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Best branch for my son to learn

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Unless your son has a four year degree his options are pretty limited. Without a four year degree their is the option of Army Warrant Officer. Your son may put in a packet and he may or may not be accepted into the program.


Here is a website you may find helpful:


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I agree, apply to become an Aviation Warrant Officer in the United States Army. Every other avenue to become a pilot in the armed services incurs an obligation in addition the possibility that you will not be selected to learn helicopters or that you will not be allotted a position to pilot aircraft at all. With the Warrant Officer Flight Training program, if you aren't selected, then you aren't obligated to serve and do something you don't want to be doing.


Which service is the best to learn in? They are all perfectly fine to learn in. They each operate differently because the missions the helicopters are used for are different.


No path is all roses, so no matter which path you choose, either military or civilian, one service or another, there are obstacles and detractors.

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What does your son want to do?

Search and Rescue? (Coast Guard/Air Force/Navy)

Fly from Carriers? (Navy/Marine Corp)

Fly an Attack helicopter? (Army/Marine Corp)

Drop off troops? (Army/Marine Corp)


Live on a boat?

Live in tent?

Live in a Hotel?


I think the Coast Guard has the best deal but that's simply an opinion.


I like the Army folks, well most of them.



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The 'Hotel' remark was meant as a tongue-in-cheek shot at the Air Force. The USAF usually has the best quality of life. The down side is that your son won't be guaranteed Rotorcraft and has a chance of being a UAV operator. Also, the USAF culture takes a dim view of Rotorcraft. On a positive note, he may get a chance to get into a CV-22 and be on the leading edge of technology.


The USCG, IMHO, is good on a number of points. They always have a real mission of helping/supporting Americans, 24/7-365. They operate good equipment. They usually live in better places than most Army posts. The pay (and retirement) is better than Warrant Officer pay. There isn't as much of a 'footprint' of USCG pilots in sandy places. And the most un-scientific, most every CG pilot I have ever met was happy with their choice.

Edited by BillyBob
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To answer the original question, the process simply begins with meeting a recruiter in the service he desires to serve in. Here is the kicker, if he just wants to be a pilot he will be gravely disappointed no matter what service he chooses. You are always an officer first. A friend of mine was a pilot in the Army and was sent to be an air liasion with the infantry. Not too bad of a gig until the infantry unit needed a platoon leader. Since he was an officer, he fit the bill despite the fact the only infantry skills he had were from his basic training. Soon he was kicking down doors in Bosnia without an aircraft in sight. that is a rarety though. What isn't a rarety is doing another job while you are not flying or completing a non aviation tour.


I have flown as a qualified pilot in two services (Army and Coast Guard), and have flown with or served with members of all services. There is no better branch than any other. It all matters what you want to do and what you are trying to do.


If you want a guarantee, there are a few programs but the biggest one is the Army's Warrant Officer flight program as discussed. The Marine Corps and the Coast Guard both have guaranted flight programs but they come with some specifications such as where you go to school or what you study while getting your degree while the Army's program does not even require you get a degree.


The choice is up to your son.

Edited by dolphindriver
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WOCS/WOFT is the way to go. (Warrant Officer Candidate School/Warrant Officer Flight Training)

I went throught WOCS last summer, right now I'm about 3 months into the Apache Course. Like others have said above, unless your son already has a 4 year degree he's pretty much limited to the Army. I was in the Army for 7 years prior to coming into Aviation. I had a great civilian job, but decided I needed more adventure. For your son, 9 weeks of Basic Training, 6 weeks of Warrant Officer School, then about a year and a half of flight training, and he'll be out in the real Army flying multi-million dollar helicopters. The best part is, he'll be getting paid for it.

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