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Army National Guard UH60 Pilot Direct Commission Questions
Last Post 07 Aug 2018 11:25 AM by sardaddy. 8 Replies.
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gunshowgregUser is Offline
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gunshowgreg

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24 Jul 2018 08:12 AM
    Hello everyone. I apologize if this has been asked before recently but the most recent forum I found was for 2014 and I am interested in more current information  

    As the title of the topic states I am Chief Warrant Officer 2, UH60M helicopter pilot for the Louisiana National Guard, and I am 30 years of age. I have over 500 flight hours and have had the opportunity to have deployed for a year as a pilot. I have been out of flight school for over 2 years and when I complete my degree it will have been close to 3 years since flight school complete. I am also deployed now, so I am looking ahead for opportunities in my present job. I have some questions If anyone can help me out, or if anyone has experience with a transition like mine that would be helpful as well to have your input. I am.wanting to go active duty but if reserve is my only option for whatever reason i am open to that also  

    1. Quality of life in the coast guard compared to the army as an aviator?
    How many Additional duties will I be tasked with typically and how is home life?  I'm married with one child and would like to know how much time I will have available to me.

    2. How does aircraft selection work? I would like to fly fix wing aircraft if able but I am not opposed to sticking with helicopters. 

    3. Duty assignments and deployments. How often do you deploy, for how long and where to?  Also for duty stations I would figure needs of the Coast Guard are priority but how is this organization about allowing service members to pick locations?

    4.  I have 500 flight hrs but i have accumulated about 200 from flight school, the website says my flight hours can not come from training. Is this waiverable?  I don't have any intention on being untruthful to recruiters so I will not lie about flight time. I plan to present an experience sheet to my recruiter as well. I know this is probably a question for a recruiter but i am trying to get information from experienced resources first. I'll talk to a recruiter when I get home, face to face. 

    5. I  have been in 11 years. 5 of those years are active duty. But I only have 1 year as an active duty warrant officer outside of flight school. The requirements say 2 years. Is this waiverable?

    6.  For those that have done a switch like this, what are some things you wish you have done differently?  What are something's I need to know ahead of time?

    7. How often are pilots doing underwater egress training in the CG?  The army does it every 4 years.   I'm really just interested in this not worried about it. 

    I know I need to get released from my unit but before I go doing all that I need to know if this is a good move for me and my family.  I know this was lengthy but I am trying to learn as much as I can. 

    Thank you for your time
    Greg
    CPORJMUser is Offline
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    CPORJM

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    24 Jul 2018 03:48 PM
    I'm not in the aviation community, but I can tell you there are no Reservists in CG aviation, so that's not going to be an option for you.
    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."-Jonathan Swift
    kirkalandUser is Offline
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    kirkaland

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    24 Jul 2018 05:35 PM
    So my info is all second hand based on my own research and talking to people in the CG aviation community. I'm also an Army UH-60 pilot who just got picked up for DCA. Ask me again in 6 months and I can give you a little more first hand info

    1. Everything I've heard quality of life is better. Additional duties are similar to what you'd encounter in an Army flight company. Guy I know went from being a company commander in the Army to a pilot who was the schools officer for his air station. You work 7-3 or 8-4 and stand duty (for 24 hours) every 5 or 6 days. During that duty they normally do 2 training flights, one day and one night.

    2. Aircraft selection is based on needs of the service. I have heard of RW guys going FW in the CG, but much more often than not end up flying 60s or 65s. The Assignment Officer (branch manager) emailed the guys directly saying here's where the CG has needs, what is your priority as far as location and/or airframe and then tried to match them all up. From the board before mine (Oct 17) I've heard most guys got their 1st or 2nd choice.

    3. Deployments depend on air station, but typically it's something that happens once a year or every other year and is measured in weeks not months. Deployments can be to a boat (for 65s) or an air facility or to augment another air station for a special mission/season.

    4. & 5. Yeah you'll need to ask a recruiter if requirements are waiverable.

