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Staying Beyond 20/Taking IDE


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(Probably more of a vent than looking for solid advice from the green screen) So here I sit into my 21st year of service without any ADSCs, a position i was planning to retire from prior to COVID. Now i have been given an unexpected opportunity to attend ASAM for IDE in my third look.
 
So now I’m super torn. On one hand, I know it comes with basically comes with a service commitment to 2025, 1-2 years of staff and 3 PCSs within 3 years. It also would give me a Masters in Operational Mgmt. It’s something I always wanted in life, to make Lt Col and hopefully become a commander. It also provides a ton of long term financial stability for my family.
 
On the other hand the airlines will start hiring at some point. I have heard different things from different people but to get in on the leading edge of the next hiring wave would be great. The extra seniority could provide more in the long run than the added money in the retirement difference. Then again that’s assuming a dude with a ton of single engine time and very little ME PIC would even get picked up on the leading edge.
 
So now I sit here, being offered a career I joined for, always was shooting for but had given up on, and the the alternative of just chilling hoping the airlines start to hire again (along with hundreds of other military pilots).
 
I know it’s a great problem to have in a way but it’s still a tough decision to make. It was so much easier when the choice seemingly was made for me.
 
Thoughts?


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CLASSIC You clearly aren’t going anywhere, just trying to get others to justify your decision - Stick around as long as you can on the govt teat until they no longer want you, and at that point, 

Well you're right man, it's a good problem to have; and while optimism for the airlines is great, I think IDE offers you more security and promotion potential. Just reading your post, I feel like you

I haven't posted in a while, but this thread got my attention.   Define "many", please.  I can't think of a single current sitting CC in the AD Herk community that didn't do residence IDE.  I kno

Well you're right man, it's a good problem to have; and while optimism for the airlines is great, I think IDE offers you more security and promotion potential. Just reading your post, I feel like you already know what you want to do. Don't follow the crowd man. Make your own path. 

 

Edited by FLEA
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How much have you talked to your family about it? Are they good with 3 more moves? Are they okay with potentially seeing you even less than before?  There are other things you can be doing while you wait for the airlines. Remember to add your pension to any job you take outside the air force. If you stay in, you're essentially giving that up. 

On the other hand, you sound like a pretty good dude and we could use more commanders like that. Staff is hit or miss. I have had staff jobs I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy and jobs that were great deals.

I think it comes down to the impact on your family. Both are good options - good luck!

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My family is completely supportive either way. My wife keeps telling me I’m stupid for not just accepting what I know I’m going to do. My best friend flies for SWA and tells me I’m dumb if I take the slot, guess I’m damned with way.

Fam would probably stay in place in Florida during school as NJ during covid seems to suck. Not to mention it seems like there is quite a bit of travel for ASAM but that could be different with covid as well. I know the current class had a good portion of their travel canx’d. Also, an AFIT masters program in ~11 months seems pretty taxing on time.

Financially I am probably diversified more than the majority of people and am continuing to expand. (Anyone got some dogecoin?) (Anyone have the scoop on the AvB?)

I’m recently off a short tour so I did have the luxury of spending about 18 months away from my fam a few years back which makes me not want to do it again but it should limited that type of thrash assignment from occurring again.

Probably one of the big issues I have with where I sit is I’m a mobility guy who has spent 2/3rds of my career in AETC. With that, I really don’t want to drag my kids back to a UPT base after staff, which I feel is a very likely option, because the schools all seem to be subpar.

I have told a couple of my bro’s and they all tell me that I’m the type of person the AF needs to stick around. That scares me when I look at a mentor of mine who took command about a year ago and it has worn him out. He’s the same type of person that I am. He looks tired and defeated.


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BODE,

First, thanks for 20 years of service to our nation.  Solid advice being presented so far and as mentioned your first stop should be a sit down with your family.  Being a commander was always a goal for me and I am humbled I got the chance and only you can answer if the chance at command is worth giving up potential seniority and other freedoms.  If you stay and are able to get command you may be really lucky and have the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, you can not place a value on that experience.  

I am retired but not an airline pilot, however from the numbers I've seen you will have no problems getting on with an airline once the gates open back up.  There is of course risk on that side but the long-term financial reward is very appealing.  I would advise you take a long-view approach.  Being a commander is something you can't go back and get once you get out.  For your own self worth, does the opportunity for command experience outweigh the potential financial stability? 

If you are looking to hedge your bets do you have the opportunity of turning down IDE and remaining on active duty?  I know some will say that is the kiss of death but I can assure you it is not, it truly is situation dependent.  I know several folks who turned down IDE and still became squadron commanders, Lt Col's and in one case a BPZ O-6 Group Commander.

