NROTC vs. AFROTC for Pilot Spot

tsl42

Member
Which ROTC branch betters your chance of attaining a pilot or NFO spot?

I've seen posts similar to this however most were posted before 2009. I plan on doing ROTC in college with the hopes of earning a 3 year scholarship (focused solely on applying to SAs and completely disregarded ROTC options during senior year). This being said, I haven't decided which branch I want to join. I thought Air Force was my calling until I started to realize that the Navy was more my gig because of the coastal base locations, traveling opportunities, etc. Any help/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

DISCLAIMER: I fully understand that there is nothing easy when it comes to becoming an officer, especially an aviator, in the military. If their is a route that will increase my likeliness of becoming an aviator, I would be a lot happier knowing I am on the correct path.
 

5Day

Member
Marine Option would give you the best shot at pilot. I know it was not one of the options, but the marines need pilots, and most marines want ground jobs. You can contract early for a pilot slot, and your chances for a side loaded scholarship increase if you want to be a pilot.
 

Thunderbolt462

5-Year Member
Marines (and Marine option NROTC) give out pilot slots to pretty much to anyone that wants one. In fact, they almost beg Marine midshipmen at my school to sign an aviation contract their first two years. With that being said, if you want to be in the Air Force, and if you do even reasonably well in AFROTC you will most likely get a pilot slot with the current climate. All five cadets from my AFROTC detachment that applied rated got pilot this year and every year, nearly half of our commissioning class heads to UPT. In addition, nationwide nearly 20% of AFROTC cadets that commissioned last year were selected as pilots. Now, this may not be true for when you eventually apply, but I can safely say you have a better chance of earning a pilot slot in the Air Force than the Navy right now, with the exception of Marine option.
 

Pima

10-Year Member
I started to realize that the Navy was more my gig because of the coastal base locations, traveling opportunities, etc.
IMPO you should look at the mission first and foremost.
~ If you want to fly fixed wing than AF will have a higher opportunity than any other branch. Want helos than AF is going to have lower opportunity rates.
~ Do you want to land on a moving runway or do you want the runway where you left it when you took off?

Travel opportunities are great, but for the Navy that means being gone from the coastal base locations for many months at a time. This seems all great at your age, but more likely than not sooner or later there will be someone you will be leaving behind to have those travel opportunities and those fun ports become just one more stop before you get back to them.
~ My DS is an AF pilot (C130J). Almost the exact same story. In HS he was sure that he would not get married any earlier than 27 and no kids until 30. He didn't want to be tied down. He met his wife at 20. Married at 24 and his baby was born at 26. He found out his wife was pregnant 1 week at he left for a 5 month deployment. Being a heavy driver he does a lot of travel, mostly in the US, except for the long deployments.
~ Fencers twins...same deal. They are heavy drivers, both are married with children by the time that had 4 yrs ADAF under their belt.

I agree that for the AF the bases aren't as tempting as the Navy, but as a wife that followed Bullet around the world there is one thing to realize; a tour is what you make of it. A landlocked base can be a lot of fun.
 

045mason

Member
Which ROTC branch betters your chance of attaining a pilot or NFO spot?

I've seen posts similar to this however most were posted before 2009. I plan on doing ROTC in college with the hopes of earning a 3 year scholarship (focused solely on applying to SAs and completely disregarded ROTC options during senior year). This being said, I haven't decided which branch I want to join. I thought Air Force was my calling until I started to realize that the Navy was more my gig because of the coastal base locations, traveling opportunities, etc. Any help/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

DISCLAIMER: I fully understand that there is nothing easy when it comes to becoming an officer, especially an aviator, in the military. If their is a route that will increase my likeliness of becoming an aviator, I would be a lot happier knowing I am on the correct path.
Marine Option would give you the best shot at pilot. I know it was not one of the options, but the marines need pilots, and most marines want ground jobs. You can contract early for a pilot slot, and your chances for a side loaded scholarship increase if you want to be a pilot.
Keep in mind that although the Marines may give you the best likelihood of getting a slot, you will be trained as leader in combat first and then go to pilot training if you prove yourself up to that point(all of this can be found online). It seems to me there are more steps involved to actually getting to fly, which don't really relate directly to flying. Where as if you take the AFROTC route its very straight forward, do your best in ROTC which is expected in any branch, do well on your flying related tests (TBAS & AFOQT pilot), do well in school, and get flight hours (if you choose) and you can get selected and then go straight into training for your career as a pilot when you graduate.
 

