Is this right for me?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by TheCadet, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. TheCadet

    TheCadet Member

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    For years I have always wanted to be in the military, I guess I never grew out of playing soldier as a kid. I have had my eyes set on being a pilot in the Navy for a couple years now, thinking there was no other future for me, but as I get closer and closer, I find myself growing unsure.
    My dream is just to be in the cockpit of an airplane, and make that as my living. Whether it be military, corporate, regional, or the big leagues. I am really considering just going the civilian way. I keep asking myself this question: "Why do you really want to be in the Navy?" and I only have one response: to fly. To have the Navy pay my way through school, all my flight training, housing, etc etc. But I am worried about what would happen to me if I wouldn't get that aviator spot, or if something just didn't work out. I don't want to join for all the wrong reasons, I have always felt like I wanted to be in the military and now...it is drifting away from me. I don't want to end up making the wrong decision. As it currently stands, I don't have much hope on that NROTC scholarship, but I will still apply. I am a Junior right now, with a private pilot certificate, and this seems to be too early to have to be worrying about this kind of thing.
    I would appreciate any advice you would be willing to give. Thanks.
     
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Very good questions and your not the first to ask them.

    No one but you will be able to completely answer your questions, you will need to dig deep and ask yourself what is truely important to you.

    I'm sure you have discovered that nothing is a guarantee when it comes to ROTC and Aviation. Will there be a chance you will be assigned to something else other the Aviation, yes, actually a pretty big chance. You need to ask yourself if you would be happy being assigned Surface or Submarine because you would be spending a minimum of 5 years in that field.

    I think the main question you need to ask yourself is what are looking at the military for. Is your first answer, I want college paid for and I want to fly, or is it that I want to serve my country at any level in the the military. If your answer is the former then you have some soul searching to do. Joining ROTC and the military is not something to take lightly, it is a big commitment, you need to be ready to serve the needs of the Navy or any branch even if you don't get the assignment you want.

    If your plan is to attend college, you can always sign up for NROTC as a College Programmer if you do not receive a scholarship. You can take the first year to see how you like it, see if you would be happy with any opportunities they give you. Even if you do receive a scholarship, you have the first year to decide if it right for you without an obligation to the Navy. If your not sure of what you want, this will give tou the chance to test drive the program.

    You are definatly not starting to think about this to soon, time goes by quickly, this is a great time to start planning.

    There are plenty of opportunities for flight training and education outside the military, if your only dream is to fly then looking at these options may be the route for you.
     
  3. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    If your only interest is in flying, look into the PLC Aviation program with the Marine Corps. If you meet all the requirements and are selected, you are guaranteed a slot as a Marine aviator.
     
  4. TheCadet

    TheCadet Member

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    Thanks! I will look into that!
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^ PLC is a great program that allows you to focus on your education during the academic year, and your military education during the summer. Plus you get paid for your time in the summer and can also get some tuition assistance. It's my son's plan C if we ever need it.
     
  6. Remo Williams

    Remo Williams New Member

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    Clarifying Marine Corps PLC (Aviation)

    PLC (Aviation) offers a route to earn a Marine Corps commission, with the potential to become a pilot or naval flight officer, but enrollment does not "guarantee a slot as a Marine aviator."

    What PLC (Aviation) does guarantee is the opportunity to attend Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA during two six-week split sessions or one ten-week single session, provided you meet PLC competitive selection criteria, pass the Aviation Qualification Test / Flight Aptitude Rating, and meet aviation medical qualification standards.

    If you successfully complete OCS, earn your undergraduate degree, and accept your commission, you next attend The Basic School, also in Quantico, for 26 weeks. Following TBS, and provided you are still medically qualified for aviation training, you report to the Naval Air Training Command at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL for six weeks of Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, followed by about six months of Primary Flight Training at NAS Whiting Field, FL. If you successfully complete Primary Flight Training, you are assigned to an aircraft "pipeline," based on your performance in training so far, your own preference, and the "needs of the service." If selected for jet aircraft, you train in either NAS Kinsgville, TX or NAS Meridian, MS for approximately a year at Intermediate Flight followed by Advanced Strike training. If selected to the Rotary-Wing pipeline, you remain at NAS Whiting Field, FL for approximately 9 months of additional advanced training. Following successful completion of advanced training, you earn designation as an aviator (get winged), then report to a Marine Corps wing replacement squadron for further training in your aircraft.

    Good luck.
     
  7. TheCadet

    TheCadet Member

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    Thanks for the information. Is there a difference between PLC and OCS?
     
  8. santini

    santini New Member

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    The PLC (Platoon Leaders Course) allows you to go to OCS (Officer Candidate School) during the summer while you are in college. As Remo Williams said, you can go to one ten-week session or two six-week sessions of OCS through PLC. Marine Option NROTC midshipmen do one six-week session.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Yes. OCS is separate. You can apply to OCS without going thru PLC once you have your Bachelor's degree in hand. As part of PLC, which you do during college, you will go to OCS after graduation. You could perhaps think of PLC as a part-time prep school for OCS although that sells it short, I'm sure. All commissioned officers in the Marine Corps go through some flavor of OCS at Quantico. Even folks from the Academy spend some time there although they are segregated from everyone else and get to use the Officer's Club.
     
  10. santini

    santini New Member

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    As I understand it, those who join the PLC program during either freshman or sophomore year will attend two six-week sessions at OCS - one during the summer between sophomore and junior years and the other during the summer between junior and senior years. Those who join during junior year will go to one ten-week session of OCS between their junior and senior years. No one in the PLC program goes after the completion of college, as far as I know.
     
