Another "What are my chances" thread, plus some questions.

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by 160thWannabe, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. 160thWannabe

    160thWannabe Member

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    I am currently a High School Sophmore aiming to attend West Point and then move on to serve with the 160th SOAR(A). I have a large number of questions regarding how I'm going to accomplish my goals.

    High School

    Let me start out by saying that I've had a bit of a rough start. I went through Freshman year as an average student. I was a B-average student who got some C's and some A's. I did not take a sport, and I briefly started an Ultimate Frisbee Club which kinda crashed and burned a couple weeks after its creation. In short, I was not the ideal West Point candidate. However, on a positive note, I have participated in Boy Scouts for longer than I can remember, so there's one thing I've got going for my application. Aside from the Boy Scouts thing, how bad is my Freshman year going to affect my acceptance?

    This year, I'm in the process of swinging everything around. Things aren't perfect, but they're getting there. I started the first semester with 3 A's and 3 B's, and have gone into Winter Break with 4 A's and 2 B's with the intention of keeping straight-A's after break. I'm taking the hardest classes I can get my hands on, as of now I have one AP class and two honors classes. I joined and ran Junior-Varsity for my high school's Cross Country team and I ended up getting an award for showing the most improvement on the team. When February rolls around I plan on running Track as well. As for clubs, I've joined and had active involvement with the school's Advanced-Placement Club. Do you think I'm putting enough energy into this as it is, or do I need to become an even more competitive candidate? For example, should I join another club? Or take a sport during the Winter season?

    During my Junior and Senior year I plan on bringing things up as my notches as possible to get my slot into West Point. I've heard a bit about SLS, and I really want to get in. Do you think, even with my bad start, that I'll have a chance to get in? I understand that it's very difficult to get in.

    West Point

    I'll start this part with CBT. I feel kind of over-confident that I'll be able to get through CBT. Like it'll be a breeze. What's the dropout rate for CBT? I know that a Cadet Candidate usually doesn't make it because they aren't prepared enough physically. About CBT itself, how does it differ from Enlisted BCT, aside from the fact that instead of Drill Sergeants you have Upper-Class Cadets? As a Boy Scout, I've gone on backpacking trips way longer than the 8-mile and 12-mile marches that occur during CBT. Are the marches something to really worry about? Do they warrant practice at marching with heavy loads?

    I don't have any really important questions about life as a Cadet, I know it'll be challenging and that if you get below a C you're kicked out or something along those lines (is that true?).

    I've heard a bit about the MIAD courses you can take over the summers, and I have some questions about those. I want to attend Air Assault School during my Plebe/Yearling Summer, Basic Airborne Course during my Yearling/Cow Summer, and SERE School during my Cow/Firstie Summer. I understand that I'll need to attend CFT during my Plebe/Yearling Summer, but I read somewhere that there is a one-week slot that summer for a MIAD. Is this true? Other than that, are there any problems/issues regarding my MIAD courses and choices? Any recommendations?

    Army Career

    When I graduate from West Point, I want to branch Aviation and serve with the 160th SOAR(A) as a DAP pilot (hence the username). This is why I want to go to SERE School during one of my summers. I've been talking to my recruiter, (this is me: http://www.army.mil/article/63464/) and he said that, if I prove my stuff, it's possible that I can get accepted to the 160th before I even get into a regular Army unit like the 101st. Is this true?

    My God, I have created a massive thread. If anyone actually went through and read all of that, thanks. I'd rather have made one giant thread with all my questions than a billion tiny threads with single questions.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read through this and sharing your thoughts.
     
  2. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Your recruiter is giving you BS. You don't need a recruiter if you are going to attend WP. If you are in scouts, finish (make Eagle). Continue with sports and letter. Get those grades up and keep them there. Be captain of your team and president of your club. Additionally, you need a bit of humility when you talk of CBT. You have no clue what waits for you (nor do I, as I am just a mom whose son lived through it). Read all the West Point books you can find. Be sure you want to be in the Army, even if you cannot be an aviator. You won't know til near the end of senior year at WP if you will get aviation. You need to be happy with whatever you get. If you won't be, then don't go to West Point. Just some random, rambling thoughts from a future aviator's mom...

    Mom3Boys (mom of 2012, aviation!)
     
  3. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

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    Yep, concerning recruiters.....

