Overview of air force aircrew careers gas emoji

In today’s gigantic, technically sophisticated military, not all soldiers are guaranteed the chance to fire a shot in anger (especially if they’ve got a desk job.) Likewise, not all airmen will necessarily set foot on an airplane as anything other than a passenger. If you’re seeking career skills as part of an in-flight crew, or just looking for adventure in the “wild blue yonder,” you’ll need to guarantee yourself an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) in the Aircrew Operations Field. This article is the first of two highlighting careers in that field. Education

Unless otherwise stated, all careers below require at least a high school diploma. Aerial Gunner is the only occupation here that may also be open to recruits with a GED, according to Air Force regulations. But if you don’t have a diploma, play it safe and check with an Air Force recruiter, since acceptance of GEDs can change depending on the Air Force’s current personnel needs. Military Requirements

All aircrew jobs require specific medical clearances for aviation duty, and all except Flight Attendant require normal depth perception. All aircrew also require background checks for various levels of security clearance, due to their access to sensitive materials, so keep an eye on your credit report.

Be the only flight attendant on your block to have a friendly smile and a combat aircrew badge. The Air Force operates several military adaptations of commercial passenger planes, such as the C-20 Gulfstream, where flight attendants provide for passenger safety, comfort, and meals. They often cater to military passengers, as well as military retirees and family members on "Space Available" flights. These folks are also the crew on VIP flights like Air Force One — a coveted duty assignment reserved only for the cream of the crop in the field.

Education: Recommended background courses are home economics, customer service, and speech. Military training starts with about a month and a half at Lackland for Aircrew Undergraduate Course and Basic Flight Attendant Course, followed by Combat Survival Training and Water Survival, 19 days total, at Fairchild AFB.

Military Requirements: This job is only open to those already serving in the Air Force who are at least 21 years old. A Top Secret Clearance, good speaking abilities, and a government vehicle operator license (obtained in the service, not at the dreaded DMV) are all prerequisites.

Not all military aircraft are for fighting or transport. Surveillance craft also cruise the skies and listen in on enemy communications. Problem is, we’re not likely to go to war with someone who speaks English unless we time-travel back to 1776. And despite how fun Maverick and Goose made it look to “keep up international relations” with a tactically deployed middle finger in Top Gun, that just doesn’t cut it when you need to gather actionable intelligence. Hence, the Air Force has crew aboard its surveillance craft that monitors enemy frequencies and keeps their trained ears peeled for clues in the bad guys’ native tongue.

Interestingly, this job – unlike earthbound Army Interpreter/Translators – doesn’t require fluency in a particular language to start with. As the Air Force’s recruiting website states, “Persian Farsi, Chinese, Russian, Pashtu, Japanese and Korean are just some of the languages you can learn as an Airborne Cryptologic specialist” (emphasis mine).

Education: Diploma or a GED with 15 college credits. The Air Force prefers students with coursework in foreign languages, math, keyboarding, and computers. Military training at Lackland, Goodfellow AFB TX, or in Monterey CA can last anywhere from eight to 23 weeks. “Why so long,” you ask? Well, how fast can you learn a new language?

Even though fluency isn’t required, new applicants must take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) in addition to the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and show sufficient language-learning potential. If you’re already fluent in a language the Air Force desires, of course, you get a pass on that.