F-16 ANG lifestyle

So you want to be a Viper driver, mechanic, loader, avionics technician...? Here you will learn that you will need education, hard work and steadfast dedication.
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twintwinsingle

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Unread post20 Sep 2011, 22:29

Both current as PILOTS in those jets, that is.
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tjodalv43

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Unread post20 Sep 2011, 22:43

discofishing wrote:
He's still flying part time with the 149th.


You mean controlling? All they have is drones now from what I've heard. I hope this isn't the case, though.

The 149th is the Viper unit in San Antonio. It's Houston's 147th that converted to Preds.
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03fomoco

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Unread post21 Sep 2011, 00:12

Responding to this:

@03fomoco, this is all really great input, I appreciate your response! My question to your response is this line, "If it is medicine, pursue that as a traditional guardsman and then I don't think you would have much issue being a flight surgeon." This is essentially my plan, that I first become a driver and after 4 years (starting with UPT, IFF, etc), I try to attend med school. Understandably this would be 'extremely difficult' to attend a normal civilian school, and it would fall into the realm of 'easier' to have the military sponsor my schooling in exchange for making me a flight surgeon - I'm just trying to see what's possible and plan accordingly.

Response / .02 cents...

There are five words in there that stick out "I first become a driver". That is not an easy feat these days. Getting a Fighter seat assigned to your **** is no easy thing these days. As I mentioned all of our recent selections have been guys with years of dedicated service to our unit or came to our unit with time in type. I think the path would be much easier in heavies but fighter slots are not a simple "Meet a recruiter, meet a board and off to UPT". You gotta look at all the good drivers with 500-thousands of hours whos units have lost their mission to a RPV or UAS or UAV or whatever they call that crap now to make is sound unmanned (140 people on the ground footprint is not unmanned). Anyways these guys are kicking down anyones door to drive a pointy thing again and do ya blame them. Had a good friend who is in UPT now and he got the call at home when he was selected an the commander asked him if he knew what he just won? He was all confused and the commander told him a lottery ticket from uncle sam worth 2 million dollars to send him to UPT. Training is not cheap and guard units in particular cannot afford anything anymore. I could actually see a board frowning upon someone who wanted to fly fighters and be a doctor. The goal is a "best fit" pilot for today and many years from now to train their replacement.
Last edited by 03fomoco on 21 Sep 2011, 23:37, edited 1 time in total.
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twintwinsingle

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Unread post21 Sep 2011, 02:04

Units, in my experience, don't want to hear anything about your future plans that is anything other than "be a full-timer, go to Weapons School, fly fighters for the next 20+ years". They're betting a ton of cash and a pilot training slot that they get once a year on you. If you've got follow-on plans it's that much more likely that your follow-on (and likely higher-paying) plan will someday soon take priority over flying fighters.

Realistically, ANG commanders know that not every guy they hire will be a full-timer forever. Some guys will end-up having outside jobs. Airlines, Lawyers, Doctors, School Teachers, Small Business Owners, etc.. They just want to ensure that the guy they are hiring is 1000% committed to flying fighters. If you haven't even started pilot training yet, and you know what you're going to do when you stop being full-time, it tends to scare some commanders. They'd rather give you the opportunity to chase your follow-on plan now (i.e. not hire you) and go after the guy that only wants to be a fighter pilot.
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chris1091

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Unread post21 Sep 2011, 06:31

I might be able to offer you some perspective about this plan. I spent two years in medical school before deciding to pursue an ANG pilot slot. This was less than a year ago.

If you are already 24, you will not be able to complete med school before attending UPT. Medical school admissions typically run from Aug-Dec for the next years Aug class. Have you taken the MCAT? Keep in mind many schools will only accept MCAT scores from within a few recent years. The MCAT knowledge base is vastly overwhelming when all the information is fresh, I couldn't imagine trying to relearn everything after "4 years of doing the fighter thing."

The only way I could see this plan working would be applying to med school after you are done playing fighter pilot. These are both full time jobs. Like you I was a bio undergrad, getting through the coursework without much difficulty. However, I will PROMISE you that medical school will not be this way. We had some incredibly intelligent kids get bounced out quick. One weekend of not studying and you may never catch up. Expect to put in 80-100 hours a week between classes, labs, and studying. Now that you're a seasoned, mission-ready fighter pilot, how do you plan on staying current? How would you handle deployments/TDY? Even after four years of medical school, don't forget about 3-5 more for your residency, where you will probably be even busier than in med school.

It may be time for you to do a gut-check and decide which way you want to go. Not trying to discourage you, but in my med school class of 112 students we only had 1 over the age of 30. The AAMC is predicting a severe shortage of physicians within the next 10-20 years, and medical schools have adjusted, selecting younger students that they anticipate will provide many years of service.

If you are only planning on putting in four years to a unit (including two away for training), I would just skip the pleasantries and head straight for medical school. There are a lot of UPT applicants out here (myself included) competing for slots, that plan on sticking around a unit for the 10+ years that we are committing to. I realize some of this may not be what you want to hear, but hopefully you can take something away from it. I never found a way to make the two careers work.
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moniker

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Unread post21 Sep 2011, 22:38

Thanks again for the input!

That's the beauty of making plans and researching - I'm just planning ahead, figuring out what I want to do most, then dialing back the dream to fit the reality.

I've always dreamed of flying fighters, and won't wax philosophical about it here - but to put it simply I just can't imagine myself being happier than flying fighters. That's the goal I want to pursue first - if it makes sense to add some schooling later on, then that's gravy. There's no such thing in my mind as 'just' being a fighter pilot.
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southernphantom

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Unread post07 Dec 2011, 19:45

discofishing wrote:
He's still flying part time with the 149th.


You mean controlling? All they have is drones now from what I've heard. I hope this isn't the case, though.


TX has two ANG fighter units. One (Ellington) is flying snowmobiles now. The other (San Antonio) is flying Vipers. Don't remember which block, but they're one of the major ANG Viper school house units, or so I've heard.
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discofishing

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Unread post08 Dec 2011, 21:38

southernphantom wrote:
discofishing wrote:
He's still flying part time with the 149th.


You mean controlling? All they have is drones now from what I've heard. I hope this isn't the case, though.


TX has two ANG fighter units. One (Ellington) is flying snowmobiles now. The other (San Antonio) is flying Vipers. Don't remember which block, but they're one of the major ANG Viper school house units, or so I've heard.


You're right. I got the 149th confused with an Apache unit (1-149th ARB) that is out at Ellington.
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