Your Career in the military?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by SamAca10, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Hey, caould anyone tell me their career flow as an officer/enlisted man in the military? What was your specialty? What bases/ ships were you stationed at/on? What was your most favorite part? Your least favorite part? Would you do it all over again, if given the chance? :thumb: Thanks
     
  2. kevster

    kevster Member

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    I'll bump this back up because I would love to hear what everyone has to say.
     
  3. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Surprised no one has replied yet with their careers. You've got a lot of regulars here (Flieger, ChristCorp, TPG, DS, and a bunch of others) who can give lots of perspective on what they did, and what they loved / hated. In fact, there are a few threads out there on this particular forum (Life after the Academy) that go into these issues which you can do a search for.

    But anyways, here's my quick down-low:

    - Grad from ROTC as a 2d Lt in the AF (a long time ago, when a major in what we would call "Classics" today was called "current events" :) ), off to Nav school (Mather AFB, Sacramento, CA (now closed)) for 9 months. Hard work, every day an evaluation. But Loved it! Selected to fly F-111s :thumb:

    - Went to Survival Schools (Land (mostly hated, especially SERE and being in charge of the damn bunny :thumbdown:) and Water (a blast!), then off to Lead-In Fighter Training (2 months ar Alamagordo, NM. Location: out-in-the-middle-of-no-where :thumbdown:. Flying: some of the most fun I ever had in my life. Loved, Loved, LOVED it! :thumb: Family: Brand new newlywed (Pima), still in the early "were young and newly married" phase, so she didn't mind the location so much. First few dinners with her cooking as a married couple? Interesting, didn't know you could burn water. :rolleyes:

    - F-111 transition course (7 months at Mt Home AFB, Idaho) Flying: loved it as well. Low levels through the Snake Canyon! :thumb: Location: Oh-oh! As East-coasters and suburbanites from NJ, Pima (and I) not liking two middle-of-no-where tours so far. Starting to question "what have we gotten into?" a little bit. Pima's cooking getting better, especially potatoes.

    - First Ops tour: F-111s at RAF Upper Heyford, England. Loved it! Every part (flying, travel in Europe, family, friends)! Despite being in England, Pima's cooking vastly improves, bringing up the local's average. Saw all of Europe, and some not so fun parts of the Middle East. Left there a young Capt with a wife, two small kids, and lots of great memories.

    - Since the F-111s were being retired (so i couldn't go ops-to-ops) I took an "out-of cockpit" assignment: Air Liaison Officer, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg. The job: pretty cool, very proud of my time with the Army. Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes? Ok, and added to my sense of machismo, but every time I exited the plane, I went with a shout of "What the heck am I doing here?" :eek: Added one more family member, and Pima added some BBQ recipes. It was all worth it because...

    - Transition to F-15E (4 months at Seymour Johnson AFB for transition course, then picking up the brood to drive to: Elmendorf AFB Alaska. LOVED IT, LOVED IT LOVED IT! :thumb:My favorite place (and Pima's) by far. Had the best time flying (dog-fighting next to Mt. McKinley, how cool!), made the best of friends (who still remain best friends today), had a great family life. Would have retired there in a heart-beat, but it was just too far from Pima's and my families. Oh well, maybe in a few years. Only downside, lot's of TDYs to Korea, with one 5 month deployment to Kwang Ju AB (which had next to nothing on it except our squadron buildings, barracks, and chow hall. Weren't even allowed on the economy for the first 3 months). Left there a Major

    - Ops-to-Ops back to Seymour Johnson. Started getting more responsibility / work at the higher level , even had a Wing job in the Weapons and Tactics shop. Meant I had to start telling the schedulers "Sorry, can't fly tomorrow, gotta work on something" :unhappy: Deployed a couple of times to the sandbox again. Getting shot at? Bad Ju-Ju. Shooting back? Better. Pima's cooking? Close to perfect. Me? Getting older, and heavier from Pima's cooking. OK tour, would have been more fun as a young pup flying my butt off, but what tour wouldn't?

    - One year, Ft Leavenworth. No, not for a bad reason! :biggrin: Went to the Army's Command and General Staff College. Called it my "sabbatical from the real military". Home everyday by 2, able to coach little league and soccer. Played A TON of golf (badly). Family down time: great! Being away from flying: not so much. Pima's cooking: still great. My weight? Back to perhaps the best shape of my life because I had so much time to do PT (which I did everyday to impress the Army guys in my class. They hated that I had the 3rd highest PT score behind the SF guy and the Ranger guy!)

    - The Pentagon. 3 "interesting" years. Can't say I hated it, can't say I loved it. Working under pressure can't begin to describe the day. Learned a lot about the "big picture" (and how to speak to a General so as not to make yourself look like an idiot). Family loved it. I missed the flying, but I worked with a great bunch of guys. Left there a Lt Col.

