Anyone in the Reserves?

Avgeekatc

Member
Messages
5
Long story short: I’m 35, a rated controller with the FAA, and considering joining the AF Reserves. I like the idea of a challenge, the supplemental income and the opportunity to serve the country.

I’m trying to do research on my own, but I would appreciate some honest insight. Basically, air traffic control is the only speciality that would interest me. Am I being naive in thinking this way?

Is this a speciality that’s in demand? Would it be pointless to pursue the AF Reserves without a guarantee in this field?

For what it’s worth, I’m very active. Despite my age, I have zero doubts about my physical capabilities or ability to qualify in those areas.

Anyone else in the same boat...or also in the reserves? What’s it like to balance your FAA life with your military requirements?
 
Messages
1
Long story short: I’m 35, a rated controller with the FAA, and considering joining the AF Reserves. I like the idea of a challenge, the supplemental income and the opportunity to serve the country.

I’m trying to do research on my own, but I would appreciate some honest insight. Basically, air traffic control is the only speciality that would interest me. Am I being naive in thinking this way?

Is this a speciality that’s in demand? Would it be pointless to pursue the AF Reserves without a guarantee in this field?

For what it’s worth, I’m very active. Despite my age, I have zero doubts about my physical capabilities or ability to qualify in those areas.

Anyone else in the same boat...or also in the reserves? What’s it like to balance your FAA life with your military requirements?
Army National Guard is better for picking an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). When enlisting in the Air Force (AD or reserves) you pick a branch (Aviation, Med, etc.) but not a specific job. Enlisting in the Army, you take the ASVAB and are given a choice of MOSes you qualify for. As a CPC, you’ll undoubtably to well on the ASVAB and 15Qs are always in demand, at least in Texas ARNG.

That being said, you’re over the minimum enlistment age; however, a waiver is available for everything if you’re willing to go through the process.

I’m aviation in TXARNG. Often an unknown fact, the Army flies more aircraft and has a larger fleet than the Air Force. It’s a great choice for life, you’ll get opportunities you wouldn’t get elsewhere.

As to 15Q being the only speciality that would interest you, I’d say yes that’s naive. I’m a crew chief on 60s in the guard and it’s a fantastic experience being on the other side of aviation. There are so many options to choose from while remaining in your aviation comfort zone.

It’s free to talk to recruiters and assess your options. I’d encourage it.
 

AJ4240

Member
Messages
40
That's very misleading, biased, and untrue. I came into the Air Force with a guaranteed Air Traffic Controller job as many do. Sure a recruiter will try to steer you towards needs of that particular service but if you really want ATC than that is very realistic. Just stick to your guns in the recruiter office. And reserve age is up to 39.
 

Mike Echo

Member
Messages
33
Long story short: I’m 35, a rated controller with the FAA, and considering joining the AF Reserves. I like the idea of a challenge, the supplemental income and the opportunity to serve the country.

I’m trying to do research on my own, but I would appreciate some honest insight. Basically, air traffic control is the only speciality that would interest me. Am I being naive in thinking this way?

Is this a speciality that’s in demand? Would it be pointless to pursue the AF Reserves without a guarantee in this field?

For what it’s worth, I’m very active. Despite my age, I have zero doubts about my physical capabilities or ability to qualify in those areas.

Anyone else in the same boat...or also in the reserves? What’s it like to balance your FAA life with your military requirements?

The Air National Guard has 10 air traffic control squadrons. All of them will guarantee ATC if they have the slots available and you meet the minimum requirements. Age limit is 39 in the Air Force regardless of job. No waivers required.

Our unit here in Oregon (270th Air Traffic Control Squadron) does quarterly drills (a paid travel day to the unit from your home of record, four drill days, and a paid travel day back to your home of record - all once a quarter which makes it easier on our part-time members). We also have a required two week annual training period. On the paid travel days, you are paid both personally and the travel itself is paid for. Most units throughout the Guard (Army it Air) don’t offer this.

PM me with any questions. Happy to help.
 

StealthChain

Trusted Contributor
Messages
540
I’d consider it except for the whole boot camp part
That's the easy part. You literally don't have to think for yourself most of the time, just follow the instructions you're given and don't do anything you're not supposed to and it'll be over in a flash.

OP, not sure if you're open to considering other jobs, but I would recommend looking into doing something else that seems like you would enjoy it. You already control as a civilian, why not gain a different set of skills and still get paid for it? You don't necessarily gain anything by going to be a controller in the reserves/guard other than a few hundred dollars a month.
 

