Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Expert Profile

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I am a retired MSgt (2004) with 24 years experience in the aircrew career field, both as a loadmaster (AFSC 1A2x1) and flight engineer (AFSC 1A1x1). I have been to every continent at one time or another, and regularly flew 300 to 500 hours a year. I have been involved in the operations in Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. I can answer most questions you may have about enlisted Air Force life in general, assignments, benefits, and enlisted aircrew operations. NOTE: If you have specific recruiting and/or medical questions about how to get into this career field as a civilian, they have changed since my time, so that is best answered by a recruiter or MEPS. I can answer questions about military personnel wanting to RETRAIN. If you are asking about being an Air Force pilot, please be advised my area of expertise is ENLISTED aircrew operations, NOT OFFICERS.

Experience in the area

Loadmaster (AFSC 1A2x1): 7 years - 2,000 hours - C-5A Galaxy cargo plane. Flight Engineer (AFSC 1A1x1C): 7 years - 2,500 hours - C-141B Starlifter cargo plane, 10 years - 3,800 hours - KC-10A Extender aerial tanker. Served as aircrew Flight Instructor, Flight Evaluator and Training Manager


Aircraft Loadmaster Initial Qualification - 1980. Mission Qualification (C-5A) - 1981. Fixed Wing Aircraft Performance Course - 1987. Initial Flight Engineer Qualification (C-141B) - 1987. Mission Qualification (KC-10A) - 1988. KC-10 Initial Qualification Course - 1994. Mission Qualification (KC-10A) - 1995. Instructor Qualficiation (KC-10A) - 1997. Evaluator Qualification (KC-10A) - 2000.

What do you like about this subject?

I believe the Air Force is the best of the armed services, and enjoy the opportunity to provide the motivation to young folks interested in joining.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Only 3% of the Air Force's enlisted force are on flying status.

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Recent Answers from James Bell

2015-01-31 combat medic moniker:

JD -    To my knowledge, there are no medical personnel assigned to squadrons (vice company for the Army).  Unless you are a part of a medical squadron, there is no comparable corpsman position assigned

2014-12-07 Becoming a pilot:

Gardner -    My area of expertise is ENLISTED aircrew careers (boom operator, flight engineer, loadmaster), so I can't quote you chapter and verse on what you need, however, having been in close proximity

2013-12-16 Question about enlisting in the Air Force ?:

Chris -    According to the Air Forc's official website (, the window for enlistment eligibility is 17 to 27.  However, on the website you can also chat with a recruiter live.  They will

2013-07-26 General questions:

Dennis -    The Commander of the overall base would be the Wing Commander, usually a senior Colonel or Brigadier General.    Realize that, depending upon the "attack" you are describing, you may fall under

2012-09-26 Loadmaster:

Ryszard    I apologize for taking so long to respond.  I was out of state and didn't change my vacation dates.  At any rate, all jet aircraft (C-5, C-17) are permanently stationed stateside.  C-130s


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