Army vs Airforce (officer rotc path)

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Alex19lib, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Alex19lib

    Alex19lib New Member

    Dec 26, 2014
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    So I've been debating lately which rotc path I should take next Fall. I am a male age 19 and would say average to slender body shape. I am a computer science major currently at a 3.81 gpa and thinking about taking my SAT for possible scholarships with either branch (army is said to be easier with this). I was really thinking of joining the air force progam mostly due to how many tech careers they have compared to the army (willing to do combat if assigned). However I like the army's way of doing things ,and I guess the pride (air force has pride too also just feel it is not as expressed by their members) in being in the army. In addition, I am aware that the army and air force programs don't let you pick your job but let you make a wishlist. I am a very ambitious person so I know I would try my best in either service branch. I am planning on being single during atleast my initial 4 active duty years in the millitary (personal choice) so depolyments don't really bother me. I would like to hear some pro's and con's on the officer side of both services and enlisted also if it is related to the officer side.
    favorite airforce jobs: not in order
    Tactical Air control Officer
    Intelligence officer
    Cyberspace Operation Officer
    Combat Rescue officer

    Army: not in order
    Aviation Officer
    Millitary Intelligence Officer
    signal Officer
    Civil Affairs: after intial active duty

    thank you for the replies.
  2. sancontoa

    sancontoa Member

    Sep 30, 2013
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    I'm an Army Officer who did two years as an AFROTC cadet before switching over to AROTC so I have a lot of LT friends in both services but I'll speak to Army:

    PROs: Army employs more junior level leadership, as a LT you will immediately be in charge of a Platoon verses the AF where for most of the jobs you listed you will be an assistant to a Major or on staff. This is the major difference I see and why I switched, if you want to lead soldiers as a LT go army verses if you want a technical job go Air Force

    CON: Air force base locations are better and usually the facilities on them are a lot nicer than the Army ones.

    CON: The jobs you listed for the Army are the hardest ones to get (except signal) so unless you do well in ROTC you might not get them, a caveat to this is I'm not sure how hard it is to get the AF jobs you list.

    CON-ish: Army works longer hours, as a LT you'll have a lot more additional duties then your AF peers including staff duty (24 hour shifts being the officer on duty), ranger officer, safety officer, you name it. There also seems to be more unit centered events (Battalion runs, holiday parties, officer development meetings) that My AF friends say they don't do that will be mandatory for an Army LT.

    PRO (for me); Army officers spend more time in the field, between schools like airborne/air assault/SERE ect and regular training with your unit (who will do STX, gunnery, or another major field event about twice a year) an Army Officer will spend 1-2 months out of a year actually sleeping outside in the field and that's not counting deployments. I don't think AF has very much field time.

    CON (for you) you are much more likely to get a straight combat job (infantry/armor) if you go Army and even if you're not the army employs support personal in combat units. You will almost definitely be assigned to Brigade Combat Team as a LT, meaning you will be the one signal officer in your unit and everyone else will be an Infantry and that creates a much different culture then the Air Force where you tend to always work with those in your career field.

    These are all related to Active duty once your in, if you have questions about the differences in programs (which there are tons) or scholarships my advice would be to go and meet with both programs and ask if you could participate in a PT or Lab session that will give you a good idea of the feel of the differences between the two programs.
    PM me if you have any other questions

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  3. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    I am assuming you are a freshmen in college, if so have you started your application, if not you might not be eligible for a scholarship for next year because the last board is going to meet in about 2 months and you will have to really push it now.

    The biggest con for AFROTC scholarship or even non-scholarship cadets are they must be selected in their sophomore year for summer field training. If not selected they most likely will disenroll you.

    CRO is very competitive to get a slot. It is also a rigorous school. I would investigate how many get CRO and also if you will owe additional time.

    The AF lifestyle is very different than the Army. TACP and ALOs will go out in the field with the Army. Bullet was an ALO with the 82nd. Wherever the 3rd Brigade went, Bullet and the ETACs went with them. It was their job to call in the airstrikes.

    As for doing 4 years, that becomes iffy.
    ~ First, the clock doesn't start until you arrive on base for your first assigment. That means if you commission May, but do not report until Dec. Your clock starts in Dec.
    ~Second, some career fields require additional time owed. That clock will start after you graduate from training.
    ~ Third, it is all about timing. If it doesn't work out exactly right you can owe more than four years.
    ~~ For example, you go to a training school for 6 months and they then send you to Camp Red Cloud SKOREA as an ALO for two years. Your next assignment will be stateside, for three years.
    ~~~ Add in 6 months for you to wait to go AD after graduation and you are at 6 years even if they say you don't owe extra time for the career field training.

    As far AF pride, it does exist, and I get what you are saying, but what you will find is they are very close. They socialize with each other constantly. They consider each one of the members as brethren. They just don't go around boasting about it. Plus, the AF is the baby of the military. They were not even in existence during WWII. Their traditions are very young.

    I do agree with sancontoa, as a will not be leading troops like you would in the Army.
  4. natehanibal

    natehanibal Member

    Dec 10, 2013
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    I think you have answered your own question. It seems like you want to go Army more than you do Air Force. I say go with the Army.
  5. fencersmother

    fencersmother 5-Year Member Founding Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    You have a REALLY L.O.N.G. road ahead and I think, as PIMA often tells us, you are on step 47 out of 2,614.

    But, it I agree that you seem already to be headed toward a career path in the Army. I do congratulate you though on looking for differences , so you make the right decisions going forward.

    All that said, AF (in my limited experience through my sons) has exceptional housing on base, and I would never say that they do not have the closeness, the binding ties, that one finds in the Army, or any other service. My sons consider those with whom they serve, and their families, to be family.

    CRO is extremely difficult to land, and you should be sure to check into it most closely before you even consider that career path. My one son did consider it but there are several caveats there which do not always make for a long AD career. And, it is grueling, grueling. Be careful, and take your time as you discern this path.
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot 5-Year Member

    Apr 29, 2010
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    With all love and respect for the caring mothers on here, you need to talk to people in each service and in the ROTC programs you're considering, and not rely solely on the advice of moms of cadets/officers and strangers on the internet. It seems that you haven't done much research beyond a cursory look at what fields might interest you. I would encourage you to dig much deeper.
  7. Alex19lib

    Alex19lib New Member

    Dec 26, 2014
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    Thank you guys again for the responses.
    I will look into both when I transfer to my university, but I think I'm starting to lean on the side of army more now due to how somone said that they lead their troops sooner than in the air force, I love the smp program which I will take if I go that path, it seems easier to get started starting sopohmore year, scholarships seem easier, and tbh one of my favorite officer positions is in the army: Civil Affairs, which I can realistically see me loving opposed to the idea of me being a strong infantry officer or pj officer (those are awesome positions but doesn't fit who I am entirely but who I want to be I guess is the best way I could descirbe it
  8. -Bull-

    -Bull- 5-Year Member

    Mar 13, 2009
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    If you have specific questions about Army ROTC feel free to PM me. I just finished the program and recently commissioned.

    You definitely have a lot of research to do on your own, don't base a big decision on one online comment, good or bad. Seek out people that are in the career fields you're interested in. I was interested in civil affairs too, but after working with a few CA folks in another country, I have a different view of the field than I did prior to talking with them (not necessarily good or bad, just different).

    Edit: I didn't see scout's post when I posted, so my post is pretty redundant.
  9. Sled

    Sled Member

    Oct 10, 2014
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    Also if you have any further questions regarding AFROTC PM me. I'm happy to help.

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