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LOR from CWO for civilian WOFT applicants

WOFT applicant lor letter or recommendation helicopter packet

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#1 Won2Be

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 13:55

Hello there! long time reader but first time poster. I am in the middle of putting together my civilian packet for WOFT/WOCS and am having a hard time finding a CWO3+ to request an interview (I've heard this is a fairly common practice) for a LOR since I don't have much in terms of a military network.

 

I figure, I could throw the feelers out there to see if anyone in the CONUS would be willing to have me come travel (anywhere but alaska, too expensive) to you for a face to face, heart to heart discussion. :-) I'll buy you a beer or a coffee and see if you find me to be one of the many dreamers/wannabepilots that would be worth putting your name behind.

 

You can email me at s_hawkins001@hotmail.com If you would be willing to help me out. Thanks a million. hope to see you all out there one day.

 

PS: I got 2 years before I need an age waiver so, I hope I get an answer soon. :-)


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#2 Yamer

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 20:12

Where are you located
"If one engine fails, how far can the other one take us?"
"All the way to the scene of the crash!"

#3 Lindsey

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 20:28

I also suggest planning to show up in a suit and approach it as a professional interview. How many civilian jobs have you applied for where the interview was over coffee? Not saying it won't happen but that's for the interviewer to decide.



#4 Lindsey

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 20:31

Also, maybe I'm off-base here but this approach (asking the Senior Warrants to reach out to you) comes across as lazy. If you're truly a long-time reader here you should have a decent idea of who the big-hitters are. Reach out to them personally.


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#5 Won2Be

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 21:13

Well, I've never interviewed with a warrant officer before so, I figured they could let me know a little about what they expected once contact was made. If they said, "meet me at my office," or, "meet me at a coffee shop" I wouldn't presume before making first contact since, as I understand, there isn't a real "official channel" for such interviews. And this is the whole point: its a rather obscure affair finding a senior leadership person who doesn't know me from adam and requesting an interview.

 

Many job interviews happen at the local Starbucks sirs and ma'ams, I've been the subject of a few of them myself (and yes, people wear suits and ties and bring full CVs to such meetings). The whole reason I started a new post rather than simply pursue personal contact was for the benefit of other curious folks who, like me, have a hard time finding emails labeled "private" and, since there's little specific information on the specifics (like, this is usually an office interview, or, bring your full packet for the Chief to review) I figured this could get out to the forum. If this approach was offensive, I apologize, no offense was intended. However, if there is a forum post for this process, it might be easier for, say, a 19 year old kid to make contact.  

 

I live in Richmond Virginia. I am pursuing multiple avenues as best I can at the moment. I'm also, having never had a profile before, noticing I can view people's contact information now. Live and learn... Thank you both for taking the time to post. I hope more information can get out about this process for any non military connected civilians. 



#6 Creep0321

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 22:55

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, get one.


Swift, Silent, Deadly.


#7 Cheese

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:54

Won2be, use google to find to nearest Army or National guard unit, usually the units official site has points of contact. Send them a professional email explaining your situation (not like the post you started here, professional is key word) and request assistance contacting someone local. Chances are high that they will point you in right direction or send your email to a local CWO. I did this in SoCal and a CW4 happened to be coming to my base for his flu shot and we met several times since. Still in contact with him. My experience with Warrants so far: If you are professional, diligent and have integrity they will assist in anyway they can, truly a great group of leaders.

#8 ah64eric

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 15:57

WON2BE:  I fully agree with what I've read from the other posters here, especially with what "Cheese" said.  Rarely will any Warrant Officer who sees you displaying initiative and persistence along with a positive, professional attitude be unwilling to help you.  And like Lindsey said, you should certainly go to any meeting in no less than a shirt and tie, just as you would any civilian job interview.  Getting into WOCS is extremely competitive nowadays and every encounter you have makes a lasting impression, so you definitely want to make yourself stand out in any/every way.  One last thing, if/when anyone asks you why you want to be a WO and/or an Army Aviator, please don't tell them "because I've always wanted to fly".  This is a VERY worn-out answer, not to mention it's exceedingly obvious.  Also, if that were the case you could much more easily sign up at any one of the civilian training facilities.  It really doesn't tell the interviewer where you are mentally and emotionally in regard to why you want to enter this particular field.  I hope this input helps.


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#9 Eaglegrad07

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 17:48

Living in Richmond, I would definitely check out Ft. Eustis. for potential recs.



#10 JAR065

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 18:15

I live in the Baltimore area and would love to add a LOR from a CWO to my packet but as a civilian I don't know the first step to getting in contact with someone who can help.

 

Could anybody point me in the right direction? It would be greatly appreciated!



