101. I’ve never heard of the Air National Guard. What exactly are you hiring?
Air National Guard pilots and combat systems operators (CSOs) are officers in the Air Force component of the National Guard. If selected and after approximately two years of training, pilots will be a part of the 144th Airlift Squadron to fly the C-17 Globemaster III, 210th Rescue Squadron to fly the HH-60G Pave Hawk, 211 Rescue Squadron to fly the HC-130J Combat King II or the 168th Air Refueling Squadron to fly the KC-135 Stratotanker. CSOs fly with the HC-130Js in the 211th Rescue Squadron. You will incur an obligation (part-time or one weekend a month, two weeks a year) to the Air National Guard, during which time you will be expected to maintain your flying currency requirements.
Here are some links with general information about the Air National Guard.
102. Who is eligible to apply?
The minimum eligibility requirements to be an officer and aviator in the Air National Guard include:
A completed bachelor’s degree (any major) from an accredited college or university
Be younger than approximately 28 at the time of application (see Question #117, “What is the age limit to apply?”)
Good moral character
Meet medical standards
Be a U.S. citizen
Qualifying test scores on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test
103. Why can’t I just go to the recruiter and sign up for a pilot or combat system operator (CSO) slot?
You will certainly be working with the recruiter during the process. However, by regulation each Air Guard Wing Commander has the authority to establish his/her own process for rated (flying) officer selection.
The intention is for these slots to be competitive. Thus, a board provides the greatest opportunity for comparison of qualified candidates from all walks of life. We are also seeking the future leaders of the Alaska Air National Guard – the efforts in coordinating a board will pay off in the contributions of those selected in the decades to come.
Bottom line: If you are not already a rated officer, either the AKANG UPT or UNT selection boards are the ONLY way to be selected for flight school by the Alaska Air Guard.
104. How long is the training for UPT/UNT?
Undergraduate pilot training (UPT) generally takes a year at one of several pilot training bases in the U.S., then follow-on training at another location for the specific aircraft is an additional 3 months minimum up to about 9 months.
Undergraduate navigator training (UNT) generally takes a year, at Pensacola Naval Air Station, then follow-on to HC-130J specific training is an additional 9 months at Kirtland AFB, NM.
105. Do I have to go to Basic Training?
If you are not already a commissioned U.S. military officer, you will attend Total Force Officer Training (TFOT) at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama. Upon graduation you will receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the Reserve of the Air Force.
106. Is this a paying job?
Yes. A great resource is at https://www.goang.com/careers/benefits.html.
In addition to the one weekend a month, two weeks a year paid training opportunities provided by the Air National Guard, a rated officer and active flyer is provided 12 flying periods a quarter, or 48 a year, to maintain flight currencies.
107. Do I have to take any standardized tests?
Yes. The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) is required for all commissioning opportunities and is a SAT-style test. It can only be taken twice, and the most recent score is the score used.
If you are in the military, schedule AFOQT testing through your base training office. If you are not in the military, contact your nearest Air Guard recruiter to schedule testing.
To find a recruiter you can visit https://goang.com or call 1 (800) TO-GO-ANG. To contact recruiters at the 176th Wing, call the Diamond Center Recruiting Office at (907) 644-8033 or call the Wasilla Recruiting Office at (907) 357-9320.
Plan on an approximate two-week lead time (actual lead times may vary at your testing location) to schedule the AFOQT and another two weeks to receive you scores.
108. What’s a PCSM score?
The Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) is a tool used to select pilots and is not used for selection of CSOs. For more information on the PCSM, check out the pilot FAQs.
109. At what rank will I be hired?
Unless you already have a military rank, all initial hires will be made a Senior Airman (E-3) while awaiting TFOT, a Staff Sargent (E-5) while at TFOT, and Second Lieutenant (O-1) upon graduation.
110. Do I have to enlist in the Air Guard before I can go to flight school?
No. If you are not already in the military and we hire you for flight school, you will be enlisted for the purpose of commissioning. This is required so we can start processing you for flight school. You DO NOT have to go to enlisted basic training, and, if you end up not going to flight school for some reason, you have the option of getting out with no commitment.
111. What if I get hired and then find out I am medically or otherwise ineligible for flight training – do I have an obligation to the military?
