Jump to content
SBuzzkill

Why do you want to be a military aviator?

Recommended Posts

slightly off topic, but a lot of folks seem to check this thread, so I'm hoping to get some feedback quickly through here, sorry to disrupt the flow...

 

I am interviewing this week with a CW5 and CW4 for LOR's. I also, however, have a close friend/mentor who is a retired CW3 who flew for the 158th in Vietnam who agreed to write me one as well. The first two should be fairly in their court, but what should I be asking my friend to write in his LOR? Like I said he is a retired CW3, former college professor and current Southern Baptist minister. What in particular should I email him and ask him to focus on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to be a military aviator so I can kill bad people and break their sh*t.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I can give everyone a Marine version of why I wanted to fly in the military.

 

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with aircraft, from C-130s, to F-14s, to AH-1s. The guys who sparked my interest was an old AH-1S driver turned -58 pilot in the early 90s. He retired out of Drum a couple years ago. Going into college I knew I was going to join, I just couldn't decide between which service. I looked into all of them, and I found myself reading a book at Barnes and Noble in Syracuse, NY staring at picture of a section of Whiskeys flying in Iraq thinking to myself, "I could never become a Marine and fly" then on the way home I said "why, not?...." That was pretty much it. Returning to college I hooked up with an officer recruiter and started the process. Thats when I became obessed with becoming a Marine. I was more obessed about becoming a Marine than I was going to flight school. Spending 1-2 hours in the gym or track everyday became the norm. Finally, after getting into and surviving Marine OCS and TBS. After getting to see a mixed section of skids preform CAS, multiple combined arms demos, and then talking to my Infantry officer brothers, I knew that flying skids was what I wanted to do.

 

When I got down to Pensacola, flying fixed wing was just a check in the box for me. I got what I wanted and I'm now I fly whiskeys. I was lucky, the timing was good, and the Marines needed whiskey pilots at the time.

In the end, the essence of being a Marine Aviator is how you want to support the guys on the ground. Hope you guys have enjoy the koollaid I just fed to you. It doesn't taste any better than that!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the fact that all Marine officers go to TBS is a great thing. However, the Warrant Officer corps in the Army takes the cake, IMHO, for understanding the fight on the ground. I am a street to seater, but the rest of my class were all E5 to E7 combat arms with multiple tours in AFG and Iraq. The majority of Army pilots are former enlisted. Now they are getting ready to bring years of combat experience into the cockpit.

 

Love the Cobra, btw. When are you transitioning to Zulus?

 

See, Koolaid is tasty :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure when I'll do the transition. It'll probably be a couple years. They are transitioning one squadron (HMLA-367) on the west coast right now and a det just left or is working up for a MEU. West Coast will transition first followed by the East coast guys. The Zulu will come online a little slower than the Yankee. It'll be some time.

 

As far as TBS, and by all means, this isn't meant to be a dick measuring contest, but what happens at TBS goes deeper than the experience factor. Most 2nd Lts couldn't be proficient at leading Marines in combat based solely on TBS. Thats what IOC and the additional MOS schools are for. There is an inherent level of trust between the grunts and aviators because of what happens there. Recognizing the voice over the radio while receiving and giving nine lines because you've had beers or gone to church with that other Marine means alot. Add in that a lot of our pilots end up doing FAC tours in the battalions builds that trust. That and we're the smallest service and a little more selective works to our advantage. In the end it's all one big team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I understand that all the LTs get to know one another and share a common bond. My father is a retired Marine Colonel hornet driver. I like the Marine Corps quite a bit, but I dont think you can beat our WOFT program for flying.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the Marine Corps quite a bit, but I dont think you can beat our WOFT program for flying.

 

Yeah, you're spot on with that one...

 

 

The koolaid is getting nauseating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone care to take a look at my essay? PM me and Ill shoot it over. Thanks

 

 

EDIT: Dammit.... wrong thread. My bad

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to be an army aviation officer because I want to lead my troops into battle, support them during the mission, and bring them home. I want to mentor and develop my enlisted and make sure my WOs get what they need to fly. I want to take my drive and dedication that I have for competition and apply it in full force to completing the mission and ensuring the safety of my troops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree with you AK. Not to downplay any other service's aviation abilities, but Army helicopter pilots are typically prior enlisted with combat experience and nothing can help you understand and truly support the guy on the ground like having actually been that guy on the ground. Having air support from anyone is always nice, but I know I always felt even better with Army aircraft on station, knowing I had someone who really knew what the situation on the ground can be like above me. That's one of the many reasons for myself wanting to fly, so that I can give that same invaluable sense of confidence to a guy on the ground that I was once given when I was in his place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I entered the Army with the goal of applying for WOFT, by the time I got my head out of my butt and started pursuing my passion of flying I was already a bit older, I looked into the Navy (my Dad was a naval Aviator), got involved with a Marine Corps OSO, but that didn't workout. By the time I graduated I was too old for either of them, and ended up with the Army as my only other option. I felt that my civilian application was far weaker than an active duty application, so I enlisted. During my tour in A-Stan I was in awe of the effect that Apaches had on insurgents. Fast moving CAS looks cool, but it is generally ineffective, they can be heard for quite a while before making their passes and they take quite a long time to circle (maybe only 90 seconds, but that is a long time to get shot at, lol). The way Army aviation works with the troops on the ground is amazing, we can't do much without them. Seeing the way they support us, lit a fire for me, making it not only my goal, but a must, a can't live without.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been awhile since someone posted. Read through most of them and really enjoyed the last post by 2ndGen. Makes me almost wish I was applying with infantry experience!