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1 hour ago, ClearedHot said:

If you are looking to hedge your bets do you have the opportunity of turning down IDE and remaining on active duty?  I know some will say that is the kiss of death but I can assure you it is not, it truly is situation dependent.  I know several folks who turned down IDE and still became squadron commanders, Lt Col's and in one case a BPZ O-6 Group Commander.

A really good discussion there on whether IDE makes you competitive for command, or if people who get selected for IDE generally tend to be high performers who are going to find and get vectored into the right paths either way. 

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1 hour ago, Bode said:

My family is completely supportive either way. My wife keeps telling me I’m stupid for not just accepting what I know I’m going to do. My best friend flies for SWA and tells me I’m dumb if I take the slot, guess I’m damned with way.

Fam would probably stay in place in Florida during school as NJ during covid seems to suck. Not to mention it seems like there is quite a bit of travel for ASAM but that could be different with covid as well. I know the current class had a good portion of their travel canx’d. Also, an AFIT masters program in ~11 months seems pretty taxing on time.

Financially I am probably diversified more than the majority of people and am continuing to expand. (Anyone got some dogecoin?) (Anyone have the scoop on the AvB?)

I’m recently off a short tour so I did have the luxury of spending about 18 months away from my fam a few years back which makes me not want to do it again but it should limited that type of thrash assignment from occurring again.

Probably one of the big issues I have with where I sit is I’m a mobility guy who has spent 2/3rds of my career in AETC. With that, I really don’t want to drag my kids back to a UPT base after staff, which I feel is a very likely option, because the schools all seem to be subpar.

I have told a couple of my bro’s and they all tell me that I’m the type of person the AF needs to stick around. That scares me when I look at a mentor of mine who took command about a year ago and it has worn him out. He’s the same type of person that I am. He looks tired and defeated.


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Regarding the AvB the current discussion is to expect some disappointment this year. General Wells posted a lot of leading comms on Facebook to this point. The fact is, the USAF needs to justify the bonus to congress, and that justification is difficult when retention is at the highest its been since 9/11. It may only be temporary because of COVID, but its there. If I had to speculate, I believe they will still offer the bonus but in either a reduced amount (back to 25K and maybe even 20K for some fields) or they will only offer the 5+ year options. 

Regarding your AMC options, do you have any former AMC commanders you are comfortable enough to reach out to and ask if you're on their bar napkin? 

Edited by FLEA
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Can you do IDE, do the staff tour, and decline any additional ADSC for the next PCS and retire in 3-4 years?

I can but being that my primary post retirement plan is airlines I will be 3 years out of an aircraft (most likely).


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Regarding the AvB the current discussion is to expect some disappointment this year. General Wells posted a lot of leading comms on Facebook to this point. The fact is, the USAF needs to justify the bonus to congress, and that justification is difficult when retention is at the highest its been since 9/11. It may only be temporary because of COVID, but its there. If I had to speculate, I believe they will still offer the bonus but in either a reduced amount (back to 25K and maybe even 20K for some fields) or they will only offer the 5+ year options. 
Regarding your AMC options, do you have any former AMC commanders you are comfortable enough to reach out to and ask if you're on their bar napkin? 

None of my CCs from my AMC time are still in. I’ve had two since I left to AETC, one got fired and the other is just finishing up his AETC sq command, he’s just going to fly into retirement. So that’s a no go overall.


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Bode, thanks for twenty plus years of service. It means something if your people are telling you to stay in. You won’t change the Air Force but you’ll probably change a few lives, as corny as that may sound.

It seems you’re trying to make a decision between long term financial security for your family and getting hired by the airlines. One option exists, the other frankly doesn’t, and won’t for a while. That recovery target has been kicked down the road repeatedly, and without CARES you’d see enormous furlough numbers. What if nobody hires for 8 years? That could easily happen.

Commuting to NJ would be a challenge, but so would commuting to your airline job. 

You noted the PCS frequency and potential UPT base moves. Consider how much control you’d have as an airline pilot. It’s actually very little. When the furlough comes, you have basically zero say in the matter. And, you may only be trading gripes about AF management for gripes about airline management, and feeling beat down by either one. The grass is always greener.

It’s definitely a good problem to have. Best of luck making your decision!

