ALO interview question

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by yfx4, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. yfx4

    yfx4 Dad of a former Candidate

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    Last night we received an odd call from the ALO. After no response to left messages for about 3 weeks he finally contacted our son. This became a 45-minute one-sided call with a significant effort to discourage him from pursuing the AFA when it was obvious the ALO not not familiar with our son's background. The ALO even included a rant about bicyclists in his neighborhood. Not what I was expecting.....

    Now he wants to do a "group interview" with the entire family at our home. What should I be expecting as a parent? This rigorous process just took a very odd turn. Any advice for the parents would be appreciated.
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hi!

    Check your PM's please.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    Our experience

    Our son's interview with his ALO began with a 45 to 60 minute "group" interview that included us (i.e the parents.) The last two hours was "one on one" with just our son and the ALO. As I recall, it was in late July or early August last year. Much of the "parents" interview dealt with our general backgrounds, interests, hobbies, and anecdotes about raising our son, but mainly he wanted to know if we had questions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    It is not uncommon for an ALO to want to meet the parents. Most times it's simply a way to get the entire family excited and motivated with the application process. "Teens sometimes procrastinate, and it's nice to have the parents on board as part of the process". Sometimes it's simply to learn more about the applicant. Sometimes it's to see if it's the applicant who really wants to attend the academy, or if it's the parents pushing him/her into that direction. But mostly, it's to have the entire family involved. That provides more support for the applicant.

    As for the original post, I have no idea why the ALO would have actively tried to discourage their son from pursuing the academy. It's possible that the ALO was simply trying to get a reaction out of the young man to see how much he really wanted this. I am only speculating. I see that Steve PM'd you. If anyone would have a solid opinion on this question, Steve would. Best of luck to you. Mike.....
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am sure flieger will assist you in easing your worries, but for the generic answer to why the folks are being interviewed, it is simple.

    The ALO wants to feel you out...are you the pusher in the AFA application, are you opposed to him serving in the AF, are you curious about anything from the parental standpoint.

    Our DS's ALO spoke to me over the phone, he was sneaky about it. He called for our DS, but landed up chit chatting with me for about 15 minutes. He said things, like this must be such an exciting yr for you, how are you feeling about the fact in a yr from now he would be at the AFA right now? Or I see his Dad's work number is on base, what does he do? Then it was the follow up with so DS always wanted to be in the AF to follow Dad's footsteps?

    These questions may appear vague on the surface level, but just those few questions enlightened him about our DS's background and the family support.

    For example my responses were...
    1. I am fine with it because either way, AFA or AFROTC he will be leaving me anyway. It is up to him and them where he will land up practicing saluting for the next 4 yrs.

    In other words, he has our support, but it is his decision because it is his life.

    2. He knew that his Dad was a flyer because military base squadron phone numbers end with the squadron's unit number. What he was looking for was DS doing this because of Dad.

    That is a large fear for some ALO's. They worry that the child has decided to do this because of parental involvement.

    3. How long is also an answer to give them insight.

    There is no right or wrong answer. I was straight up honest with him, and said he has wanted to be in the AF since 4th grade, but up until this past spring it was to become a JAG with attending Notre Dame for undergrad, and we had whiplash in April when he said I think I might want to go AFA and pilot instead.

    Talking to the parents really is no big issue at all.

    The one thing I would say to all parents, is to remember the ALO is your shoulder and friend. They have the exact same goal as you do...getting them into the AFA. If they say something that upsets you, it is better that you hear it now and address it, then to play ostrich in the sand as if they are wrong. ALO's are trained by the AFA. They have seen many candidates over their career, so they can see something faster than even the GC at your hs.

    The other thing about ALO's. This is a volunteer position. They have their 8-4 job and families on top of this duty. Additionally, realize that your child will not be their only candidate, they could easily have 10 other candidates too. Thus, it can take them a while to get back to you, unless your ALO has found a way to clone themselves so they can be multiple people simultaneously...if so, give out their name, because I am sure Flieger for one would pay for that operation:shake:

    I also agree with CC, he may have been pushing him to see if your son really wanted it, and if he has thought this all through. Many candidates will respond, I want the AFA to fly fighters. Guess what, that can make some ALO's a little shaky since they know getting through the AFA is one thing, getting into UPT is another, graduating at the top of the class at UPT is still another. There are alot of hoops they go through to get there. Having the dream is great, but having plan B is also a very intelligent idea. To say, I know I will get it, because that's me and I won't quit is a very common response, yet flying fighters even out of the original 1600 cadets, probably only 150 of them will get one making it a statistical challenge. Whether or not they get fighters won't matter, because they will owe 5 yrs at least, the ALO wants to make sure they understand that not everyone who graduates from the AFA will become a fighter pilot, and he/she needs to make sure the candidate comprehends this aspect.

    Additionally, he may be negative to see if he is going to say if I don't get an appointment, my intentions are to take an AFROTC scholarship. Or is he going to say, well I also applied to USCG, USNA, and USMA, I don't care which branch I serve as long as I can get an SA education. Again 2 different things...not saying that it is wrong to say, but there will be some like our DS that only wanted AF, and if he couldn't go AF, he would serve the country from a different manner. There will be many who still have yet to decide which branch because each one is unique, but all they know is they want to be in the military in some fashion or form. Both are admirable, but both show different aspects.