    6. Start early (at least one year out from when you plan to separate/transfer). Be prepared to wait. Be prepared for your pay and other admin stuff to take some time to catch up with you. Be prepared for your interview. Make the recruiter's job easy, come prepared.

    7. So the full DUNKER is actually only a 75 month requirement, however annually crew members are required to do an Aviation Water Survival Training (Wet Drill) (not required for Air
    Station Washington), Emergency Breathing Device/Shallow Water Egress Training (helicopter crews only), and Swim Test (not required for Air Station Washington). That's straight from COMDTINST 3710.1G. I was able to find that via google and it has a lot of good info about CG aviation. It's the CG's easier digested version of AR 95-1.

    I was in your shoes a year ago, deployed to Afghanistan and starting to do my research on the process. Good luck.
    gunshowgregUser is Offline
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    gunshowgreg

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    25 Jul 2018 04:57 AM
    Than you for a detailed response. Hopefully you are still using this website when you finish everything. I'd like to hear from you and your process. Im in no big hurry, but I will like to start the ball rolling sooner than later. 

    Do you know what you are gonna be flying yet?

    Any advice for the interview?  Questions to be prepared for?

    Thank you again
    Greg 
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    gunshowgreg

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    25 Jul 2018 05:01 AM
    That's good to know. Saved me sometime in my research. Thank you for your input.
    sardaddyUser is Offline
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    sardaddy

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    25 Jul 2018 08:26 AM
    What Kirkaland posted is mostly correct.


    1. Quality of life in the coast guard compared to the army as an aviator?

    Quality of life is generally better. Life is good as a pilot in the Coast Guard. You will be the only one who knows what your home life is like. Changing services won't change that dynamic. With that said, you will be able to sleep in your own bed most nights. General schedule is a five day work week, one or two of those days will be a 24 hour duty day the other days will either be a day shift or a night shift depending on the flight schedule.

    Additional duties are called collateral duties. Depending on where you go, and as you progress in rank, those duties can range from being the wardroom officer who ensures there is enough food in the fridge for everyone to being the facilities manager or administrator for an entire air station. In a role like that, you supervise staff and have a lot of responsibilities. The big jobs, Engineer (Maintenance Officer), XO, and CO start to come around the O4 mark and beyond.



    2. How does aircraft selection work? I would like to fly fix wing aircraft if able but I am not opposed to sticking with helicopters.

    Helicopter pilots usually go to helicopters and fixed wing pilot go to fixed wing. There are a few exceptions but that is the general flow. As you progress, there are opportunities to switch air frames on occassion.

    3. Duty assignments and deployments. How often do you deploy, for how long and where to? Also for duty stations I would figure needs of the Coast Guard are priority but how is this organization about allowing service members to pick locations?

    Depends. HITRON, gone a lot. Detroit, gone a lot. Other locations, not so much. A couple of weeks to a month here and there. Where you go depends on where you are stationed. I went to many fine locations.

    The CG is pretty good about trying to accommodate your wishes on where you are stationed but needs of the CG come first.

    6. For those that have done a switch like this, what are some things you wish you have done differently? What are something's I need to know ahead of time?

    Things to know ahead of time. You left the Army for a reason and joined the CG. Don't try to turn the CG into the Army. Nobody cares how you did it in the Army. Use your experience to excel but don't try to impress anyone by it. You will be humbled quickly. Practice instrument flight. Enjoy the adventure. There will be new things all the time take what you can get. Finally, flying over water on a dark stormy night is not like flying over anything else. Learn from the experienced people you will be around.

    7. How often are pilots doing underwater egress training in the CG? The army does it every 4 years. I'm really just interested in this not worried about it.

    You will sit in the chair every year. Actual 9D5 dunker training went from 4 years to 5 years to 6 years and now I think it is back down to 4 due to incidents that occurred over the last several years.

    Good luck.

    AndisossUser is Offline
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    Andisoss

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    27 Jul 2018 10:36 AM
    Former enlisted recruiter, turned officer here.

