Air Force brotherhood

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Cmathis, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. Cmathis

    Cmathis Member

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    I am choosing between USMA and USAFA in about a week. I am really leaning towards the Air Force, but the thing that has kept army in the back of my mind is the brotherhood there. I just got a sense of an incredibly tight community at West Point, and I always hear from people in the army that it is very close, mostly from the nature of what the army's mission is. I realize that this may lead to people getting on each other's nerves more, but I can tolerate that and I wouldn't want to go Air Force and not have this. Could some Air Force people give me their thoughts on the community at the academy and in the Air Force?
     
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  2. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB 10-Year Member

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    I would describe the academy and the bonds created there in the same way as you just described West Point. As for AF life and friendships, a lot depends on your assignment, working as a physicist feels a lot like a civilian job, but going on a temporary assignment/test/deployment has the environment you are talking about in the army (except with better food and facilities )
     
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  3. fencersmother

    fencersmother 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Where do you see yourself in five or ten or 25 years is a more important question.

    The men and women you befriend at a service academy will be lifelong friends, and you may not see them again for your life long, but they will still be your dear friends.
     
  4. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    After less than 6 weeks of BCT, DD was referring to her classmates as brothers and sisters in the most sincere way at USAFA.
     
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  5. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    What do you want to do in the military? I am going to assume that you do not have your heart set on an obvious choice like pilot or platoon leader, so does the technical side interest you like cyber or intel?
     
  6. Cmathis

    Cmathis Member

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    I want to be a pilot, so I have my heart set on either pavehawks in the Air Force or something similar in the army
     
  7. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    The Army has far more rotary aircraft than the AF.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_United_States_military_aircraft
     
  8. Cmathis

    Cmathis Member

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    I do know that; the thing is I wouldn't mind fixed wing if I didn't get rotary in the AF and I think I will be better suited to the AF, so I think I will take that risk of not getting rotary
     
  9. Fighter9

    Fighter9 New Member

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    I'm in literally the same position as you. I can't decide between USMA and USAFA. I feel like USMA is more prestigious and has more traditions and brotherhood, but USAFA is more revolutionary and modern. I only have until April 15th so I gotta make the choice soon. Any advice would be helpful too. :)
     
  10. Hoodlum15

    Hoodlum15 Member

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    I think one of the biggest things you have to consider is that you will only be at a SA for 4 years. Then you will be operational in your chosen branch for a minimum of 5 years and very likely many more.

    Thus, you should heavily consider what the different branches look like operationally. Air Force and Army officers live very different lives, participate in very different missions, and have very different opportunities. Do some research and consider which branch seems a better fit for your long-term family and career goals.

    From a SA standpoint, I chose USAFA while another kid from my high school chose West Point. West Point is stricter and more formal. USAFA is still developing its identity as a SA. Both have awesome people, an awesome education, and awesome opportunities. You won't go wrong with either (but if you choose USMA you'll be sad, lol).
     
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  11. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

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    From what I can gather, talking to different pilots, if you want to be a pilot, the Air Force will expect you to be a technical master a bit more than the Army. The AF wants their officer pilots to be great at piloting for their first few assignments, then transition to organizational leadership roles. The Army, on the other hand, wants their officer pilots to focus on being great leaders from the start and being good pilots. The real expertise in aviation is centered on Army Warrant Officers, it seems.

    AF pilots sometimes wind up in leadership positions a bit behind their sister-service peers due to this. On the other hand, they are able to be technical experts in their field a bit longer than other services expect.

    ...I've only seen the AF side, and overhear things from other service's pilots, so this may not be universally accurate...
     
  12. haleym

    haleym 5-Year Member

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    OP- I'd love to talk to you about the brotherhood aspect. Shoot me a PM if you're interested. (same to you, Fighter)
     
  13. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

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    Ahhhh, the youth...young and impressionable time of life was sure a thing of beauty. Okay, time to wake up folks! Camaraderie and brotherhood will be found in any branch of the service, even in ROTC. I suppose if you spend days/weeks/months in a foxhole with someone, good chance that you'll be buds like Forrest and Bubba.:eek: Seriously though, camaraderie and brotherhood just comes with the territory in any military environment. SA and college is just 4 years of your life. I can't stress enough--think long term & BIG picture! Where do you see yourself in the future and what do you want to do in the service? If you want to fly, think twice before you go Army or the Marine Corp. You will be a grunt officer before a pilot, meaning flying will be a secondary duty by a long shot. It's already bad enough in the Air Force, where your primary job title says "Pilot". I digress. Just think of the mission of each of the services and you can see where aviation fits into each one of them. "Air" Force...hmmmmm?! Sounds aviation and other things that fly in the air & space--think technology.
    In regards to flying choppers... true, the Army/Marines/Navy have more rotary winged platforms than the Air Force. If your heart is set on flying choppers, it's not difficult at all to get choppers in the Air Force. With the exception of a very few (weird:D) pilot candidates, most everyone attending SUPT wants a fixed wing.
    You'll grow older and your priorities will change. Trust me, it'll happen. I would have given anything and sold my loved ones to fly airplanes for a living when I was young; nothing else mattered. Fortunately, things worked out for me and I got to fly but my priorities changed as I got older. If you ever want to get married and have a family, this too should be a factor in your decision making process. I'm not biassed because I was in the AF but of all the services, though not by a long shot, the Air Force offers the most family friendly environment overall, IMHO. I've worked/still work with many pilots from the different services and they will tell you the same.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2017
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  14. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Our DS opted AFROTC just like his Dad that served 21+ years ADAF as a WSO in the F15E. DS is a C130J pilot. I will never forget what he said at his wedding when he decided to toast us, his parents.
    ~To my Father, I want to say thank you for showing me the brethren and brotherhood of the AF.
    ~~ It went on, but you get the point.