Tex232

Member
Which ROTC branch betters your chance of attaining a pilot or NFO spot?
You want my two cents? Stay away from ROTC programs, especially the Air Force's. If you do AFROTC, you'll have to contract with the AF long before you know whether or not you will earn a pilot slot. And even if you do get a pilot slot, you still stand a chance of being medically disqualified for some ridiculous BS "condition" by the oh-so-brilliant flight surgeons when you go for your flight physical. Then you'll be left out in the rain like an a**hole, and you'll still be forced to go into the AF as a non-flyer. Don't listen to all of these generals about this so-called pilot shortage. At the end of the day, they don't really care, and neither do the medical folks. You're just a number to them, plain and simple. The AF is a dream killer, I know from firsthand experience, and I know many others who will tell you the same thing.

If you truly want to fly for a career, go to college, do well in a technical degree, get some civilian flight time under your belt if you can afford it, and then apply for an officer candidate school program (preferably one of the maritime services). If you want to apply to be an officer/pilot in the Navy through OCS, you apply directly through the Aviation community. If for some reason you are medically disqualified for flight duty upon arrival at OCS, you can be sent home and not have to worry about flying a desk for 4 years (unlike ROTC).

And yes, the Navy does have great bases and travel opportunities. Instead of being stuck in 0 degree weather in the middle of North Dakota, you can be flying out of some exotic location in California, Hawaii, or overseas. Not to mention, Navy pilots probably have more fun. Who the hell wouldn't want to be able to say they've flown off the back end of a ship.
 

Hurricane12

USNA 2012
5-Year Member
Dude, chill. Your anecdotal bad experience does not apply to everyone's experience, the same way someone's positive experience isn't necessarily applicable to everyone.
You know what else is a dream killer? According to my buddy who gave up an AFNG A-10 pilot spot to go to Navy OCS and subsequently got dropped from jet advanced, it's the Navy. According to the (not zero) number of guys I know who got wings only to drop from their follow-on training and still owe 8 years in service, it's the Marine Corps. Same for the not-small number of guys I know from USNA, TBS, and flight school who got dropped for medical or anthro reasons (no fault of their own) and got forced into terrible jobs they absolutely hate.
Also, perspective is everything. I'll keep in mind I'm supposed to be having more fun when I'm hanging out on my floating prison eating month old salad and getting woken up by arbitrary whistles at two in the morning. The maritime services aren't all day CAS times on station and surfing before work.

For the OP: going Marine option because it's the easiest way to get a flight slot is a bad idea.
 

Tex232

Member
I can assure you my experience wasn't "anecdotal" or trivial. Like I mentioned, I know multiple guys that got screwed the way I did, and I'm sure you did too in your Naval experience. And I apologize if my wording offended you, but I'm just telling it how it is, at least in the AF environment. At least the other services don't hold press conferences every other week to complain about some dire pilot shortage while simultaneously disqualifying (for whatever reason) perfectly capable candidates.

I can't speak for your comrades who were winged aviators and then "dropped" from follow on training. Not sure why they would drop from training unless it was for some reason out of their control. All I know is that there are plenty of people including myself who would give their left nut to be in your shoes, regardless of whether or not being at sea is like prison.
 

Hurricane12

USNA 2012
5-Year Member
I can assure you my experience wasn't "anecdotal" or trivial. Like I mentioned, I know multiple guys that got screwed the way I did, and I'm sure you did too in your Naval experience. And I apologize if my wording offended you, but I'm just telling it how it is, at least in the AF environment. At least the other services don't hold press conferences every other week to complain about some dire pilot shortage while simultaneously disqualifying (for whatever reason) perfectly capable candidates.

I can't speak for your comrades who were winged aviators and then "dropped" from follow on training. Not sure why they would drop from training unless it was for some reason out of their control. All I know is that there are plenty of people including myself who would give their left nut to be in your shoes, regardless of whether or not being at sea is like prison.
Plenty of dudes get screwed. Plenty of dudes do fine. Without going into details, trust me, I know extremely personally how much the services can screw someone over, whether it's through malice, or more commonly, apathy. That's the risk you take when you raise your right hand and say you want to commission. I know it seems easy or glib for me to say that as someone wearing wings drinking scotch at home on a Friday night, but that's the way it is. Believe me when I say that I wanted to be an aviator just as much as you do if not more, and that now I do not see myself staying in past my initial commitment (which, to be fair, goes until 2023...).

As addressed in another thread, pilot shortages have almost nothing to do with having enough qualified candidates to fill seats in flight school/UPT. They have a lot to do with more senior guys seeing the less pleasant side of their service and wanting to GTFO. While the Air Force may be the only service seeing that publicly right now, if you take two seconds to google the number of USMC F/A-18 mishaps in the past year, or the USMC continuation boards, or the Navy T-45 IP "strike," you may realize the grass is not always greener.
 

Thunderbolt462

5-Year Member
Tex, I've read dozens of your other posts on here and I'm almost tempted to say it's Karma this happened to you.

"Sorry, not going to waste my life making a career out of a crappy mission support job. It's called the "Air" force for a reason. If they won't let me fly, I'm sure one of the other services will. Good luck to you as well tho."

