ROTC Newbie

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by SLM67, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. SLM67

    SLM67 New Member

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    My DS wants to be a military pilot and has determined that ROTC is perhaps the best way to go. He's beginning to research options, but I wanted to know which one - either AFROTC or NROTC - will give him the best chances to follow that dream. We are so new to this whole world - no family members or even close friends - so would appreciate any advice.
     
  2. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    There is currently a huge Air Force pilot shortage. So I would say Air Force.
     
  3. eljay60

    eljay60 AFROTC parent, former ANC in USAR

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    He can apply for both, and should. He can also apply to the service Academies. And the Army has rotary wing pilots
     
  4. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Marines will probably give you DS the highest chance of being a pilot. But, most importantly he would want to be a Marine. You can contract for a pilot spot as early as sophomore year.

    But of the other choice Air Force, Navy, Army in that order. But most importantly, which service would he be happy in if his dream of becoming a pilot did not become a reality. You can search the archives and find many disappointed cadets that are not able to fulfil their pilot dream because of grades, medical or just the needs of their chosen service. There have been pilot want a bees that get drafted into subs or get assigned to Air Force procurement. The best attitude is to want to be an Officer first and serve you country. You wants and desires are not always the same as the needs of the military.
     
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  5. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper 5-Year Member

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    Even if Air Force or Navy ROTC doesn't work out, anyone with 4 year BA or BS degree (particularly STEM fields) can apply for Air Force OTS or Navy OCS within 12 months of graduation. Currently, the US Air Force has a 1500 pilot shortage (getting bigger every year), plus ongoing needs for greater numbers of RPAs (drone pilots). I've read of recent college grads with 3.0 GPAs getting OTS slots for pilots.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I would place some clarifications here.
    1. AFROTC has a make or break year. As a sophomore in college aka AS200/250 they will apply for what is called Summer Field Training. If not selected HQ AFROTC has the right to dis-enroll them out of AFROTC.
    ~ That means if they decide later on to go OTS, they must admit that they were dis-enrolled from the AFROTC program. Thus, the idea that if it doesn't work out, does not equate to anyone can apply. Chances will be slim that they will be picked up for OTS.
    2. The 3.0 gpa is basically in the same ball park as AFROTC grads.
    ~ Many of those applying and getting a pilot slot will have flight hours, at least a few. Few =20
    3. The AF is short on pilots. That is a fact. However, you need to ask why?
    ~ Simple, airlines due to 9/11 were not hiring for @15 years. They have a mandated age requirement for retirement, I have to ask my airline pilot friends, but I believe it is 62. Now due the math. Many of them retired out of the AF in 01 after 20 yrs, or @ 42. If they went commercial in 00, that makes them 59 right now. That means the airlines are losing at a fast rate right now. AF pilots are leaving and filling those spots.
    ~~ However there is going to come a point where the airlines slow down their hiring pace, and for the OP, I would assume it will occur before they graduate. I am making the assumption that their child is in HS, probably a junior, making them the class of 2023. The airlines announced back in 2015 that they expected their pilot shortage to last starting in 16 until 2022. (Again it is about them not hiring for 15 yrs.) If this is the case, than those that reject the 6 figure bonus may not be as high in 5 years from now, which will create a glut in the AF. Hence, the AF will not need so many in the Pilot (UPT) pipeline like they need currently due to the current exodus.
    4. I have read nothing of the intention to increase UPT class sizes. Currently, the AF can only pump out about 1100 pilots a year, and that is at full throttle. It is not only about UPT, but schoolhouses for the airframe. DS's schoolhouse runs sims 6 1/2 days a week, 24 hrs just to pump them out in time. There are only so many IPs. Only so many jets. Thus, even if they need more, unless they open up more UPT bases, and more airframe training units, than they can't push more pilots through.
    ~ If you look at USAFA, AFROTC and OTS numbers they add out to be @ the 1100. There are four UPT bases, Vance, Columbus and Laughlin that push out @ 900. ENJJPT pushes out only @180.

