Does this make sense to people who have experience with life in the Air Force?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Padre101, May 5, 2016.

  1. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    My DS has been doing research about life in the AF and possible career paths. He's also gearing up for his ALO and MOC interviews later in the year.

    He said he would like to be a bomber pilot instead of single-seat jet fighter pilot because he wants to work with a team of folks i.e. a crew. (He has played in team sports all of his life.)

    Also, he said after about 5-6 years of flying, he wants to get a master's degree at a top ranked civilian university, afterwards go teach at AFA or at a ROTC unit for several years, and then go back to flying.

    Does this make sense? Is this at all possible?
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Those are difficult but attainable goals. There are a LOT of steps to make that plan work. It assumes he is accepted into a commissioning program, does well, is pilot qualified (medical), gets a pilot slot, does very well in T-6s, gets a T-38 slot, does well there, is able to choose a bomber (assumes one is available and he ranks well enough to get it), is able to get a scholarship/fellowship to pay for his advanced degree, is released by his aircraft functional manager, gets picked up by ROTC/USAFA, then gets back to a flying unit (probably as some sort of squadron level leadership).

    It is not unheard of, but the cumulative probabilities of getting exactly that career path are pretty low.

    I advise people to have goals, but focus on the nearest segments first.
     
  3. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    It's great to have goals. When I talk to candidates or those at the nom interview I have no problem hearing goals like this, but I also want to hear... 'Although that is what I would like to do now, I realize there are many challenges and learning experiences ahead. My goals and aspirations may change and I look forward to learning all the opportunities the USAF presents.' I want to hear a candidate realize that their 17-18 year old self will be different at 22, 25, 28. Each career path and even aviation platform has its own unique career path. I hate to say it, but certain assignments could be career killers for certain air platforms. It's best to get to the operating forces and listen to senior leadership and career counselors on career paths and recommended assignments.
     
  4. Willow475

    Willow475 Member

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    Well said NavyHoops. My daughter is at USNA just finishing her Plebe year. When she entered (she went to NAPS first) she had pretty lofty goals to become a JAG officer which requires law school after graduation. We supported her 100% . She has now decided to switch majors to Naval Architecture. Support their goals no matter how lofty they seem and don't worry about how they will be attained. They will prob change their minds along the way anyway. Be ready for a roller coaster ride.
    Also I want to echo the above post. The military wants people who understand they should have goals but at the end of the day you have to be willing to do, be, and go where they tell you
     
  5. SDMom2019

    SDMom2019 Member

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    My son chose Naval Architecture too! I imagine they will get to know each other as the years go by.
     
  6. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    Great thanks for the feedback. I just wanted to make sure that if he says these things, the interviewers don't think that he doesn't know what he is talking about and comes across as someone who has NO idea on how the Air Force works. Appreciate the support!!!
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I would never expect a 17-18 year old candidate to know nuances at this level. They don't need to map out a career. I would expect them to say I have a passion to be a USAF officer because... I have done some research and spoken to officers who fly X. This career path really interests me, but I understand there are many steps between now and getting there that have to happen and I understand the needs of the Air Force come first. And also respect any kid who comes in the door and says I have done research and so many career fields sound great, I don't know which one I want to do, but I plane to use 3 years at USAFA to learn as much as I can to find the best career field for me.
     
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  8. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    Agreed.
     
  9. got_milk

    got_milk Member

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    I'm not sure I understand completely but if he starts flying for 5-6 after high school then he will be too old to be picked up by USAFA (and I'd imagine ROTC as well).
     
  10. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    Picked by the USAFA or ROTC to be an USAFA or ROTC professor/instructor.
     
  11. got_milk

    got_milk Member

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    oh shoot you said go TEACH at USAFA. My bad
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am with raimius and Hoops. He is 17. Let him plot and plan what he thinks right now. He will realize shortly enough that the adage Service before Self is not a cliche, but reality.
    ~ If that cliche doesn't work, than here is another. People plan and God laughs!

