Life of a Junior Officer

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Full Metal Bulldog, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Just to chime in on the 9 to 5 work day.

    Just got back from visiting our older son in Hawaii, great trip by the way.

    His work day was anything but 9 to 5, on the days he worked he would get back home around 7:30pm, left for work at 5:30am. He was lucky enough to get leave for Mon. and Tues. On both of those days we had to make U-turns to head back to the base for something he had to deal with. The joke among those in his Squadron is that when you take leave...leave the Island or you'll be called in for something.

    Son has said he usually has to work at least one weekend day every other week, sometimes more, sometimes both days. The weekend we arrived one of his helicopters crash landed in the boonies, he had to do security until they could get it lifted out.

    Point is, it won't be a 9 to 5 job for a lot of the time you are a JO, that hasn't changed much since I was it it seems.

    EDIT:
    Son is Army Aviation, If you happen to branch Aviation just remember that the studying never stops, your tested all the time and your expected to get a 100% all the time. Son has said that he actually had more free time during the day at flight school then he has as a JO PL. His comment was that you never want to actually count the hours you work in a week, you would be shocked at what your hourly pay would actually be. Of course he says it's worth it....most of the time. It doesn't take long for the Rose colored glasses to fade a bit.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  2. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    Couldn't agree more!

    This is an important lesson for every junior officer to understand as they start their careers.
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Ain't that the gospel truth!!
     
  4. Spud

    Spud BGO 5-Year Member

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    Everything posted is, indeed, true but while we all like to brag about how tough it all is and the time the military demands, let me add something else that goes on inside your head. For the first time in your life you are doing something worthwhile, something adult, something in which people depend on you for very important things, and things you have serious responsibilities for. Your buddies who just graduated from Civilian U. and are beginning their first jobs are far behind a military JO as to what the adult world expects. Their responsibilities and acceptance by their employer is almost laughable compared to what a JO aboard the bridge of ship has, or a tank platoon commander, or a pilot. Sure, the Eagle is a demanding task master but where else could you do what you do?

    The best stories of your life come out of being a JO in the worst of times.
     
  5. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    This should be posted at every academy and ROTC unit in the country! :thumb:
     
  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Very well said.

    I once looked at some old letters I had sent my parents when I was a JO, funny how none of the things I wrote at the time ever came up when my kids would ask about my time in the service.

    You are so right, the sense of accomplishment will far outweigh any petty problems that happen along the way.
     
  7. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    Sounds a lot like the AF for a pilot. My son is now at his first AD assignment and he puts in more hours than you would imagine. Once he graduated from his FTU (Formal Training Unit) and moved to his new base he started working even more hours than he did at IFS, UPT, or FTU.

    His situation is unique in that he is with an AD detachment that is assigned to a Reserve base. The AD detachment actually reports to Shaw AFB, but is under the command of the Reserve leadership in Florida. The detachment has 7 pilots and about 100 total AD people (maintainers, clerks, etc). They use the reserve unit's facilities and aircraft but they still have to maintain all of their own organizational structure. That means that each of the 4 Junior Officers takes on a role that would be held by a higher ranking officer in a full-size unit. My son is in charge of weapons in addition to his flying duties. That means he has to supervise the vault and is in charge of it's operation. Most weeks he works 6 days and is there from 0500 to 1900 or later. Being a Reserve base they also have weekend exercises for the Reservists and my son has to be there to fly for those, also. He sometimes works 20+ days in a row depending on scheduling. The good side of this is that he flies his butt off compared to his buddies who went to AD squadrons. He sometimes flies 5 or 6 times a week and gets nearly twice as many hours in the jet as his friends. His goal is to upgrade to flight lead and IP by the time he leaves there.

    Stealth_81
     
  8. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Stealth,

    How is he working 20 hour days AND flying 5/6 sorties a week? Did they get rid of the 12 hour rest period? IOWS, they don't kick him out of the squadron 12 hours prior to mission?

    That was a steadfast rule when Bullet flew.
     
  9. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    0500-1900 is not a 20 hour day. Yes, he has crew rest restrictions before a mission, but I am not sure where you are getting 20 hour days from.

    Stealth_81
     
  10. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    My bad, i just reread your post

    My eyes and brain processed 20+ days thinking 20+ hour days.
     
  11. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

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    The point still stands, you can't work 14 hour days and get 12 hours of crew rest, unless they are doing some really fuzzy math!
     
  12. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    I can't say that I know the crew rest rules like you do, Ramius.

