Marine PLC Aviation Contract VS AFROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by afrotc11, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. afrotc11

    afrotc11 New Member

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    I would like to be a pilot in the military. I will be starting at a university in a few months and I am trying to weigh my options. I am quite interested in AFROTC, but, I don't like the uncertainty of getting a pilot slot. A few weeks ago I found out about the Guaranteed pilot slot through USMC PLC. Which of these paths would you guys advise? Additionally, I am not too concerned about the airframe. I'd love to get a fighter, however, i'd be happy flying any manned aircraft of each of the branches.
     
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  2. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I cant speak about USMC but you are correct regarding the Air Force. Chances are you wont fly a fighter if you go Air Force. For every UPT (flight class) which is now something like 15-18 students, maybe 3-5 get fighter bomber and of those 3-5, they include Reserve and National Guard who are guaranteed their specific fighter bomber. What most AD duty pilots will now tell you is to go National Guard as you are guaranteed what you are going to fly (assuming you pass UPT. The other reason to do Guard is that you are basically stationed at your base for the rest of your career, will deal with the same people and dont have to deal with political and bureaucratic crap AD duty pilots have to deal with. My son is at UPT. His class started with 18. Two left (quit and fired) and 1 was a Saudi who was placed in the class and I think has been placed in another class. Long story. Of those 16, 4 were selected for the T-38 training plane. If you want to fly a bomber or fighter, you must fly the T-38. The rest fly the T-1. Of the four selected for T-38, one was Guard who will be flying an A-10 while the other 3 are active duty. So assuming all pass the T-38, the national guard guy will get the A-10 and probably 1 other will get a fighter/bomber. The other two can get anything from FAIP (instructor pilot) to any other transport plane. In other words, the odds dont favor you. ON the other hand, someone will get a fighter plane, but you better be really good.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I don't know about USMC PLC but I know folks can get a guaranteed flight slot through NROTC. I'd be surprised if it couldn't be done through PLC but fewer slots may be available for the taking. Be sure to speak with an ROO about flight slots in PLC. All that being said, you are only guaranteed the flight slot... you still have to complete flight school without washing out.... and then you find out what air frame you are going to get. You might have a better chance at fixed wing through AF. USMC will have a mix of fixed wing alongside many and various rotary air craft.
     
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  4. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    The only guaranteed MOS via PLC is pilot and law.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    You are correct there is a guaranteed flight contract via PLC or NROTC MO. Guaranteed has an asterisk next to it with the ability to pass a flight physical and get the required scores on the ASTB. Recommend you google that to ensure you understand that requirement. Hopefully hurricane, who is a current USMC helo Pilot, can chime on the current ASTB requirements and Marine platform selection rates out of flight school. ASTB scores may have gone up recently in score (remember something about that being said, but can’t remember the details). You would need to pass that prior to contract.

    The one thing I would state about being a USMC Pilot is you need to want to be a Marine. What happens if you get to PCola and are a medical DQ? Don’t make it thru flight school? Well now you are a Marine with a ground MOS. If you don’t like dirt or doing Marine things, that is a miserable few years. We had two fallen angel Lts in my unit who were weeks from graduating the jet pipeline who got dropped. It happens, they hated life in our unit and were now Captain selects who had zero fleet or MOS experience. You also have to go through OCS and TBS. USMC pt standards are no joke, OCS is no joke. I would ensure to take a look at the USMC PFT standards. Expect to be a 280 and above for OCS and be a solid first class as an officer in the fleet. Marines are Marines first, MOS second. Marines take pride in that. They are expected to lead regardless of MOS. How do you feel about flying off boats whether that is in a helo or a jet? If you don’t get jets, how do you feel about helos?

    Bottom line is there are no guarantees. You could get to flight school in either service and have zero jet spots. Which service are you more okay with a #2 for your wish list? What if you don’t or can’t fly, which service do you want to be in? Ultimately it’s your decision and there are risks in any path, it’s about looking at the what if scenarios and which one fits your goals and dreams and which service culture you would thrive in best.
     
