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Everything posted by yervis

  1. Simple solution, but would have to come from someone with authority to make it happen. Two steps: 1. Cut the red-tape that currently surrounds pilot applicants. For instance, going through MEPS, just to go to the FC1 later on that is more stringent, but more professional/thorough/makes less mistakes than MEPS? Cut out MEPS. 2. Create an office (or whatever it would be called) that is a single point for the Air Force that has the authority and single objective to help out pilot applicants having issues and get them squared away with wherever their issue is hung up at. If the AF wants to claim they have a retention shortage, one solution is with helping applicants who are so dedicated they’ve put their lives on pause + spent thousands on personal physicians to try to prove they’re fit for the AF. These dedicated applicants would then go on into the AF knowing they were genuinely helped out and not stepped on by some illogical bureaucracy, which in the long run, may add one piece to their personal decision to stay in longer.
  2. I had my FC1 a few months ago. In the examination room with the physician he signed into the literal FAA website, the same one the physicians use at an AME's office outside of the military. FAA logo and everything. It wasn't some database linked to it, it was the same thing. I could see it plain as day on the screen three feet from me. I even had to update my FAA MedXpress prior to having the examination, and gave the physician the MedXpress confirmation code. Once I was done with the physician's examination, they handed me an FAA class 3 medical, the exact same paper I got when I started civilian flight training (which is needed to start UPT apparently), but their staff said I met class 1 standards and a month later I was told my FC1 was approved. I did ask if EVERYONE in my examination group got a class 3, and they said yes that is standard procedure. You may have an avenue here. I agree with you it's a ridiculous system. I had my fair share of roundabouts so far dealing with it. One option would be to go to your U.S. Representative's website and usually they have some sort of link for military academy requests. I would do that and explain your situation in there + calling their office(s) so you can get an email sent to them. Another option: Contact news media about it if they'll listen. Small newspapers/media outlets may run with it. Don't leave any reasonable option off the table.
  3. That is what I was told too by the unit that hired me.
  4. Exactly the sort of guidance I was looking for. Thanks @brabus.
  5. Reading the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet 3 for USERRA it states: ”USERRA establishes the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment rights to five years (the previous law provided four years of active duty, plus an additional year if it was for the convenience of the Government). There are important exceptions to the five-year limit, including initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, especially during a time of national emergency. USERRA clearly establishes that reemployment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of an individual's service as long as the basic eligibility criteria are met.” Would the weekend Unit Training Assemblies every month be considered “periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty”? What about the additional days a pilot would be at the unit working that do not fall on days that are a UTA? Are seasoning orders considered exempt from the 5 year time like all the initial training (OTS+UPT, et cetera) is?
  6. Congratulations dude. When did your board convene? Curious how long it may be to hear results when mine convenes.
  7. If they offer it and you're abiding by your employer's policy, I wouldn't think it would be unethical to use it every year. That's why they made it a thing. Add onto that you work for a corporation and not a small-business, and it makes the answer even more clear. Assure your supervisor/administrative people you enjoy working with them and wish to continue your career there once seasoning is over and that would help a lot.
  8. All staff were welcoming, polite, efficient, and knew how to do their jobs. Polar opposite of MEPS. There's a small café upstairs at the USAFSAM building that sells food/drink. Bring a warming layer as it's a typical cold medical building. One of the small waiting rooms had an older television with VHS and DVD players built-in, so if you want to bring movies for everyone to watch go ahead as the tv is for your use. Cell-phone reception is about non-existent everywhere in the building where you'll be authorized to be at, so take their recommendation to bring paper reading material seriously or download games/entertainment prior to arrival. If I could do it again I'd bring a travel pillow. You can bring a bag to carry your stuff. Bring a water bottle. The day prior to starting the examinations I went to what they called the "pass and ID" office to get my paper document I would present with my ID card (driver license) to Security Forces to get through their gates. I included an image of the building on this post (excuse the atrocious quality, allowable data limit is small). You might get an email sent to you from your sponsor (person at the USAFSAM building sponsoring you to get on base) or from the visitor center/pass & ID office with instructions on how to do this. Your sponsor can get you maps of the base. Wright-Patterson AFB is weird as there is an Area A and an Area B of the base, and neither area touches each other. They are split by publicly accessible roadway. So if you're lodging at the Wright Patterson Inn (on Area A), you'll leave Area A, then have to go to Area B and go through their Security Forces gate then proceed to the USAFSAM building. Then reverse the steps to go back to the Inn once the day is over. The Hope Hotel is what they use for your lodging if the Inn is too full. The Hope Hotel abuts Area A, but is actually publicly accessible and is not past the Area A Security Forces gate (but is right next to it). The Hope Hotel sucks; it's run down and broken. The best part though was getting woken up by Security Forces doing a high-risk vehicle-stop on a food delivery driver who drove past the gate into the base using the exit lane. That was cool to see. The wi-fi connectivity was spotty. I brought a PS4 and paid for hot-spot internet on my cell-phone so I had something to do while at the hotel for hours each day. I definitely recommend doing that. If you currently have an FAA pilot certificate, but have not used FAA MedXPress before, get set up with it prior to the visit. I had not used it before, so they asked me to get set up with it while I was there and they renewed my expired medical certificate while I was there. Was nice of them. They'll need the confirmation number. pass&id.jp2
  9. Something good happened. Nearly last minute for office workers, I got orders for the flight physical and the order document addresses travel reimbursement up to a certain amount of money, what is authorized for reimbursement, and how to get reimbursed (submit two forms) along with all receipts.