    No offense to recruiters but keep in mind they get paid to get you enlisted. I would not trust them concerning attending a Service Academy. ALO are the ones you need to find.

    Although you may have had a shaky start academically, you should be okay if you show improvement. Get at least 31 on ACT or 1400 SAT (these figures exceed average but when you apply you do not have to be the average applicant especially since all SA's are getting more and more applicants each year).

    Get your Eagle
    Try to get nominated for Boy's State
    Get some position in a school club
    Find a sport- cross country or track would be a good one to be new at it. You might not be winning races but it will get you in great shape.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    First of all, you must remember that there are three types of liars, in increasing order of dishonesty: liars, politicians, and recruiters. If you want to go to West Point, then you must accept that you will have no further contact with recruiters, as their goal is to get you to become anything BUT an officer.

    That being said, what your recruiter told you is incorrect...mostly. There is a nugget of truth in there, but it's not the nugget you're after. Ya dig? Let me explain.

    Is it possible to go to the 160th without first serving in a regular Army unit? Yes. For enlisted soldiers, that is possible. They still must survive their intake training and prove their worth though, or they never get past the front door. For aviators, it is essentially impossible. Notice I said essentially, and not "completely." That's a subject that doesn't bear discussion here, though. For all intents and purposes, you must serve successfully as a commissioned aviator in a regular unit and prove your competence there. You must also then assess and be selected, and be available to join the unit.

    Why you're set on the DAP airframe, I'm not sure. They are an unbelievably small community and if the only way you think you'll be happy in the Army is by flying DAPs in the 160th, you are pretty much guaranteeing yourself unhappiness. Statistically speaking, you'd have a higher chance of being a Navy SEAL. There are a ton of gates to meet and prerequisites to even be considered. I'm not saying it's impossible or attempting to discourage you. You have more time to prepare for this than you will likely know what to do with. However, you should know what you're getting into.

    The hurdles you need to cross to reach your goal are:
    1. Get accepted to West Point
    2. Graduate from West Point
    3. Branch Aviation
    4. Select the proper airframe
    5. Succeed as an officer and an aviator (not an easy task)

    Once you've done that, then you can start dreaming in real terms about what your next airframe will be, DAP or not.


    Take that for whatever you think it's worth (I have found that most high school kids on here tend to tune out anyone who tempers their Call of Duty dreams with reality).
     
  5. 160thWannabe

    160thWannabe Member

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    I understand that I do not need a Recruiter to get into West Point, I just wanted to connect with my local Recruiters to talk the idea over and get a better understanding of the Army in general. Regarding Boy Scouts, I'm almost finished with my Eagle. I just need a couple more merit badges and a service project. About being team captain, I'm not sure if that's going to happen. I'm certainly not the fastest runner on the team, the other two Sophmores on the team ran Varsity and I figure that one of them will be picked for team captain. I knew I would have the wrong attitude towards CBT, I'm going to sober up about it and really prepare for it. Thank you for the insight, I hope your son does well and good luck to him once he commissions!
     
  6. 160thWannabe

    160thWannabe Member

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    A quick note about my Recruiter, I know he's out there to promote enlisting. He even specifically told me that I shouldn't trust Recruiters. I see what you mean about not going straight to the 160th. I initially meant to say that I would go straight to selection, but it doesn't matter I guess. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with joining a regular unit to start my career off. A quick question about that, how much experience (in years) do you think I should get before I apply to the 160th? I've heard that I should send an application in as soon as I commission because it takes a while for their staff to go through my file. But I've also heard that I should take it easy and work up some flight hours before I apply.

    I should expand on the DAP idea for a bit. Becoming a DAP pilot is like my dream job. I've heard that there's only one company of DAPs in the whole unit, so I understand that the chances of getting into that unit is next-to-none. Once I get into the 160th, I plan on flying with a regular UH-60 unit until I work my way into a DAP slot. But if that never happens, I'll be fine with flying regular Blackhawks for the rest of my career. And when I say "regular," I obviously don't mean that they're standard UH-60s. I know that they're very high-tech.

    Thanks for the reply, I know that I really come off as some sort of Call of Duty fanatic, but that simply isn't true. I really appreciate the time you put into your answer, and thanks for clearing some things up for me.
     
  7. mvt93

    mvt93 Member

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    I'll leave the advice about flying in the 160th to the experts here. However, I can help shed some light on your questions about getting in and Beast/West Point.