#11 Won2Be

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 22:10

Thanks to all replies and those who will post in the future. I am uncertain about the contact procedure for this kind of interview and, through my reading, other outsiders and civilians like myself have shown uncertainty in this regard; thus this forum post. The interview is one thing, making first contact is another. Email addresses aren't always easy to access. 

 

I am hoping this forum post will make a place where civilians may find a way to contact helpful Warrant Officers in the future. Again thanks to all posters. This entire forum has been very instructive and helpful as there is not much civilian specific information from official channels. 

 

Cheese: thank you for this post. I've been to the Fort Bragg website and had difficulty finding specific contact for anyone save the Chaplain. I'm currently attempting to contact a CW5 in Virginia through a state level medical person who knows him. I will be reporting my results once I have been able to secure an interview. 

 

ah64eric and Lindsey: dress and mannerism is certainly of paramount importance during any interview process. Thank you for addressing this. I will certainly avoid using the standard "because I want to fly" line. Being any officer, whether by warrant or commission, is a great honor and a heavy responsibility. Representing the Army is representing the United States and never to be taken lightly. Leaders of any caliber are setting the standard for those under them.

 

As enlisted members swear an oath to follow the orders of the officers appointed over them, it should always be remembered to keep personal priorities in check: mission first and my preferences last. I have a deep love for this country and its military and hope to be counted among its elite pilots. I hope to do so before I'm too old. 


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#12 Cheese

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 14:59

Won2be, don't be afraid to call the Chaplain. All they do is help people, I'm sure he could give you the duty phone for a local unit then just call and ask for a point of contact to email.

#13 Won2Be

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 03:00

JAR065: So far, I'm learning to have everything ready. Have a completed packet before trying to contact someone; as in, whatever you will be handing to the board (asvab/sift/pft/physicals/essay/etc), you should be able to hand over to your interviewer; wrap it in gold and the highest quality leather bound cover :) (just kidding). While compiling your packet look around for your closest regular army/army national guard airfield/training area/hangar.

 

Once you are ready with a packet you can hand over to a prospective interviewer, then you should begin to contact people by phone or email; (as "Cheese" mentioned) anyone such as the chaplain or civilian employees should be able to point you in the right direction. Once I've actually made contact I'll report the process and what my interview was like. 

 

From what I understand, this should be treated similar to a board evaluation since he or she will only have a brief encounter to make a go no-go determination. As stated above put your best foot forward: pretend it IS a board evaluation. They need to be able to determine if you are a good candidate for recommendation in only one or a few meetings so, they should be able to see everything the board will see. So far that is my understanding. Anyone feel free to correct me. I'm still learning.



#14 Lindsey

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 03:29

Ok. I am going to throw you guys a bone. Two, even. I understand this stuff is intimidating when you don't know anyone; I didn't either. At the same time it is not rocket science. So here you go:

 

 

I've gotten a lot of PMs about how I got my LoRs, particularly the two CW4/CW5 LORs I have. The "how" I got those letters is actually kind of a funny story. You know Linked-In, that weird site where you sign up but you don't know what to do with it and some day when you're bored you fill out your profile and throw your resume on there, and then proceed to ignore it for several weeks and come back to find friend requests and random messages? Well, that's what happened, except one of those random messages was an Army National Guard CW4 UH-60 Standardization Instructor Pilot asking if I needed any help with my packet. "Well Sir, now that you ask - I could really use a Senior WO LOR to strengthen it, if you wouldn't mind!" So I sent him my resume and we communicated back and forth between a few emails, and wa-la I got myself a letter.

Now inspired, I decided to look through the connections-of-connections on Linked-In and I came across a 160th SOAR CW5 (which is actually only about 30 minutes from my house). What a ridiculously badass resume he had on there. Thoroughly intimidated, I hmm'd and haw'd for a few days about sending him a message. Then I said to myself "what's the worst that could happen? He doesn't reply or he says no, and I'm right back where I started. What's the best that could happen? I meet with him and he hopefully writes me a LOR." Well, it worked out better than I could have imagined. He was immediately gracious and helpful, and we quickly set up a date and time where I could come to his office and do an interview. He had me write a 1 page biography to send to him along with my resume to he could get to know me a little bit before I came in for the actual sit-down interview. The day of the interview comes and I'm dressed up in a suit, the whole deal, but it's actually quite casual. The second I sat down he said "reading over your stuff I'm gonna write you a letter, so just relax and let's chat." Wow. So we chatted about the Army, Aviation, flying, he asked a few interview-ish questions like "why Warrant Officer" and he liked my answer to that question so much he was like "you've done your research, you're going to be an outstanding WO," etc. Needless to say I was trying to contain my excitement. He was seriously just an amazingly cool, relaxed guy. And he wrote me an OUTSTANDING letter. Doesn't hurt that his writing skills were extremely impressive as well.