  10. It was refreshingly quick, but it doesn't matter since the entire process is so slow. For every quick 2 weeks, there's a 3~6 month wait for something else. 👎😑 Positive thinking though! I tried to get you and I answers for this, but I'm empty handed. I've called everyone I can reasonably think of. My Officer Accessions Recruiter, the unit's recruiter, the finance unit, and the squadron's point-of-contact for me. From what I gathered, it's all up to the finance unit for travel payment/reimbursement. The Airman in charge of the finance unit seemed squared away, but the civilian employees who run it full-time, not so much. Unfortunately the only workers who know how to potentially process travel payment/reimbursement for me are the civilian employees. I called last week, spoke with a civilian employee, and was told it was being worked on. Called today and was told I'd be called right back after the civilian employee went into a neighboring office to get more information. Was never called back, and after an hour I called again. I was told by someone else that the civilian employee that was previously speaking with me is no where to be found, gone, vanished. Still no call from said employee. Went to my squadron's point-of-contact after that who was as helpful as he could be. I'm going to pay for all this out of my own pocket, keep receipts/track mileage, and hope I get reimbursed at some point. As a heads up for you, I was told if for some reason the lodging at Wright-Patterson AFB is full when you arrive, get an unavailability letter from the staff at lodging so you can get reimbursed by your unit for paying out of pocket for a hotel off-base.
  11. Reserve side here. I’m trying to figure that out as well. If I find out something I’ll let you know.
  12. From MEPS to AF Surgeon General to approval was, if I remember right, 2 to 4 weeks.
  13. @DSG What's irritated you with the Air Force enough to the point you'd want to be pushed out?
  14. Here’s three document titles that may help you: - Air Force Instruction 48-123 - Air Force Medical Standards Directory - Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03 I found all of these using a search engine. Check the documents’ revision date for the most current you can find.
  15. @tkownedu5 I hear you on money being tight, it sucks right now. If you need to, grab a second job and find a way to make it happen. We're in odder times than usual. From my layman's perspective, it would still be in your best interest to get the certificate anyway to boost your chances. Apparently the number of applicants has been skyrocketing even before the pandemic. Bogidope's website has made it easier than before to see what units are hiring and how to contact their POCs directly. Also as I mentioned earlier with C.W. Lemoine, his videos are getting a lot of views. I had an interview last year and I think the squadron's POC said they had around 150 applicants for one slot. When I was hired in March of this year I think the squadron had around 250 applicants for what ended up being two slots. People are becoming very interested in applying! However, if all you can muster financially right now is the solo, then get 'r done! If you open the file with Adobe PDF Reader [not an internet browser], on the left side in Reader there is paperclip icon you can click for the attachments. Sure we can direct message or continue on this thread, either or. The forum is showing 235+ views for this thread so apparently there's quite a few interested lurkers in what we've all been saying. 😎
  16. @tkownedu5 In that case since you’ve got your bachelor’s degree with a good GPA, get your certificate done, because you’ll need it to stand out whether you’re going Active/Reserve/Guard. Especially in this high retention time the AF is experiencing. I included a PDF in this post to you. Open it only on a desktop in an Adobe PDF viewer so you can open the attachments. One of the attachments has the Officer Accessions Recruiter for your geographic location that I think only handles the aviation related officer accessions. Be advised, the PDF may have been revised since I got it in the spring of 2020. Regardless if you’re going Active/Reserve/Guard, start calling around to “local” Officer Accessions recruiters (even if they’re not listed on the PDF I sent) about scheduling to do the AFOQT and the TBAS examinations. I was able to do them about two years prior to me being sponsored at a unit. I called a recruiter a state away, exchanged information, and she got me on a local base to do the examinations. (Get your certificate done first before the TBAS because more flight hours you have equals a higher PCSM score, to a point). From the outside looking in, the whole process for the AF getting pilot applicants into the AF seems broken and inefficient as there’s no one really batting for you until you’re sponsored by a unit, which to my knowledge only happens in the Reserve/Guard where you then have a POC who knows what strings to pull and has access to do so. AFRC_UFT_Guidebook.pdf
  17. Thanks for the kind words. Inspiration to others is what I intended with that post. Also, C.W. Lemoine has exploded in popularity with his videos, if you haven't watched them, check him out. His saying of "Make them tell you no." rings true throughout this entire process. I was assigned to different Officer Accession recruiters for different reasons over the course of several months due to the various recruiters switching units, or being promoted (thus I was in limbo until their replacement arrived), or retiring (as in the one recruiter who was worthless at his job). I think I had to send the same documents multiple times to each recruiter because it's as if they didn't communicate with one another and send each other what I had already sent. I may be wrong since I don't know your life, but it sounds like you're doing it backwards, so I'll ask some questions to clear up my confusion. Do you have your bachelor's degree? Do you have a private pilot certificate? Also, what is this Air Force Advisor you're speaking of?
