Discussion in 'ROTC' started by jszipszky, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. jszipszky

    jszipszky New Member

    Apr 5, 2017
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    I want to preface this by saying that in an ideal world, I would like to make the military my career so please look at this in that context.

    I've been offered a Type 7 scholarship from the AF as well as the 4 year from the Army. I would be using either of these at Purdue University under OOS tuition (so the Type 7 would be transferred to a Type 2). I am trying to discern which one I would like to accept. I have a couple of pros and cons for each branch and I am in contact with a good amount of people in both services, but I'm writing this post just as an effort to gain additional insight into the programs and opportunities after commissioning.

    Very quickly I’d like to lay out what my thoughts/impressions are right now about the two. This might get a little naive/idealistic (especially because I want to be a pilot) so please excuse that.

    Army: The impression I get about the Army is that much more leadership responsibility is given to Soldiers than Airman of similar rank. That impression largely comes from the fact that Army Captains are trained to be company commanders of 100 or more people, while the AF calls 100 people a squadron and puts a Lt. Colonel in charge of it. Army Lt. Colonels command battalions 5 times that size. While the increased leadership opportunities are attractive in the Army, the fact that Aviation slots are extremely limited means that actually getting to fly isn’t very likely. On top of this, I get the impression that Army Aviation officers very quickly rise to a supervisory role where they no longer fly as they have Warrant Officers to act as career pilots. Despite all this, I still tend to lean Army as the jobs you can get outside of flying are still very interesting to me whereas in the AF, it's seems to be much less varied. The potential for going to schools such as Air Assault and Airborne while in college is also very attractive. Finally, on an idealistic level, I think that as an Army officer you have much more of an impact on the lives of troops on the ground actually doing the fighting.

    Air Force: AF pilots are pilots, first and foremost. For the first ten years of your career, your job will be to fly. From what I’ve gathered, the long term economic benefit of being an AF pilot is also fairly substantial due to flight pay and retention bonuses to keep you from going to the airlines. However, the AF seems like a high-risk, high-reward situation. If you get a pilot slot, awesome, you're golden. But if you don’t, well there just doesn’t seem like a whole lot else you can do that's anywhere near as interesting (please correct me on this).

    So while the Air Force more aligns with my passions (or what I think they are, I’m pretty young, they could change), the Army seems to offer a more wholesome experience with a greater variety of jobs and opportunities for progression throughout a career.
  2. 045mason

    045mason Member

    Oct 13, 2016
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    Congratulations on your scholarships. I'm a 3rd year AFROTC cadet so I've got biased opinion of course but if you want to be a pilot, as you said, this is the route to go. If your dream is to fly, and you are willing to work for it, there is no reason you cant attain it in AFROTC (as long you are physically qualified). I wouldn't let the fear of failure stop you from chasing that dream. But it is good to know your options. In addition to pilot you could go RPA which is a remotely piloted aircraft pilot from the ground, Combat Systems Officer (CSO) which handles the weapon systems in a variety of aircraft, most popular as backseat of f15E, or Air Battle Manager (ABM) which is essentially air traffic control in the sky. All of these positions are called "rated" and much like pilot will not typically give you the opportunity to lead men until you take command positions as you rank up. Additionally, there is still a LOT of opportunity for leadership roles as a non rated officer. I am unsure how the Army works but for AF you can commission as a 2Lt and be thrust directly into leadership roles. For example, in jobs like a security forces officer or a maintenance officer you can be in charge of 200 airman your very first day on the job. It is very common. I am curious what army jobs interest you outside of flying because unless you want to be a run and gun guy, I'm sure there a parallels in the AF. There is jobs in Engineering, Logistics, Space & Misses, Base Ops, Public Affairs, Contracting, and Cyber just to name a few of many. So should you not go pilot or rated you are by no means limited in career fields and each of these have a huge impact on the Air Force mission. Hope this might help a bit.
    ARS14, pv123 and Pima like this.
  3. unkown1961

    unkown1961 Member

    Oct 20, 2016
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  4. MohawkArmyROTC

    MohawkArmyROTC Recruiting Operations Officer

    Jan 18, 2017
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    The Army Scholarship is a full tuition and fees scholarship. Either joining the AF or the Army is commendable decision. I always recommend Army, however go with what you think will do the best in.

    In the Army you can be a helicopter pilot, however you are a leader first. Most of your chance to fly is in when you are either a Platoon Leader, Company Commander or Battalion Commander as you will have your own a/c. As a staff officer you will fly the minimum hours to retain your flight and incentive pay.

    Becoming a pilot in either branch is not guaranteed. If you want to fly, your goal should be getting a 4.0 GPA every semester so you top the OMLs. However, you can still fail the SIFT or flight physical and be DQed, so whatever branch you decided on, make sure you are happy with a backup career if you can't fly.
  5. Humey

    Humey Member

    Jun 21, 2016
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    My son is at Purdue AF ROTC. I cant say anything about their Army Rotc ( I have no idea), but the AF Rotc is made up a good bunch of boys and girls (men and women) and their commanding officers seems to be good people. He has received a pilot spot and has done well there. I also think that the Air Force is more limited if you dont get a rated spot. Seems to me that the Navy has a lot of different jobs that would be comparable to flying a plane. I would assume that would also be true of the Army. Having said that, you should do what you really want to do and not necessarily worry about which would be better for Plan B if you dont get to fly. On the other hand, you shouldnt dismiss that completely either.