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  6. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I really would take this time and do as much research as possible between now and June regarding the differences not only between their missions if you have to fly a desk, but also the path to get to UPT.
    Posting only AF side because I have no knowledge regarding Marines. Hurricane on this site is a pilot and maybe able to answer from that side.
    1. AFROTC has a make or break yr. You must be selected for Summer Field Training (SFT) to commission from AFROTC
    2. AF has very few rotors, so statistically if you make it through UPT, you have a high chance of getting fixed wing
    3. AF has what is called gate months, it is tied to keeping your flight pay. Basically they will say if you fly X amount of months out of Y months you will continue to receive flight pay until Z yr. Flight pay in the beginning is nominal, but the time you hit 8 yrs it is substantial, plus you are looking at bonus pay to stay longer. I can't recall, but I believe the 1st gate is 8 yrs out of 11. Saying this because basically they don't want to have you fly a desk in your early yrs. and it is most likely you will step out as an O4 to do a staff tour and typically you will come back to a flying tour after the desk. My DH's assignments throughout his career were 75% flying tours.
    4. Upon commissioning out of AFROTC, you will hang at home for a while, and than most likely go casual status until your UPT class starts. They will send you to IFT (initial flight training) where you will fly a Doss for about 3 weeks, but that is it.
    5. UPT selection for AF from AFROTC is iffy. It comes down to the needs of the AF. USAFA gets the 1st bite at the apple. That being said if you have a private pilot's license (PPL) your chances go up dramatically for UPT selection
    6. Your intended major in AFROTC will matter also regarding selection, not only for SFT, but UPT. Tech aka STEM gets an edge compared to non-tech majors. My DS was a non-tech major, and he is a pilot, but he also had flight hrs and a strong cgpa. (3.4 in college).
    7. How much time do you have to payback before you can walk away from either branch. For AF it starts not at commissioning with a pilot slot, or the day you start UPT, but the day you wing. You will be 33 or 34 when you can walk.

    If you want to know what your life at UPT will be like, search for a member here named Raimius. He has a blue tag line as his signature that you can hit to read his blog. The 1st few pages are about USAFA, but than he will walk you through every phase of IFT and UPT.

    I stated in the beginning of this post do it by June. The reason why is most colleges do orientation starting the end of June. You will meet with a college advisor to schedule classes. AFROTC has LLAB and PT. Let's say they have LLAB at 2 on Weds., but your Chem class goes until 2:30. You can't schedule that class bc you need to be at LLAB.

    Finally, in your post it appears you know which college. Contact the AFROTC unit and ask to meet not only the CoC where you can ask pointed questions, but ask if you can meet with cadets that did get a pilot slot with a major like yours. Tech or non-tech. Give them ample time to set up the cadets to meet you. Take your folks for the 1st few minutes, so they too can ask questions, but plan them to leave and meet you somewhere else on campus an hr later. You want to have that time without them. Cadets will be very respectful to parents, whereas, you alone will be just kids talking one on one.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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  8. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    This is from kinnem's link. It holds true for the AF too.
    Now that comment ties it all back to NavyHoops post. What IF?
     
  9. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    From the USMC side, I would caution against going PLC Air just to fly. You need to drink at least a little bit of USMC Kool Aid to not be totally miserable.
    Quality of life in the Marine Corps is generally pretty low even as an officer. The problems I hear from USAF guys, either in person or online, are small potatoes compared to what is expected in the USMC. That's not bragging and I dont mean it as a positive thing, it's just the way it is.
    In the Marine Corps, aviation comes second. There are a lot of aviators (something like 20% of officers), but ultimately it's a ground centric service. Most of the time that is fine, and why most Marine pilots go Marines in the first place, but it has some annoying points. The ground side does not understand aviation very well. Your required officer PME and admin requirements are always ground focused, for example.
    That being said, I love flying hueys. I love Marines. I enjoy a lot about the Marine Corps even when it sucks. But it's not for everyone and if all you want is to fly, it may not be for you.
     
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  10. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Best original quote I've seen in this Forum in months!
     
  11. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    “The 0311 is not a disruption to our day but the reason for it.”
     
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  12. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    Which state guard is best? Not every state has an Air National Guard unit.

     
  13. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    Alright man, so...

    (1) Every state has an ANG unit. Including DC, Guam, PR, and VI.

    (2) Words have meanings.... "State Guard" is a very different thing than "National Guard". Not every state has an actual State Guard.

    (3) Asking which state has the "best" National Guard is like asking which letter of the alphabet is best....
     