You guys are all great. I love reading your stories. Mostly, I lurk. And I have lurked for quite some time. Dreaming, admiring... Meanwhile I've been beset by my own insecurities which have thus far prevented me from pursuing, in earnest, my WOFT application. I had an "aha" moment a few days ago and decided not to let self doubt stop me from at least applying. It's been liberating. As you all know; one thing is certain, you won't get accepted if you don't apply. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain - even if I *think* I am not the best applicant.

I just wrote my "Why I want to be an Army Aviator" essay today actually - after a few years of writers block (see above). I'm preparing to cramp my wrists as I hand write it. But first, I had to jump on VR for a little coffee break.

I'd love to share my "why I want to be a military aviator" with you all.

Since I was a little kid I've always looked up to military aviators. My mom and dad were both in the service. The Navy and Marines respectively (wonder how they met?). I have vague recollections of walking with my mom along the side of the giant hangar on Moffet Federal Field in San Jose, CA back when it was an active Naval air station. I remember seeing the GIANT helicopters out on the flight line... They seemed real big back then... I even remember that one of them was the CH46 tandem rotor. It had it's ramp down and the air crew were all posted up on and around the ramp waiting on someone or something. Smokin' and jokin'! I think that was when the spark lit off inside me - to answer the basic question of this topic.

.... Since then I have loved military aviation. I have sought that comradarie and dreamt of military service and aviation. When I was finally of age and means I earned my private pilots license but that didn't ease my desire to serve so I joined the Coast Guard in hopes of becoming a Coast Guard aviator. Let me note here that I always had my eye toward WOFT - through much of HS and even as I joined the USCG... The mission of the Coast Guard always appealed to me though and I thought if I was going to be doing anything enlisted it would be saving lives as a Coastie. In the mean time I had this notion that while I was saving burning babies in the surf I would also be concurrently making strides toward becoming a Coast Guard pilot. I had little appreciation at the time for what "needs of the service" really meant and as it turned out I spent my first 3 and a half years on a ship before even getting close to a Coast Guard helicopter or having enough time to even push the original goal. So my overall situational awareness regarding career paths changed once I made it to my first unit. That ship though, the USCGC POLAR STAR, man did it take me cool places! I'll be telling stories from my time spent aboard her until the day I die. She took me North of Alaska, and South to Antarctica and all those great little specks between. I've been up and down the length of the entire Pacific ocean aboard that beauty. Certainly I did not expect to enjoy my time aboard her as much as I did. Fast forwarding past all THOSE great stories and I finally got orders to AMT A-school to become a Coast Guard Aviation mechanic. FINALLY I'm doing something in Coast Guard aviation! But now it's been almost 5 years since I joined the Coast Guard and I'm not getting any closer to being the guy up front. I love my job as a flight mechanic in the back, I do. It is a very visceral experience when you're hoisting people from the water and getting sprayed by sea salt kicked up by the rotor wash. It is exhilarating. I've played around with the idea of applying for WOFT since joining the Coast Guard but for personal reasons I always talk myself down. I'll chock it up to me being my own worst critic to keep it short but I've finally decided to go for it. I'm surrounded on all sides by ex-army, current CG pilots who have offered to help. There has never been a better time for me to start applying.

Ya'll take care now. In the mean time I'll be over yonder. . . Lurking quietly, as before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My letter, still a work in progress. I like this post because I did a lot of research before typing my letter. Hope this helps some other people out. And any input regarding my letter would be greatly appreciated.

 

Why I want to be an Army aviator

 

Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. While it has been over three years since I have been out of the Army, I still live my life by these core values. Whether serving my community as a firefighter and EMT, or simply making the right moral and ethical decisions in my everyday life.

While I have worked hard to become a firefighter, I feel as though I have more to offer. Growing up around the Army’s elite Special Operations Aviation Regiment, I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for the men and women who fly helicopters for the United States Army. And having spent time on the ground in Afghanistan, my respect for Army aviators has only grown that much stronger. Whether an Apache supporting us while in contact or a Blackhawk flying into a potentially hot LZ to pick up our wounded. It is because of my experiences and respect for these courageous aviators, that I am driven to pursue this passion of becoming a rotary wing aviator myself.

To me, there is no greater honor than to serve and protect this great country. And I can think of no better opportunity to serve my country and support my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms, than to do so from the cockpit of some of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world.

