Differences between the general atmospheres in each branch

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Pulsar99, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Pulsar99

    Pulsar99 Member

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    I am very interested in flying in the military. Right now my first choice is flying helicopters in the Coast Guard. However, I would like to learn more especially about flying in the Navy and Air Force.

    What is the difference in the working environments in the Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard in Aviation?
    How about the flight training environment? Is it all the same? I know Navy trains the CG and Marines.

    Obviously each branch has different goals, but what are some of the different tasks you perform as a pilot (especially in Helicopters) as it varies from branch to branch? (ie, CG does search and rescue and counter drug related tasks. )

    I am a Student Pilot and, although I really want to fly helicopters, I would be willing to fly fixed wing, especially for the Air Force.

    I love water, the ocean, and sea related careers, but as a Civil Air Patrol cadet, I am more familiar with opportunities in the Air Force.
     
  2. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    There is always a kernel of truth in these types of comparisons...

    Haircuts:
    • Marines: Heads will be shaved.
    • Army: Stylish flat-top's for all recruits.
    • Navy: No haircut standard.
    • Air Force: Complete makeovers as seen on the Jenny Jones show.
    Training Hours:
    • Marines: Reveille at 0500, train until 2000.
    • Army: Reveille at 0600, train until 1900.
    • Navy: Get out of bed at 0900, train until 1100, lunch until 1300, train until 1600.
    • Air Force: Awaken at 1000, breakfast in bed, train from 1100 to 1200, lunch at 1200, train from 1300 to 1400, nap at 1400, awaken from nap at 1500, training ceases at 1500.
    Meals:
    • Marines: Meals, Ready-to-Eat 3 times a day.
    • Army: One hot meal, 2 MRE's.
    • Navy: 3 hot meals.
    • Air Force: Catered meals prepared by the Galloping Gourmet, Julia Child, and Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse. All you can eat.
    Leave And Liberty:
    • Marines: None.
    • Army: 4 hours a week.
    • Navy: 2 days a week.
    • Air Force: For every four hours of training, recruits will receive eight hours of leave and liberty.
    Protocol:
    • Marines: Will address all officers as "Sir," and refer to the rank of all enlisted members when speaking to them (i.e., Sgt. Smith).
    • Army: Will address all officers as "Sir," unless they are friends, and will call all enlisted personnel "Sarge."
    • Navy: Will address all officers as "Skipper," and all enlisted personnel as "Chief."
    • Air Force: All Air Force personnel shall be on a first name basis with each other.
    Decorations/Awards:
    • Marines: Medals and badges are awarded for acts of gallantry and bravery only.
    • Army: Medals and badges are awarded for every bullet fired, hand grenade thrown, fitness test passed, and bed made.
    • Navy: Will have ships' engineers make medals for them as desired.
    • Air Force: Will be issued all medals and badges, as they will most likely be awarded them at some point early in their careers anyway.
    Camouflage Uniforms:
    • Marines: Work uniform, to be worn only during training and in field situations.
    • Army: Will wear it anytime, anywhere.
    • Navy: Will not wear camouflage uniforms, they do not camouflage you on a ship. (Ship Captains will make every effort to attempt to explain this to sailors.)
    • Air Force: Will defeat the purpose of camouflage uniforms by putting blue and silver chevrons and colorful squadron patches all over them.
    Career Fields:
    • Marines: All Marines shall be considered riflemen first and foremost.
    • Army: It doesn't matter, all career fields promote to E-8 in first enlistment anyway.
    • Navy: Nobody knows. The Navy is still trying figure out what sailors in the ABH, SMC, BNC and BSN rates do anyway.
    • Air Force: Every recruit will be trained in a manner that will allow them to leave the service early to go on to higher paying civilian jobs.
     
  3. Pulsar99

    Pulsar99 Member

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    :D
    A little more objectivity please. I don't want to turn this into a Navy vs AF vs marines vs Army post
     
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  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    OK. Then I will leave it to the pilots to respond.
     
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  5. Wild Blue Yonder

    Wild Blue Yonder Member

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  6. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    USMAgrunt, you forgot all the rounds of golf the ADAF play. :)
     
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  7. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I can do no better than the below:

    22 December 2005

    Young Man,

    Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I'd be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself "Which one am I more likely to thrive in?"

    USAF Snapshot: The USAF is exceptionally well organized and well run. Their training programs are terrific. All pilots are groomed to meet high standards for knowledge and professionalism. Their aircraft are top-notch and extremely well maintained. Their facilities are excellent. Their enlisted personnel are the brightest and the best trained. The USAF is homogeneous and macro. No matter where you go, you'll know what to expect, what is expected of you, and you'll be given the training & tools you need to meet those expectations. You will never be put in a situation over your head. Over a 20-year career, you will be home for most important family events. Your Mom would want you to be an Air Force pilot...so would your wife. Your Dad would want your sister to marry one.

