and timing. I know guys who deployed every 1-2 years in the Viper and others who never deployed (Many went to Korea; some didn't.). Ops tempos change. Bases change. Leadership changes. It's a real crap shoot. 

My personal observations: Heavy guys are gone more than fighters. Deployments for the F-16 are decreasing with the increased F-35 deployments. Strike Eagles seem to be gone all the time. F-15Cs and F-22s probably have the best ops tempo right now. Bombers are still doing 6 month rotations to Guam and occasionally going to Diego Garcia. 

It's only for a few years anyways. If you get burned out on your first tour, you can always put in for a white jet assignment (recommend IFF before UPT). Later on in your career, you'll start going to school or a staff tour. 

While you and your wife are still childless, I would go overseas and enjoy traveling. 

Edited by Seriously

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20 hours ago, Seriously said:

While you and your wife are still childless, I would go overseas and enjoy traveling. 

This.  

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On 3/7/2020 at 7:35 AM, USAF Pilot said:

I ended up cold calling Sq/DOs  to get real time info on jet/mission life ...

You were wise beyond your years.  

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