F-22s for the Air *National Guard*?

Hickam Air Force Base recently got some F-22s. They are to be flown by the Hawaii Air National Guard.


Why are these zillion-dollar jets being entrusted to “1 weekend a month, 2 weeks a year” pilots? The training alone must be enormous for these planes. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the active-duty personnel at Hickam to be flying them?

Or am I misunderstanding the Air National Guard?

The Army National Guard and Air National Guard now have soldiers and airmen who are known as AGR (who’s full name escapes me at the moment). These guys are essentially on active duty for the Guard unit, and do the jobs that require more than just the typical guardsman.

I imagine that the F-22s of the HAANG will be piloted by airmen who will be on AGR status on a rotating basis. Also most pilots coming into the ANG tend to have time flying in the active Air Force.

You are, but it is a common misunderstanding.

The “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” thing is no longer true, if it ever was. That is the absolute minimum commitment for a Guardsman, be it in services, the band, armor, infantry, flight, whatever.

However, rated officers and enlisted people have a much more substantial commitment than that. Take me, for instance. I am a rated enlisted man, so in addition to my standard commitment I must fly for proficiency, typically a minimum of 4 hours per month. I have semi-annual flight training requirements that must be met. I must also be available for immediate deployments should the need occur.

The Guard is largely seen as a cost-effective way of running the military. We can be federalized at any time, yet we don’t draw a full-time salary and we don’t get full-time benefits. Yet we are largely looked down upon by the active duty military as so-called “Weekend Warriors” even though we carry much more of the burden than we should, being such a small component of the military.

The pilots flying the F-22 will be just as proficient as those on active duty. They get their initial training at the same places side by side and the instructor pilots in the Guard are typically very experienced (I have pilots with well over 30 years of flight time). I wouldn’t worry about it were I you.

Also this! I spent in total (with training, AT, and drill weekends) probably about 14 weeks last year on duty status. Part time my ass.

You’re misunderstanding it for sure.

First, the ANG pilots generally, but not necessarily are former active-duty pilots.

Second, they tend to wipe the floor with active duty pilots due to MUCH more flight experience.

Third, the ANG is who does the combat air patrol (or whatever it’s called) around the US borders. There used to be a squadron of ANG fighters based at Ellington south of Houston, that did patrols over the Gulf of Mexico- they were the ones who escorted Air Force One to Barksdale AFB from Florida on 9/11.

It makes sense that you’d want Hawaii’s ANG to have the latest fighter aircraft, considering that they’re rather remote from the mainland and any other bases.

Thanks all! I was disparaging the ANG at all, I concede the misunderstanding.

And yes, I assumed Bob in Accounting or Joe at the Auto Repair shop wasn’t flying those jets on the weekends. So, I wasn’t worried if Japan tried a do-over here.

I just figured for the F-22, only people who were full-time with the Air Force would have the training and resources needed to fly those. That the Air Force would “reserve” those kinds of high-performance planes to their active-duty officers.

Part of me figured there’d be a lot of competition between the USAF’s own fighter jocks for these jets, that they wouldn’t filter down to the ANG. “I can pick up more chicks flying these over a KC-135, let the weekend warriors take those”.

I dunno, KC135s can be pretty sexy

It has to do with what was said up thread. The ANG has what is called the “Air Sovereignty” mission- it’s essentially a Combat Air Patrol to protect American aerospace. It’s had this mission for going on four decades. The aircraft that have been doing this mission are mostly F-15s, who airframes are reaching the end of their service lives, are the ones being replaced by the F-22. And the oldest F-15s are mostly in the Air Guard’s inventory.

Active duty fighter jocks have to content themselves with the newest of the F-15s, and the F-16s. Then some day they’ll get the F-35. Someday.

In addition, the flight maintenance personnel at a National Guard base tend to be much more experienced. Your average active duty flight maintenance technician is only on the job for a few months, and then he/she is transferred. By contrast, it is not uncommon to meet a maintenance technician at a Guard base with more than 15 years of experienced working on an F-16 (or whatever). Aircraft at Guard bases are *very *well taken care of as a result.

I was talking with an ANG F-16 pilot about flying time just a couple weeks ago. He said that he flies about 8 times in an average month, which he said was about the same amount of training time he got when he was active Air Force. In addition to weekends, his employer allows him to take a day about every other week so he maintains proficiency in everything he needs to do, and the amount of training time goes up as he prepares to deploy.

Cause Transformers 3 is coming out in July and have to get ready for the return of megatron and soundwave.