    Navy Snapshot: Aviators are part of the Navy, but so are Black Shoes (surface warfare) and Bubble Heads (submariners). Furthermore, the Navy is split into two distinctly different Fleets (West and East Coast). The Navy is heterogeneous and micro. Your squadron is your home; it may be great, average, or awful. A squadron can go from one extreme to the other before you know it. You will spend months preparing for cruise and months on cruise. The quality of the aircraft varies directly with the availability of parts. Senior Navy enlisted are salt of the earth; you'll be proud if you earn their respect. Junior enlisted vary from terrific to the troubled kid the judge made join the service. You will be given the opportunity to lead these people during your career; you will be humbled and get your hands dirty. The quality of your training will vary and sometimes you will be over your head. You will miss many important family events. There will be long stretches of tedious duty aboard ship. You will fly in very bad weather and/or at night and you will be scared many times. You will fly with legends in the Navy and they will kick your *** until you become a lethal force. And some days - when the scheduling Gods have smiled upon you - your jet will catapult into a glorious morning over a far-away sea and you will be drop-jawed that someone would pay you to do it. The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator. That bar is in Singapore. Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask...pack warm & good luck in Colorado.

    Banzai

    P.S.: Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits.
    P.S.S. And oh yes, the Army pilot program, don't even think about it unless you got a pair bigger than basketballs. Those guys are completely crazy.
     
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  8. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I'm doing this on my phone so please disregard the typos. It'll be a little less detailed too.

    As you mentioned, the sea services train together. The only difference during flight school is that the Coasties have a slightly abbreviated syllabus where they don't do forms or aero during primary, which is really too bad.

    Naval Aviation has a different mindset than the Air Force both in training and operationally. During flight school you will be sort of thrown in over your head and expected to figure it out. Your time is your own and the expectation is that you will be an officer and get your studying done, unlike the Air Force where they make you sit in a room and study like 6th graders for 12 hours because you're not trusted to work hard without being forced (or something). If you're not flying, you don't have to go in to work. You are expected to manage your time, but if you do spend all your time drinking on the beach it'll be figured out and you won't pass flight school (or get what you want).

    In the Navy or Marine Corps, your odds of getting helicopters are extremely high: both services have more helos than pretty much anything else (except for plopters in the Marines, but more on that in a sec). Rotary advanced is a good time and you'll get a decent feel for the different communities in the Navy and USMC.

    In the Navy, your options will be (essentially) between MH-60Rs and MH-60S. There are two MH-53 squadrons that do anti-mine...stuff...in Norfolk but spots for that aren't that common and it may be gone by the time you're selecting.
    Sierra pilots will tell you that they fly SEALs around and shoot hellfires all the time but that's not really true. They're a sort of workhouse for the Navy: when deployed they fly SAR missions for the carrier or the amphibs (or, fly in circles during flight ops next to the boat), do vertical replenishment, or (pretty rarely) help out with VBSS and anti-piracy stuff. They seem generally much more laid back than some other communities and are sort of jacks of all trade and masters of none.
    Romeo guys ("Bromeos") are much more focused on anti-submarine stuff. Their training is much longer than Sierras (they do the entire Sierra syllabus in the FRS basically, then take care of their sub stuff). They're more likely to deploy on small boys (DDGs, etc) but also go to the carrier. They'll do some of the general helo stuff, but mostly they focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and work with the P-3/8, sub guys, and SWOs to make it happen. Because they need to know "more" than Sierra guys, they're stereotypically slightly less chill than Sierra pilots, but still pretty laid back.

    In both you'll spend plenty of time flying around looking at water. I liked a lot of the Navy instructors in flight school and like most of my peers that fly Navy, but they have a very different mindset than the Marines and are much more...chill about work.

    The Marine helo communities are basically split between skids and 53s. I'll abbreviate this since you didn't really mention the Marine Corps (even though it's kind of my thing).

    Skid squadrons (HMLAs) have both UH-1Ys ("Yankees" or "Hueys," never "venom" because that's dumb) and AH-1Ws (or AH-1Zs on the west coast and eventually everywhere). Yankees do a little bit of everything (assault support, close air support, command and control) but with a very strong emphasis on shooting. Cobras shoot and that's about it. Normally they'll fly together in a mixed section or division of 2-4 aircraft. Skid kids are, stereotypically, hyper competitive a-holes who eat their young. There's a lot of truth there, but it's more that the community takes its job very seriously and has extremely high standards.

    53s in the Marine Corps do exclusively heavy lift and assault support, which since I didn't define it before, is inserting/extracting troops via the "normal way," as well as fast roping, SPIE rigging, and some other weirdness. The community is a good one: they're professional and focused on their job, but much more laid back than skids.

    Ospreys (plopters, the devil's whirlybird, the fork-tailed [expletive] wagon) kind of count as helos. They do medium lift assault support and are the core unit of the air combat element in the MAGTF. Traditionally, the community they replaced (phrogs, the CH-46) was overly laid back but that may change with the switch to Ospreys.