  14. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I would add if you are looking into going Guard it may not be as easy as one might think.
    1. Guard units are more like companies when it comes to hiring.
    ~ You will interview with each unit that you are interested in. Maine will interview their candidates. VA will interview theirs. They don't "talk" . It would be akin to applying for a manager position at Macy's in Florida at a specific store, it is for that store only. If you are willing to work at multiple Macy stores across the country you must apply to each of those stores.
    2. Guard units, like companies have a budget and manpower needs.
    ~ They may have only 1 opening for an O1 pilot for the entire yr. Yet, they may have 25 candidates.
    ~ Conversely they may have openings for only experience pilots because they just took on that O1 pilot. Many pilots are now bolting for the airlines. Starting pay for airlines is not as much as these officers were making when they were ADAF, thus, they apply for Guard units to supplement their pay, or do a program called Palace Chase.
    3. Just like AFROTC, the more flight hrs you have under your belt the better to your advantage for being hired. Just bc you are Guard does not mean you will wing. They know that there is a wash out/back rate, thus to hedge their bets regarding you winging they like to see flight hours.

    I do agree with tbpxece regarding there is no "best" unit per se. It is more like the best unit for you. 1 person may apply to NY/NJ/CT regardless of the airframe bc their family lives in one of those states and they want to be close to family. Another might apply to Alabama, NJ, Ohio, MD and Florida because they want to only fly the F16.
     
  15. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    SC-ANG has F-16's too. Just FYI. :) Great group of fliers down there.

    I don't know why you would want to fly F-16's though. All those g's kill you later in life. Just fly a normal plane and live near an amusement park for your thrills.
     
  16. Humey

    Humey Member

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    As other have mentioned like Pima and Tbpxece, every state has a national guard unit. Each unit flies one type of plane. So the Vermonts may fly the F-16 and the Michigan guys may fly the C-130. I am just making up who flies what so dont take it as gospel. Each runs like its own little company. Each unit hires their own pilot. Some like to hire from within and some are more than happy to hire from outside (civilians). Some like to hire those who have retired from active duty and some will hire with absolutely no experience. Or they may want to hire a mixture of the two. Since they are bascially hiring for the long term, they arent just looking for people who can fly but people they think will fit in the unit and get along with. As Pima stated, it isnt easy to get hired as you are competing with many others who also want the job. They will look at your PCSM scores, your AFOQT scores along with your GPA. They like people who already have pilot licenses. The fighter squadrons will typically only take those with the highest scores while those who fly the heavies are a little more lenient on scores. You can technically apply to every national guard in the country although you will have to visit the squadrons at least once, which makes that a very expensive endevour. They typically tell you to go visit them several times and spend time with them so they can know you better. They actually wouldnt appreciate it if they knew you were applying to massive number of guard units. They want to know they are top five, not just one of 50. The Heavies units may not like it that your first preference is Fighters but are using Heavies as a Plan B. The other issues with Guard is while the first 3 years will be full time because of the training, many of the guard positions arent full time. That means you will have to get a full time job to go along with it. They do have full time guard jobs, but you cant depend on getting one. I belong to another website that deals with mostly Air Force pilots and most of the AD duties guys there all say, National Guard is the way to go. I am not telling you to do this, but it is another way to go especially if you want one plane over another. With the Guard, if you pass everything, you will wind up with excactly the plane you want, the place you want to live in and basically do the job you want. With AD, although you do tell them what you want, the plane, the place and the job you get is dictated by the needs of the AF.. By the way, my son is AD Air Force in pilot training. He graduated from AF Rotc and one of the guys from his detachment was able to commission in the Reserves which is something that is relatively new. They are both at UPT together. The Reserve Unit he was was accepted to flies the KC-135. So he knew before he started UPT that he was going to fly the KC-135 and he knows where he will be stationed at. The only thing he probably doesnt know although for all i know he had a job waiting for him, is what full time job will he have as he will be a part time Reserve pilot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  17. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    16 excellent posts. I have let this thread go long enough that it is time to share a USMC story. During Marine OCS/PLC summers the training will be 100% ground combat oriented. The staff enlisted and officer instructors were all Infantry or ground MOS. I remember multiple forced marches where the aviation contract guys were made to double time around the column with arms outspread providing air support for the “real Marines.” A little opportunity to toughen them up before they took on the soft life of “fly boys” and to remind them of who they were supporting. Go back and read Hoop’s and Hurricane’s notes and you will see the context on which they made their points.

    Frankly, I don’t see why people aren’t begging for guaranteed Infantry spots! IMHO all other options are secondary.
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Well, maybe except artillery! :D :eek:
     
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  19. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    LMAO. My hubby would have said something akin to why would you want to fly a lawn dart?

    Back to the regular scheduled program
     
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  20. Humey

    Humey Member

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