September Spotlight: Aviation in the Guard

Army National Guard helicopter repairerTell the truth: When you see an awesome military helicopter in the sky or on TV, your mind doesn’t automatically think, “That must be the Army National Guard.” Perhaps you’d even protest, “There’s no ‘air’ in ‘Army.’”

If so, you’d be wrong. Aviation is not just for the Air Force or the Air Guard and Reserves. In fact, in addition to being able to pursue a Warrant Officer career as a pilot in the Army Guard, you can choose from more than a dozen Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) that support Aviation operations at the enlisted level.

September has been all about spotlighting the Guard’s surprising, lesser known jobs. Scroll down the page to take a look back at what we’ve covered this month. But first, be sure to read about all the exciting careers you’ll find under “Aviation” in the Category dropdown menu of the National Guard jobs board.

15P Aviation Operations Specialist

Now here’s a behind-the-scenes position that deserves to be in the spotlight more. Aviation Operations Specialists are the brains behind coordinating one of the largest fleets of aircraft in the world. They schedule and dispatch tactical aircraft missions; process flight clearances; plan flight schedules and crew assignments; keep flight logs and more. In other words, if “organized” is your middle name, this MOS is for you. Called a “flight operations specialist” in the civilian world, 15P training qualifies you to work for commercial and private airlines, air transport companies, and airports.

15Q Air Traffic Control Operator

There’s nothing “behind-the-scenes” about air traffic control. Everyone knows about the guts it takes to be in charge of an airfield’s takeoffs and landings. And the position deserves all the glory it gets for its role in keeping everyone safe. If you have nerves of steel and amazing powers of focus, then you’ll be ready to take on the 14 weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) after Basic Combat Training that it takes to learn how to visually track aircraft and provide proper landing and take-off instructions. Becoming an Air Traffic Control Operator for the Guard also directly qualifies you to work in civilian airports’ air traffic control towers.

15W UAV Operator

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Operator is another MOS that requires nerves of steel, or “tenacity,” as this Soldier aptly puts it. 15Ws are trained Intelligence Specialists who operate unmanned aircraft to collect and supply critical information to Soldiers on the ground. And, if you want to fast-track your way to becoming a commercial pilot, UAV Operator may be the path to consider. 15W is the only MOS that offers flight training at the enlisted level. While the 23 weeks of required AIT primarily focuses on teaching you how to operate complex UAV systems, the training includes the FAA ground schooling that’s required to become a pilot.

Helicopter Repairers

Sure, helicopter pilots usually shine in the spotlight, and maybe your ultimate goal is to sit in the cockpit one day. But there are also a lot of heroes dedicated to keeping those mechanical birds safe and ready to fly.

The Army National Guard’s impressive fleet of helicopters requires a highly specialized maintenance team trained to inspect, maintain, and repair each type of whirly bird. From the Apache (AH-64) and Kiowa (OH-58D) combat helicopters to the Black Hawk (UH-60) utility and Chinook (CH-47) workhorse transport helicopters, you can get the skills needed to keep the Guard flying high, as well as your civilian career. Your training will prepare you for a future with aircraft manufacturers, commercial airlines, private charter companies, and more. Read this Gear Spotlight to learn more about Guard helicopters, and check out the following MOS job descriptions:

15R AH-64 Attack Helicopter Repairer

15Y AH-64D Armament/Electrical/Avionics Systems Repairer

15S OH-58D/AHR Helicopter Repairer

15U CH-47 Helicopter Repairer

15T UH-60 Utility Helicopter Repairer

15V Observation/Scout Helicopter Repairer

System Repairers

The Guard’s aviation maintenance team also includes a slew of highly trained fix-it experts who can repair and maintain the special systems (electrical, communications, navigation, weapons, pneudraulics, etc.) built into the Guard’s complex aircraft. You’ll have a longer AIT with these jobs, but the skills you gain will be worth it. The following MOS job descriptions will give you the low-down on each specialty:

15F Aircraft Electrician

15N Avionics Mechanic

15E Unmanned Aircraft Systems Repairer

15H Aircraft Pneudraulics Repairer

15B Aircraft Powerplant Repairer

15G Aircraft Structural Repairer

15D Aircraft Powertrain Repairer

Well, that’s it for the final September Spotlight. If aviation is your passion, perhaps now your mind will automatically think, “I can do that in the Army National Guard.” Learn more by visiting the jobs board and contacting a Recruiter today.

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