I understand that the program is designed to be rigorous and stressful and I welcome the challenge. My time in the Army as an infantryman and my experience as a firefighter has taught me to be calm and decisive under pressure. I believe everything I have done in my life thus far has set up a solid foundation of hard work and dedication that will make me a strong candidate for the Army Warrant Officer Flight Training Course and a career as an Army Aviator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a passionate letter, but if it were mine I would specifically cite quantifiable achievements (especially in the first and last paragraphs), ie: What have you done as a firefighter/EMT to distinguish yourself from your peers? What did you specifically do as an Infantryman? What did you contribute to your unit? Ever work a level above your pay grade? Think NCOER bullets. Dreaming about being an aviator is great, having respect and admiration for Army Aviators is great, growing up around Army Aviation is great too and all these things will help you, but I'd be more specific about what makes you a better candidate than the next guy.

 

My letter, still a work in progress. I like this post because I did a lot of research before typing my letter. Hope this helps some other people out. And any input regarding my letter would be greatly appreciated.

Why I want to be an Army aviator

 
Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. While it has been over three years since I have been out of the Army, I still live my life by these core values. Whether serving my community as a firefighter and EMT, or simply making the right moral and ethical decisions in my everyday life.
While I have worked hard to become a firefighter, I feel as though I have more to offer. Growing up around the Armys elite Special Operations Aviation Regiment, I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for the men and women who fly helicopters for the United States Army. And having spent time on the ground in Afghanistan, my respect for Army aviators has only grown that much stronger. Whether an Apache supporting us while in contact or a Blackhawk flying into a potentially hot LZ to pick up our wounded. It is because of my experiences and respect for these courageous aviators, that I am driven to pursue this passion of becoming a rotary wing aviator myself.
To me, there is no greater honor than to serve and protect this great country. And I can think of no better opportunity to serve my country and support my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms, than to do so from the cockpit of some of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world.
I understand that the program is designed to be rigorous and stressful and I welcome the challenge. My time in the Army as an infantryman and my experience as a firefighter has taught me to be calm and decisive under pressure. I believe everything I have done in my life thus far has set up a solid foundation of hard work and dedication that will make me a strong candidate for the Army Warrant Officer Flight Training Course and a career as an Army Aviator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a passionate letter, but if it were mine I would specifically cite quantifiable achievements (especially in the first and last paragraphs), ie: What have you done as a firefighter/EMT to distinguish yourself from your peers? What did you specifically do as an Infantryman? What did you contribute to your unit? Ever work a level above your pay grade? Think NCOER bullets. Dreaming about being an aviator is great, having respect and admiration for Army Aviators is great, growing up around Army Aviation is great too and all these things will help you, but I'd be more specific about what makes you a better candidate than the next guy.

 

 

Thanks for the input. One page is just not very much space to expand on much. I tried to shy away from the whole, "my entire life I wanted to be an aviator," because let's face it, I'm 31 years old. If it was my life's dream why am I not flying by now. In fact I wanted to be a firefighter most of my life. But I realized that's not quite the life I thought it would be. Anyhow, so I went more along the lines of my life experiences have led me here.... Or something like that. I'll see if I can squeeze in a couple of more lines about what I can bring to the table and why they NEED to pick me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a passionate letter, but if it were mine I would specifically cite quantifiable achievements (especially in the first and last paragraphs), ie: What have you done as a firefighter/EMT to distinguish yourself from your peers? What did you specifically do as an Infantryman? What did you contribute to your unit? Ever work a level above your pay grade? Think NCOER bullets. Dreaming about being an aviator is great, having respect and admiration for Army Aviators is great, growing up around Army Aviation is great too and all these things will help you, but I'd be more specific about what makes you a better candidate than the next guy.

 

 

 

Does the application packet not include a resume that covers specific achievements and prior professional progression?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Does the application packet not include a resume that covers specific achievements and prior professional progression?

Sure it does, but it's a well known fact that board members have very little time to sift through the details in a packet. I'd use every sentence to sell my achievements, even if some of them might already be listed in the resume. But that's just my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been pondering the different trains of thought on this as well. I leaned toward specifically answering the question itself; WHY I want to be an Army Aviator. I didn't want board members to read my essay and realize that I didn't even answer the question despite pointing out why I would be a good Army Aviator. Thankfully, one can do both with a little word smithing.

Talking to my pilots at work, one directed me to talk the Army up even more than I did in the 1st and last paragraph and to specifically include that I am a Coast Guard aircrew member and helicopter mechanic. I was vague saying simply, in my essay, that I was in Coast Guard aviation. This is great but it doesn't set me apart from other applicants. Plenty of people are involved in aviation or are close to it. He said I need to point out that I'm already, or striving to become a "technical expert" [think, Warrants; TECHNICAL EXPERTS] in rotatory aviation.

In my revision I will point out what makes me a "technical expert" to give my essay that edge; to clearly define myself from other applicants.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if you have to write a full page for the Active duty process vs the Reserve Process but at the end of the Resume form you only have so much space to write a brief "Why You". You can express that you've always had the desire to fly or what inspired you but that needs to be way brief. They want you to sell yourself by basically summarizing your resume and what you will bring to the the Warrant Officer Corp and the Army. Don't gloat too much and mention what attributes you possess that would make you a good leader and an asset to any team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...