Most pilots take one of two paths to earning their wings. They either follow the “Civilian Route,” and self-fund flight lessons and certifications one flight hour at a time, or they enlist in the US Air Force and receive training as a military pilot, serving as a member of the active duty Air Force. However, a third option exists; what I refer to as the Alternate Route. In the early years of my aviation career, a friend introduced me to the possibility of joining the Air National Guard to become a fully-trained military pilot and earn the flight hours necessary to reach my ultimate goal of becoming a commercial airline pilot. The best part about this opportunity was the ability to choose where I wanted to live and work, or which type of aircraft I wanted to fly. The Alternate Route is an ideal hybrid of advanced, fully-funded pilot training with the US Air Force, and the flexibility of a routine job application.