    I am just going by what I observed in my last two visits down there this Summer. I have to believe that the leadership makes sure the rules are followed. Some of his days are double turns so 5 flights in a week may only be three flying days. Not sure if that comes into play or not.

    Stealth_81
     
  13. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Even flying three days and doing double turns he would have to be out of the squadron 12 hours prior to reporting.

    In the 21 years Bullet flew, that was never the type of schedule he had unless deployed or doing an exercise. I think because your DS is attached to a Guard unit it is different for him. His duty day (office) was truly 8-4. His flying days varied depending on if he double turned, but if a single sortie it was not longer than 9 hours.

    I know our DS at his 130 training unit does work on Sunday and has had 3 a.m. shows, but it is because they need to get them through faster and so they are working 6 days a week. I would think once the pipeline is back on track they would go back to the old way of M-F for their Sim. They train on the Sim for 4 months before they get up in the air.
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot 5-Year Member

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    While that's a unique situation for the AF, imagine for a moment Jcleppe's son. He has all his flying duties (Progression, PiC training, AMC training, gunnery) as well as leading a platoon of about 25 people and being responsible for the readiness of 5 aircraft. Junior officers wear many hats, especially in the Army.

    As for your "workdays" in a unit, they always vary. They vary in length, number, and quality. Some days you're there all day but do very little that taxes you. Some days you'll reach tracer burnout by noon. It all varies, and there is no "typical" junior officer experience. Everyone has the "but my situation was different" story.

    Your life as a JO will be what you make it. Fortunately, Iraq is gone and the end of Afghanistan is near and thus you will probably enjoy a saner life than we did. 8 years ago, it was almost pointless to make friends outside your brigade. They'd be deployed within a month or two (this was back when 10th MTN had all 4 brigades deployed at once). Life ran in one-year cycles.

    Your biggest challenge as JOs will be that you'll live totally different lives than we did. No one who was a JO in the last 15 years knows what it's like to REALLY go without in terms of funding. That's the new frontier. With maybe the exception of the CG, we got all that we wanted. More bullets? Check. More flight hours? Check. More miles on your tracked vehicles? Check. More repair parts? Check. Not anymore. Those days are gone, and if history is our guide, they won't return for about a decade or two.

    As to the rest, your life as JO is 95% learning, 5% being The Man. That 5% matters though. You may be a young and moldable leader, but when your troops need a leader they expect you to have the cajones to step up. One of the greatest pitfalls of young leaders is wanting to be "liked." Your people don't want you to be their friend. They have friends. They want you to be a leader they can rely on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  15. SamAca10

    SamAca10 5-Year Member

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    What are your guys' plans now that you are switching to peace time? Just lots and lots of training? I've always thought that one of the advantages of being in the CG is that we're always doing a mission rather than just training (at typical units. Our tactical teams mainly just train)
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    You dig a big hole in the ground, then you dig another hole next to it and use that dirt to fill the first hole......go get chow, hit the rack, and then do all over again the next day.

    Just kidding....sort of.
     
  17. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

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    From CBS News/AP -August 27

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A U.S. Coast Guard vessel fired in self-defense on an Iranian boat in the Persian Gulf, the Navy said Wednesday, an encounter that could exacerbate tensions between the two countries as they work to hammer out a lasting deal over Iran's nuclear program.

    Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said personnel on a small boat dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat Monomoy fired a single shot when it saw crew on a nearby Iranian dhow training one of its two .50-caliber machine guns on them and preparing to fire.

    "This action by the dhow's crew demonstrated hostile intent which resulted in the defensive fire by the Coast Guardsmen," he said.

    Dhows are traditional wooden boats common to the region that are typically used for trade.

    No Americans were wounded in the encounter, which happened in international waters around 11:30 a.m. local time Tuesday, Stephens said.

    The Monomoy was operating on "a routine maritime security operation" when it contacted the dhow's bridge. After initial contact, the Iranian vessel stopped communicating and the Coast Guard ship deployed small boat to investigate, Stephens said.

    It was not clear if the shot hit the Iranian vessel or if anyone onboard was injured. Iranian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot 5-Year Member

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    The Army is in the midst of a big transformation. I would urge you to read Force 2025 and the Army Strategic Planning Guidance if you're interested. Good PD.
     
  19. SamAca10

    SamAca10 5-Year Member

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    Okay? I saw this but I'm not sure why you posted it...
     
  20. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

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    Misreading of your previous post, which was a question about Army not USCG plans. Although the news is notable on its own, it was too late to delete it when I realized it wasn't relevant to this thread. One demerit for reading comprension.