    None of this is even going to be on the table until a DECADE from now on the very best day...more likely 2028.
    ~ He is a jr in HS...class of 2021. Wait 6-9 months for UPT (2022) wing in 2023. SERE, Water Survival, School house 2024. 1st op tour ends in 2028.
    ~~ Yep that is how long it will be at the current path flow.

    My Mom gave me one great piece of advice...don't wish your life away. What will be will be and enjoy the ride, because if it is fate it will be reality.

    Just saying: Smile and support his dreams. He is 17. He has no real clue what life will be like for him after enduring a year of chair flying at a base like Laughlin. Life is funny it happens to get in the way of what you dreamed earlier.

    If you want to do some research and help him regarding his future, hit raimius's signature line (blue link) It is an excellent read that will take you through life at USAFA and UPT. It is long, but well worth the time. I can't speak for the USAFA aspect, but I can tell you it is on point for UPT and what his life will be like.
     
  13. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    I concur with all the comments.

    The thing is that at the age of 17, I didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do.
    I was too busy listening to 80's music (the good stuff) and driving around in my used Trans Ams.
    I didn't decide my major until the middle of college and vocation until the end of college.

    However, those who have decided to take the SA or ROTC track, they have to chart their course and make adult decisions much sooner.
    Understood, the needs of the Service dictates where and what you will do. That is a given.

    But the worst thing to do at an interview is to say "I don't know" when asked what do you want to do with your life.

    2nd worst thing is to say something that is totally not realistic at all.

    Again, I appreciate all the advice and insight.
     
  14. CivilAirPatrolCadet

    CivilAirPatrolCadet AFROTC Non-Tech Scholarship Recipient

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    Another thing that is bad, is when they ask you what you will do if X doesn't happen, and you have no idea. Before the interviews, I would say know what plans B and C are as well. That helped a lot with my ALO, Congressional, and AFROTC interview. They all asked me, "what if the academy doesn't happen?" Most were impressed that I had not only a plan B, but also a C (and D). AFROTC is probably happy USAFA didn't happen :)
     
  15. Willow475

    Willow475 Member

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    Just a funny anecdote to keep this all in perspective .. My husband did army ROTC at Bentley college in Waltham Ma. He was getting his degree in accounting and was doing finance for the army. He was planning on going reserves and being an accountant. As he was graduating all hell broke loose in the Middle East. He was told he was being sent over as a tank commander. He said wait a minute..I'm in finance. The reply was no son..you're in the US Army. Best laid plans and all
     
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  16. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    People's plans change, and they often get assignments that they did not expect.

    I got my 2nd choice aircraft, and 15/17 choice assignment (which I thoroughly enjoyed). Sometimes things don't go as planned, but still go well. (Hint: there are not many bad flying assignments!)
     
  17. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

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    I like your DS already!:D A man (kid) with a plan. He sounds like me when I was young except I'm sure he's much smarter and talented than I was at his age. Not many kids these days have a well thought out goal/plan. "It's impossible, things always don't work out as planned, that's too difficult, you can't do that", yada yada yada....don't listen to them! My parents were always very supportive of my goals & dreams and used to always tell me, "someone has to be that person, so why not you?!?!". Darn right...anything is possible!
    Plans and people change, that's a given. Your DS very well may not want to fly bombers once he gets a taste of military flying in SUPT. 24 hours in a tube of aluminum can't be fun! He may want to fly fighters, pass gas in the air, or even haul trash all over God's green earth; who really knows? Or, he may not even want to fly or get a masters. What's important here is that he has set a goal and as a parent and/or mentor, the best thing IMO is to help him build up on what he has already and be supportive of his goals to the fullest.
    One thing is for sure-goal oriented people have the highest probability of going to the end and successfully accomplishing the given task. I'd say let the kid run with it and back him up to the fullest! Btw, I've met a few people who've done what your DS is wishing to accomplish. I've met Air Force pilots who became Flight Surgeons, JAGs who've became pilots, pilots with Ph. Ds, etc. Yes, the sky is the limit. Help or get out of the way!
     

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