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Bode, thanks for twenty plus years of service. It means something if your people are telling you to stay in. You won’t change the Air Force but you’ll probably change a few lives, as corny as that may sound.
It seems you’re trying to make a decision between long term financial security for your family and getting hired by the airlines. One option exists, the other frankly doesn’t, and won’t for a while. That recovery target has been kicked down the road repeatedly, and without CARES you’d see enormous furlough numbers. What if nobody hires for 8 years? That could easily happen.
Commuting to NJ would be a challenge, but so would commuting to your airline job. 
You noted the PCS frequency and potential UPT base moves. Consider how much control you’d have as an airline pilot. It’s actually very little. When the furlough comes, you have basically zero say in the matter. And, you may only be trading gripes about AF management for gripes about airline management, and feeling beat down by either one. The grass is always greener.
It’s definitely a good problem to have. Best of luck making your decision!

Well put. Thanks for the words.


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Staying in and not taking the ide would allow you time to make the decision, be less moves for the fam and allow time for the airlines to start hiring again without taking on an ADSC (hopefully). 

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One thing to think about if the airlines are your primary retirement plan is your aircraft currency.  If you are currently flying and have the potential to stay flying without IDE, that would set you up best for the airlines.  If you accept IDE and get a non-flying staff job, your recency in any aircraft will be pretty limited.  Obviously if you get a flying command or a flying staff, that's another thing entirely.  Most of the majors want to see current aircraft hours, so if there is a potential that the IDE could take you out of the jet for the rest of your career (or even the last year of your career), that could significantly affect your airline plans.  I know that United has a filter on their apps where they won't even see your app if you have less than 100 hours in the past year.  You could be the perfect applicant other than recency and you'll never get the invite.  Not trying to talk you out of staying in, just wanted to make sure you were thinking about how your app will look in 4 years if the airlines is your plan.  On the other hand, your IDE and potential staff tour could open up some non-airline retirement jobs as well.

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I actually love teaching in UPT, the amount impact to the students is amazing. The problem I have is personal in the fact school systems around UPT bases are not that good. I would go back to Laughlin without question if the school system wasn’t a bottom tier in the state. Add to it, there’s not a lot of places I can commute from either and it’s a huge deterrent. Same goes for Columbus and Vance from what I hear. (I could be wrong, more RUMINT then direct knowledge)


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12 minutes ago, Bode said:

I actually love teaching in UPT, the amount impact to the students is amazing. The problem I have is personal in the fact school systems around UPT bases are not that good. I would go back to Laughlin without question if the school system wasn’t a bottom tier in the state. Add to it, there’s not a lot of places I can commute from either and it’s a huge deterrent. Same goes for Columbus and Vance from what I hear. (I could be wrong, more RUMINT then direct knowledge)


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Something to consider man, Randolph and a lot of FTUs are AETC. They may not send you to a UPT base to command. Also, not much better, but how do you feel about non flying AETC command like BMT, SOS or something of that nature. Less flying oppurtunity sure, but, if you love the idea of molding lives you may have far more influence there than elsewhere. 

 

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I actually love teaching in UPT, the amount impact to the students is amazing. The problem I have is personal in the fact school systems around UPT bases are not that good. I would go back to Laughlin without question if the school system wasn’t a bottom tier in the state. Add to it, there’s not a lot of places I can commute from either and it’s a huge deterrent. Same goes for Columbus and Vance from what I hear. (I could be wrong, more RUMINT then direct knowledge)


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Congrats on the school offer, it's great to have choices.

Don't forget about Pensacola for Nav school, or NAS Whiting (not 100% sure if they still have an AF command position or there anymore). There's also PIT in San Antonio, though it's a different kind of student...But at least in a real city which should give you more choices for schools and a bigger airport to commute from if needed. Granted, that's only a handful of spots in the trainer world that are closer to civilization.

It might be worth talking to some O-6s you may know about command (I realize your time is probably limited to accept or decline school). One thing my boss told last time I sat down with him to discuss career options/paths is that you'll have to make a choice going into the command boards-do you want to command regardless of location/job, or do you have certain commands in mind? Neither is wrong, but it's something to keep in mind as you make your decision with your family. The plus side is you'll be eligible to compete on both the AMC (core specialty) and AETC boards, so you'll have more chances to make command, especially if you make both lists and want to go back to AETC.

I'm not sure if airlines also consider category/class in your flight recency, but you could also look into flying with CAP to keep flying and accruing hours if you don't want to pay to fly out of pocket should you end up somewhere non flying.

Best of luck in your decision!
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Something to consider man, Randolph and a lot of FTUs are AETC. They may not send you to a UPT base to command. Also, not much better, but how do you feel about non flying AETC command like BMT, SOS or something of that nature. Less flying oppurtunity sure, but, if you love the idea of molding lives you may have far more influence there than elsewhere. 
 

