What if I don't fly after USAFA....

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by jakewhitt20, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. jakewhitt20

    jakewhitt20 New Member

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    Hi, as of yesterday I have accepted my appointment to USAFA. Since 8th grade the Air Force is where I wanted to be, and I am excited to have finally reach my goal and set upon new challenges next year at the academy.

    In January, I was accepted to West Point after only having submitted my application two weeks prior. I never gave West Point as much though as USAFA and USNA, but would be willing to go if was only option for a service academy.

    So I take a visit up to WP, meet with countless WP alumni, the football coach, and personally talk with the Sup. You could say I was beginning to buy into the "WP propaganda." None of which was incorrect, but I did get an ear full of why WP is soooo much better than USAFA, etc.

    In mid March I got accepted to USAFA. Now WP needed an answer by April 15th, so I had to made my decision before then. I make a pro con list and ask myself what I want to do in the military.

    In one sentence this is my goal for my military service; I want to be involved in the fight (combat) whether in the air or on the ground.
    Now that statement could just be the 18 year old boy talking in me, but as of now I want to be the "tip of the spear."

    Like I said I have already made my decision to USAFA after another visit to Colorado Springs. My decision is final.

    My question is, if I don't fly what can I do as an officer to be involved the way I want to be? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Is spec ops in the Air Force realistic for an academy grad?
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    My son felt the exact same way. Including all the army wooing at boys state and malo. He went to the Air Force academy. Got a pilot slot. But deep down inside, he wanted to be more involved. Nothing wrong with pilot, just that if there wasn't a true mission, then it's basically fly a few hours a week and do a lot of admin stuff. If you're a heavy pilot, you can fly a lot more.

    Well, my son was fortunate enough upon graduating the academy, to get accepted to grad school for 3 years to get his PhD. Also, keeping his pilot slot for after graduating grad school. After a year of grad school, the desire to be "more involved" was still digging in his gut. So, he got permission to apply and try out to be a special tactics officer. (Special ops). Being he was still a students and hadn't started pilot training, nothing lost. There are only about 120 special tactics officers in the Air Force, and if he didn't get selected, he'd still have his pilot slot. Well, it took a couple of tries, but he passed and got selected. About 28 are allowed to try out, about 12 make it through, and about 5 are selected. This is done twice a year. So he graduated with his PhD last summer, and has been training special ops for the last 9 months. He had to give up the pilot slot, but he's happy.

    There's also so many other jobs in the Air Force. Special tactics, combat rescue, airfield management, Intel, etc. that is more involved. You've got 3 years before you apply for the job you want. You will probably change your mind 73 times between now and then. Just realize...... Serving your country and the mission has to be #1. How you do it in what job is #2. There are plenty of jobs in the Air Force. It's not like its pilots for war/mission, and all other jobs make sure the golf course is watered and stays green. There's a lot more to the Air Force and serving your country. Relax, and don't worry about it for a while. You'll be surprised how you'll change your mind and goals a lot in the next 3-4 years.

    Fwiw. As an ALO, I had a kid get in last year. He wanted the Air Force his whole life. He was the commander in his Air Force JrRotc at high school. Was heavily involved. The military was everything to him. 3 weeks into basic training last summer, he decided it wasn't for him, and he quit. Not trying to scare you. Simply saying, what you want and think today, will NOT be what you want and think in the future. Best of luck.
     
  3. zrh177

    zrh177 Member

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    If you want to fly and be in the thick of things, being an SAR pilot isn't a bad option. Those guys do a lot of flying, and it is often to bring CROs/PJs into areas where someone is already in trouble. Check out Nat Geo's "Inside Combat Rescue" () documentary.
     
  4. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    "Tip of the Spear" are Marines. First to fight, second to none.
     
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  5. USAFAhopeful18

    USAFAhopeful18 Member

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    One very unique career field that you might want to look into is becoming an ALO. Not an Academy Liaison Officer, but an Air Liasion Officer. It used to only be open to pilots who would be grounded for an assignment to employ Airpower from the ground to help accomplish the Army's mission, but now it has its own separate AFSC (13Lxx). The process is similar for being selected for STO/CRO, as in it's a boarded AFSC, but from what I've heard it's a bit easier (mainly because there isn't a swimming requirement). You would deploy with the Army and work closely with them for the majority of your career, and would be afforded the opportunity to go to advanced schools like Ranger School, Airborne, Pathfinder, etc.. It's definitely a very high-stress and demanding career field, but it's also at the tip of the joint spear, which is pretty awesome. Just something to think about!
     