No. You have a choice of getting out with no obligation or staying in if you want to.
112. What is my obligation if I am hired?
Bear in mind these regulations change. Pilots owe 10 years and CSOs owe six years of service to the Air National Guard upon completion of flight school (the day you receive your wings). You will be asked to sign an Understanding of Military Service Obligation before you are sent to flight school. You will be made aware of exactly when the obligation starts and for how long it lasts.
113. What if I don’t complete flight school? Am I stuck in the military?
No. You will be hired to fill a specific vacancy. If you want to leave the military at that point, you can do so.
114. Are any of these jobs full-time jobs?
No. These are all part-time jobs. While in initial flight training, you will be on full time orders. Once the training is complete, the part-time status is resumed. Opportunities for full-time jobs do occasionally become available, and if you are eligible you can certainly apply.
115. Can I work beyond the minimum and make the Air Guard my primary source of income?
Yes. However, there is no obligation on the part of the National Guard Bureau to provide additional paid opportunities beyond the 12 drill weekends, two weeks of annual training, and 48 additional flight training periods in a year. Historically, many of our pilots and CSOs have been able to work a significant portion of the year, but past performance is no guarantee of future work opportunity beyond those minimums.
116. Can I live out of state and commute to Alaska?
There is no requirement on where you maintain your residency unless you are on an alert order for search and rescue. In this case, you must be able to report to the squadron within one hour of receiving a call. It can become difficult to maintain currency and progress in your guard career if you do not live near the unit. It takes years of experience to become an effective aircrew member, and flying is a perishable skill. Additionally, you will be expected to pursue advanced mission qualifications which are built on a foundation of strong basic mission skills. For these reasons, it is not advised to plan on living outside of Alaska.
117. What kind of aircraft is the board hiring?
The C-17 Globemaster III is a strategic and tactical airlift aircraft. The HC-130J Combat King II, a search and rescue platform used for its range and air refueling capability. The HH-60G Pave Hawk is a dedicated combat search and rescue helicopter. The KC-135 Stratotanker is an air-to-air refueling aircraft.
118. What will my duties be?
Initially, your primary duty will be flying: gaining experience in your assigned aircraft. As time goes by you will be offered opportunities to take on increasing responsibility in duties related to running and leading a flying wing. Examples include: scheduling, training, weapons and tactics, standardization and evaluation, search and rescue duty officer, and more.
119. Why do you hold a hiring board for a job that doesn’t start until more than two years later?
It is a lengthy process to bring you into the military as a rated (flying) officer. To get ready to go to flight school, several things are required: you have to pass a flight physical, initiate security clearance paperwork and complete quite a bit of paperwork to apply for commission (become an officer). The flight physical has to route through quite a few offices, and typically take months to be approved even if there are no questions or problems. Once it has been ascertained that you are medically eligible to be placed on flight status, you have to assemble a commissioning package, which establishes that you are eligible to become an officer and that you have been offered a job which requires that you be an officer. That takes extensive coordination as well. Additionally, the security clearance process typically take several months. All these items have to clear their respective approval channels before our base training office can look for a flight school class for you.
For those applicants that are already in the military, with a security clearance, the process is generally much faster.
It bears pointing out that if you are selected, it is to your benefit to complete all the items as quickly as possible. Once you are cleared as a viable flight school candidate, you will be placed in the next available course. That can be sooner than the two years that we plan for if other units are not getting their candidates processed as quickly as we do. Fallout slots occur when another Guard unit, or the Air force, is unable to fill a flight training allocation (a “seat” in flight school). Rather than let it go unfilled, they usually ask around to check for units that have flight candidates ready to go on short notice. If you want to go to flight school as soon as possible, get your package completed as soon as you can to maximize your chances of being on hand to take advantage of a fallout class date. However, you are not obligated to accept a short notice school date.
120. I submitted my application months ago and I haven’t heard anything. Why does it take so long to review my application and get back to me?
We review applications and choose interview candidates after the closing of the application window. Contacting applicants to verify information or clarify questions in their applications can take time. Those involved with the board are also aviators themselves and some are part-time guard members. Your understanding during this process is very much appreciated.
