How can a HS student get a sense of service life?

tripletmama

New Member
I'm new here - already learned a ton in a few hours. Wow!

A little bit of background: our Junior in HS daughter is interested in flying. She is doing Grounds training and got her Class 1 physical. She also is starting to get flight hours (as much as we can afford). She is being mentored by a local 99s pilot. https://marin99s.org/ (Tam High student article) She is also an athlete (rugby, lax, golf, baseball, football - she is a natural born athlete that could probably get a sports scholarship if she focused on one sport - Northwestern invited her to a lax recruiting weekend but she has no interest in cold climates).

So - it would seem that she should apply to the service academies (I know - there is no guarantee she will fly - but I would think/hope that having hours (she will ramp up once her Grounds training is done) would help. And also she should apply for ROTC, correct? She is looking at other options as well (ER, Purdue, UND) but they seem like the most expensive path. (we will have four kids in college, including a set of triplets, so cost is an issue).

But the bigger question is: how do you know if the SAs are for her? Do the summer sessions help with that? She missed the deadline for the AF one (didn't know about it) - but if she goes to the Navy summer session - will that help? (or is it like apples and oranges?) Or course, as a mother, I'd like to see her get her wings without going into enormous debt - but I also want to be sure that she is suited for and likes service life.

Thanks for your advice.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Lots to address here - you should get good responses.

Two quick things (because I’m at work):
- she should be sure the primary reason she is looking at ROTC or SA is because she wants to serve as a military officer, for at least 5 years of obligated service or more since she wants pilot. Actual cockpit time is only a small part of military officer responsibilities. Understanding the culture and duty aspects of it is key to making an informed decision.
- Make sure she includes Embry-Riddle in her research. Warm there!!!
 

Humey

Member
I would like to add something as she wants to fly. Have her eyes fully checked by an Opthomologist. I mean a full exam with her eyes dialated. Have her eyes checked for color blindess and depth perception also. While there are many medical obstacles that people have to deal with when they get the Flight physical, vision can be a major hurdle. Compare her results to the standards the Air Force or Navy have. I only say this because if there is something wrong with her vision, you may want to take another route
 

tripletmama

New Member
Humey writes: Have her eyes fully checked by an Opthomologist. I mean a full exam with her eyes dialated. Have her eyes checked for color blindess and depth perception also.

Humey - great idea! Wouldn't want to put a lot of time and effort into something that ends with her eyes. Thanks for that. The Class 1 exam was pretty basic. She has had her eyes checked but not as thoroughly as you suggest. I will schedule one asap.

Velveteen Rabbit - too funny about balmy climates being the least of her worries. So true!! LOL.
 

jaglvr

Member
No one seemed to answer your question. Yes, attending a summer session is very realistic! My DS did AIM at the CG and if nothing else, it gives them the reality of being yelled at and having no say in anything the first year. If they can get past that first year, then it may be a good fit.
 

sherrie

Member
My DD got a sense of service life by going to the recruiting office in our area in her senior year and working out with the enlisting marines. She went 3 times a week to do the grueling workout including long hikes on the weekend etc. She did everything with those enlisting. I can say they ended up giving her (first girl ever in East Tenn to get it) a $195,000 scholarship to go to any college with a Marine/Navy ROTC. But the AFA gave her a Falcon scholarship last year for a prep year and now she has an appointment for the USAFA. So, go to the recruiting office in your area for the military and make the commitment to work out with them and do all the things the enlistees do. My DD learned a lot during that time and got in really good physical shape.
 

tripletmama

New Member
Captain writes: Two quick things (because I’m at work):
- she should be sure the primary reason she is looking at ROTC or SA is because she wants to serve as a military officer, for at least 5 years of obligated service or more since she wants pilot. Actual cockpit time is only a small part of military officer responsibilities. Understanding the culture and duty aspects of it is key to making an informed decision.
- Make sure she includes Embry-Riddle in her research. Warm there!!!

She has no earthly idea if she wants to serve. Believe it or not, we do not have anyone in the service in our family or even know anyone. I dated a West Point guy many years ago but that doesn't count! :) That's why I wondered if going to the Navy summer session would give her an idea of what it all means. Any other ideas on how she can see what it's like?

And yes, she is looking at Emory Riddle - but unless she gets a sports scholarship plus more - it's about the most expensive aviation school out there (I guess you pay for the balmy weather and facility - which I'm sure is awesome).
 

time2

10-Year Member
LOTS of older thread on the topic the OP is asking about. The various summer seminars held by all of the SA's are more of a sales pitch for those who might not otherwise have considered an SA and generally aren't considered a good representation of what academy life is really like. CVW's are a better choice for that since it is while school in in session and you follow a cadet/mid...etc....based on which SA you are visiting.. Some attend and immediately see this is not for them and move on to another choice in their college application.

I agree as mentioned above, don't choose an SA based on the climate since you will only be there 4 years and then in the service may be assigned to any number of other locations.

Be care of what any recruiters tell you as they often times are looking to fill their quotas and will try to encourage you to enlist (also lots of older threads on that), which is not the recommended path and offers no guarantees.

Getting a pilot's license while still in h.s. is costly and takes time away from other sports/ECA's. Having a pilot's license is not a requirement for applying.
 

tripletmama

New Member
No one seemed to answer your question. Yes, attending a summer session is very realistic! My DS did AIM at the CG and if nothing else, it gives them the reality of being yelled at and having no say in anything the first year.