    - Back to Seymour for another tour of flying the F-15E. Couldn't take the smile of my face with a crow bar when I first got there! ("They're letting me FLY again!") There for a year when they offered me a command. But, it would have meant moving 3 more times in three more years, and most likely staying another 3 years after to retire as an O-6 with three years in grade (to make O-6 retirement pay). Family was happy, and the kids were in HS, so I turned it down, and spent the next 3 years in one place, flying what I loved to fly, when I wanted to fly. Left the cockpit on a Thursday, Raised my right hand in retirement the next day, and moved on to my retirement career in DC.

    Overall, would I do it again? In a heart-beat, twice on Sundays. I've led a blessed and happy life, have a wonderful family, made life long friends, and I got to live my childhood dream. And how many out there working at Prudential, Ford, or IBM can say that?

    BTW, Pima's cooking still rocks, I still am fighting to keep off the weight, and I miss the flying terribly. But life remains good, and I always have the memories of things done, people met, and Sunsets over the Alaskan Range while I'm going Mach-snot on the deck chasing red air!
     
  4. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Wow Bullet, that's amazing! Seems like you had a really good time.:thumb: What I was really surprised by was the fact that, even though you are/were a flyer (whichever you prefer), you spent a LOT of time out of the cockpit...is this common? Oh yeah, what did your post-military/civilian job in DC entail? Thanks for responding, by the way! :thumb:
     
  5. kevster

    kevster Member

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    WSO

    Wow that does sound cool! In addition to SamAcad's questions could you also describe what being a WSO is like?
     
  6. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Sam,

    Spending time out of the cockpit over a career? Pretty typical. To make Lt Col, most folks will have to spend at least one tour on a staff somewhere. Its called "making you a more rounded officer". The services expect it if you want to make the bigger ranks (O-5 / O-6 and above). I DO know somewho stayed flying almost their entire careers (which ended with them retiring as Majors). It's all perspective; will I put up with some crappy assignments (for a flyer, ANYTHING out of the cockpit is a crappy assignment) to get farther along in my career? You have to weigh it for yourselves.

    Most importantly, did I start off on day one as a bright shiny 2nd Lt planning how I was one day going to become Chief of Staff of the AF? No way, no how! One of my first commanders gave me the best piece of advise I ever received (only later did I find out it was pretty common knowledge): worry about the job you're doing now, strive every day to do it well, and the rest will fall into place. Those above you will see you efforts and reward you for it with the better next jobs / assignments. If you don't love what you're doing now, don't stop working hard while you're dreaming of your escape to the next job, because it won't happen.

    A final word of caution: timing and luck will usually play just a big a role in getting ahead in your career as skill and hard work. It happens all the time. Those who work hardest at getting best at their jobs can usually overcome theses two arbitrary factors.

    kevster,

    What was being a WSO like? Two words: Abso-freakin' Awesome! (pardon my French!) Did you get the friendly ribbing from a few front-seaters about being in the back? Certainly, but the key was to give the eye-poke right back (I usually threw a banana at them and remind them even a monkey could do their job if properly motivated, hence the banana). 99% of the time, it was mutual respect for how each of us contributed to the mission and the team.

    The flying aspect? Well, ask Pima. My typical comment after a particularly fun sortie (which was often) was "I can't believe they pay me to do this! I'd pay them!"

    But as TPG mentioned, there are down sides to doing something you love. Perhaps most won't be deployed as often as TPG, but most are gone a bunch, and I mean A BUNCH! Can't tell you how many important holidays and events I missed with my wife and kids over the years (it takes a particularly strong kind of spouse to survive a military career. I was one of the lucky ones when Pima told me "Yes". How I fooled her into marrying an idiot like me is a whole different thread!). It's comes with the territory, and played a large role in my final career choices.

    TPG,
    :worship::worship:
     
  7. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with CRO's as a career? I might know of two oyoung men who have talked of nothing else (except being CROs who are also pilots :eek:) for a few days now. Now, it seems to me that while someone might really love this "boss" job, it might not lead to too many civilian positions after AF retirement.
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Bullet, tpg, and all the others, FANTASTIC!!! And thank you, again, all of you, for your service to our nation. You kept us free for many years and this Steeler family salutes you!:groupwave:
     
  9. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Fencersmom ..... CRO? Sorry for my ignorance but what is that?
     
  10. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    Wow Bullet and TPG, you guys are my hero!

    BTW Gunner, I think there is a typo in that link you provided....a 39 on the ACT score :eek: lol

    "APPLICANTS MUST POSSESS EITHER A MINIMUM GENERAL TECHNOLOGY (GT) SCORE OF 110 DERIVED FROM THE ARMED SERVICES VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY (ASVAB) OR THE ARMY CLASSIFICATION BATTERY 61 CLASSIFICATION TESTS; OR A MINIMUM COMBINED ENGLISH AND MATH SCORE OF 39 ON THE AMERICAN COLLEGE TEST (ACT); OR A MINIMUM COMBINED MATH AND VERBAL SCORE OF 1000 ON THE SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST (SAT). SAT OR ACT SCORES WILL BE VERIFIED BY THE SAT OR ACT TEST REPORT INCLUDED WITH THE APPLICATION."
     
