Naval and Marine Corps Aviation through USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by BROTHERS2017, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. BROTHERS2017

    BROTHERS2017 USNA Class of 2017

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    Good evening,

    I am in the class of 2017 at USNA and have a few questions about aviation through the academy.

    1) I have my Private Pilot's License. What other things make me more competitive for a Naval/Marine Aviator slot?

    2) I am very interested in Marine Aviation as well as Naval. For the Marines, do you just simply say "I want either Naval or Marine Aviation, it does not matter?" I ask this because I want to serve my nation by flying and am willing to do it through either service.

    3) My vision is 20/70. I was told in this forum about my 2/C year I can receive PRK surgery. I only have myopia as far as I'm aware! Just double checking that you can get the surgery and still apply for a slot!

    4) Anybody with experience, what are pros and cons with each service in terms of the aviation route?

    5) If I do not get a pilot's slot through USNA with neither service, which career paths are close to flying or give a good adrenaline rush? I don't want to end up being another person at a desk. I don't feel like I'm reaching my potential and making a difference at a desk. :thumbdown:

    Any advice and information is much appreciated!!!:biggrin:
     
  2. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I won't steal Hurricane12's thunder (I am sure she would be happy to chime in)...but the one thing with the Marine Corps is that you have to want to be a Marine BEFORE being a Marine Pilot. In other words, you have to be as happy to be an Infantry Officer as a pilot. If it is clear you are more focused on only the flying there is a great risk the Marine Corps won't choose you. It doesn't mean you can't like to fly for either service, you just need to put 110% effort into all aspects of USMC.
     
  3. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    usnabgo08 got the important part.

    Navy maybe-to-yes, Marines probably not. It'll get you out of IFS, and that's about it.

    Short answer: no.

    Long answer: If your primary interest is flying, go Navy. You can broaden your options and go to Leatherneck before 1/C year to keep Marine Air as a possibility, but most of the people I know who did that without really thinking seriously about Marine Corps had a very miserable month in Quantico.

    Marine Corps comes first, then aviation.

    Yes. Technically you require a waiver for PRK to get an upchit, but they hand them out like candy after the six month (or whatever it is) checkup.

    I refuse to be the 2ndLt who says "In my experience..." but both services are great and have tremendous opportunities for aviators. The flavors of platforms and the types of people in each service are a little different, however.
    At the Naval Academy you will have to option to meet and talk to tons of Navy and Marine Corps pilots. A lot of mids don't do this, which is stupid, but actually go talk to them. I have met very few officers at USNA who didn't love talking about their jobs. Do a little legwork on your end and learn some stuff about their community and show up with informed questions. Feel them out and think about where you'd fit in and who you'd enjoy being around.

    Many of the "adrenaline rush" jobs in the Marine Corps like infantry, AAVs, tanks, or artillery, also include a lot of boring stuff (powerpoints, briefings, writing orders and training plans) and being tired and either very cold or very hot, outside, probably in the rain.


    As an officer, eventually you will end up behind a desk, even as an aviator. Aviators in both the Navy and Marine Corps have "ground jobs" that often involve lots of paperwork and boring minutiae. After your first operational tour, no matter your community or service, most officers go to a shore tour/B-billet which almost always takes you away from the fleet and puts you behind a desk. Even a shore tour as a flight instructor, while still allowing you to fly, means that you have collateral duties.

    Don't downplay those desk jobs either. They're not sexy, and I certainly would not be thrilled to do them, but the "boring" stuff like logistics and admin makes the Navy and Marine Corps tick. You'd be surprised how big a difference a good LogO, Adj, or SuppO can actually have in making sure that a unit can go out and do the things it needs to do.
     
  4. BROTHERS2017

    BROTHERS2017 USNA Class of 2017

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    Thanks, all good advice and I'm taking it all into consideration. I'm also sorry. I feel like I'm coming across as some punk, ignorant kid who expects everything to be nice and dandy. I realize all the sacrifice that I'll be expected to put out there.

    When I mean I don't want a desk job, it is not to be condescending or downplay their importance. I just want a special job in the field, whether flying or infantry. Whatever it might be I want to do stuff that 99% of the population will never do! I hope that makes sense to you.

    What options come to you if you go Marine Corps, whether it be Infantry or Aviation? Will they offer it up if you are chosen through the Academy. The more and more I watch documentaries, read up, and study, the more I'm beginning to like and respect the Marines more. I just want to keep all my options open, you know? I am not in the best shape of my life at the moment, but I plan on maxing out my PRTs by the end of the first semester for sure! I am motivated and want to make the most out of my time at USNA. I just need some guidance and advice, and I appreciate the help.
     
  5. 511commo

    511commo New Member

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    If you don't get an aviation slot you will have a choice of 27 military occupational specialties in the Marine Corps. Depending how you finish in The Basic School determines which specialty you get. For example, there were 213 people in my TBS class and I finished 72nd. I got the 2nd pick of specialties in my class because they break it into three tiers. If I had finished 71st in my class I would have gotten 3rd to last pick so I was lucky. There were only 2 Human Intelligence slots and about 15 Communications slots. I chose Comm. There are a lot more infantry and artillery slots than others. Normally nobody wants the admin officer billets, but that's why they split the picks in thirds. The guy who finished ahead of me at 71 probably got an admin billet. That doesn't mean you'll be stuck with a desk job though. The artillery unit I was stationed with made everyone go to the field and deploy. Even the admin bubbas!
    Those with a guaranteed aviation slot were not included in the selection process.
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Basically, you want to build up an "aviation resume". Have documented interest in aviation. Having a private pilot's license is certainly a component of that. You can also try to get an aviation cruise and do "soaring" for one of your training blocks.

    You will also need to score well on the ASTB (Aviation Selection Test Battery)

    Not only is your vision important, but you need to stay healthy in all respects. There are always a number of disappointing medical disqualifications other than vision related. For instance - Are you allergic to anything? Peanuts?

    Finally, you want to have a competitive class standing. You do not have to necessarily graduate in the top of your class to secure an aviation slot - but it never hurts to have a high Order-of-Merit when submitting your preferences.

    Typically, there are quite a few aviation slots. Nearly a quarter of the class goes into aviation, nearly twice as many than go submarines, for instance.

    If you're an adrenaline junkie and see yourself zipping through the sky at Mach 1.8 and blasting off the carrier on a catapult in your F/A-18 Hornet, you should know that many of those selected for aviation will be thumping around in a helicopter at the dizzying "speed" of zero mph.

    Getting selected for Navy Air is the first step. There will be another selection during flight school. Not everybody gets to be Tom Cruise.

    "I have a need - a need for speed!"
    - Maverick
     

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