Thanks Jaglvr!!! I appreciate it. I just remembered - we do have a service person in our family - my cousin is married to a Coast Guard guy. (he went to the Academy and served). He's now retired and has a plum White House job.
 

tripletmama

New Member
Sherrie writes: My DD got a sense of service life by going to the recruiting office in our area in her senior year and working out with the enlisting marines....

Sherrie - great idea!!!! Wow - I love it. I'm sure there is more to service than working out - but it's a good first step and looks like it really paid off for your DD.
 

Humey

Member
Humey writes: Have her eyes fully checked by an Opthomologist. I mean a full exam with her eyes dialated. Have her eyes checked for color blindess and depth perception also.

Humey - great idea! Wouldn't want to put a lot of time and effort into something that ends with her eyes. Thanks for that. The Class 1 exam was pretty basic. She has had her eyes checked but not as thoroughly as you suggest. I will schedule one asap.

Velveteen Rabbit - too funny about balmy climates being the least of her worries. So true!! LOL.
Yes the Class 1 exam isnt exactly very thorough. Either you have 20/20 or you have to wear glasses. I think they do urine and listen to your heart and do pressure.. The Flight exam is very thorough. The stuff they use for dialating your eyes is like 10 times stronger than what you get from your local doc. My son couldnt see right for about a 1 1/2 after getting the drops which what they say would happen.
 

raimius

10-Year Member
Are there any military bases near you?
Have you asked around at the airfield?...I'm going to bet there are a couple ex-military pilots around.

The old posts in my signature line may help a little, although the info is 6-11yrs old now.
 

java2go

New Member
I'm new here - already learned a ton in a few hours. Wow!

A little bit of background: our Junior in HS daughter is interested in flying. She is doing Grounds training and got her Class 1 physical. She also is starting to get flight hours (as much as we can afford). She is being mentored by a local 99s pilot. https://marin99s.org/ (Tam High student article) She is also an athlete (rugby, lax, golf, baseball, football - she is a natural born athlete that could probably get a sports scholarship if she focused on one sport - Northwestern invited her to a lax recruiting weekend but she has no interest in cold climates).

So - it would seem that she should apply to the service academies (I know - there is no guarantee she will fly - but I would think/hope that having hours (she will ramp up once her Grounds training is done) would help. And also she should apply for ROTC, correct? She is looking at other options as well (ER, Purdue, UND) but they seem like the most expensive path. (we will have four kids in college, including a set of triplets, so cost is an issue).

But the bigger question is: how do you know if the SAs are for her? Do the summer sessions help with that? She missed the deadline for the AF one (didn't know about it) - but if she goes to the Navy summer session - will that help? (or is it like apples and oranges?) Or course, as a mother, I'd like to see her get her wings without going into enormous debt - but I also want to be sure that she is suited for and likes service life.

Thanks for your advice.
I'm new here - already learned a ton in a few hours. Wow!

A little bit of background: our Junior in HS daughter is interested in flying. She is doing Grounds training and got her Class 1 physical. She also is starting to get flight hours (as much as we can afford). She is being mentored by a local 99s pilot. https://marin99s.org/ (Tam High student article) She is also an athlete (rugby, lax, golf, baseball, football - she is a natural born athlete that could probably get a sports scholarship if she focused on one sport - Northwestern invited her to a lax recruiting weekend but she has no interest in cold climates).

So - it would seem that she should apply to the service academies (I know - there is no guarantee she will fly - but I would think/hope that having hours (she will ramp up once her Grounds training is done) would help. And also she should apply for ROTC, correct? She is looking at other options as well (ER, Purdue, UND) but they seem like the most expensive path. (we will have four kids in college, including a set of triplets, so cost is an issue).

But the bigger question is: how do you know if the SAs are for her? Do the summer sessions help with that? She missed the deadline for the AF one (didn't know about it) - but if she goes to the Navy summer session - will that help? (or is it like apples and oranges?) Or course, as a mother, I'd like to see her get her wings without going into enormous debt - but I also want to be sure that she is suited for and likes service life.

Thanks for your advice.
There are many flight scholarships available through AOPA and Women In Aviation that she could pursue. The 99s also have a scholarship, although she just missed this year’s deadline.
 

BoLwife

5-Year Member
You could get a bit of a sense of Service Academy life (if not active duty military life) by watching the National Geographic production, "Surviving West Point." DH went to USAFA, but he said this movie would give your DD a rough idea of what going to any of the Service Academies would be like. Also David Lipsky's book, "Absolutely American." Again, about West Point, and each SA has it's unique character, but many things are similar.
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
10-Year Member
I am from a nearly completely non-military family (my Grandpa was a Navy Corpsman during the Korean War, but that's it) and also from a completely non-military area (Oregon). I joined Civil Air Patrol primarily to figure out if I liked the "Air Force thing" as my mom called it back then. It's pretty late to join (she'll likely be bossed around by 13 and 14 year-olds), but she could probably attend encampment this summer. The intensity of these depends largely on who is running it (mine was run by a former Army drill sergeant...so it was a pretty intense week) but she will definitely get a taste of what it is like (https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/programs/cadets/activities/encampment/). Some squadrons also run "basic cadet schools" which might also be helpful. I attended one that was significantly more challenging than any 3 days of basic at USAFA. I finished that weekend and slept for 18 hours straight. The next time I experienced that level of fatigue was recognition at USAFA.
 
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