ATC in the Air National Guard

TechFlyer

Well-Known Member
I've always wanted to join the Air Guard and my local unit has ATC as an option. Is anybody familiar with ATC in the Air Guard? ATC in the guard is part-time so I'd like to pursue a career with the FAA as well. Is it even possible to be a Guard member and be a controller with the FAA? As of right now I'm exploring two options:

*Join the Guard and once I'm done with basic and training apply with the FAA.

or

*Apply to these PUBNATs and take my chances or go to my local CTI program.

If I were to go the Guard route, once I'm done with basic and my year long'ish training in the tower/radar what would the process be like when applying with the FAA? I wouldn't fall into the VRA/Retired Military Controller categories so would I be OTS or need to go to a CTI school still?
 

aviatorchris

New Member
I've always wanted to join the Air Guard and my local unit has ATC as an option. Is anybody familiar with ATC in the Air Guard? ATC in the guard is part-time so I'd like to pursue a career with the FAA as well. Is it even possible to be a Guard member and be a controller with the FAA? As of right now I'm exploring two options:

*Join the Guard and once I'm done with basic and training apply with the FAA.

or

*Apply to these PUBNATs and take my chances or go to my local CTI program.

If I were to go the Guard route, once I'm done with basic and my year long'ish training in the tower/radar what would the process be like when applying with the FAA? I wouldn't fall into the VRA/Retired Military Controller categories so would I be OTS or need to go to a CTI school still?
I have a buddy going in the guard to do just this. He flys for SkyWest, and gonna go on military leave and keep his seniority number. He says you can be in the guard and be an FAA controler. Theres a guy at DENVER TRACON and in the guard at CYS tower 3 days a month.

So to awnser your question YES you can do this and still be a FAA controler.
 

ncessna72

Well-Known Member
I've always wanted to join the Air Guard and my local unit has ATC as an option. Is anybody familiar with ATC in the Air Guard? ATC in the guard is part-time so I'd like to pursue a career with the FAA as well. Is it even possible to be a Guard member and be a controller with the FAA? As of right now I'm exploring two options:

*Join the Guard and once I'm done with basic and training apply with the FAA.

or

*Apply to these PUBNATs and take my chances or go to my local CTI program.

If I were to go the Guard route, once I'm done with basic and my year long'ish training in the tower/radar what would the process be like when applying with the FAA? I wouldn't fall into the VRA/Retired Military Controller categories so would I be OTS or need to go to a CTI school still?
Here are some words of advice before you make a mistake.

Ask for the phone number the of unit you will be assigned to. Then ask to speak to one of the lower enlisted individuals who is an air traffic controller. Now ask this guy what exactly do they really do in their unit as far as ATC is concerned. Chances are these guys have never set foot in a tower or a radar room.
Anything else you might do as an ATC Guardsman will be considered by the FAA as non-qualifying ATC experience. The most likely thing they do during their drills are going down to the motor pool and polishing HMMWVs all day long. Some of their hummers might have radio racks in them capable of communicating with aircraft and little more. Remember if it's not a Control Tower Operator rating (a CTO) or a radar approach rating, the FAA considers it be meaningless. I know this because I also have some non-qualifying time under my belt during my stay in the military. You might as well be a guy off the street who has no experience. Talking to a recruiter or some guy named Sergent so and so at the unit is like talking used car salesman. You're never going to get the truth out of them. I knew plenty guard controllers who never set foot in a fixed based facility.
When I was coming off active duty I was slightly interested in joining the guard as well. I talked to the recruiter and heard great things about the unit. I also talked to a NCO at the unit named Sergent so and so and I told him I am Sergent so and so and asked him not to blow any smoke up my a** about the unit. He just said more of the same.Then I asked to speak to a lower enlisted guy in the unit. Come to find out they never do anything remotely ATC related. I saved myself a lot of heartache and did not join. I suggest you do the same. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. You might be lucky and find that one unit in the U.S. who as an agreement with the local military ran tower to train. Don't hold your breath. :)
 