    Most Importantly understand this yr will be a HUGE roller coaster ride. There will be good days and bad days, but we are all here to help you through it, because not one of us has forgotten the feeling we lived through with our kids. Trust me, you will really start to feel that feeling when you hold the envelope from your MOC, wondering is this going to be a jump for joy, or give them space moment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  6. lisah

    lisah Member

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    ALO interview

    As a non military family, we had no idea what to expect...and were mildly amused the ALO wanted to interview US and well as our son.
    The ALO was fantastic.

    He arrived at our home in the San Fransisco bay area, which is modest, but packed with odd art. It is a visual assault. Our eldest introduced the ALO to us. The younger son (13yo) was in riding breechers, a (goodwill) sports coat, ray bans, hair in multiple pigtails with a jaunty hat, holding a martini glass with lemonade....the kid bowed instead of shaking hands. Our eldest rolled his eyes. The ALO did not blink an eye. The interview proceeded. The ALO's focus was on our son.

    He really took the reigns explaining the process and making sure we all understood the commitment and expectations. It was apparent our son was doing this on his own as we are essentially old hippies and were flabbergasted that a military officer was even in our home! He was patient and kind and sharp. Two or three more interviews with our son alone at a coffee shop occurred. He invited him to attend the talks he gave at local events re: the USAFA education. He 'coached' him re: the interview process with the senators etc. He answered questions re: grades/medical exams/college life etc. All while having a life/family of his own. He really became a liaison in more then name. It never appeared to be a relationship of strain or judgment, to me. I was grateful and was reassured that our son made a good decision.

    When our son received his appointment, his liaison officer took him to the 'local' air force base and helped him with boots. He attended the reception of the congressperson who nominated our son, he presented the formal appointment at the senior awards nite at the HS. Last week I sent him pix (from webguy) of our son during BCT and a brief thank you note. He will connect with our son when he returns to USAFA for his 20th reunion next month. He has been our lifeguard and our lifeline. Please trust your ALO and the process. They get-it and really do look out for the 'kids'.

    Lisa Houser
    Sunnyvale CA
    C4C Chase Houser B-13
     
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  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Lisah's description of her son's ALO is exactly the type of person we try VERY hard to recruit into ALO work!! :thumb:

    As Pima and others have said, ALO's are a volunteer group of officers. Nobody is simply "assigned" the job; you have to request it. And then you go through interviews with the local ALO unit, have your records checked by several organizations, etc...etc...and only if all that goes well are you offered the position.

    Oh...one unique thing about the ALO position in the AF Reserve...it's a Category "E" military position in the Air Force Reserve Command. What's a Category "E" position you ask?

    UNPAID.

    That's correct; unpaid. ALO's are not paid for their service; they receive "points" toward their retirement instead. In a paid position, someone like me, an SOG (senior old guy) would see a one-day paycheck for each day of reserve duty and 1 point towards my retirement. As an ALO what I receive for a day of duty is 2 points towards my retirement. When I retire, the AF will add up all my points, determine their total 'value' and that will determine my retirement check when I turn 60.

    So...how do we recruit folks when we tell them UP FRONT that we are NOT going to pay them? How do you explain to someone that as the new AZ ALO, we're going to need them to go from Phoenix up to Window Rock (4 corners area) perhaps a couple of times a year, spend the night, etc., and pay for it ALL out of pocket?

    It's simple really, there are a lot of military folks out there that really want to help young men and women achieve their goals! And they're willing to make that commitment and sacrifice. :shake:

    We've "been there, done that, got multiple t-shirts" and we'd really like to pass that on to the next generation and to see them excel! I can't tell you how excited I get doing this...to see the looks on faces when things go well, to be able to help console when they don't, to see the maturity that develops so quickly as a student is working towards such a goal, whether they achieve it or not...it really makes one (me anyway) just feel VERY GOOD about life in general!

    I hear/read so many things about how "poor our schools are" and how "bad, lazy, etc...etc..." our students are. Well I'm sure they're out there, but I don't see them; I see students that scare me sometimes because they're just SO ACCOMPLISHED! I wonder "how would I have EVER gotten to USAFA with folks like this to compete with?" And that just makes me want to work harder with the students.

    And I'm not alone or unique in the ALO force...as you have seen here.

    I keep in touch with all my "former candidates" that were successful (and some that weren't but have pressed ahead into the service through other means) and it's almost as if they were my kids...I love to hear what they're doing, what new experience they've had, etc.

    And I can not tell you, can't begin to impress upon any of you, what the feeling is when one of them calls up before graduation and says: "Colonel...you were there all through high school, you have been there since...would you start me off again? Would you commission me?"

    That has happened to me several times...I can't tell you what that means...it's an experience that is special to all officers. I was commissioned by my father, he by his father. That's how it should be, but if a family member isn't available, then its up to the individual to pick someone. I know several ALO's that have been honored this way.