    Now for my opinion.
    1. Do you know what they call a pilot, or a Finance officer, or an Intel officer with less than 2 yrs in the AF? Lieutenant! It is not Pilot Smith.
    ~ Tell him to choose the WHAT IF I don't get Pilot option. Does he want to serve on a boat or be landlocked. AF typically is not on the beach like the Navy, but both have Finance officers, Intel, Comm., etc.
    2. Yes, the AF is short on pilots, but they are not giving them free passes, just to pump up the numbers.
    ~ It is typical they will wash out @25%+ out of UPT which is a 54 week long course. See above regarding the WHAT IF?
    ~~ Look up Raimius on this forum, he has a blue link (signature) that starts with life at USAFA, but a few pages in it is about UPT. It is true what he writes.
    3. The AF currently requires the cadets to apply for all 4. Pilot, CSO, RPA, and ABM.
    ~ The caveat is they can rank them, but if they come and say you get CSO (aka Navigator), and you say NO, they will not allow you to reapply ever again for pilot.
    4. There is a lot more to this than just the DoDMERB exam for ROTC. For the AF you will need to take an FAA flight physical. DoDMERB is a 45 minute exam. For AFROTC it is a 3 day exam at Wright Pat AFB because it is an FAA FC1 physical.
    ~ There are kids that are DoDMERB qualified for the military, but not rated qualified. Get in front of this now if you know there are any issues...eyesight is a biggie!

    I am a spouse of a now retired F15E WSO (O5) and a Mom of a C130 pilot. I loved every minute of our 21 yrs as a spouse, and now love visiting my DS. The AF is absolutely amazing, but it was/is amazing for our family, because in the end it came back to what I said early on in this novella....you know what they call an officer with less than 2 yrs in, that flies an airplane compared to an officer that flies a desk? LT!
    ~ DH and DS also always joke that after flying for hours they like their runway to be exactly where they left it at when they took off...something that is not true for the Navy!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  7. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    Pima to counter your first point, the selection rate for Summer field trainer has been 100% for the past two years. You have a MUCH better chance of commissioning with the Air Force if you're not on scholarship than with the navy(without a scholarship that is)

    To the OP, I would not advise your DS to join any branch with the sole intention of being a pilot. It's good to have goals, but first and foremost, your DS should just want to be a military officer. Anything more than that (i.e. being a pilot) is just gravy.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    That may be true the past couple years... I could speak to that. In theory though it happens... it has happened in practice... and it will happen again in the future... perhaps as early as 2 years from now. People applying need to know it can happen.
     
  9. rocatlin

    rocatlin 5-Year Member

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    My son received an aviation contract with the Marine Corps during his sophomore year. While at his unit, he was asked/voluntold to take the ASTB -- and did well on it. He then passed his flight physical. Prior to any of that, his sole drive was to be a Marine Officer with primary focus on getting a ground combat MOS at TBS. His desire to be an officer first, met the Marine Corps' need of those willing to try to fill a current void in aviation slots.

    It's extremely difficult to predict odds of specialized assignments like aviation -- let alone across services. Needs now may not meet demands in the future. Many things are in play.

    As others have alluded to -- you must have a desire to serve first, must be at least comfortable with the branch you pick, and be ready to adapt to changes in the plans. [I would actually say more than just "comfortable" with the branch -- you owe it to those you lead to be more than comfortable.] Each service has a culture. It has been said that the Army and Navy are branches of the "military", the Air Force is a "corporation", and the Marine Corps is a cult. There is a grain of truth to that.

    In my son's case, he's honored and excited about the opportunity to fly whatever aircraft he may be assigned to. He is also completely fine with being a ground officer if something happens or needs change.

    Be at peace with your decision. Go full out for it. Remember that you are setting yourself apart from your current peers by being willing to serve and not sit on the sidelines of culture and consume.
     
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  10. rocatlin

    rocatlin 5-Year Member

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    Another thing I agree with in this thread -- explore every option and every path. A commission in the service branch of choice is not valued by it's source/path (academy, ROTC, OTS/OCS) but by the quality of the person earning that commission.