UtahBeach

Trusted Contributor
Messages
137
That's the easy part. You literally don't have to think for yourself most of the time, just follow the instructions you're given and don't do anything you're not supposed to and it'll be over in a flash.

OP, not sure if you're open to considering other jobs, but I would recommend looking into doing something else that seems like you would enjoy it. You already control as a civilian, why not gain a different set of skills and still get paid for it? You don't necessarily gain anything by going to be a controller in the reserves/guard other than a few hundred dollars a month.
Would you have to go through boot camp if you're an active duty veteran?
 

32andBelow

Legendary Member
Messages
4,003
That's the easy part. You literally don't have to think for yourself most of the time, just follow the instructions you're given and don't do anything you're not supposed to and it'll be over in a flash.

OP, not sure if you're open to considering other jobs, but I would recommend looking into doing something else that seems like you would enjoy it. You already control as a civilian, why not gain a different set of skills and still get paid for it? You don't necessarily gain anything by going to be a controller in the reserves/guard other than a few hundred dollars a month.
More regarding the time commitment
 

StealthChain

Trusted Contributor
Messages
540
Would you have to go through boot camp if you're an active duty veteran?
This depends on the branch you left, branch you are joing, and the amount of time you have been separated from active duty. I think the time limit is 5 years, but I could be wrong. Also, I don't believe it's a full length boot camp, it's more of a refresher and update on training.

For instance, I was AD Marines and joined the Army Reserves right after my separation and didn't have to attend anything, just showed up to my new unit with no uniforms haha. But if I had been AD Air Force and then went army right after, I'm pretty sure I would have had to attend some form of training.
More regarding the time commitment
That's understandable. We are both trainees and I am having the same hesitance. My reserve contract ends in about a month. I'm in the process of trying to join the guard where I am because I would only need 6 years (one contract) and I could retire, but it worries me about how much of a delay, on top of this coronavirus delay, I would have in getting CPC.
 

JumperBones

Active Member
Messages
57
When enlisting in the Air Force (AD or reserves) you pick a branch (Aviation, Med, etc.) but not a specific job.

Not true. 1), the Air Force doesn't have Branches, that's an Army thing, and 2) you can hold out for a specific AFSC (Air Force for MOS, job specialty code), with Active Duty. And if you're joining the Guard/Reserve, you're being hired into a particular slot so the exact AFSC isn't really in question, unless the applicant really doesn't care what they do.
 

StealthChain

Trusted Contributor
Messages
540
Not true. 1), the Air Force doesn't have Branches, that's an Army thing, and 2) you can hold out for a specific AFSC (Air Force for MOS, job specialty code), with Active Duty. And if you're joining the Guard/Reserve, you're being hired into a particular slot so the exact AFSC isn't really in question, unless the applicant really doesn't care what they do.
The only thing about this is it specifically applies to new applicants. The same rules do not apply to prior service. But in this case OP is a new applicant so it would work.
 

UtahBeach

Trusted Contributor
Messages
137
This depends on the branch you left, branch you are joing, and the amount of time you have been separated from active duty. I think the time limit is 5 years, but I could be wrong. Also, I don't believe it's a full length boot camp, it's more of a refresher and update on training.

I was Marines too. There was a rumor I was always told that all other branches' vets had to go through Marine basic, but Marine vets didn't have to go through any other basic. Didn't know if that was valid or us blowing smoke up our own asses.
 

StealthChain

Trusted Contributor
Messages
540
I was Marines too. There was a rumor I was always told that all other branches' vets had to go through Marine basic, but Marine vets didn't have to go through any other basic. Didn't know if that was valid or us blowing smoke up our own asses.
That is valid. The caveat to it is the part I mentioned about the break of time in service is all......In boot camp our PMI for the range was prior service Army infantry with combat action and everything. He told us how him and 2 buddies joined the Marines after losing a friend in combat on some kind of pact or something, but they all had bigger stacks than their DI's haha.
 

Alexesau

Member
FAA
Messages
13
Facility
CDW Caldwell Tower
More regarding the time commitment

Im in the National Guard (at least for 2 mor months.) The time commitment required is heavy depending on what type of facility you're at. While going through training I missed the equivalent of three months due to Guard commitments. ATC is not your average two days a month two weeks a year job and will most likely be more time consuming. Also keep in mind that if you're eventually looking to transfer that you have a contract with a specific state in the Guard. Some units will transfer you easily but I have heard of units being really reluctant to let you go. And thats not to mention deployments. At least in the Army most units are on a 5 to 6 year cycle. So every 5 years you would come home to have to be retrained at your facility.

