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Air Force Flight Engineer Career Field

Aug 17, 2007
I want to cross train out of my current AFSC. Flight engineering is 1 of my options. Would you recommend this to someone who is married? Also how long is the tech school, and to what degree of difficulty is it? I'm a former Guidance and control troop, and I am presently an Avionic back shop instructor at Sheppard, so I have a strong avionics background.

The AMC way of life is vastly different than AETC. The AMC life centers on deployments. GAC goes just as much as everyone else. If you have a strong marriage and a good relationship with your wife, you can survive anything the military throws at you. My wife and I have been married 20 years. I was flying when we met and that is the only way she's known me. She has stuck with me through lengthy separations and shorter ones.

Realize that the job of the flight engineer is to refuel aircraft, move cargo, etc. It is a job that centers on TDYs. Although, since 9/11 I've deployed more than gone TDY and staying in a hotel is now a treat instead of a desert brown tent. Again, you have to weight the benefits of a challenging job versus family separation.

I came in as a loadmaster in Basic. I cross-trained 7 years later and became an engineer. I don't think the school was that hard, and that's when the military was teaching it with a 50% washout rate. Now the schools are all civilian contracted, and it's a kinder, gentler school. The contractors get paid for each student who graduates, so there is little chance you would fail, unless you just decided you didn't want to do it anymore.

The tech schools last a total of 5 months: 2 months of BFE (Basic Flight Engineer school) at Altus (you can drive home whenever you want), and 3 months of TTU, depending on which aircraft you end up on. C-5s train at Altus, C-130s at Littlerock. KC-10s train at their home base Travis or McGuire. E-3s are at Tinker. There is a host of other aircraft, but I don't know their particulars. You also have Combat and Water Survival School at Fairchild, and roughly six months training at home station before you become mission ready.

The rewards go far beyond the tangible, however. At the end of the day you can see the end result of your work, you've moved your mission from point A to B. Since becoming an engineer, I've earned four Air Medals, two Aerial Achievement medals, and have been awarded the AF Outstanding Unit Award eleven times, twice with valor (getting shot at). My wife wasn't thrilled to learn of that. Both events occurred over Afghanistan. I've flown 3 different aircraft and logged over 8,100 flight hours.

Making a good career choice is one I feel is very important. I am currently on terminal leave, and making the transition to civilian life. Today's demands on the military are very strenuous, and a change like this is one I wouldn't suggest or take lightly. With the demands I am facing today, it would be very difficult to stay in for another 4 or more years. That's why I'm retiring.
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Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.WarGear.info/. WarGear.info carries the best selection of military clothing, war gear, and combat accessories on the market.
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