"“This is probably going to stir the pot but here goes. No offense GZ1, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of that percent of the Air Force that doesn't actually fly was probably never needed in the first place."

These are just some of the things I've seen you post that make me think this might be about self before service for you. Look. I get you got screwed. I've been screwed enough in my AFROTC career to make me pretty cynical as well. However, I also believe I joined to serve with flying being just a bonus and count myself lucky every single day I have that opportunity to even wear a uniform.

Just like you said you'd "give your left nut" to fly, search the DoDMERB section of this forum for dozens of medically disqualified individuals who would have "given their left nuts" to have been found medically qualified to even push paper for four years.
 
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Pima

10-Year Member
:rockon:hurricane!

Obviously Tex you did miss the lessons regarding SERVICE BEFORE SELF during your AS 100/200 yrs in AFROTC.

OBTW, do you read your posts before you post. You have offended the AF rated world, and go onto say join the Navy, BUT this is how you end your post:
All I know is that there are plenty of people including myself who would give their left nut to be in your shoes, regardless of whether or not being at sea is like prison

IOWS, Self is always 1st to you. You basically stated Navy = prison.
 
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Tex232

Member
OBTW, do you read your posts before you post. You have offended the AF rated world, and go onto say join the Navy, BUT this is how you end your post:
All I know is that there are plenty of people including myself who would give their left nut to be in your shoes, regardless of whether or not being at sea is like prison

IOWS, Self is always 1st to you. You basically stated Navy = prison.
Obviously YOU did not carefully read the thread before jumping to conclusions. In reference to the "prison" thing, I was merely responding to what Hurricane said in his previous post:

I'll keep in mind I'm supposed to be having more fun when I'm hanging out on my floating prison eating month old salad and getting woken up by arbitrary whistles at two in the morning.
And if you wish to talk about service before self, go talk to former fixed wing AF pilots who left the service because they were going to have to fly UAV's. I'd like to see you tell them that they missed the meaning behind "service before self" when they resigned their commissions because they were going to get put in a job they didn't like. My situation is no different.

I'm willing to bite the bullet and do what the AF asks of me for 4 years. Hell I'm even willing to put on a fake smile and do my best work even if I can't stand my job. I could have dropped from ROTC some time ago, but I didn't. So if that isn't a good example of "service before self" then I don't know what is. But don't expect me to say "thank you" after having been screwed in the *** by the AF.
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
Hurricane12 is a Marine, and in accordance with tradition, is expected to grouse about being on "the boat" and its delights (sailor noises like ship's whistles, the food, the boredom) as the Navy carries them to their mission area. Marines have been less than delighted with the at sea portions of their deployments since the days of wooden ships, sails and quite possibly oared galleys. The Navy crew is hard at work. Embarked Marines don't have the same duties but focus on staying fit, keeping their gear in top shaoe, and preparing for their mission. Embarked aviation squadrons are flying, of course, and I assume Hurricane is doing that.

Being at sea can be fun, challenging and interesting (seeing the green flash), and then there are days when the water for showers is slashed, the heads smell, the produce is tired, there is not enough chocolate syrup on the planet to make long-life milk taste good, and work sucks.

Offered just for context but not intended as a correction or to add to the main issues under discussion.
 

NavyNOLA

Member
Obviously YOU did not carefully read the thread before jumping to conclusions. In reference to the "prison" thing, I was merely responding to what Hurricane said in his previous post:



And if you wish to talk about service before self, go talk to former fixed wing AF pilots who left the service because they were going to have to fly UAV's. I'd like to see you tell them that they missed the meaning behind "service before self" when they resigned their commissions because they were going to get put in a job they didn't like. My situation is no different.

I'm willing to bite the bullet and do what the AF asks of me for 4 years. Hell I'm even willing to put on a fake smile and do my best work even if I can't stand my job. I could have dropped from ROTC some time ago, but I didn't. So if that isn't a good example of "service before self" then I don't know what is. But don't expect me to say "thank you" after having been screwed in the *** by the AF.
What a winning attitude. God help the Airmen you may lead one day.
 

Stealth_81

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
Founding Member
And if you wish to talk about service before self, go talk to former fixed wing AF pilots who left the service because they were going to have to fly UAV's. I'd like to see you tell them that they missed the meaning behind "service before self" when they resigned their commissions because they were going to get put in a job they didn't like. My situation is no different.
Your situation is way different. Those pilots were able to leave the service because their ADSC was complete, and when they were presented with a choice they chose to separate rather than take on the RPA pilot role. They earned the right to make that choice because they had honorably served out their commitment and had the option. On the other hand, you are expecting to be let out of your ADSC commitment because you failed to get a pilot slot. Your situation is very different.

Stealth_81
 
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