    HIGH SCHOOL
    Your freshman year wasn't stellar, fine. Improve and move on. It sounds like you are doing this. If you feel you can handle another club or sport then do so. However, I wouldn't recommend joining just for another blob on your application. If the sport/club is something you enjoy, it is considerably easier to excel in said sport/club, which is what West Point looks for. Quality, not quantity.

    Bottom Line: Don't worry about your freshman year. You can't change it. All you can do now is show a solid steady improvement in your high school career by excelling in academics and extracurriculars and pray you get in.

    SLS
    As far as SLS goes, my understanding is that it is a program geared towards exposure to West Point, ie: applicants who live far away. Acceptance or nonacceptance to SLS does not necessarily translate to acceptance/nonacceptance to West Point. I was not accepted to SLS, yet I was accepted to the Academy.

    BEAST
    CBT dropout rate is minimal. I'm sure there are published statistics somewhere online. The people I knew who dropped either: 1) Didn't fully understand what they were getting themselves into or 2) Didn't want it bad enough.

    You can practice rucking if you want. If you are accepted, they will send you a physical training plan, which includes rucks. I didn't ruck before I went to Beast and I was fine.

    Bottom Line: If graduating West Point and becoming an Army officer is something you really want, then you will make it through Beast. As for rucking: Focus more on improving cardiovascular and muscular (esp. core) fitness. If you're set cardio/muscular fitness wise, rucking won't be an issue.

    WEST POINT
    "...if you get below a C you're kicked out or something along those lines (is that true?)"

    "I read somewhere that there is a one-week slot that summer for a MIAD."

    False on both accounts. Two D's or an F renders you academically deficient. If you fail a course, you STAP (summer school) the course or take it again the following semester. Now, fail multiple classes or maintain a D average and show no improvement, then yes, you will be in danger of getting kicked out and with the cutdowns and drawbacks, you most likely will.

    MIADs
    There are a variety of MIAD's you can do. Your TACs will brief you about what MIADs are available (Plebes can't try out for the competitive MIADs), what they are like ect. Many go to Air Assault or Airborne their rising yuk year. Priority for Airborne and Air Assault is given to rising yuks over rising cows and firsties.

    MIADs run all throughout the summer. It just depends on the MIAD and what your summer schedule is like (like if you have required activities such as Bucker, STAP, CTLT ect) Typically, Air Assault and Airborne run about 3 sessions during the summer and because of Buckner, most yuks either go to the Block 1 session (early summer) or Block 3 session (late summer). However, drawbacks have cut the sessions down to two so it is more competitive to get Air Assault or Airborne then in recent years. I imagine it will be the same for your class. Airborne is also 3 weeks long so there's no way it could fit into a one week block like what you're talking about.


    Hope this helps.
     
  8. 1017225

    1017225 Member

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    160thWannabe- Just from my point of view and experience thus far; in my Freshman year, I did pretty much the same thing. I had no clubs or EC's at all. Got mostly B's. Had a disciplinary infraction for stealing from the lunchroom. Realized I had to grow up. Sophomore year I did one club and exceeded in it. Took the hardest classes I could from sophomore year on (I will graduate with 15 out of my 32 semesters in high school being AP weight and 10 more honors weight). I did well on my SAT and ACT and joined another club junior year. Wrestled and did well on the team. I got a LoA the first week of my senior year and am currently waiting on my nomination to receive my appointment.

    Bottom line, you have time to make up from past mistakes and end up wherever you want to go. Best of luck to you in your quest for an appointment! :thumb:
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    In short, you've been given some poor info. Some of what you want to know is best discussed privately. PM me.

    My question is, why do you want to fly DAPs? What about an Apache? In a larger sense, why make the 160th your goal?
     
  10. rbussmann

    rbussmann New Member

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    160th SOAR

    160th Wannabe-

    Most of the Army's aviators are Warrant Officers. A typical Aviation Warrant Officer will spend his/her entire career, from start to finish, performing aviation duties (flying) with other aviation related duties. Warrant Officer career progression leads to one (or more) career paths; Instructor pilot, maintenance pilot, aviation safety officer, or TACOPS (tactical planning and operations, basically). A commissioned officer, though qualified and part of the Aviation Branch, will spend his/her career performing several different duties, from staff to liaison, possibly a maintenance officer for a while, but generally never staying in job for more than a year or so. Initially, a junior warrant officer and junior commissioned officer might accumulate similar flight hours for the first couple of years out of flight school, but by about the 3rd or 4th year, I would suspect that warrant officer's flight time will be about double that of the commissioned officer. At 16 yrs a commissioned officer's total flight time could range from 600 hrs to 1500 hrs. Above that would be rare except in unusual cases.

