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How to take the next 6 years off, a.k.a, my transfer to the Air Force

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
None
Contributor
Figured since I just got my orders today, I'd post this up for anyone who may be interested.

I'm posting this as an example of another way to get to 20, or to get fixed wing time, or (like me) just do something that not many people have done.

I'm a senior LCDR, FTS helo bubba type, have roughly 2,700 hours in the H-60 and a little less than 200 hours in mil and civ fixed wing. Prior enlisted, so total time as of today is about 15 years.

From the Air Force side:
In June 2018, I emailed the IST office, AFPC.DP2LT.InterserviceTrans@us.af.mil, and sent them my last 3 FITREPS and a brief resume. Didn't hear anything for about a month so I followed up. The AF asked for my entire NATOPS jacket, I scanned it and sent it over. Didn't hear anything for two-three weeks. Found the IST phone number and called, turns out they had me marked down as an Army helo bubba. Once they fixed that, in about a day I heard that the H-60 and the KC-135s would take me. I agreed to the KC-135.

All pilot ISTs are required to have a 6 year commitment. Not a big deal for me, that'll put me right at 21 years total. Those 6 years should give me a good amount of time to build up my fixed wing time.

The AF office asked for a bunch of stuff, gathered it all up and sent it in. My flight physical was required to be completed by an AF flight surgeon, other than that the paperwork was all pretty easy to get off of BOL and NSIPS.

From the Navy side:
Followed Milpersman 1300-81. There is a blurb in there saying you are ineligible for an IST if you have been told via email, voicemail, letter, carrier pigeon, smoke signals, or telepathy of PCS orders. I kept my cards close, told my CO and had my letter and his endorsement letter in a folder for him to sign as soon as I told him. Turns out he was cool with it but the last thing I wanted was for my detailer to catch wind of it and cut me orders before I officially submitted my package.

Other than the CO endorsement letter and my personal request, the entire process on the Navy side is completed via NSIPS. It took roughly 3 months to get approved by PERS and the Deputy Navy Secretary for Manpower and Personnel Affairs.

Once my package was approved by PERS in late October 2018, it then went in front of the official AF IST board in Dec 2018. Currently they are selecting at 100%, they need pilots! Was notified in late January 2019 I was officially accepted. After that, completed more paperwork and waited for Senate confirmation. Took almost 5 months for the Senate to stamp it approved, which happened at the end of June 2019.

Fast forward to today, I'm commissioning into the USAF next month, heading to the KC-135 rag this fall, and then PCS OCONUS around the start of 2020. Took about a little over a year from start to finish. At current op-tempos, I should get approximately 1,500-2,000 hours in the next 6 years, and with the way the Air Force works, I'll be able to literally spend my entire career flying.

Oh, and @webmaster or @Gatordev, can this fella get some wings of lead along with the wings of gold on my profile?
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Congrats! I'm assuming you are starting at the same rank? I've heard stories of losing 1 paygrade with IST. Does your TIR stay the same, or did it reset? What gates/quals do you need to meet to make O-5? One of my fellow instructors went AF F-15s during the F-14 sundown and remained a terminal O-4 but did get to fly until the day he retired.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
None
Contributor
Congrats! I'm assuming you are starting at the same rank? I've heard stories of losing 1 paygrade with IST. Does your TIR stay the same, or did it reset? What gates/quals do you need to meet to make O-5? One of my fellow instructors went AF F-15s during the F-14 sundown and remained a terminal O-4 but did get to fly until the day he retired.
I keep the same rank, TIR, and flying gate months. I’m basically taking off my Navy hat and putting on my Air Force hat.

I’m a realist so picking up O-5 might be a stretch. That said, part of what sparked this whole process was last year’s FTS O-5 results. I think pilots selected at 35% last year and FTS O-5 pilot selection rates were are 20% this year. I gotta hope my chances are better than 20% in the AF.

So, turns out my hunch was correct and this way, even if I don’t select O-5 in the Air Force, I’ll still get to fly for 20+ years.
 

wplax26

Gold Club
pilot
None
Contributor
I'm sure it is air frame specific but FWIW almost all the Navy IST's in the U2 program made O5. Insanebikerboy, make sure you put your leave balance on your DD214 to help the transfer of leave. It was a big fiasco for me.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
I'm sure it is air frame specific but FWIW almost all the Navy IST's in the U2 program made O5. Insanebikerboy, make sure you put your leave balance on your DD214 to help the transfer of leave. It was a big fiasco for me.
Not so much advice for @insanebikerboy, more like anybody reading this sticky in the future- check your draft DD-214 with a fine tooth comb and check the paperwork associated with it!

PSD faxed my active duty 214 to lala land instead of the fax number on the instructions that the FTS office at BUPERS had provided. A week later (and a day before the deadline), one of the senior civilians figured out how to track my down at sea on the POTS line asking me where my paperwork was and had I changed my mind about going FTS. Bad on me for not doing the old phone call followup "Hey, did you get my fax?", but really?? Ten years after that, PSD cut-and-paste some EOD guy's career on my retirement 214. Actually this was pretty funny and of course it was easy to fix.

Sigh... how this makes me miss the circus :rolleyes:


P.S. congratulations, insanemajorboy
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
Great write up and good info. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do next and this option is appealing the most to me right now. In terms of platform selection, why KC-135s? I have a contact and number to call at the IST office on the process and what platforms I might be able to switch to. Did you have any issues with the Navy releasing you? I've heard mixed things due to the pilot availability in the Navy, but I know the AF is hurting, too.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
None
Contributor
Great write up and good info. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do next and this option is appealing the most to me right now. In terms of platform selection, why KC-135s? I have a contact and number to call at the IST office on the process and what platforms I might be able to switch to. Did you have any issues with the Navy releasing you? I've heard mixed things due to the pilot availability in the Navy, but I know the AF is hurting, too.
I was only offered H-60 or KC-135. I’ve heard of other guys getting offered C-130s, C-17s, etc. I asked if I could fly the V-22 and even with all my helo time, they said no, so I don’t really know what the criteria is.

The only issue I had getting released from the Navy was a snafu on my bonus commitment date. PERS inputted the date wrong so they initially told me no, but when I showed them my actual contract it resolved itself. From what I’ve been told, if you have any commitment (wings, bonus, etc) of more than about 15-18 months, they’ll deny it. The plus side is I’m eligible for the AF bonus :)
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
I figured KC-135s for fixed-wing multi, but thought I'd ask. There's an AF bonus? I didn't take the DH bonus so I have no commitments myself, but my concern is a lot of people are ditching the AF so am I jumping out of the frying pan and into fire with this?
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
None
Contributor
I figured KC-135s for fixed-wing multi, but thought I'd ask. There's an AF bonus? I didn't take the DH bonus so I have no commitments myself, but my concern is a lot of people are ditching the AF so am I jumping out of the frying pan and into fire with this?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of trepidation since so many dudes are bailing from the AF. That said, I have worked a good bit with Air Force folks over the years, even did a brief stint as a LNO on an AF staff, and from the outside looking in, it’s not much different than it is in the Navy. They deal with the same BS we do.

That said, a good majority of them are bailing now because they can all walk directly into a major airline. I don’t know if I want to be an airline pilot when I grow up but at least this way I’ll have it as an option if I choose.
 
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