For those of you who are former USAF or who just like to fly, you might also consider the Civil Air Patrol. Like the TXSG, you don't get paid for participation, in fact, we like to say that CAP stands for Come And Pay. Seriously, it's a great organization dedicated to emergency services response (downed aircraft, natural disasters, etc), cadet training and aerospace education (for not only our cadets but also for the public). Prior service members can come in at their former rank usually; persons with special skills (pilots, instructor pilots, medical, legal, chaplain, etc) can come in at advanced officer ranks. Basically all senior members (those over 18 YOA) are officers while a few decide to retain their enlisted rank (usually those who attained E9); cadets move through all cadet ranks from Airman Basic (c/E1) to Cadet Colonel (c/O6), then when they turn 18, they may opt to remain in the cadet program until they turn 21 but are moved to senior member status and work on Flight Officer ranks. They can achieve through FO3 (which is like WO3). Once they turn 21, they must move to senior program only and will be promoted to O1 thru O3 based on their cadet rank and/or the FO status.
Not a pilot but like to fly? No problem. You can work in the Mission Scanner and Mission Observer programs. These crewmembers fly alongside the pilot (Observers in right front seat and Scanners in back left seat). Observers work the radios, GPS, and camera out the right side of the aircraft. Scanners take photos out the left side. Both watch for target acquisition opportunities.
Don't like to fly? We have that covered as well. You can work with Ground Teams who go out into the field as a group to do the final locating of the object spotted either by satellite radio interception or by aircraft crews. Don't like the field environment? Work within the IC (Incident Command) infrastructure scheduling/tracking assets and crews, operating communication equipment, etc.
Only drawback for us prior service non-USAF types is we have to get used to wearing that darned ol' sky blue uniform stuff! Seriously, there are many options to uniforms. If you desire to wear USAF style uniforms, you must conform to CAP/USAF approved weight-height standards (slightly less rigid than USAFR). There are similar uniforms that are considered CAP Specific uniforms for those of us who can't quite squeeze into the H-W tables that are still sharp options.
The only thing close to pay is reimbursement for operating expenses related to aircraft operations on USAF approved missions and other special missions with paid sponsorship.
Here's some unofficial info regarding CAP:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Air_Patrol
OR, you can go to the horse's mouth here:http://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/
[This message has been edited by Lee72 (edited 9/20/2011 5:16p).]