All that to say that if you are at the facility you want to retire from and don't mind the time commitment then go for it. The military really does provide a brotherhood and the training is a good escape from your normal life. It also gives you the possibility to retire with two pensions and a boat load of beneifts.
 

COWTOWN

Trusted Contributor
Messages
128
I was Marines too. There was a rumor I was always told that all other branches' vets had to go through Marine basic, but Marine vets didn't have to go through any other basic. Didn't know if that was valid or us blowing smoke up our own asses.
My buddy went Marine AD to AF AD and had to go to a prior service other branch type of 'Basic training', in 2012. FWIW. Oorah
 

Mike Echo

Member
Messages
33
Just in case OP hasn’t figured it out yet since no one has said it specifically, Air Force Reserves doesn’t have ATC. Air National Guard does. So make sure join the right one.

The Reserves do have some ATC positions; not full-blown units like the Guard with entire Unit Type Codes (radar flight, tower flight, etc.), but they do have positions for Individual Mobilization Augmentees (IMA) controllers (rare), combat airspace (March Air Reserve Base has a few), and 13M officers (a few according to the Reserve vacancies listing). I have a buddy at March Air Reserve Base who is trying to stand-up a Reserve ATC unit that mirrors what the Guard has. Not sure where the progress is on that project, but something to consider for anyone who may want to go Reserve down the road.
 

Mikeyanker

Member
FAA
Messages
32
Facility
STL St. Louis Tower
I’ve been in a few ATC units in the ANG and currently I’m a CPCIT at a 9. Some units you wanna avoid and some are great. For more specifics on that send me a pm.
As far as supplemental income, I can tell you that financially it won’t be worth it in all. I’m an E7 with 11 years of service and I bring home $450ish per drill WEEKEND. So starting out I’d have to take a wild guess that you’ll be bringing home around $200-250 per drill WEEKEND. Keep in mind, travel is not covered for drill weekends so you’ll be footing the gas money or plane ticket PLUS car rental at your drill location (lodging IS covered)... so deduct that from your $200-250.
The military leave we get is based off a 9-5/M-f scheduled member... so the 120 hours you are allotted for the “double dip” gets smoked pretty quick while you’re buried on a shit Mon/tues or tues/wed line and have to take 16 hours every drill weekend... then you’re using LWOP or annual to cover the end of the FY drills. Sure, you could take sun/mon to save 8 hrs... then you’re giving away Sunday pay.
I commend you for wanting to join and serve, it’s a great honor to hold. If you wanna do it for that reason then yea absolutely. But financially, unless your unit is in your town/city it’s not a good move for somebody ALREADY in the FAA.
 
S

SIXTY-NINE

Guest
I’ve been in a few ATC units in the ANG and currently I’m a CPCIT at a 9. Some units you wanna avoid and some are great. For more specifics on that send me a pm.
As far as supplemental income, I can tell you that financially it won’t be worth it in all. I’m an E7 with 11 years of service and I bring home $450ish per drill WEEKEND. So starting out I’d have to take a wild guess that you’ll be bringing home around $200-250 per drill WEEKEND. Keep in mind, travel is not covered for drill weekends so you’ll be footing the gas money or plane ticket PLUS car rental at your drill location (lodging IS covered)... so deduct that from your $200-250.
The military leave we get is based off a 9-5/M-f scheduled member... so the 120 hours you are allotted for the “double dip” gets smoked pretty quick while you’re buried on a shit Mon/tues or tues/wed line and have to take 16 hours every drill weekend... then you’re using LWOP or annual to cover the end of the FY drills. Sure, you could take sun/mon to save 8 hrs... then you’re giving away Sunday pay.
I commend you for wanting to join and serve, it’s a great honor to hold. If you wanna do it for that reason then yea absolutely. But financially, unless your unit is in your town/city it’s not a good move for somebody ALREADY in the FAA.

I was wondering about the logistics of an out of town unit. So it'll probably be worse the higher level facility you are.

Thanks for the insight.
 

Avgeekatc

Member
Messages
5
Thanks for the insight, everyone. There’s some good information in here!

I have another question regarding leave. Would a full-time FAA employee that joins have to take LWOP while at basic training and tech school? I’m guessing that’s how it works, right?
 
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