Full Time Guard Jobs Worth it?
Military Aircraft Mechanic Jobs
The aircraft that the National Guard flies, both Army and Air Guard, are maintained in most states by a group of people called full time technicians. During normal business hours, these aircraft mechanics are state employees and not military. Although, in most cases they do still wear the military uniforms. Also, their management system is not of the military type either. Rank is not used as a determining factor as such. During drill weekends of annual training, these aircraft technicians are then under military orders just like everyone else in the guard. While on military orders (drill or annual training ect.) they are called M-day soldiers. M-day just means you are under military orders and not working as a state employee even though essentially they work you are doing is the same, maintaining aircraft.
In order to be full time aircraft mechanic for the guard, you must also be a member of the guard, either air or army.
I recently ran into an old friend named Mario. Mario just quit his full time guard job as a Chinook CH-47 mechanic and got a new job. We got to talking about the pros and cons of full time guard jobs. I was once interested in becoming a full time guard aircraft mechanic in my younger days. I even had a few interviews but I was never offered a job. Hindsight I consider my self lucky as I was able to do much more profitable things with my life.
Mario eventually got burned out doing the same old labor intensive jobs. He was ready to move on. He told me that it was great for younger mechanics but as he aged, he fell out of love with it. Time to move on I guess.
That’s not to say that full time guard jobs are bad. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of positives to full time employment by the guard, as my friend Mario explained it to me over a few beers.
Pros to Full Time Guard Jobs
The pros to full time guard are
- Decent pay for an entry level aircraft mechanic. Now, some guard units are in desperate need of full time aircraft technicians and I had friends from another state that got picked up basically right out of AIT. My state was much tougher to break into. The pay also varies by state because of the cost of living changes. Expect somewhere between $22.00 – $30.00 per hour.
- Benefits are great
- Great at gaining experience on a particular aircraft. Being a regular soldier in the guard (M-day) does not provide you with much hands on time because there are much more important tasks to do during drill weekends like PT tests, rifle ranges, drug tests, Pro-MOD, family day and the list goes on and on. An older mechanic in the guard once told me, “you can either maintain the aircraft or the soldier, you cannot do both”. This is so true.
- Job security.
- Very lenient leave policy. Go ahead, take that dream vacation!
- Integrates well with military training. Getting time off to go play army for 2 weeks during the summer ( annual training) is not difficult. Some civilian employers can be difficult tow work with despite laws protecting soldiers.
- You don’t need an A&P license. But it would be a great time to get it, especially of you can get the military to pay for it!
- Tools are provided, and nice ones at that.
Cons to Full Time Guard Jobs
- Lack of upward mobility for enlisted guys and gals.
- Technicians tend to get “taken advantage of” when it comes to supporting the flight program which is on the Army side of the house.
- Drill weekends can seem like a really long week since you do not get a break and you are essentially showing up to work for 12 days and drill weekends seem to come way to often!
- Easy to get bored doing the same thing over and over. You can get burned out easily.
Getting Hired – Interview Process
Getting hired as a full time guard aircraft mechanic is not all that difficult. First, like previously mentioned, you have to also be in the guard. Job postings will have minimum requirements that you should try and meet but keep in mind that it is not always possible for the guard to find those qualifications. So my advice is to apply anyways.
On drill weekends, find out who the full time technicians are and build up a rapport. These are the same people who will eventually be interviewing you for the position. The interview process in my state has you sitting down with the manager and also a few technicians. Each will ask you questions and try and stump you.
Making sure you look professional and have a copy of your resume when you go to your interview. Having a few references from others in your unit could also help especially if you are a new guy without much reputation.
Find full time guard jobs at usaJOBS.gov
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