AFSC 21AX Advice

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by kittkatt, May 16, 2016.

  1. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    Can any current cadets or--better yet--past/present airmen weigh in on the aircraft maintenance officer career path? I've been advised to at least think through a non-rated career path in the event that a rated slot doesn't come through (vision issues). While I'm not an A&P, I'm comfortable "turning a wrench" and working in a shop and, in any event, I understand that most officers work/supervise the logistical aspects of airframe maintenance from behind a desk in a cubicle. Suggestions on helpful majors (management?), AMOC, base assignments, ops tempo, etc. would be much appreciated. Also, how selective is this career path and why does it appear to be unpopular at USAFA. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  2. jbjtitleist124

    jbjtitleist124 Member

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    That's a great idea and you already have foresight that many firsties don't even have. I am not a MX officer, but I can tell you that you rarely turn a wrench. Unless you want to do some type of maintenance job on the outside, it doesn't matter what your major is. And pretty much anywhere there are airplanes, you can be assigned to a MX group/sq. Not sure about the ops tempo, but you will more than likely deploy, more than likely, more than once. Hopefully someone else will chime in with some better info for you, but I just want you to understand that as a MX officer, you're not turning wrenches, you're going to mx meetings and doing paperwork. You will get plenty of practice "managing," but hopefully more "leading" in your time at USAFA and in the first 5 years of your Active duty career. So, I wouldn't worry about picking a major that reflects that. Pick something you like.
     
  3. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    My son is in CS27 and his AOC is an aircraft maintenance officer. Go talk to her?
     
  4. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    I appreciate your input. And I realize that MX officers help lead the "real" maintainers--those who actually turn wrenches, but I felt that knowing something about aircraft maintenance might help me lead others. Is the MX career path simply unpopular at USAFA or are there few of these non-rated slots available?
     
  5. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Since the AF's mission IS flying, rated officer slots are, of course, the premier positions. However, for non-rated, aircraft maintenance officer positions are not few and far between. Also, the higher positions on the maintenance side, you will find, typically are reserved for rated officers as career broadening assignments, especially at the commander level. You will find a few Lt Col's / Col's that have been life-time maintainers in command positions, though.

    Back in my day (nearly 30 years ago) and even still today, there was a saying that "TAC eats its young" when it came to maintenance officers. Not sure it has changed much under ACC or other commands.

    But, knowing your way around an aircraft, which I did not when I first started as a "butter bar", can be very beneficial to you and your troops in more ways than one. However, never presume to know more than your enlisted maintainers. This is their job and life, learn from them, especially your senior NCOs who have been lifelong maintainers.
     
  6. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    I wouldn't necessarily say it's an unpopular AFSC here, what are you basing that on?
     
  7. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    I saw that for class of 2016 AFSC selections only 20/810 cadets selected into maintenance. After after you back out the pilot slots it's a bit better at 20/461. Approximately 2.5% or 5% struck me as a bit low.
     
  8. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    I'd argue that's mostly needs of the Air Force-hence why there are so many Missiles officers, for example. Trust me, for the average cadet, maintenance is a more desirable career field than missiles.

    There aren't a ton of slots for maintenance, but there's a decently large sized handful of people here who want the career field and will put it as their first choice.
     
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  9. repatriot

    repatriot Member

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    Agree, from what I've heard Maintenance is more desirable to most cadets and career progression in both fields is good. If you can't fly in the USAF, seems maintenance would still put you close to the action.
     
  10. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    The input and knowledge are much appreciated. Thanks!
     
  11. zrh177

    zrh177 Member

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    I vividly remember speaking with a young 1LT MX officer this past semester. The biggest take away was that MX officers lead lots of airmen very early in their careers unlike pilots who might not actually have much command experience until they make 03 or even later. He mentioned that working with so many young guys meant writing lots of LORs and that in only his first year of work, he had to have a guy arrested for cooking meth in the barracks. At the same time, the LT said that he learned very quickly how to earn the respect of enlisted folks, and he cited two things: firstly, it was good to take a break from the managing and paperwork to actually go out on the flight line and maybe turn a wrench; secondly, he stressed that micro-managing, although always bad, was particularly harmful in MX and that just letting these well-trained airmen do their jobs without an annoying butter bar over their shoulder should be a priority. Hope this helps!
     

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