    ALO's are your son/daughter's advocate to USAFA...we paint the picture, you and your "kids" supply the paint, canvas, and theme.

    It's a VERY rewarding mission! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  8. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    After my son has his final "formal" interview with his ALO do you think it will help him to slip the guy a folded hundred dollar bill and tell him thanks for his help?:biggrin:

    Maybe someone else should attempt it first.:eek:
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Buy the ALO a bottle of "Jeremiah Weed". :beer1:

    In all seriousness; once the process is done, you received an appoint, the end of your senior year is coming upon you, and you're getting ready to leave home and go to the academy; there's nothing to say you couldn't invite your ALO to the high school graduation and even to a going away/graduation party if you're happening to have one. My son's ALO came to his high school graduation if I'm not mistaken. (It's been a while). She did come to his state championship football game. Then again, this is a pretty small town. Everyone knows everyone.
     
  10. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I had to Google "Jeremiah Weed". :wink: Regardless of whether my son receives an appointment or not, our ALO will definitely receive a graduation party invitation. I feel as though he has really made an effort to educate my son (and us) on the pros & cons of the AFA and to determine whether it is a good fit for both him and the academy. The fact that these people volunteer their time definitely indicates that it has to be a labor of love for them.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Mike, I love you, but c'mon a bottle of WEED?

    For those that don't what Weed is...imagine VICKS 44 COUGH SYRUP! on ICE!
     
  12. yfx4

    yfx4 Dad of a former Candidate

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    Wow!! I sure hope our initial impression was just a bad day. I was not as much worried about the parental interview as confused by the tone of the call as it was not what we expected. We were caught by surprise regarding the parental interview being unsure what to expect. Thanks for all the great POSITIVE advice.
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    My sister, just get a dictionary out. Think about it:

    ALO...Weed....Flieger....Weed....Flieger....ALO....Flieger....Weed.

    Look it up; I believe all 3 words are synonyms.

    I could be mistaken....... Naaaaaa. :jerry: Hee Hee.
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hmm... :scratch:

    Hard to wreck that logic train...

    Guess we'll just have to go with it! :thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Contrary to popular believe; I really like the stuff. Steve, when you come back to the academy for a football game, you'll definitely have to share a toast with us. Mike....
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    And how do you plan to keep it frozen? Weed frozen is bad enough...I don't even want to imagine it luke warm! My head is doing that shaking side to side with my eyes squinted and the words BLEH coming out of my mouth just thinking about it.

    Back on topic.

    yfx4,

    I am glad that we were able to help. Trust me, as someone who went through this process 3 yrs ago with our DS, this forum will become a life line to you. There is one rule to follow...THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION!

    You may be apprehensive asking a question, but trust me, if you are thinking it, I am sure there is at least one other poster and multiple lurkers thinking the same thing.

    This is not the traditional college application route, it is much more intense and unique. We all get that because we have all lived it.

    Good luck, keep posting!
     
  17. yfx4

    yfx4 Dad of a former Candidate

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    I hope and pray that I need this lifeline for the next 5 years. :thumb: The hopeful part of me wants to think that he is a shoe-in (if he pulls up his CFA) but the realistic part of me resists b/c I do not like disappointment. Right now my job is helping him stay focused--he is 17 after all.:cool:
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    He's got a GOOD resume! :thumb:

    Keep the focus, work the CFA, and tell him to relax for the interview. LOTS of questions will be asked; just have him be honest and focused.

    And if a question is asked that could have an answer of "I don't know" and that IS the case, tell him to simply say "I don't know." DO NOT try to "come up with something simply because he's been asked."

    Sometimes we ask questions like that, simply to see how the candidate will respond. Will they be honest, try to "bluff us" or ???

    He'll do FINE!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. CJMomTX

    CJMomTX New Member

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    Thank you for all of your help. I am the Mom half of yFX4.

    My son has amazing character like most the candidates. He is however more brain than brawn and quiet. But he has made amazing progress this summer.

    Most of all the reference to the roller coaster is of great value. I want to hug him, kick him, and kiss him any given day multiple times...While Daddy is working:eek:
    We will all calm down and have dear 'adopted' Uncle Academy grad and wife who will be at the interview with us. Interestingly Uncle said he was there to keep my son calm. Although he is retired USAFA grad and AFA teacher he still knows what is up.
    Chose a quiet restaurant as our three Great Danes (Toby Keith, Troy Gentry and Nalu-means surf in Hawaiian) are rescues and protect me at home.

    ...Son just coming home from Drum line marching and has been working with Falcons this morning. Full day. But time for a RUN.

    ?? My son wants a civil engineering degree and not interested in flying. But he is set on the Air Force as the best program for him. Any drawbacks to that position?
     
  20. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    NONE at all!

    We graduate officers to ALL the career fields in the AF. One of my classmates, Dave Schreck, Colonel, retired, served as a CE in the AF, was early promoted to Major and Lieutenant Colonel, and had a superb career. I thought he'd wear stars but he chose to retire to pursue another career.

    And from what I hear...he's burning that up too!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     

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