    Also, getting a Flight School slot from the Academy is extremely difficult due to the fact that it is normally the number one choice of just about everyone.

    I would say that, if flying is your true goal, and you want to do that for the majority of your time in the Army, you go the Warrant Officer route, but that's just my 2 cents.

    Also, I am not trying to discourage you from anything or burst your bubble, just provide you with some accurate information regarding the career you are looking at.

    Hope this helps...:thumb:
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Your post is appreciated. However, if you want to give him some accurate information, it would be best if your information was accurate.

    How long you will spend in any one job is highly variable, though the minimum goal for a platoon leader is 18 months. Generally speaking, 24 months has been the norm. After that, you can expect anywhere from 2 to 3 years in a variety of other jobs. Many times, a second platoon leader job will be made available to you (Shops PL or Maintenance PL), or potentially the XO job of the AVUM. To say that you will not spend more than a year or so in a job can be correct in some cases, but is not reflective of the normal reality for aviation officers. Personally, I spent 2 years as a PL. I then spend 2.5 years in an S3 shop. Then I moved on to some really outstanding jobs. I'll be in my current job for at least 2 years, and the job after that for at least 3. One year is not the norm.

    Incorrect. The first thing that must be understood is minimums. Everyone has flight minimums. For a FAC1/RL1 aviator, you must fly 140 hours a year. That's a minimum. Even if you're sitting in the S4 shop because you were a bad little PL, you must fly your minimums. Even if you get moved to FAC2, you still must get 100 hours at a minimum. Of course, the regs state that you can only be FAC1 for your first two years out of flight school, but I digress. Secondly, how much flight time you get above that will depend largely on three things: competency, weather, and OPTEMPO. The nice thing about those is that they affect everyone. The single biggest driver will be competence. If you are a solid aviator and make PC (pilot-in-command) early because you demonstrate the sound judgment and aviation skills to be granted PC status, you will fly a LOT. One of the hardest things about running a flight schedule is having enough PCs available. Become a PC, and you're going to fly. If you go to staff, you are worth your weight in gold as a PC. You become the easiest staff guy to put on the schedule and your flight time will largely be limited by those three factors I talked about, and not by your job/position. At the 3 or 4 year mark, your flight time can easily match or even exceed that of warrant officers who have not made PC, even those with more time in aviation.

    Again, that's not really true. I currently exceed that 1500 hour mark after 6 years of rated aviation service. The norm for your average OH-58D or AH-64 captain at the 7 year time-in-service mark now is about 2000 hours. Many have more. A select few will have less. So, exceeding that 1500 hours you mentioned is not rare or unusual. It's the norm. And that's just in the Big Army.

    No, it's not the number one choice of just about everyone. It is highly competitive, but no more so than infantry or armor. The branch typically closes out around the same point as those other branches. If you have your flight physical complete and a passing AFAST on record, your chances of branching aviation are actually pretty good, if you want it.


    I don't know your background, and this is not an attempt to call you out. There are a lot of misconceptions about aviation in the Army. People always like to say "well, you'll never fly once you leave a company." That's not true. As a field grade officer in aviation, provided you choose to stay in operations, you will still see the cockpit. There is a requirement for those in operational flying positions (say, S-3, S-4, XO, etc.) to still fly. There is a misconception that you shouldn't branch aviation because you'll never fly, etc. As a field grade aviator, you still have to get in the cockpit. You still have to shoot gunnery. You still must pass no-notice exams and fly your APART (annual flight exam).

    And by the way, the Army is over strength by about 1800 warrants. It's going to get ugly.
     
  12. rbussmann

    rbussmann New Member

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    Well I got most of my information from a friend who is currently a warrant officer with 16 years in the Army so I suppose it could be a little biased towards the warrant officer route :shake:
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Ya think! :biggrin:
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Well, he would've been right 15 years ago. Today, not so much. Of course all bets are off with the 160th, and I doubt your friend knows much about the regiment.
     

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