    I am not sure what can be waived for DCA these days, so you need to speak with a recruiter and have the reach out to CG Recruiting Command. Nearly all pilots I spoke too who crossed over from the Army/Navy (Never met a prior Air Force one before) always mention the quality of life is higher in the Coast Guard. To put this into perspective, on my ship we had a member's wife go into labor while on a deployment and we made every effort to get him home ASAP. I think he ended up flying out of Columbia and made it home 24 hours after she was born. I heard this would almost never happen in other branches and heard it was common for sailors to come home for the first time when their babies were 4 or 5 months old. I know a prior Marine officer (non aviator type) who says he has never had a "bad day" in the Coast Guard compared to what he used to deal with on a daily basis.

    As a JO new to the CG, you are immediately going to have duties outside of flying from day one. Educational Service Officer (ESO) comes to mind. As someone else mentioned, you eventually work your way up the chain and will have to perform the functions of an OPS boss, XO or maybe even a CO. It is also not uncommon for aviators to take a staff tour pushing papers around HQ in DC. Most actually welcome the standard 8-4 Mon-Fri with the holidays and weekends off gig.

    Something to remember is that the Coast Guard, especially the aviation community, is really small and tight knit. Everyone knows somebody that knows you. Reputation matters. You cannot really hide. Conform to the CG and do not try to make the CG conform to you. Good luck!

    DCA12345User is Offline
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    DCA12345

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    28 Jul 2018 09:20 PM
    I came over about a year or so ago as a fixed wing guy. I was a prior Army Warrant.

    1. Quality of life in the coast guard compared to the army as an aviator?
    Easy yes because you don't go to Afghanistan. However, if certain militarisms annoy you, the Coast Guard is full of them. I left the Army because I have 3 kids under 5 years of age (2 at the time), and I didn't want to be away for long periods of time.

    2. How does aircraft selection work? I would like to fly fix wing aircraft if able but I am not opposed to sticking with helicopters.
    I haven't heard of helicopter guys from other branches going fixed wing at the start but maybe it happens. The cool thing about your packet is you will know your assignment and airframe before you ever sign a contract. So you might as well go ahead and get started.

    3. Duty assignments and deployments. How often do you deploy, for how long and where to? Also for duty stations I would figure needs of the Coast Guard are priority but how is this organization about allowing service members to pick locations?
    Fixed wing side, where I am at, one "deployment" a year for 3 weeks.

    4. I have 500 flight hrs but i have accumulated about 200 from flight school, the website says my flight hours can not come from training. Is this waiverable? I don't have any intention on being untruthful to recruiters so I will not lie about flight time. I plan to present an experience sheet to my recruiter as well. I know this is probably a question for a recruiter but i am trying to get information from experienced resources first. I'll talk to a recruiter when I get home, face to face.

    5. I have been in 11 years. 5 of those years are active duty. But I only have 1 year as an active duty warrant officer outside of flight school. The requirements say 2 years. Is this waiverable?

    Don't know about waivers, but give it a little more time and you will have your hours/time. I came over at 33. It may play in your favor to come a little later. In my case I won't have to make O-4 to retire. Promotion rates are a little more competitive at O-4. I've been told O-1 to O-3 is pretty much automatic.

    6. For those that have done a switch like this, what are some things you wish you have done differently? What are something's I need to know ahead of time?
    There is a huge list but most of it has to do with the initial few months of joining. Everyone tells you about the collaterals. I was surprised by how busy they can be at times. However I am pretty sure that's different at every station and it really depends on which collateral you have. Good news is that collaterals rotate every year. So if you have something that's causing you to hate your life and the Coast Guard (morale officer), keep your head up because you won't be there long. Just do your best and move on.

    7. How often are pilots doing underwater egress training in the CG? The army does it every 4 years. I'm really just interested in this not worried about it.

    Don't know.

    8. Its a good move for you and your family. With out a doubt its a better place to be if you have a family.
    sardaddyUser is Offline
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    sardaddy

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    07 Aug 2018 11:25 AM
    "Most actually welcome the standard 8-4 Mon-Fri with the holidays and weekends off gig."

    No..No they don't.
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