  11. BeatNavy

    BeatNavy USMA Cadet

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    Combat Rescue Officer
     
  12. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    COMBINED score. Not just on one section, we know that the max on one section is 36. If you got, for instance, 20 on Math and 19 on English, the combined total would be 39. I assume that is what he meant, since the SAT is also a combined total of 1000 (500 and 500). Can be confusing if read incorrectly (I could be wrong, it definitely wouldn't be the first time, just as I understood it).

    Later,

    Brian
     
  13. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    As I could be wrong also, I thought you couldn't get higher than a 36 composite on the ACT's? They are calculated differently than the SAT's where they combine those three sections.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    SO SO TRUE...Spouses, unless they are teachers or nurses, typically will re-invent themselves in the employment world at each and every base. What actually hurts the most is that as the military member gets higher up in rank, the moves come more frequent. No employer likes to look at a resume and see that over a course of 10 yrs you have moved 5 times. I do not know for a fact that certain positions were not given to me because we were military, but I have a sneaky suspicion that were the cases.

    Interviewer: I see you have moved a lot over the past 10 yrs., would you care to expand upon that?

    or

    I assume your spouse is military, does he plan to retire here? Or how long is his assignment?

    The minute those questions enter the interview, you know it is an uphill battle because they already know in a yr or two, maybe 3 they will be hiring somebody else to replace you.

    The one thing that I would say as a spouse that hurts somebody's career is when they "pick" an assignment for the spouse. For example, took a remote so the kids could stay there for the 8 th grade, or took one so they could be close to her home. Never do that, you will hurt your own career, and nobody will be to blame when you don't get promoted, but you because you forgot that old motto...service before self. Any and every spouse that walks down the aisle knows that when they leave their family, they are most likely not coming back for at least 20 yrs. I.E. go back and read Bullet's post about turning down a command. I had no problem with moving again, however, I did say to him...DO you want to start littering our children around the world if we stay until 25. We were realistic and knew that the kids would never call wherever we retired home, and we knew that it was important to us that they didn't have that feeling more than the O-6. We openly made the decision that by turning down the assignment his career for promotion purposes was over.

    Also be brutally honest with them. The more you share, what you can share for security reasons, the more comfortable they will be with what you do and why the family pays the price. The more they understand your frustrations when you come from a bad day. THAT WILL HAPPEN.

    As far as the military members career, even when Bullet was deployed and I was shoveling snow off the roof of our home in AK, I never had an issue of why I was 1000's of miles away from my family and alone. I never thought I can't wait until he retires. All I ever thought was I can't wait until the next promotion, because then we will be RICH :shake: (Amazingly we never got RICH).


    Off topic, but I agree with Max, the ACT composite is the avg of the 4 sections, so you cannot max at 144, you can only max at 36.
     
  15. Subdude

    Subdude Member

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    One thing about spouses and moving...in some cases a prospective employer may view all those moves in a positive light. My wife (who is a Registered Nurse) in one instance actually got a higher salary than others with similar qualifications because of the variety of her experience...having worked in multiple hospitals versus the whole career in one. I'm not saying you go out of your way to jump around, but given that your prospective employer understands the way things are when you have a military spouse (and you should do your best to make sure they do), I think that it can be a plus; especially if you have utilized those moves as opportunities (career wise) and broadened your horizons. Living in a bunch of different places opens you up to just how crazy people are about certain things in one place or the other....which IMO gives you a better sense of balance.
     
  16. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Awesome Job Guys!

    :thumb: Question though: As you move up the ranks, do you get deployed/shuffled around bases more? Thanks!
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    For the AF, as you move up the ranks, @ O-4/5 you will start moving much more. The cause for this is due to the position and going to PME. There are 3 in residence PMEs within a 6-7 yr time frame (yr 14 to 21), so basically you go to school 1yr, go to a job, get promoted, apply for school, repeat. It is completely possible to move @ every 12-18 months. For many this is when you say enough and call the ball at 20. For us in our last ten yr time frame we moved from AK to NC to KS to VA and back to NC. As you can easily see that was 5 moves.

    Our children were typical military brats, they all attended at least 8 schools during their public education. 2 of the 3 attended 2 hs (only our last escaped because we retired). Our best friends daughter attended 4 hs.

    Deployments are tied to where you are stationed and have very little to do with your rank, unless you are like Bullet where MPC comes out and says the Army needs a Fighter guy, with weapon experience and ALO(not the academy kind) experience...not many of them hanging around. In that same 10 yr time frame, Bullet was deployed for 120 days +/- 4 times.

    It is almost unheard of nowadays for somebody to get out of the AF without doing a remote, so it is smart to plan that into your career path. You do not want to end up with MPC saying to you TAG your it, especially when you are going up for promotion.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Sam, in the Coast Guard you will move every 2-4 years.
     
  19. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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  20. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Anyone Else?

    Do any other posters want to contribute? I would greatly appreciate it! :thumb:
     

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