25 year old, single white male here.
I'm expecting to be accepted into WOFT (street to seat) in a few weeks, and I'm wondering if I should have tried to go the commissioned officer route instead. I understand it's about an 8 year commitment if you include flight school, so I guess I better be darn sure before I sign papers.
Background: 2 months ago, I started my WOFT packet after hearing how incredible it is. The main selling points for me were:
1. Serve your country
2. Guaranteed slot as a pilot, before enlisting
3. Warrant Officers got more flight hours, and put up with less bureaucratic stress/paperwork
4. I think Aviation is both something that I'll do very well at, and enjoy
Fast forward to today, I finished my packet last week, and I'm waiting for the board to meet at Ft. Rucker, and hopefully I'll be picked up at the end of the month. I hate to be so cocky by assuming I'll be picked, but everything seems to suggest that's the case. My recruiter said last quarter all 15 WOFT applicants were accepted, and there stats weren't terribly high, on average. Here's my packet:
B.A. in Liberal Arts, 3.5 GPA
LOR's: a few retired military pilots and a priest
0 criminal offences, 0 tattoos, 0 medical problems, perfect vision, etc.
I passed my board interview, and they said they would give me a "pretty high recommendation"
The reason I'm having second thoughts all of sudden, is:
1.You only live once, and you should offer everything you can to go as far as you can in life.
2. I dislike the idea of being outranked by every 2nd LT that comes out of OCS for my whole career. (Pride?)
3. if I chose to stay in the military, I'd like to have room to "climb the ladder", whereas Warrants only go up to W-5
4. I'm not driven by money, but by my rough calculations, Commissioned officers will make about $113,000 more than Warrants, over the 6 year commitment. That's not crumbs. And that gap would only widen, if I chose to stay in the military.
Here's the calculations I used, based on averages in the 2018 pay scale, and not including time in flight school, aviator pay, or other factors:
The main reason I didn't consider other military branches, was because I feared it would be too competitive. But now, considering how I scored after preparing for about a month, and considering how every branch seems to be going through an extreme pilot shortage, I'm wondering if I should shoot higher.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Am I being too cocky? Is putting up with the bureaucracy on the commissioned side not worth the extra money and prestige?
I would hate to tell my recruiter that I'm switching lanes, after already being accepted. But like I said, it's a 6 year commitment, plus 2 years of flight school. I don't want to be regretting not commissioning for the next 8 years. And having already put the packet together, I'm sure I could put together another packet for OCS in just a few months.
Side note, I'm not sure what I would do after my 8 years. If I liked the military, I might stay in and retire. Or leave and fly on the civilian side. Or take the GI bill and go back to school. I love having options.