New, question about Air Force engineering jobs

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by BJ68, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. BJ68

    BJ68 New Member

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    My son is 20 years old and completing his second year in college. Our family has no military background – my father was Air Force from ‘46 to Dec. ‘51 but never spoke about it and he’s no longer around for my son to ask. My son is dual enrolled in our local community college and Oregon State University studying mechanical engineering with plans to minor in aeronautical engineering. He’ll transfer full-time to OSU this fall. He applied to USAFA last year and didn’t get nominated. Applied again, got nominated from our local congressman, but was turned down last week. I thought he was only interested because it meant his education would be paid for, plus it's a top ranked engineering school and might even provide the possibility to pilot a plane. My husband and I are financially able to pay for college but require our children pay most of their way in life because we don’t want our children to be entitled sociopaths (maybe they call it affluenza now?). Turns out, he really wants a career in the Air Force and plans to join after earning his degree. I’m really embarrassed that I haven’t quizzed him much about his career plans up to this point. He takes 20+ credits without flinching and is very creative so I always assumed he would want to work for a company designing technology. I thought the Air Force purchased all their technology so I’m trying to figure out what someone creative like my son would do and get from the Air Force? Would he have the chance to design new technology? From what I’ve read, it looks more like he would test equipment. I’m just worried he wouldn’t be utilized to his full abilities, become bored, and ultimately have regrets.
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on raising a son who is willing to serve. I will defer to the many AF subject matter experts to answer your engineering questions.

    Did your DS (dear son...there is an acronym list on the tool bar) ever apply for an Air Force ROTC scholarship?

    OSU has an AFROTC detachment that would be a great opportunity.

    Here is a link to their website at OSU:
    http://oregonstate.edu/dept/afrotc/
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  3. OldRetSWO

    OldRetSWO USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs 5-Year Member

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    I hate to burst any bubbles here but in my experience, being able to design new technology as a career does not coincide with a military career. My experience is as a USNA graduate who, after leaving active duty, worked in the aerospace industry and was most of the time involved in the emerging and still new technologies. I've known and/or worked with literally thousands of Service Academy grads from all the academies and very few of them end up continuing to design things. The major reason is that they are highly prized as leaders and managers to actually LEAD the design teams and efforts which moves them away from the actual design work. As for how much of the design work is actually done within the services, suffice it to say that most of the design work that I managed as an Engineer and then as a Manager was contracted from the services including DARPA, the Naval Research Lab, Air Force Research Lab, etc. Those organizations do have engineers that work with industry at times but in almost all the cases that I experienced, they were civil servants, not military officers.
     
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  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Great advice in the above two posts.
     
  5. BJ68

    BJ68 New Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. My son sat down with my husband and me and laid out his plans, proving he has clearly thought things through. He teased me a bit and reminded me that whether he starts his career as a civilian or an officer in the Air Force, it will not translate into some dream job where he invents whatever he wants, telling me that just isn’t realistic. He hasn’t applied to the AFROTC but intends to meet and discuss it in person when he is at OSU this fall. My son is also a paid tutor at our local college and many of his clients are former military who are studying for a second career. He’s had many discussions with former military and tells me he has a realistic idea of what a career in the military entails. He also says I shouldn’t worry. He impressed me with his knowledge and maturity. My husband, who is from Canada and became a US citizen in 2004, is extremely proud of our son for wanting to serve his country. I’m proud to have raised a thoughtful son with strong moral character.
     
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