    In both services, you will fly sometimes and have a ground job always. Your ground job could be writing the flight schedule, being in charge of a shop of maintenance Marines/Sailors, or having an "S" shop (admin, logistics, comms, etc.). On showing up in the squadron you'll be put in a job with less responsibilities and as you progress and get more competent and qualified flying your responsibilities will increase.

    As a pilot, you always have something to work towards. At first, it's your HAC (helicopter aircraft commander) qual. Then it's section lead, division lead, etc, etc. The rule of thumb is that of the three things you're evaluated on (officially or unofficially), your flight performance, your ground job, and how well you get along with your peers, you need to be good at two to succeed.

    That ended up being way long but hopefully that helps.
     
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  9. Pulsar99

    Pulsar99 Member

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    Thanks Hurricane. This teaches me a lot about the naval/marine side. :)
     
  10. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    On the AF side, there aren't a whole lot of helicopters. We have UH-1Ns and HH-60Gs...plus CV-22s, which are kinda-sorta helicopters.

    HH-60s did 10-ish years of CSAR and CASEVAC in Iraq and Afghanistan, and got thousands of saves. That has wound down a lot, now that we are semi-exiting both of those nations. H-60 crews have a reputation for being a bit more high-strung and fighter pilot-esque, compared to the Huey crews. Depending on the world situation, you might be out there flying and saving lives several times a week, or sitting alert in a tent/trailer for months at a time, waiting for something to go wrong.

    UH-1Ns do DV airlift and missile base security. Huey crews tend to be pretty relaxed. We don't deploy much (pretty much only non-flying or instructing in different helicopters). As such, we have a more stable lifestyle, although some bases have alerts that may keep you away from home for a few days at a time, on a fairly frequent basis.
     
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  11. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    These are charts that show the type and amount of aircraft in each service (three charts for USAF). I'm not an expert but they look pretty up to date to me. A picture is worth a thousand words. It really does show what your odds are for certain airframes/communities.

    Once at the link, click and they'll magnify

    USAF Fighters, Special Ops, Rescue - http://i.imgur.com/jTXNOur.png
    USAF - Tankers, Bombers, Trainers - http://i.imgur.com/1BXNGxD.png
    USAF - Airlift - http://i.imgur.com/GVolyfL.png
    USN (less training aircraft) - http://i.imgur.com/1XinXPA.png
    USMC - http://i.imgur.com/D3i3VAI.png
    USCG - http://i.imgur.com/C11SqIk.png

    There's at least one "Easter Egg" in one of these charts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The CG one is a little out of date and not entirely accurate, but it's s pretty good idea...
     
  13. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Not bad, from what I can tell, at least for UH-1Ns. Maybe a year or so old...we pulled some from the USMC boneyard.
     
  14. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    Favorite post of all time!!! Well said
     
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  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You can always tell which posts are from Marines (written of course by someone else because Marines don't know how to read and write).
     
  16. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    :usa:

    I wood argu butt I can knot find sum 1 to rite it 4 mee.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Actually it should be within regs for SouthWest, Jet Blue, or FedEX!

    I do agree that was classic.

    Pulsar,
    I get you wanted serious responses, but from a spouse that watched Bullet and now my DS in the AF since 1987, a lot was pretty true regarding USMCs post.

    The AF has always been known as the corporate branch. The pilots/CSOs are constantly teased about making a million plus flight pay.
    ~ You darn well know who on base just got their bonus paycheck when October rolls around. All of the sudden there are new cars or Harleys in the squadron parking lot. If not in the lot, than in their driveway for the wife.

    If pilots are not flying, you will not see them on base past 4:30, especially Company grade officers.
    ~ Field grade is different, but as a spouse you can still expect them home by 5:30.

    OMG I rolled over laughing on this one. I recall everyone joking about a ribbon after Gulf I. It was jokingly called I was alive and in the AF ribbon. You didn't even have to be directly involved in Desert Shield or Storm. As long as you were in the AF, you got the ribbon.

    The AF also gives ribbons for they moved me or I scored high enough for shooting a gun at the range.

    This needs a correction. All rated officers will be on callsign name basis with each other.
    ~ Don't know about non-rated.

    I am not trying to make light of your question, however, a lot what USMC has a kernel of truth in it about the lifestyle in the AF.

    They take their job very seriously. Many, impo for the fighter world would be considered Alphas.
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I resent those comments; I find them highly offensive...totally inappropriate...

    I think I'll go to the base golf course to work out my frustrations....

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Those callsigns can be pesky. and very funny. and totally true.

    Flieger, when you're done with the back nine, you'll have to check your flight status... have that last beer about the 15th hole. :)
     
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  20. altasno711

    altasno711 New Member

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    Among the numerous plains in these charts, are spots available from each of the academies (obviously depending on need at the time) to fly these air craft? To be more specific, if there is a need, can you get to any of these aircraft from an academy?
     

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