  18. I wanted to write this long post so you and others know they're not alone in experiencing these feelings and circumstances you expressed. I haven't been logging this information so it's all coming from memory. I was hired around March 2020. In about three months' time I think I was assigned around five Officer Accessions Recruiters. One of which was particularly worthless and admitted to me multiple times he didn't care about his job any longer because he was retiring in a few months. While I appreciated his honesty, it made the process suck even more than it already did because he was the current gatekeeper to my future. I think I had to talk with my sponsoring unit's point-of-contact about the recruiter because the apathy got that bad, which then made some gears start turning in my process. The pandemic shutdowns happened around this time and did not help. I then got another Officer Accessions Recruiter who seemed to both know his stuff and had the drive to get the process moving. While that ended up being true, he did tell me I was one of several hundred other applicants he was assigned. In June we sent the documents to MEPS requesting them to see me. A few weeks later, MEPS denied me, and said I had to get more records for something. I then scheduled a private physician appointment with the closest opening being several weeks out, spent several hundred dollars, then the medical record had ambiguous language due to the physician's software being used and by the fact the physician did not understand what I was requesting when I went there, despite me clearly stating it several times and him acknowledging it. About a week later, and with calling both his staff and the hospital which owns the clinic about ten times playing telephone tag, the physician got the record straightened out. My recruiter then sent another request for MEPS to see me. The recruiter then called me later on to say I had multiple things that needed serious waivers. I was shocked and asked him to check his information because I thought he had the wrong applicant. He checked his information (I think it took a few days for him to get back with me) and my belief ended up being true, he got me mixed up with one of the other several hundred applicants. That was a stressful few days. MEPS responded to the second request and said they wouldn't see me, so my recruiter had to request the Air Force Surgeon General's staff to override MEPS which forced MEPS to see me. I then went to MEPS and an ancient Chief Medical Officer misdiagnosed/disqualified me, and believed a separate prior temporary condition which hasn't affected for years was an issue and disqualified me for that too. I then scheduled another private physician appointment with the closest opening being several weeks out (sound familiar?), spent even more hundreds dollars, and thankfully got good medical records from the start this time, which showed the MEPS CMO was wrong. The new documentation was sent to MEPS by my recruiter, and I visited MEPS a second time in November 2020. While at MEPS for the second time, I thankfully was assigned a different physician to examine me (not the CMO). This physician asked me what I had done to improve my condition (which did not exist). I told him I was misdiagnosed last visit at MEPS by CMO so-and-so, the physician laughed and made comments about how the misdiagnoses happened frequently with that CMO. Oddly enough, that CMO was not there when I went the second time and it was actually a different CMO, who was much younger. Maybe the CMO I had the fist time was also experiencing retirement performance apathy and had since retired? Anyway, this physician then examined me and found me within parameters of what MEPS and the AF Surgeon General wanted. The physician scoffed at the idea that the separate prior temporary condition as being an issue and said it was no problem. He also told me he believed the misdiagnoses should be taken out of my file, but said he did not want to do so because it would be too much paperwork.... I didn't care because I fell within what MEPS and the AF SG wanted. I left MEPS literally fist-pumping in the parking lot (I don't care if it's cringe) and was then granted the official waiver by the AF Surgeon General this month. Now onto the wait for the initial flight class 1 physical examination. MEPS will try to railroad you at every step of the way. It's like getting your vehicle registered at your state government office on a Saturday. Go here, do this, you don't have something go away, now come back, your recruiter didn't send this or that, sit down now tell me... do you have records for that time you said you had the sniffles when you were four years old? No? Come back in two months when you do. Next! I had to articulate an on-the-fly request to the MEPS physicians to measure me a different way, sure enough they did and determined me to be within the regulations. I had to ask the eye examining worker to repeat themselves about six times because their thick Puerto Rican accent made it impossible for me to understand which line they wanted me to read letters from. MEPS is not recruit/officer training. What I mean by that is do NOT think down on yourself for thinking/acting about only YOURSELF at MEPS. Once you're at officer training, then you're a part of a team and what's best for the team comes first, but that team mentality does not exist at MEPS even though it seems like it due to how it's structured. There is zero practical customer service/satisfaction at MEPS and you'll be out the exit door with a disqualification faster than you even knew what they disqualified you for if you let them. Can you tell I'm jaded about MEPS? 