TechFlyer

Well-Known Member
Thanks to both of you. That's definitely something I'll look into. It seems strange to me that someone could go work at a tower for one weekend a month. I could be wrong but it seems like you would need to do it more than that to stay proficient? The recruiter told me that after basic and tech school I'd train at the facility full-time for about a year or however long it takes me to get certified. I'm assuming this would be a CTO certification. I will definitely go talk to some people there to see what it's really like.
 

ncessna72

Well-Known Member
Thanks to both of you. That's definitely something I'll look into. It seems strange to me that someone could go work at a tower for one weekend a month. I could be wrong but it seems like you would need to do it more than that to stay proficient? The recruiter told me that after basic and tech school I'd train at the facility full-time for about a year or however long it takes me to get certified. I'm assuming this would be a CTO certification. I will definitely go talk to some people there to see what it's really like.
Let me explain why it seems strange. Your soon to be unit would have to put everyone on active duty orders for a bare minimum of 6 months while they get checked out at a tower. That unit would have to pay for this out of their own pocket. The only time I have ever seen this happen is when a Guard unit was activated and had orders to go to Iraq. They needed some experience before taking over a tower in Iraq. So the unit activated them for four months and had them train at our base and I had to help train them. Needless to say only one or two individuals got checked out. The two that did get checked out where prior active duty guys who already had CTOs. So they didn't need to meet the FAA requirement of waiting for 6 months for first time tower ratings. So the unit had enough people to go to war and legally take over the tower. The rest of the Guardsmen were so disappointed leaving our base after spending all that time studying but, never being able to get rated at the tower. They were initially told they would have enough time to checkout.
 

TechFlyer

Well-Known Member
Let me explain why it seems strange. Your soon to be unit would have to put everyone on active duty orders for a bare minimum of 6 months while they get checked out at a tower. That unit would have to pay for this out of their own pocket. The only time I have ever seen this happen is when a Guard unit was activated and had orders to go to Iraq. They needed some experience before taking over a tower in Iraq. So the unit activated them for four months and had them train at our base and I had to help train them. Needless to say only one or two individuals got checked out. The two that did get checked out where prior active duty guys who already had CTOs. So they didn't need to meet the FAA requirement of waiting for 6 months for first time tower ratings. So the unit had enough people to go to war and legally take over the tower. The rest of the Guardsmen were so disappointed leaving our base after spending all that time studying but, never being able to get rated at the tower. They were initially told they would have enough time to checkout.
That's disappointing...makes sense of a lot of things though. Glad I heard it, thanks. What would happen if I tried to join the Guard after going through the FAA and became certified? Could I actually be a part-time controller in the Guard then or would I still do odd-jobs until they needed me?
 

ncessna72

Well-Known Member
That's disappointing...makes sense of a lot of things though. Glad I heard it, thanks. What would happen if I tried to join the Guard after going through the FAA and became certified? Could I actually be a part-time controller in the Guard then or would I still do odd-jobs until they needed me?
Having no experience in doing this; I couldn't give you an honest answer. Even if you called the FAA I would think you couldn't get an answer. You would have to bump into someone in this forum who has done exactly what you are talking about. I'm wondering if you would have to burn up leave in the FAA to do your one weekend a month two weeks a year drills. I'm sure your facility in the FAA can work around you being gone one weekend a month. On the other hand being gone two weeks might pose a problem. Again, I don't know what I am talking about when it comes to that. Best to hear it from the horses mouth (the one guy who has already done or tried what you are trying to do).
 

bloomer

New Member
That's disappointing...makes sense of a lot of things though. Glad I heard it, thanks. What would happen if I tried to join the Guard after going through the FAA and became certified? Could I actually be a part-time controller in the Guard then or would I still do odd-jobs until they needed me?
My future roommate is a current ANG member and just got his CTO from the tower at Kingsley Airfield in Oregon where he is stationed. Send me a PM with your email address and I will try and get you in touch with him to see if he can help you out.
 

TechFlyer

Well-Known Member
My future roommate is a current ANG member and just got his CTO from the tower at Kingsley Airfield in Oregon where he is stationed. Send me a PM with your email address and I will try and get you in touch with him to see if he can help you out.
Right on, I just moved from Klamath Falls to Pittsburgh. Lived there for 4 years. I'd love to talk to him. PM sent.
 
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