  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    You're correct about the summer sessions but incorrect about OCS. From the official PLC site:

    •Training takes place during the summer at Officer Candidates School (OCS) in Quantico, VA
    •College freshmen and sophomores attend two six-week summer training sessions over two years
    •College juniors attend one 10-week summer training session
    •Candidates receive pay and allowances during these sessions
    •Lodging, textbooks, meals and travel costs are paid for by the Marine Corps
    After graduation from college and completion of Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) at OCS, candidates are offered a commission as a second lieutenant
     
  12. santini

    santini New Member

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    You don't get commissioned until you get your degree, but officer candidates in the Platoon Leaders Course go to OCS during the summer while they're still in college.
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I did a little more research and concluded I was reading this incorrectly. Thanks for catching my error Santini! :thumb:
     
  14. santini

    santini New Member

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    No problem! My Marine Corps JROTC unit just had a guest speaker/officer candidate come in to talk about the Platoon Leaders Course and I wanted to make sure the OP got accurate information. By the way, I sent you a PM about NROTC scholarships.
     
  15. mko1991

    mko1991 Member

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    Going Navy.

    If you join the Blue side, you have to realize that there is always a chance you might be going submarines or going surface warfare. Your dream of wishing to fly should be second to that of joining a particular service in order to avoid disappointment. It's the same for going Dark Side, you may want to fly, but you have to want to become a Marine first, then a pilot second.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  16. Remo Williams

    Remo Williams New Member

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    Great question

    You asked, "is there a difference between PLC and OCS?"

    That's a good question, and it's an important distinction.

    Officer Candidate School is the actual military school, located at Brown Field at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, where officer candidates are screened and evaluated to determine if they will be offered a commission. OCS is a place you go. Although not an exact analogy, it's sort of like Marine Corps officer "boot camp," in that prospective officers train at OCS in order to become Marine officers.

    PLC (Platoon Leaders Class) is one of several routes you can take that lead to a Marine commission. PLC is a commissioning program. Other programs include: Marine Option Naval ROTC, U.S. Naval Academy, Officer Candidate Class [OCC], and programs for enlisted Marines.

    Of these several programs, PLC and OCC are most alike in that they are both specifically designed as routes for "military unaffiliated" college students to earn a Marine Corps commission by attending OCS during summer breaks from college. Conversely, "military affiliated" students would be midshipmen in any of the many Naval ROTC units or at the U.S. Naval Academy.

    To pursue PLC, you must be enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university, and, naturally, meet some sensible competitive selection standards (SAT/ACT scores, grades, background screening, physical fitness, physical health, etc.). As a prospect for PLC, you attend "civilian" college full time and take any major you choose. The PLC program "route" to a Marine commission also has two "sub-routes."

    The first PLC option is called split-increment PLC and is open to college freshmen and sophomores. If you enroll in PLC as a freshman, you will attend OCS for six weeks in the summer between your freshman and sophomore year, and again for six weeks in the summer between your junior and senior year. Alternatively, if you enroll in PLC as a sophomore, you will attend OCS for six weeks in the summer between your sophomore and junior year, and then again the following summer between your junior and senior year. For split-increment PLC, the first summer session at OCS is called "junior" and the second summer session is called "senior." There's no duplication...the senior session builds upon junior session.

    The second PLC option is PLC-Combined, and it's open to students who waited to enroll in -- or didn't discover -- PLC until their junior year in college. These PLC-Combined candidates attend OCS for a single ten week sessoin in the summer between their junior and senior year. A final "civilian commissioning route" worth highlighting is called OCC --Officer Candidate Class. This is a program for those who have already graduated from college, and OCC candidates attend a single ten week sesion at OCS, just like PLC-Combined candidates do. Unlike PLC-Combined candidate who finish OCS and then return to college for their senior year, OCC candidates who complete OCS and accept their commission go immediately on active duty.

    When you're enrolled in PLC, there are no military activitites for you during the school year. Except for the summers you're at OCS, you're a "regular collge student."

    I want to pick-up on something you stressed in your original post -- about not being absolutely sure just now that you want to serve in the military. That's okay. PLC acknowledges that commissioned service is "serious business," and it's important that only those who really want to be a Marine officer -- and have proven they can be one -- are offered a commission. PLC deliberately involves a mutual look at each other, and a mutually conscious decision after we both agree that you have "the stuff" to lead Marines.

    When you enroll in PLC, your only commitment is to attend OCS. Again, depending upon when you enroll, this means attending the first six week OCS session, or the one ten-week OCS session. If you determine from your experience at OCS that "the Marine Corps isn't for you," or if the Marine Corps decides that "you're not for us," then we amicably part ways and you continue life as a civilian. If, on the other hand, you complete OCS and both you and the Marine Corps want one another, you consciously decide during your senior year to accept your commission and become an active duty Marine Corps officer upon graduation from college.

    As mentioned in the earlier post, you'll start your active service by attending The Basic School (TBS). If you enrolled in PLC with an "aviation guarantee," when you finish TBS you head off to Pensacola to start your flight training. The PLC (Aviation) guarantee is especially attractive because you know, at the time you first enroll in PLC, that you are guaranteed assignment to flight school, provided you accept your commission, complete TBS, and stay medically qualified for flight training. To affirm this last point, you receive an actual written guarantee -- a PLC Aviation service agreement -- at the time you first enroll in PLC. Now HOW you do at flight training is up to you and your performance in flight training ultimately determines if you will become an aviator. But PLC (Aviation) guarantees that you will be given a shot at flight school, again, provided you complete OCS, finish your degree, accept your commission, and finish TBS.

    You can learn more about the PLC program, and gain some deeper insights into service as a Marine officer, from the Marine Corps' official officer programs site: www.marineofficer.com.

    Good luck. Semper Fi.
     

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