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Benefits of Active Duty

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Well-known member
Dec 7, 2001
So it seems that the overwhelming consensus is that reserve/ang is the way to go. But, there must be advantages to going active duty. I am hoping some of you can tell me what an active duty career offers that cannot be found in a full-time postition with the guard/reserves. Is the flying more exciting? Do guard/reserve pilots travel less than active duty guys? Can you see the world with ang/reserves? Thanks a lot for the opinions.

First of all, you won't waltz right into a full-time position with
ANG/AFRES. Those slots are limited and coveted. There is
usually enough work to keep you busy and paid, though.

As far as the TDY, as a rule you won't be gone as long.
Guardsmen and Reservists go TDY a lot, just not as long.
Multi-month deployments just aren't necessary when people
have to leave civilian jobs behind.

I've seen every continent except Australia as a part-time Guardsman and Reservist. In February I'll be in Hawaii for the sixth or seventh time. My unit, the Hurricane Hunters, goes to
St. Croix every summer during storm season. Word of warning, though; when there's a storm we're flying twelve hour missions and getting 12-18 hours crew rest. Not fun.

The Reserve forces fly the same aircraft as Active Duty except the B-2 and JStars. We have the same missions and sortie requirements, and participate in the same deployments and operations.

On Active Duty you don't have to worry about unit funding
drying up. I'm not sure how that works with the current crisis,
though. I'd imagine with a lot of units flying CAPs there are
a lot more mandays available. A manday is simply an active
duty day. That's one of several ways of being paid. I just
came back from our simulator in MSP. A travel day on each
end and three days in the middle equates to five mandays.

Anyway, Active Duty is a full-time check. More importantly,
you're right there when duty calls. As one of our extremely
articulate F-15 guys on this board put it, when American
policy is implemented you are enforcing it. No matter what
you're flying, or, for that matter, loading armament onto,
turning wrenches on, or fueling. You are America's right hand.
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Ditto Bassethound with a few additions.

I can't speak for other MWS's, but in C-130's at least the Guard/ Reserve generally get better JAATT locations (sorry, too many acronyms... A JAATT is a trip lasting anywhere from one day to 2 weeks). While Active duty guys spend a lot of time going to Pope, Ft Benning, Yuma, and other such places; the ANG/AFR are going to Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Hawaii, Australia, etc. Additionally, in C-130's, most ANG/AFR units have newer aircraft than active duty (90's vintage versus 60's models).

As far as active duty benefits vice ANG/AFR, there are a few things (some can be good or bad depending on your preference). You will have more opportunities to live overseas in various locations to include possible exchange tours with foreign countries. Correct me if I'm wrong anyone, but I think you can start collecting retirement at a younger age from active duty. You will have more opportunity to crossflow from one type of aircraft to another (ie tankers to airlift, anything to U-2's, between airlift types, etc.). There are usually more objective criteria for getting on active duty (good ol' boy network doesn't hold as much sway). You'll work closely with a lot more people from different backgrounds (constant personnel turnover, not drawn from one geographic area). Some MWS's have a shorter uprgrade time to Aircraft Commander in active duty. Everyone's active duty all the time, so there's no added burden on certain people to get non-flying type things accompished (I have heard from some of my AGR/ART buddies that they will sometimes get stuck doing extra queep because part-timers don't have the time to do it). You don't have state politics in addition to national politics to contend with........well, that's all I can come up with off the top of my head......anyone else care to chime in?

Hey, Bassethound, is O'Connel still down there?
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