My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 6, 2022

Coast Guard bringing on reserve pilots 

By Kathy Murray, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard is establishing a team of reserve pilots to help meet growing operational needs, retain expertise, and allow members to continue to pursue their chosen career path after separation. 

Applications to become one of the first 12 reserve aviation officers have been received. These positions can be located at all Coast Guard aviation units and Naval Flight Training commands and can be filled as early as this summer.  

It’s also not too early to start thinking about next year when an additional 12 positions are expected to be added, says Lt. Cmdr. Christopher McAndrew who manages the new program.   

“It’s an ongoing effort,” said McAndrew, noting that the pilots will join reserve enlisted aviation maintenance crews already at these facilities. Last year, the Coast Guard made 70 billets available to enlisted members (E-4 to E-6) to start building the reserve aviation workforce. 

Retaining pilots has long been a challenge for all military service branches. While the problem lessened during COVID, renewed demand for air travel has airlines once again on a hiring spree. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines already have reserve pilot programs.  

Now, McAndrew hopes some departing members of the Coast Guard will take the opportunity to continue to serve. “We’re saying, you can fly for the airlines, or take another job,” he said, “but come and fly for us as well.” 

What will reserve pilots do? 

Reserve pilots can take on one of three roles:  

  • Coast Guard Reserve Aviator – responsible for safe and effective operations of Coast Guard aircraft and aircrew flying search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement (LE), ports waterways, and coastal security (PWCS), and maritime environmental response (MEP), and authorized missions and standing 24-hour alert duty. 
  • Aviation Training Center Mobile Reserve Standarization Instruction Pilot – conducts classroom, simulator and in-flight instruction of Coast Guard student pilots and fleet pilots. Also develops, designs, and implements tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) for the fleet. 
  • Detached Duty External (DDE) Aviation Instructor Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) Advanced or Primary Flight Training Instructor Pilot: Conducts classroom and in-flight instruction of Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and international student naval aviators. Also serve as pilot-in-command of Navy training aircraft. 

Note: Transition courses will NOT be offered for Coast Guard or Navy aircraft. Requalification courses may be offered to support the needs of the Coast Guard. 

All reserve aviators will be required to maintain their flight designations and qualifications. This translates into roughly 60-72 drilling days a year to meet flight maneuver minimums and complete proficiency requirements.  

In addition to flight duty, reserve pilots may be required to perform other aviation operations and training duties, as well as participate in command-sponsored aviation safety events.  

Who qualifies? 

The Coast Guard is looking for pilots who are current in their training and flight hours. The preference is for aviators who separated from active duty, or had an approved separation on file, no earlier than Oct. 1, 2021.  

Waivers will also be considered for the right applicant, McAndrew says. If you meet the other requirements listed below, you’re encouraged to apply. 

  • A current or previous designation as a Coast Guard aircraft commander 
  • A minimum of 750 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC) of a military aircraft 
  • A minimum of 1,500 total hours in a military aircraft 
  • Successful completion of a Coast Guard or Department of Defense (DoD) flight physical prior to flight duties 
  • C-school eligibility 

In addition, all reserve aviators seeking Naval Air Training Commands should have previous experience as a Naval Air Training Command (NATRACOM) instructor and have flown in an instructional sortie within the past year. 

Selection will be based on available assignments, airframe designation, total flight time, and the candidate’s performance as an aviator. 

How to apply? 

If you are interested in, you should submit an eResume via DirectAccess for these positions. Keep your eyes open for a similar announcement next year. As an applicant, you can indicate  a preferred drill unit – Aviation Training Center (ATC) Mobile, Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus, Christi, NAS Pensacola – or a specific Coast Guard air station in the comments section.  

If you don’t have access to DirectAccess, contact RPM-2 to discuss submitting a CG-2002 form as an alternate application.  

Waiver requests for minimum eligibility requirements can be submitted via a memo to CG-711. The waver Template can be found here. (CAC required). 

For more information, please visit COMDT (CG-711) Reserve Aviation Portal Page (CAC required).