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This thread is fascinating. I'd love to assess for the 160'th, but there's so many rumors and completely contradictory stories that fly around Bravo Company that sorting signal from noise is difficult. I've heard everything from "anyone can apply at any time" to "a WO1 dropping an application will be laughed out of the room" (and that from a senior Warrant at Bco). Although I'm gathering that Stearmann has personal experience with the unit, so I'm inclined to believe him over random Cadre at the company.

 

I'd just hate to present myself as a fatheaded example of hubris to a unit as storied and professional as the SOAR. I think a fair number of students feel the same, which leads to an instiutional reluctance to consider the possibility; no one wants to be "that WOJG who thought too highly of himself" since That Guy is presented as the king of all shitbags from day one of WOCS.

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Every now and then 160th sends recruiters to the school house looking for good future candidates. They asked us to evaluate the students abilities and desire to go spec ops. As section leader I would

Velocity is right, there are no Jedi Knights in the REGT. However, the folks we recruit and retain are most always self starters, and have an ability to remain calm under pressure.   Keep in mind that

They use something much, much cooler. Google MH-60L DAP

The senior warrant that said that was probably butthurt because he's a senior warrant and his career has brought him back to B Co. If you want to go to the 160th out of flight school, apply for it. They don't discourage anyone from trying out. If you don't make it they'll tell you what you need to improve on and encourage you to try again when you're ready.

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Just an FYI for some perspective. The USMC does send a AH type to the 160th and they rotate about every 3 years. Those dudes are all WTIs and very experienced and usually hand picked between the MAGs and/or vetted by the previous guy. The 160th also sends a senior warrant to work at MAWTS-1. I've been told the 160th is a good experience but not career enhancing for Marine aviators.

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Right now we have an ex-WTI AH-1 MAJ who's now a CW2 flying MH-47s. Yes, B Co is the worst place to get your career information. I came to the 160th straight out of flight school as a WO1 (albeit it a decade a go) and have been here ever since.

 

If you meet the prerequisites and believe ou have the heart for the mission and the life style, you won't be laughed at for appying.

 

MR-

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Every now and then 160th sends recruiters to the school house looking for good future candidates. They asked us to evaluate the students abilities and desire to go spec ops. As section leader I would inform the students if they had interest in 160th to let it be known so their IPs can give me a go/no go. Usually they were students coming from a spec ops background already.

 

As said 160th isn't for everyone. I've had many friends who went SOAR and I can tell you it's a demanding lifestyle. Also for you future aviators don't think they are any better than you simply because they're spec ops. They simply just chose that route and some of us didn't. They ball up aircraft every year just like the big Army does. There are no Chuck Yeagers out there who stand out from the rest. I've flown with literally hundreds of students and I can tell you no one is really blessed with some magical touch in flying. Besides a couple of students who had not an aviation bone in their body, everyone eventually catches on and can do this job. Some of my best students would have been great in 160th but they had no desire for it. 160th aviators generally fly a more demanding profile and that requires special training that ANY of you can aquire.

 

Don't think you have to go 160th to take part in spec ops stuff either. Just flying GSAB I've flown SEALs, Rangers, and Army spec ops. Sometimes I didn't know what affiliation they had. A few guys on a manifest with no names or SSNs and you drop them off on some mountain top. While I've filled out the SOAR application I never turned it in. Don't regret it either. While doing that stuff would have been cool, the versatility of just being in a GSAB I think is more enjoyable. I've flown everything from world leaders to entertainers. I've dropped off personel/supplies and flown C2 during some of the biggest ops in Afghanistan. Your job just as an "average Joe" aviator is just as important and don't forget it. I always said downrange there are only two types of people doing the majority of the work. Those who kick down doors, and those who fly the people who kick down doors. Army Aviation IS the most relevant force on the battlefield.

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Velocity is right, there are no Jedi Knights in the REGT. However, the folks we recruit and retain are most always self starters, and have an ability to remain calm under pressure.

 

Keep in mind that while regular Army aviation does assist in the capacity of "direct support", that is a collateral duty, the 160th doesn't sling load cargo, carry supplies, routine pax transfers, etc. It's always in direct support of the "customer". As the effort becomes more and more benign in OEF, you'll see direct support being used more often for the remaining forces as the REGT starts to minimize it's foot print there.