 

I definitely would recommend both Linked In and this website. Linked In is all *about* networking - just be professional and polite and definitely make your tone come across as "I would be honored to have a LoR from you but please don't feel obligated" or something like that. In other words don't come across as pushy (obvious, but you'd be surprised at some people). With this website, there are some pretty powerful people who lurk on here, and some even post. I recommend going back and reading old threads that seem to have a lot of "juice" in them - i.e. a lot of Warrant Officers posting because someone asked details about flight school, getting to a unit, etc. As you continue to read you'll start to "get to know" the person behind the username - you can infer a lot (is he a brand new guy straight out of flight school? does he post like he's "been there done that?") and if he seems like a squared away guy with a lot of good advice, send that person a PM. Even if he himself isn't a CW4 or CW5, he will know some and may pass along your info if he desires. It may seem like a long shot in the dark, but so was my nervous email to that 160th CW5. Fortune favors the brave!

 

If you're relaxed and clearly enthusiastic, *AND* informed about the career (both good and bad), then you will get a good LOR. If you're *really* informed about this career, you will get a really really good LOR.

 

People think that I know a whole lot about this WOFT stuff - but the truth is, when I first showed up to this website in 2009, I knew absolutely no one in the Army. Nobody. All I knew is that I eventually wanted to fly Army helicopters. I owe literally everything to these forums. My Army "network" now extends to literally dozens of people I converse with on facebook chat and on the phone and via text messages and emails, and ranges from fellow applicants to that 160th CW5 I still keep in touch with. I've made some good friends here. But what most people don't realize is that while the networking is great and invaluable, it's only possible if you take the time (a lot of time) to really read through these threads. Not just the most recent ones. It makes you more informed about things you didn't even know you're uninformed about (does that make sense?). It answers unanswered questions. I did well in my 160th CW5 and Battalion Board interviews  simply because I had read so much over the years on this forum about the career, and talked to current Army Aviators that I'd met through this forum about the career, that I didn't even have to think or prepare my answers. They came naturally. I just can't stress this enough.

 

I hope I don't come off as if I'm lecturing anyone--that's not my intent. But hopefully it helps some of you who are just as in-the-dark as I was four years ago.

 

http://helicopterfor...-for-civilians/

 

 

...

Like everywhere else in life, networking is the key. There's nothing that says you can't respectfully request assistance from one of the WOs you talk to via forums to assist you in taking the AFAST, interview, etc. I've had a few applicants I knew only via email, travel several states to come interview. Although it was several years ago, I travelled from CA to VA for 2 days to get a LOR from a CW5 that made my application a slam dunk. Persistance, professionalism, and intiative will pay you back ten-fold. Find the nearest Army Airfield. I guarantee if you act professionally, just about any WO will take the time to talk to you and help you with the process.

...

Networking: Lastly, I've had several aspiring WOCs contact me via PM with such endearing greetings such as "hey", and "Dude", using incomplete sentences, and asking questions without so much as leaving their name or email address to respond. Nobody expects 'Sir", etc, my first name is fine, but if you aren't able to type a coherent, professional letter (email) using correct grammar, spelling and composition without using texting short hand, you will get an equally curt response. I can say this will most likely be the case for most any officer you ask for help. Remember that written correspondence is often the first impression you make. Unfortunately there's undoubtedly been a few outstanding and qualified candidates who never made it past an email because they wrote like they were texting buddies at school.

I do not have to personally know you to write an outstanding letter of recommendation. However, a face to face meeting is usually required. I don't know of anyone who will write a letter via phone interview unless the appliant can personally be vouched for by a friend, etc. A professional resume, prefaced by email or calls and showing up for the interview in the same attire you would interview in for a corporate position will result in you leaving with a winner in your hand. Most of us in the WO Corps are genuinely interested in helping those who will strengthen Army Aviation, and discouraging those who won't. It benefits us all to have good pilots sitting next to us. I have on occasion, had applicants not show on time, get frustrated when I will not help them study for the AFAST, or they choose to skip their interview entirely, but still want a letter. With that guidance, I have yet to have a sincere applicant not get accepted.

Good luck,

Mike-

http://helicopterfor...w-from-the-top/


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#15 Won2Be

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 20:52

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, get one.

I now have a linked in profile but, don't really know what to do with it. Never been much of a social media type.



#16 Jberto89

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 19:21

Hello there! long time reader but first time poster. I am in the middle of putting together my civilian packet for WOFT/WOCS and am having a hard time finding a CWO3+ to request an interview (I've heard this is a fairly common practice) for a LOR since I don't have much in terms of a military network.
 