    In his wedding party 1 was ADAF that washed out of UPT, now in cyber. 1 was AFROTC that opted to leave the program. Their flower girl was the granddaughter of our best friend that we met when he was 6. Or iows 17 yrs out of his 23 yrs in this world. His Dad's crewmate was the grandfather, the mother of the flower girl was his 1st babysitter.

    This was a very small wedding. 85 people. As parents of the bride and groom we had about 25 guests, including immediate family. Our limited number of friends that were invited were...all AF...and they all showed! DS's wife was also an AF brat, her Dad was not a flier. Same for her parents, the friends they invited were AF colleagues.
    ~ Both Bullet (DH) and her Dad were retired for at least 5 years.

    More examples of how tight knit the AF community and how great this forum is:
    ~ Joined here in 07.
    ~~ Hornetguy rarely ever posts now, but he flew out for Bullet's retirement. A cadet at USAFA flew to SJAFB for a weekend to be there for Bullet's fini flight. Bullet in turn flew out to USAFA 2 yrs later to commission him. Hornet flew back to VA 2 yrs later to celebrate our DS's commissioning.
    ~~~ Raimius flies rotors and spent Thanksgiving with us when he recently moved to the VA area
    ~~~~ Fencers DS (USAFA grad) and our DS (AFROTC grad) both fly C130Js at the same base, different squadrons....same UPT class. However, because of THAT brethren bond they have spent many holidays together.

    Finally, I will say this, every branch has that brotherhood, but if it will or will not exist it will come down to you. If you want it, than it will be there. No branch has a claim of being more tight knit than the other.
     
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  15. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

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    Pima hit some key facts. I'm a loner by nature (birth, whatever). I'm perfectly happy doing things on my own. I also still enjoy hanging with my wife of 22 years but yes, I'm good at being a loner. Don't get me wrong...I can hang and shoot the bs with the best of them. Even loners need friends. All of my really good friends are people whom I've met on active duty. Both of the dudes in my wedding are/were AF pilots. I still keep in contact with many of my squadron buds. They are and will always be my life long friends.
     
  16. Cmathis

    Cmathis Member

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    Could you clarify this with me? I think I get what you're saying but I'm not quite sure. Would it be right to say that AF officers start flying sooner and this sets them back in leadership, while the army officers are leaders first and pilots second?
     
  17. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    Cmathis - I can only speak on behalf of USAFA. My DS was more of a loner in high school. He was laser focused on his future. He was home last week for spring break and we talked a lot about how his perspective had changed since going to USAFA. He made a point to talk about his life-long friendships already made this year both in his squadron and in Honor Guard. He made a point of talking about how USAFA has a place for anyone to find their niche, and how close the Wing becomes during the school year. I would say based on our discussion that you will find a similar brotherhood at all of the three major SAs. I wouldn't let that be the determining factor in choosing on of the schools.

    College is a 4 year span which in the long run is a short period of time. In the short term though and in a stressful environment being at the right location is important. The settings for West Point and Colorado Springs are very different. However, college is about preparing you for the future. If you know the career path that you want to take then it should be the most important factor in choosing a school. If not, then look at which school affords you the most opportunities in fields that interest you. The ultimate goal of each SA is to prepare you to become a leader in the US Military.

    At USAFA you get some unique opportunities that are distinct to a school built to put out pilots. There is a focus on flight. You get to select soaring, fixed wing training or jumping for airmanship during your first year. You take airmanship during your first summer. This means you can learn to fly, glide or jump during your first year of school. USAFA has more pilot spots than the other SAs so there is a better chance of getting selected to flight school after graduation. These were items that were important to my DS when he made his decision.

    All of the SAs are top academic institutions. They will all lead to attractive offers of employment if you choose not to be a career military officer. West Point and Annapolis are older than USAFA, but otherwise all three are in the same tier of academic circles.

    Best of luck in making your decision.
     
  18. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

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    Aviators will usually start flying right off the bat. The AF tends to keep them in primarily flying jobs for 2-3 assignments. From what I hear, the Army is closer to 1-2 assignments before going more toward organizational leadership.
     
  19. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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