  6. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    +1 USAFAhopeful18. ALO is an amazing opportunity in USAF. My AFROTC interview was with the man who wrote the ALO AFSC description. He was one of the first, and he said it is a great choice for those who want to be at the fight.
     
  7. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    I just saw a ranking of the toughest jobs in the military. PJ was ranked #1. These guys are amazing heroes. God Bless them.
     
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  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Just so those interested know, the CRO (Combat Rescue Officer) is the officer in charge of the PJ's. Unless the PJ is "Assigned" to a special ops command/mission; then it may be the STO (Special Tactics Officer) who could be in charge of the PJ's. They have a little difference in mission between Special Ops and "Normal" for a better term "Rescue".
     
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  9. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    I would venture that the USNA Football Coaching Staff is pleased with your decision !:wiggle:
     
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  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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  11. Akrogan

    Akrogan Member

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    If you want to do something very out of the ordinary, look at being a Special Investigations Officer. AFOSI is essentially the NCIS of the Air Force, and they absolutely get into the thick of things. Not an easy job to get, but very very interesting work.
     
  12. falcongirl

    falcongirl USAFA grad

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    Let me know if you'd like more information on the rescue pilot option. I'm still in the training pipeline -- I finished up SUPT-H and am headed to my follow on course next month to learn how to fly the HH-60 -- but that's my assignment. We fly low and slow, and we're certainly down and gritty in the fight. There are only five active duty HH-60 squadrons and rescue has an extremely high ops tempo (the deploy-dwell ratio is almost 1-1, meaning you're in the fight as often as you are at home), but for me there is no profession more noble than going out to get someone on the worst day of their life. I can't wait to fly the mission.

    Side note: Quite a few of the pilots from Inside Combat Rescue are currently UPT instructors at Fort Rucker. "Scramble, scramble, scramble." Great pilots, and great officers.
     
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  13. jakewhitt20

    jakewhitt20 New Member

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    Thank you all for your input. It is greatly appreciated!! I have been doing additional research these past couple days, and now have a better understanding of how I can, "get in the fight." Thanks again everybody.
     
  14. Blueblood1

    Blueblood1 Member

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    Congratulations on your appointment! Search the older threads and there are discussions about special operations assignments with others more knowledgeable than I am. Here is one of those threads though. "Special ops Jobs after the academy."

    Here are some links as well:

    http://www.airforce.com/careers/detail/combat-rescue-officer/
    http://www.airforce.com/careers/detail/special-tactics-officer
    http://www.airforce.com/careers/detail/tactical-air-control-party-officer


    Having said that - this is not a decision that has to be made right away. During BCT, you will be focused on finishing BCT. Your first semester, you will be focused on finishing that, SAMI's, running the lines, etc. There will be many briefings and information sessions available about career paths offered before you have to make a decision.

    Get to USAFA, work hard, keep your class rank up and you will have many opportunities to pursue a path that interests you, and that path often changes once you get through your Doolie year.

    Congrats again.
     
  15. Stonewall

    Stonewall Member

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    I'm in a similar situation as the OP was. I'd been rooting for USAFA for a long time until a turn in events. I finished my applications for USAFA and USMA in January. I got accepted to USMA about a week later but never heard from USAFA until April 7 (rejected). So in March I did a visit to West Point. I loved it and starting rooting for Army. I accepted my appointment to West Point after getting the rejection from Air Force and didn't look back.

    Now on April 15th, which was West Point's decision deadline, my rejection from Air Force turned into an acceptance. I wasn't aware the Academy would still consider candidates that had been rejected. It's great that I've been appointed to both and it's a huge honor, but now I'm unsure which to make a real final decision on.

    As far as I know, I'm going to have to visit USAFA and see where will be the best fit for me. Of course, I'll be thrilled with either, so it won't be an easy decision.
     
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