Infantry vs. Aviation Officer (National Guard)


Feb 6, 2018
Hello all,

I am in high school and I hope to get my commission into the ARNG through ROTC in several years. While looking through MOS's and trying to get a feel for what I want my future to look like, I decided that I want to be as hands-on and in-the-field of a PL as is possible. I recognize that commissioned officers have duties such as paperwork, training prep, etc, and I am fine with doing all of that; in fact, the leadership element is why I want to commission in the first place. However, I still want to be "connected" with my platoon, so to speak, and I want to have a pretty exciting/interesting (for lack of a better word) time at drill/on deployments. Should I go Infantry Officer or Aviation Officer? These are the two main options I'm interested in (other than MEDEVAC Officer.) Both options look like areas I would do well in, but I'm not sure which one is more active/MOS-specific.

Also, yeah I know a lot of you guys probably think the National Guard sucks lol.
Probably not what you want to hear, but you have a long time before you have to make this sort of decision. If you even get your choice of branch, that is.
My .02, consider active duty if you really want to be hands on. Also, aviation isn't my field. But I would question if an aviation 2LT would be in any sort of leadership position, or just a pilot?
But I would question if an aviation 2LT would be in any sort of leadership position, or just a pilot?

An Army Aviation officer is usually a 1LT by the time they finish flight school. Once they get to their unit and they are assigned to a Troop or Company they are a PL and assume a leadership role.

Also it's a little easier to get an Aviation Slot through the National Guard. Active is a bit of a gamble.
Jcleppe, thanks for the correction. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of a fighter squadron, where all of the pilots are officers. I've been on an Air Force base for way too long...
Moving this thread over to the ROTC forum where it should get more views.
Infantry for sure. Your "job" is your platoon - not flying an airframe. And grunts will be assigned their platoon right away rather than attend flight school for another year or so.

I recognize that this is a simplistic and general answer to a very complex question.
National Guard you will be with your unit about 1 1/2 maybe 2 years then you will be shipped to Battalion for staff duty.
Very few 1st LT's in guard units unless they are the XO

Referring to non-aviation units

Also, not every state has every branch in the National Guard. There are limited slots available so you might not be able to get a unit in the branch you want.
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Thinking ahead is usually a good thing. In this case, however, it’s not necessary to be this precise about your choice. When you get to college/ROTC, you’ll have ample opportunity to meet officers from various MOS. Use that time to learn about the different roles; seek various perspectives, even about jobs that you’re not initially interested in. You might surprise yourself.

Most important thing now is that you seek to be an officer and that you’re open to a number of different jobs, because you may not get your top choice(s). Remember, the needs of the military come first.