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Hi all, I've been lurking for a long time but this is my first post. I'm a non-prior civilian, currently working on a package for an AD OTS pilot slot. My package has some really strong components, but there are also a few weaknesses. I haven't taken the TBAS yet, as I need a recruiter's endorsement to get access to the base near me where they offer the test, and recruiters are slow to respond to inquiries (I know this is normal).

My main question is whether the positive aspects of the package outweigh the negatives enough to make me a competitive applicant to ANG fighter squadrons. I think I have a good shot at the AD OTS slot, but I'm also considering the guard.


  • 99/99/99/99/99 AFOQT
  • 5 years of professional leadership experience at a company that I founded with 2 partners
  • Engineering degree from a highly-ranked university, 3.6 GPA


  • Limited LOR potential- I'm not close with any military members or veterans. My best LOR options are my business partners and close acquaintances who can vouch for my work ethic, leadership ability, and grace under pressure.
  • I turn 27 in a few months
  • No flight hours (I'm working on this one!)
  • Experimented with marijuana several years ago (I used it ~5 times)
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Scores are obviously great; work on the flying part ASAP, even if it means taking out a loan to pay for it.  If you can add a PPL to your app (or at least show you have X hours and expect to finish your PPL on Y date) and write a good cover letter, I think you will likely get some interviews.  To the MJ part - when asked the question about "have you ever...," the response is "yes (and here's what I learned from that mistake, which made me a better xyz...)" not "yes, I did 5 times."  There's a subtle, but important difference in those answers.

In addition to that, seek out potential squadrons and go for some visits if  you can afford to.  Even 1 visit on a drill weekend before the hiring board weekend can make a big difference.

Also at your age, I suggest you cast a wide net and go with whoever offers you a UPT slot first.  Don't limit yourself to only a couple squadrons.  Fighters are great, but consider non-fighters as well...I am biased and will tell you fighters are where it's at, but flying just about anything is awesome in its own way and way better than not flying anything.


Edited by brabus
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@brabus has solid advice. Just wanted to tack on you could certainly try for an Unsponsored slot, as well, which will get you accepted to OTS/UPT program without having to get picked up by a squadron initially. After you have that slot, some squadrons (probably only heavies; not fighters) will be cold calling you to come interview, instead of the other way around. If you're set on fighters, then you'll still have to do legwork and get your interviews on your own, but it's certainly a way to get yourself in the door without getting picked up. 

As for the TBAS, do a little research on where you can do it in your area, as there might be an option besides a base. I took my AFOQT and TBAS at an ROTC detachment at a local college, which didn't require any work from the recruiter/clearance. Hell, I was able to book both online and just showed up at the time I booked.

Your scores are absolutely killer, so work on those flight hours (some units want you to at least have soloed) to bump up your TBAS.

Definitely make contact with hiring PoCs and other pilots in the squadrons you're interested in. Talk to them about flying, life in the squadron, missions, etc. to make sure that fits what you're looking for. They'll also get to know you in these convos, so it'll help a lot with them knowing your name when it comes time to sending out interview invites. 

Lastly, put together a solid, professional-looking packet that you're sending out to squadrons. It's your sales brochure, so make it look good. 

Good luck! You've got a pretty solid chance of getting picked up!

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Thanks so much to both of you! This is great feedback/advice, exactly what I was hoping for. I've always thought I would go AD over everything, but lately I've been hearing the siren song of the Guard so this gives me some hope that I may be able to go that route.

I'm definitely not a fighters-only guy (I'm looking to serve first, fly second), but I think if I didn't get into an ANG fighter squadron, I'd rather subject myself to the AD lotto.

My priorities are to get the TBAS done and then get some flying hours. Thanks again!

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