Sunday, November 28, 2010

Air Force Career Advice

It is always heartwarming to see a young person receive helpful career advice!........

Dear Major Mills:

I am D. J. Baker and I would appreciate it if you could tell me what it
takes to be an F-16 fighter pilot in the USAF. What classes should I take
in high school to help the career I want to take later in life? What can I
do to increase my chances of getting into the Air Force Academy?


DJ Baker

A worldly and jaded C 130 pilot, Major Hunter Mills, rises to the task of
answering the young man's letter:

Dear DJ,

Obviously, through no fault of your own, your young, impressionable brain
has been poisoned by the superfluous, hyped-up, "Top Gun" media portrayal of
fighter pilots.

Unfortunately, this portrayal could not be further from the truth. In my
experience, I've found most fighter pilots pompous, backstabbing, momma's
boys with inferiority complexes, as well as being extremely over-rated
aeronautically. However, rather than dash your budding dreams of becoming a
USAF pilot, I offer the following alternative:

What you really want to aspire to is the exciting, challenging and rewarding
world of TACTICAL AIRLIFT. And this, young DJ, means one thing, the
venerable workhorse, the C-130! I can guarantee no fighter pilot can brag
that he has led a 12-ship formation down a valley at 300 feet above the
ground, with the navigator leading the way and trying to interpret an
alternate route to the drop zone, avoiding pop-up threats, and coordinating
with AWACS, all while eating a box lunch while the engineer is in the back
relieving himself and the loadmaster is puking in his trash can!

I tell you DJ, TAC Airlift is where it's at! Where else is it legal to throw
tanks, HUMMV's, and other crap out the back of an airplane, and not even
worry about it when the chute doesn't open and it torpedoes the General's
staff car! Nowhere else can you land on a 3000 foot dirt strip, kick a bunch
of ammo and stuff out on the ramp without stopping, then takeoff again
before range control can call to tell you that you've landed on the wrong

And talk about exotic travel; when C-130s go somewhere, they GO somewhere
(usually for 3 months, unfortunately). This gives you the opportunity to
immerse yourself in the local culture long enough to give the locals a bad
taste in their mouths regarding the USAF and Americans in general, not
something those C-141 Stratolifter pilots can do from their airport hotel

As far as recommendations for your course of study, I offer these:

1. Take a lot of math courses. You'll need all the advanced math skills you
can muster to enable you to calculate per diem rates around the world, and
when trying to split up the crew's bar tab so that the co-pilot really
believes he owes 85% of the whole thing and the navigator believes he owes
the other 20%.

2. Health sciences are important, too. You will need a thorough knowledge of
biology to make those educated guesses of how much longer you can drink beer
before the tremendous case of the G.I.'s catches up to you from that meal
you ate at the place that had the really good belly dancers in some
God-forsaken foreign country whose name you can't even pronounce.

3. Social studies are also beneficial. It is important for a good TAC
Airlifter to have the cultural knowledge to be able to ascertain the exact
location of the nearest topless bar in any country in the world, then be
able to convince the local authorities to release the loadmaster after he
offends every sensibility of the local religion and culture.

4. A foreign language is helpful but not required. You will never be able to
pronounce the names of the NAVAIDs in France, and it's much easier to ignore
them and to go where you want to anyway. As a rule of thumb: waiters and
bellhops in France are always called "Pierre"; in Spain it's "Hey, Pedro";
and in Italy, of course, it's "Mario". These terms of address also serve in
other countries interchangeably, depending on the level of suaveness of the

5. A study of geography is paramount. You will need to know the basic
location of all the places you've been when you get back from your TDY and
are ready to stick those little pins in that huge world map you've got taped
to your living room wall, right next to the giant wooden giraffe statue and
beer stein collection.

Well, DJ, I hope this little note inspires you. And by the way, forget about
the Air Force Academy thing. All TAC Airlifters know that there are waaay
too few women and too little alcohol there to provide a well-balanced
education. A nice, big state college or the Naval Academy would be a much
better choice.

Hunter Mills,
Major USAF

No comments:

Post a Comment