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SBuzzkill

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SBuzzkill last won the day on September 17

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About SBuzzkill

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  1. IIRC the long form goes by age. Every time you pass 5. 20, 25, 30... And it’s just a few more tests. After leaving Rucker I had 2 long forms and 5 short. Each duty station does the testing appointments differently. Some require briefings, some are walk in, some give you the packet, etc. Some of mine I got done in half a day, others took me weeks to get the checklist done. None of them were as thorough as my first one. As long as nothing is wrong with you they’re just checkups.
  2. You’ll never have another physical as thorough as your first one. “Anything wrong with you? Ok here’s your upslip.”
  3. I never felt while I was flying for the Army that I was underpaid. I’m also not a guy who cares how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, chances are that’s your neighbor’s leach field and it’s full of sh*t. Pick the service that speaks to you and don’t look back.
  4. Thanks! I like writing and telling stories as they help keep my memories fresh. I'm not sure I could fill a book though, at least not until the statute of limitations is up on my more interesting stories Just kidding.
  5. Flying at NTC rewarded me with some of the best flying I experienced in the Army and certainly some of the most challenging. As you progress through your career as an aviator you are constantly upping your knowledge and experience, which in turn increases your situational awareness. If I could identify the most important thing when it comes to flying missions it's situational awareness. It's pretty rare to have an aviator that doesn't develop a feel for the aircraft or that cannot navigate, but it's common to have folks who just never get to a certain level of situational awareness. "Modern" Army aircraft have really good systems for maintaining situational awareness and managing the cockpit: Moving maps, BFTs, sights, comms, etc. On the other hand, the aircraft we flew as O.C.s were round dial OH-58s similar to the ones we trained in during flight school. They had a simple GPS, but no moving map, no BFT, nothing to help orient ourselves in the training area. All we had was a paper map book and our knowledge of the training area to get us around, often times doing it solo. I got very good at plotting grids and using terrain association to navigate the incredibly complex airspace during a rotation. Additionally, rotations almost always occurred during the lowest illumination periods. Pitch black, in a 3000lb helicopter, getting thrown around by strong winds in the mountains, trying to stay out of the way of live artillery while also trying to keep up with the flight of AH-64s maneuvering in front of us, and trying to set up an approach to a pinnacle that you cannot see until you're on short final. It really took flying to the next level. For every busy rotation there were two slow ones. I'd drive in to the office, preflight, check weather, then put on youtube, and sit on the couch waiting for a call to go fly. The next pilot would show up, we'd chat for a bit, then I'd grab my gear, pack up and go home. Repeat, for weeks, until finally the radio would scratch at me "Hey dude, I need you to get out here ASAP, the AHs are getting ready to spin up." Damn, I was just getting ready to eat my food that I have in the microwave. Take a quick look at our map and figure out where the assembly area is, look over the ROZs, make sure they're on my map, fill out paperwork and get my approval to go fly, grab an energy drink and off I go. Swing my body into the bird, get my helmet on, start up and wave away the crewchief. Make my radio calls, take one last look at my maps, and off I go into the night. Picking the most direct route that kept me away from any restricted airspace I would make my way out to the assembly area. Contact their tower, do a couple circles looking for where I was going to land, and call up the OC to make sure that's where they wanted to meet me. Swing on in and start my approach. As I get close I look around and holy sh*t! There's people all around. It's the training unit and they're all pulling security. Damn this camo works well out here, so I pull pitch and go around. I don't want to land on anyone. Picking a new spot further away and better able to clear myself down will be a pain in the ass for my OC, but it's the best option. So I land and make him walk. He climbs in and I tell him why I'm so far away. After that we move to a better spot to watch the Apaches as they get ready to take off. They're ready and off we go. Damn I'm tired, better take a sip of my energy drink. Following the AHs out it's clear they're not sure where they're going. I know this place like the back of my hand and we're definitely not heading to where we are supposed to be working. But oh well, they'll figure it out. Eventually they swing back around and get re-oriented and we're back in business. The rest of the night consists of us perching up and watching them work through the screen they're assigned to. They engage some OPFOR, we call it up and determine whether or not they get credit for the kills, and then it's time for fuel. Back and forth we go, fuel, rearm, back in the fight. Eventually my replacement gets into their helicopter and heads on out to us. "Hey man, I'm on the ridge at your 9 o'clock." Cool, we fill them in on the situation, then I head over to the assembly area and drop my OC back off at his humvee. I'm solo again and have about half a bag of gas, so I decide to do an altitude over airspeed takeoff. Man this thing has some power when it's light! The sun is coming up and my goggles are starting to wash out, but it's not quite bright enough for me to see unaided. Flying during this time of day is a pain so I get a little more altitude since it's going to be difficult to see obstacles. Looking down I see some soldiers doing a PT run along the road. Dropping down and slowing down I swing over cruising along the side of the road and give them a wave on my way by. Then it's back to the airfield for some fuel and then park the bird, pull my gear, and head back to the office to turn in my paperwork and log the flight. My day is over as the sun comes up and I snap a picture of sunrise before I get in my car and head home. Today was a pretty good day.
  6. Awesome stuff, definitely take advantage of it if you are somewhere that you can. Both of my duty stations after flight school did not have good flight training options nearby and it wasn't until I left the Army that I was able to finish working on my fixed wing ratings. There are folks who made it work, but it was painful for them and they had to get very creative in how they did their training.