121. Why is the application deadline so far from the board date?
We strive to give at least a one month notice of invitation to interview so that out of state applicants have a better chance of securing travel arrangements to Alaska.
122. What are the vision requirements?
Medical requirements are subject to change, but for a pilot or CSO uncorrected vision requires uncorrected distant visual acuity no worse than 20/200, correctable to 20/20 in each eye. Uncorrected near visual acuity worse than 20/40 must be correctable to 20/20 in each eye.
123. I heard you only hire people from within the unit or have master’s degree or know somebody in the unit….
There is no typical profile. We strive to hire based on the “whole-person” concept. If we hire you, it is because we think you will be a good officer and aviator, and will contribute to the long-term benefit of the Alaska Air National Guard. Unit members do have an advantage since they have an established track record working with us, but by no means are they guaranteed to be selected. Alaska residents also enjoy an advantage over non-residents since they have shown that they have adapted to the challenges of living in Alaska.
124. How many pilot/navigator positions are you hiring?
It depends, and changes, year to year. Manning requirements within the squadrons and allocation of training slots from National Guard Bureau, as well as the quality of the applicant pool, all goes into how many pilots and navigators are hired each year. Speaking very generally, each squadron usually selects 2-3 pilot candidates plus an alternate candidate, each year. Also, the 211th RQS usually selects 1-2 CSOs.
125. How much flying will I do?
Once you complete training, you will be expected—and provided the opportunity—to maintain currency in your assigned aircraft. In addition to the “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” commitment to the Air National Guard, the National Guard funds additional training periods specifically for aircrew for the purpose of maintaining flight currency. Currently, 12 flying periods a quarter are authorized, for a total of 48 a year. This translates into roughly one flight a week. The 210th RQS and 211th RQS also have an alert search and rescue mission for which days are allotted to hold alert. This provides the opportunity to hold alert on the weekdays as well as the weekends, and, if called, fly within the state to execute a search and rescue mission.
126. I am on Active Duty. Will you guys help me out with Palace Chase so I can go to training to become a pilot or CSO?
No. We do not initiate Palace Chase on anyone’s behalf. You have to be available to provide enough time to inprocess into the Alaska Air Guard (approximately six months to a year) and go to flight training for the specified fiscal year.
127. I’m a Navy/army/Marine Corps/USCG officer—do I have to take the AFOQT?
Yes. Officer applicants from other branches of the service are required to take the AFOQT if applying for flight training.
128. I’m an Air Force/Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard fixed-wing military Navigator/CSO/WSO/EWO. How do I join your unit?
You send an introductory e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for pilots and 176WG.CSO.UNT@us.af.mil for CSOs. This email goes directly to the hiring authorities in the 211 RQS. As vacancies become available, they will review their emails and potentially contact you. There is no established timeline as to how often vacancies become available. Also contact through an Alaska Air Guard recruiter can get you the phone number of the DO or commander of the 211th.
990. Any other advice for CSO (UNT) applicants?
The ideal candidate possesses two traits: the capacity to be a military officer and the ability to make it through some challenging flight training.
Start learning about what it means to be a military officer and consider whether you have established a track record of leadership. Additionally, flight experience can make you more competitive.
Finally, learn about the HC-130J Combat King II. You can distinguish yourself in the interview by being educated about the 211th Rescue Squadron and search and rescue mission. Make a deliberate and educated decision if this is something you really wish to do.
991. A note on planning ahead…
Historically, holdups for completing an application package have included the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) and the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS). Plan on an approximate two-week lead time (actual lead times may be even longer at your particular testing location) to schedule the AFOQT, and another two weeks to receive your scores. The AFOQT is a prerequisite for the TBAS. Therefore, obtaining a TBAS score can be a six-week (or longer!) process. Be sure to plan accordingly.
DISCLAIMER: This information represents a good faith effort to explain the Alaska Air National Guard Undergraduate Pilot Training and Undergraduate Navigator Training selection processes and criteria. However, this should NOT be considered a source document for specific regulations—the information reflects regulations which are subject to change. If any information contained in this document conflicts with Air Force/Air National Guard/other pertinent regulations, the regulations will always take precedence. Any reference to an external website does not constitute endorsement by the Alaska Air National Guard.