I figure, I could throw the feelers out there to see if anyone in the CONUS would be willing to have me come travel (anywhere but alaska, too expensive) to you for a face to face, heart to heart discussion. :-) I'll buy you a beer or a coffee and see if you find me to be one of the many dreamers/wannabepilots that would be worth putting your name behind.
 
You can email me at s_hawkins001@hotmail.com If you would be willing to help me out. Thanks a million. hope to see you all out there one day.
 
PS: I got 2 years before I need an age waiver so, I hope I get an answer soon. :-)


I'm in the same boat. I don't know if the way I went about it was the right way to do it but being a civilian has limited me to civilian letters of recommendation. I think we'll be alright even if we don't earn higher ranking military LoR's. Considering you're willing to travel to meet somebody for a semi-formal chat I think that shows dedication. Rootin for ya.

#17 Lindsey

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 19:29

I'm in the same boat. I don't know if the way I went about it was the right way to do it but being a civilian has limited me to civilian letters of recommendation. I think we'll be alright even if we don't earn higher ranking military LoR's. Considering you're willing to travel to meet somebody for a semi-formal chat I think that shows dedication. Rootin for ya.

 

Being a civilian limits you to nothing. If you put in the effort and are squared away, you will surprise yourself.


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#18 Jberto89

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 21:32

Being a civilian limits you to nothing. If you put in the effort and are squared away, you will surprise yourself.


I have to be careful how I word things. Just today I've been lucky enough to learn about the WO culture a little bit through a couple of my shabby posts. Definitely a bit slack on my part to use the term "limited". I don't act like a victim, especially a victim of circumstance, so to write as if I am is uncharacteristic and it'll be corrected.

Thanks for the input.
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#19 Won2Be

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 01:01

I have to be careful how I word things. Just today I've been lucky enough to learn about the WO culture a little bit through a couple of my shabby posts. Definitely a bit slack on my part to use the term "limited". I don't act like a victim, especially a victim of circumstance, so to write as if I am is uncharacteristic and it'll be corrected.

Thanks for the input.

Hello there. Thanks for the good words. My packet might be complicated by my prior service. Its all in personnel records hands now. If only I had a dd214.... DARN YOU ROTC AND YOUR CRAZY WEIRDNESS!! 

 

In all honesty, you (and I) as civilians are probably in a better position (relatively of course). Since you aren't committed to the military yet,  have no complicating military records, you don't need permission from anyone, don't have to get releases from anyone, you aren't competing with any military members, etc, its a bit of a benefit to start with the civilian WOFT program from what I gather. Of course this assumes your credentials are competitive like any other applicant. However, having few complications is a big benefit. 

 

As for the LORs, yep, I've contacted about 6 different WOs and not one of em were willing to go for an interview. I've always let them know I'm willing to travel anywhere but, well, I can't exactly call the sheriff to detain them ya know...although, I haven't really looked into the feasibility of that....hmmmm.....  :). Tell ya what, I'm really wondering if the LORs make much of a real difference anyway. Honestly, I really feel its a numbers game (nobody really knows unless one is a board member of course). If they need people, you will get in even with your pt score of 200, GED, club foot, missing front incisor, and severe southern drawl. If they don't need people (ie all slots for that class are filled), you won't get a slot regardless of your PhD, your 5 trips into space, your 50 patents for a new world changing pesticide inhaler, or your adorable little puppy dog video on youtube. 

 

I am becoming cynical at this point in all honesty. This whole process takes so long, I'm just like, well, whatever, I guess I'll get there someday.... When I had my little "do you really know what you are trying to accomplish here" interview with the commander, she laughed at me when I asked if 2 years was enough time to get the process done since I'm 33 in 2 years "pfft! of course this will get done before then!" she said. HA!! I suggested to my recruiter that they add patience as the 8th Army value. They said they'd look into it. :) Anyway, good luck to ya. 

 

PS: I totally get what you meant by the "limited" comment. I mean, we are "outsiders" as it were so, without an established network, it IS a limiting factor to establishing contact with a WO. Of course, it is always possible to start networking but hey, lets get real ya know? cheers. 


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#20 WTFoski

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 11:17

I live in Richmond Virginia. I am pursuing multiple avenues as best I can at the moment. I'm also, having never had a profile before, noticing I can view people's contact information now. Live and learn... Thank you both for taking the time to post. I hope more information can get out about this process for any non military connected civilians. 


I live in Richmond but I'll only be here for another couple days before I head to Rucker. Don't forget Fort Lee is 30 minutes away, you'll find a lot of WOs there. Since I'm so close to you feel free to PM me if you need some help.





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