  7. What does a King Air’s job better than a King Air?
  8. There was a large group of us mid-grade W2s that if you weren’t tracked you got left out in the cold. Not enough time left on our commitment or enough value to get their money’s worth I guess. Eventually after a few years there was pressure due to attrition and they started offering transitions to the left overs, but by then most folks had been forced out or were in their last year before separating and had already “moved on.” IIRC there were about 900 pilots total, of which 300 got offered transitions (mostly WOJGs and tracked warrants), another 100 were standbys, and everyone else was SOL. I stuck around as long as they would let me, but only because my awesome career manager kept me in a flying gig. My SP eventually pulled some strings and got me an Apache transition but by that point I was committed to getting out of the Army. I was grateful to have some excellent leaders around me, not everyone was that fortunate. Moral of the story is never get too comfortable even in a “secure” job like the Army. Also, give 100% even when you get dealt some crappy cards and build bridges instead of burning them.
  9. “I had a fast car, an empty highway, and made a mistake.” Get a lawyer see what you can get done in the legal system, and move on with your life.
  10. Aviation is such a mixed bag, and everyone has a different experience with the industry. I started out 15 years ago with an intro flight in airplanes, followed by a few years of working on the flight line trying to pay for training trying to make my way into a seat at an airline. After running out of money and giving up on that in 2008 I joined the Army to fly helicopters, which was a great job for a young guy like me. 9 years of that and I got out and jumped back into flying airplanes and finally got that airline seat. I couldn't be happier with my career choices and path. I love the job I have now and feel that my work has paid off. Flying the airplane that I fly, for the company I fly for, is living up to the original dream I had when I began. Here's the thing though, I've wanted to fly since I was 2 years old and could never see myself as fullfilled doing anything else. There are many folks in the exact same position as me who took a different path and are very unhappy being "stuck" where they are. There are folks whose timing was just slightly different, or they chose a different company, or a different type of flying, who have the entire spectrum of things to say about their jobs and lifestyles. My point is that you have to be persistent and you have to really have a passion for this industry, but need to recognize it's a job and career, and won't always be fun or exciting. You also need to be able to appreciate where you are at and not be constantly clawing for the "next thing." You may have really good luck switching careers and find out that you're made for this. Or you might dip your toes and realize it's not what you expected. The unfortunate thing is that the investment is incredibly expensive just to find out you don't like it, and getting a feel for flying with a private pilot license doesn't really give you an idea if you are a good fit for the profession. If you're OK with spending money and time and a few years from now looking back and saying "well, that didn't work out but I'm glad I did it," then do it. If that's too much of a gamble for you then stay away from the career and go fly for fun.
  11. I’m not sure how much it’s changed but in 2009 we had two options for getting to Ft Rucker from BCT. We could ride the bus with the AIT students, or we could drive with our families. PCS from home of record happened after graduating WOCS and was set up during candidate school. We crawled all over BLDG 5700 doing our in-processing stuff and arranging our leave/travel. Folks coming from elsewhere in the Army were allowed to store their POVs during WOCS, but IIRC that did not apply to BCT candidates because we came under different orders. If anything this might provide some context for your meeting with the 1SG, or it might be too old and a complete waste of your time. Anyways, good luck!
  12. I imagine you’re trying to navigate the mobile site, which is kind of a pain. Here’s a link to the military section. https://helicopterforum.verticalreference.com/forum/32-general-military-helicopter-discussions/ You’ll get a lot more views from folks who can answer your question in there.
  13. Attention to detail WOC Curry. This is the wrong section for your question.
  14. As an officer there is no enlistment, which means no set date which your son will be released. Officers service lengths are indefinite, and do not terminate at the completion of an ADSO like an enlistment. There are only two ways for an officer to separate from the military, voluntarily or involuntarily. You request to get out, or you get told to get out. But there is no "serving your time" and then getting out. As an example, my flight school ADSO brought me just over 8 years of service. However, I moved (changed duty station) close to the end of that, which ended up adding about 6 more months to my commitment. After 8.5 years of service I had no obligation to the Army, but I wasn't free to just get out. If I desired to I would have needed to request a resignation. If I timed it right I could have started the process to request my release and probably gotten out at the completion of my ADSO, but that has to be done months and months in advance. It's also possible to get a waiver and be released early, but it's very rare. Generally, an officer must be promoted to be retained. On the second attempt if they don't get promoted they give up to 6 months and then they're out. In my case, my job had disappeared and I knew I wouldn't be promoted, so I waited to be involuntarily separated by being passed over for promotion. This granted me a severance and some additional benefits I would not have received by a normal request to separate. This is usually not an option, but the retirement of the OH-58D opened that avenue to me. I served in that capacity until I absolutely couldn't anymore, which brought me to 9 years and 3 months of service. Cliff's Notes: ADSOs keep an officer in the service until they are complete, but once an ADSO is complete an officer will still serve indefinitely until they request to separate or get kicked out. There is no mechanism for an automatic release, and even when kicked out there is a lengthy process to separate from the military.
  15. This is correct. Also, getting out at 9 years felt good. I'm sure 12 years will feel the same for some folks. I accomplished everything I wanted to in the Army, made memories, served my country, and it was time to move on.
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