Each month throughout 2015, On Your Guard is spotlighting a “hot job.” What defines these featured jobs as “hot”? One all-important benchmark: number of times people searched for it on the National Guard jobs board. For July, we’re featuring the whole 15 series of aviation military occupational specialties. Specifically, 15P, 15Q and 15W have each received hundreds of job board views recently.
Aviation in the Army National Guard
Tell 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 occupational specialties (MOS) that support aviation operations at the enlisted level.
Here’s a quick look at all the exciting careers you’ll find under “Aviation” in the Category dropdown menu of the National Guard jobs board. Click the links to view nationwide job openings and read more detailed descriptions.
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.
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.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Operator is another MOS that requires nerves of steel. 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.
Sure, helicopter pilots 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 in any of the following military occupational specialties will prepare you for a future with aircraft manufacturers, commercial airlines, private charter companies, and more:
- 15T UH-60 Utility Helicopter Repairer
- 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
- 15V Observation/Scout Helicopter Repairer
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