 

When you walk in the door it's impressed upon you that supporting the ground force is the only reason the unit exists and you need to be committed to contributing to that mission to the potential exclusion of your personal life, college classes, etc.

 

That said, the biggest difference that makes Night Stalkers able to do what we do is that the unit is "resourced for success" meaning you'll probably never run out of flying hours or ammo, there's always enough computers for each pilot, and training never stops.

 

I think one of the biggest advantages of the unit if you arrive as a junior WO is the experience that you're surrounded by. You can check into a company (of any platform) and have at least 2 CW5s in the company, along with several CW4s and so on, most of which have probably been together since the mid 90s or earlier.And you can stay in that company and/or BN as long as you continue to contribute. I've been in the same company since 2003 and the only PCS I made was within the REGT. This is great for junior guys, probably not so useful if you're a senior CW3 or CW4 who needs BN or BGE level OERs for promotion.

 

Mike-

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Like stearmann said, you are "resourced for success." that's probably the biggest reason why people go SOAR. For some of you the reality of being an Army Aviator just won't meet the dream you have in your head. While I didn't care for big Army red tape after 9/11 there was plenty of flying to go around for us PCs. I honestly can tell you the Army you all are going to is far different. You'll be struggling to get hours and promotions. Prior to retirement I could barely get my guys their mins. It's a necessary evil of post war drawdown. Think about these things as a student wondering if SOAR is for you. If you're serious about then make it known. Obviously class ranking matters but they'll be looking at you as whole. The IP won't be saying "damn WO1 Smith does a mean roll on, I'm going to recommend him for 160th." just like your WOFT packet, make sure you make yourself competitive. Finally make sure it's really what you want to do. I can tell you from experience I've seen plenty of students in flight school who really didn't want to be in the Army, let alone 160th. Talk to your IPs in flight school. They're there to not only instruct but mentor you. Some of them (like mine) were former 160th guys themselves.

Whatever choice you make, it doesn't matter if you go 160th or some Guard unit, just keep your priorities straight and be good at what you do.

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Just to keep this thread current before I graduated Nov 2012 I know 1 Lt and 1 WO1 that assessed from classes just ahead of me in Dec of 2012 and both were accepted. They were both UH-60M drivers and both of them were former SF community members. The WO1 was a good friend of mine and we worked out together every day. He most certainly deserved it. He was also DHG of his class.

 

I also know another WO1 SF'er that had his packet turned down the first time FWIW.

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A background as a spec ops ground force doesn't neccessarily help you either get accepted for assessment, nor make it any easier to complete Green Platoon. If your pilot skills are up to par what it does do is allow you to integrate into the mission a little easier because you have a general idea of what we do and the complexities of the mission.

 

A previous special operations background also gives the assessment board that you have the intestinal fortitude to complete a physically and mentally challenging course of instruction.

 

That said, we turn away a good number of ex-spec ops applications, as have as many SOF guys who made it to assessment only to be be declined at their board.

 

Mike-

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That's good information, especially for the non SF applicants who are looking to get picked up. I wasn't trying to emphasize SF applicants, I simply only knew three people in classes that had applied that I had personally talked to and found out what happened. I'm sure there were many more down there, I just didn't happen to run into them in my time.

 

I'm a NG guy and I would really like to put in a packet, but I wasn't deployed when I was enlisted and we have a medivac unit going Nov 2013 which I have volunteered for. I think my packet would be much stronger as a CW2 with one deployment than as a WO1 with no deployments being a national guard pilot. I know that 160th is tough but I feel like being a part of that community would be well worth the sacrifice, and my wife has been pushing me to go back to active duty because she liked the financial security and being able to stay home with our son.

 

If everything turns out with the deployment I should be able to drop a packet in 24 months.

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We've got several ex-NG guys flying for us. The biggest hurdle is gaining enough flight time and making PC and NVG minimums to meet the asessment pre-requisites for Warrant Officers (RLOs are less stringent) on the same timeline as your AD bretheren. The Green Platoon syllabus isn't kind to neophytes, and while it's adjusting to the influx of new pilots, the speed and graduate level of academics still assumes you're an experienced PC with combat experience.

 

A couple of our guys were ex- NG 47 pilots, one was a CO NG Huey guy, another was a 58C pilot.

 

Mike-

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