If non-flying I would prefer something more along the lines of an MSAS, AMS, or CRS. I do understand where you are going and completely understand there are other options.
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Congrats on the school offer, it's great to have choices.

Don't forget about Pensacola for Nav school, or NAS Whiting (not 100% sure if they still have an AF command position or there anymore). There's also PIT in San Antonio, though it's a different kind of student...But at least in a real city which should give you more choices for schools and a bigger airport to commute from if needed. Granted, that's only a handful of spots in the trainer world that are closer to civilization.

It might be worth talking to some O-6s you may know about command (I realize your time is probably limited to accept or decline school). One thing my boss told last time I sat down with him to discuss career options/paths is that you'll have to make a choice going into the command boards-do you want to command regardless of location/job, or do you have certain commands in mind? Neither is wrong, but it's something to keep in mind as you make your decision with your family. The plus side is you'll be eligible to compete on both the AMC (core specialty) and AETC boards, so you'll have more chances to make command, especially if you make both lists and want to go back to AETC.

I'm not sure if airlines also consider category/class in your flight recency, but you could also look into flying with CAP to keep flying and accruing hours if you don't want to pay to fly out of pocket should you end up somewhere non flying.

Best of luck in your decision!

I wish Pcola was an option but the only flying squadron commanded by a pilot is traditionally held by a CAF bubba. The last 5 were B52, B1, F15E, F15E, and B52. Don’t ask me how I know that.

I have reached out to a couple O-6s about what they think but the comms are just starting so nothing has came out of it yet.

As far as what I want for command I truly think it is dependent on how it works for my family. I’m more than willing to take something if the opportunity for my family is solid, mostly schools/sports at this point as my wife is retiring for the AF after 20 years as we speak. For her, she plans on being a mom for a few years and enjoying it.
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1 hour ago, Bode said:


If non-flying I would prefer something more along the lines of an MSAS, AMS, or CRS. I do understand where you are going and completely understand there are other options.

If that is on your radar, keep in mind that both the EC/EOS and CRW are at McGuire as well. That includes all of your air advisor, contingency response, AOC, and combat training positions, as well as the EC A-staff.  Many of those positions are API-6/8 slots too. A good friend graduated ASAM a couple years ago and then rolled right into AMCTES (also at WRI) and is about to pin on O-5. Granted, the flying in those attached positions is essentially quarterly if you don't fly the -10 or -17, but it is an option as well.

One aspect of ASAM that is not well known is that the EC commander (2 star) personally works your outplacement, in conjunction with the EOS commander (O-6). I know this is a bet on things aligning in the future, but you can and should be very frank with them on what is best for you and your family. Scott and Ramstein are the most common outplacements from ASAM, but with a DT co-chair directly working your follow-on, your probability of success is pretty high to get something  else more in line with your hopes/desires.

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10 minutes ago, jango220 said:

If that is on your radar, keep in mind that both the EC/EOS and CRW are at McGuire as well. That includes all of your air advisor, contingency response, AOC, and combat training positions, as well as the EC A-staff.  Many of those positions are API-6/8 slots too. A good friend graduated ASAM a couple years ago and then rolled right into AMCTES (also at WRI) and is about to pin on O-5. Granted, the flying in those attached positions is essentially quarterly if you don't fly the -10 or -17, but it is an option as well.

One aspect of ASAM that is not well known is that the EC commander (2 star) personally works your outplacement, in conjunction with the EOS commander (O-6). I know this is a bet on things aligning in the future, but you can and should be very frank with them on what is best for you and your family. Scott and Ramstein are the most common outplacements from ASAM, but with a DT co-chair directly working your follow-on, your probability of success is pretty high to get something  else more in line with your hopes/desires.

Just an update, ASAM no longer falls under the EOS, it reports direct to the Vice. And the AMC rated from the current class all outplaced to Scott, minus a HAF and a 365.

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13 minutes ago, MCO said:

Just an update, ASAM no longer falls under the EOS, it reports direct to the Vice. And the AMC rated from the current class all outplaced to Scott, minus a HAF and a 365.

Interesting. The realignment seems like a good change. Kind of interesting that the last class' outplacement was so Scott-heavy.

Bode, trying to do your follow-on at McGuire will come down to a roll of the bones. It has happened recently, but definitely YMMV and not a guarantee.

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How much say would you have in where you go for command? Ie, if you apply for AETC command, you take command of anything they give you, or can you say ‘I only want an FTU’, etc?

Similarly for command in AMC, what’s your ability to only take command of a flying squadron vice whatever else is out there?

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