😄 The whole waiting process is tough because I think, generally, those of us who have been sponsored by units have self initiative to take charge of our own affairs; which is probably one trait contributing to the fact we were sponsored in the first place. Having to leave this bureaucratic process in the hands of other people (recruiters, physicians, et cetera), who don't care about your future as much as you do, is tough. The wait and bureaucracy does, on its surface, make it feel as if the Air Force doesn't care about us. Except you have to take a step back and remember you've been chosen, among hundreds and thousands of other people to have the opportunity to pilot the coolest aircraft, in the best air force, of the best Nation on this planet, all paid for by the tax-payer. Pulling myself back and remembering that is something which keeps me motivated. Between almost every big step in my process has been about a month's wait. Sometimes less, but usually never shorter than two weeks. I've gotten used to it at this point, still heavily dislike it though. I'm expecting two years from hire date to OTS. Lean on your sponsoring unit's point-of-contact for help if you're legitimately stuck. Give requests to private physicians in writing if possible, they don't understand how MEPS works and what MEPS wants or doesn't want to see. Speak up for yourself at every step.
  19. @WannaFly2019 Thanks for sharing. Do you know what sets UPT 2.5 apart from UPT 2.0?
  20. @VigilanteNav My 2¢: open the PDF using Adobe software instead of an internet web browser so you can see the PDF's 21 attachments which offer more information.
  21. @EvilEagle Understood. Having to break up the days spent at the unit into chunks throughout the month is more than a fair trade-off for the ability to fly fighters [which is what I've been hired for]. I'm stoked to get the three years of full-time seasoning orders once out of the pipeline too [if the budget allows, as my unit described]. The Reserve side seemed exponentially better than Active Duty to begin with, but once I learned about the full-time seasoning orders to follow the pipeline I couldn't believe it. A real golden ticket opportunity.
  22. @nunya Correct; I was selected for a pilot slot. I'm expecting the typical 5 ~ 6 days a month at the unit [since that's what I have researched is normal for a new guy], but I'll be ready for however many days is expected of me if more are needed. @nunya @EvilEagle So the one trip a month to a typical unit in a consecutive stretch of 5 ~ 6 days is unrealistic? I imagine this is due to aircraft availability for maintenance [among other reasons]? Even if a consecutive stretch isn't going to happen, I'm already less than two hours from the unit so no worries on my part for driving. I'll shift gears and apply for a civilian career locally. @SocialD You bring a good point. The ol' adage of just because you can, doesn't mean you should. About the priority level, it definitely has been odd for me throughout this process to come to grips with how family centered the units I've visited and been hired by are. I've been working for years at earning a slot, thinking along the way they'd want your commitment to the unit prioritized above all else indefinitely. Once I started meeting pilots of these units in person I quickly realized how supportive they are of a family/civilian life, which is incredible considering they've already been gracious enough by selecting me.
  23. I’ve searched the threads, but can’t find quite what I’m looking for. My question is, what’s it like to live about nine hours or more from your unit? I got hired at a unit in one state, but have a great civilian career opportunity in another state. Also, the unit does allow out of state commuters. Serving the unit comes first and that’s the priority, but I’d like to have a loose idea of a “plan” for the coming civilian side of my life in the upcoming years after training. For those of you who have a far commute to the unit, or have knowledge of others who do, what’s it like? I’m talking about in the ways of weather, stress, work/life balance, finances. Is it not too bad for 20 years, or would it be miserable after awhile even if it’s once a month? Would commuting via airline and rental car be better, or would driving? Is commuting for civilian airline pilots easier because they can jumpseat compared to non-airline pilots who commute via airline?
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