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Thinking about dropping a WO packet w/ Army, any advice?


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Hello everyone! I have been in the Army for 8 years this month as an infantryman. I've deployed to Iraq as a Team Leader, Afghanistan as a Sniper TL and SL, and spent three years recruiting (DA Select). I just PCS'd from recruiting to a regular infantry unit and I'm not sure I feel challenged the way I used to. The grind is beginning to wear on me and without a deployment to look forward to I'm not sure I can bear the garrison life.


I'm hesitant to leave the Army. I feel like recruiting was a taste of the civilian world and I did not like it (although I did very well as a recruiter). So I decided to take the blue pill and reinsert myself into the matrix!


I'm having a bit of an existential crisis about what to do next; the way I see it I have three options I can try for: 1. Stay in the regular infantry. 2. Try out for Special Forces. 3. Apply to be a warrant officer.


I'm genuinely torn on what to do but I'm running out of time. I turn 32 this summer (cutoff for flight WO packets is 33). I know my body is somewhat of a ticking time bomb (minor knee surgery last January).


Can anyone give me insight into the helicopter community in the Army? I'm partly worried the camaraderie doesn't exist like it does in the infantry and it will be a detached experience. Furthermore, I would love to be a Apache pilot (I'm sure everyone does) and I'm apprehensive about being selected to fly Chinooks. I understand that ultimately it's not my decision, but some insight would be appreciated.


Otherwise, I believe I meet all the qualifications to at least submit a packet:


GT: 128


Bachelors and Master's Degree


300 on PT Tests


all NCOERs read very well


Good physical condition


Lasik Eye surgery when I was 25


Thanks!


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Well, if you don't want Chinooks, you honestly don't have to worry about them being "forced" on you. I'm coming up on selection soon and I'be been bumped back through 3 different classes due to some B Co bullshit. In every class, I always ask what people want. Generally, most people want 47s, C-12s, or 60s. There's always one or two that want Apaches, but in my experience, come selection time, it's a small minority. If you like the sound of 64s because you were a prior infantry guy and want to keep on doing cool guy stuff, just know that even if you don't get them you can always go 160th.

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Well, if you don't want Chinooks, you honestly don't have to worry about them being "forced" on you.

 

I hope my statement didn't come off as disrespectful. By no means do I think it's an inferior platform or responsibility, I just have trouble with the thought of leaving the combat portion of my job behind. I know this is something I need to deal with internally, although.

 

Furthermore, I'm always apprehensive regarding control of my destiny (why I enlisted instead of went OCS in the first place).

 

Otherwise, thank you for your thoughtful response!

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Well, if you don't want Chinooks, you honestly don't have to worry about them being "forced" on you.

You say that, but my buddy got forced into a 47. He wanted 60s. His selection? 2 64s, 1 C-12, 1 47. Anything is possible.

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Selection should be the last of your concern at this point.

 

That being said, a very good friend of mine spent 12 years in the Infantry before becoming a 47 pilot. It is not the same, however, Army Aviation has its own camaraderie. As for leaving combat arms, the only choice for you is 64s.

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Selection should be the last of your concern at this point....

 

...As for leaving combat arms, the only choice for you is 64s.

 

It really is the least of my worries. Obviously, I've earned nothing to this point and it has more to do with my reluctance to leave combat behind if that's how the chips play out.

 

I've begun studying for the SIFT and reaching out for LOR. I will treat the entire process as a professional, regardless of outcome.

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I am sure you will. Look, we all say "selection is the last thing you should worry about". In reality, I thought about it every single day. Every. Day. I wanted to be nothing but a Kiowa pilot, and I selected them....felt good.

 

But remember, we all have our place. Some of the highest speed dudes I know, think Tier 1 operators, are Hawk and Hook drivers now. Go figure.

 

And remember, Chinooks go to the field with couches, grills, coolers, and hammocks.

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Hello everyone! I have been in the Army for 8 years this month as an infantryman. I've deployed to Iraq as a Team Leader, Afghanistan as a Sniper TL and SL, and spent three years recruiting (DA Select). I just PCS'd from recruiting to a regular infantry unit and I'm not sure I feel challenged the way I used to. The grind is beginning to wear on me and without a deployment to look forward to I'm not sure I can bear the garrison life.

I'm hesitant to leave the Army. I feel like recruiting was a taste of the civilian world and I did not like it (although I did very well as a recruiter). So I decided to take the blue pill and reinsert myself into the matrix!

I'm having a bit of an existential crisis about what to do next; the way I see it I have three options I can try for: 1. Stay in the regular infantry. 2. Try out for Special Forces. 3. Apply to be a warrant officer.

I'm genuinely torn on what to do but I'm running out of time. I turn 32 this summer (cutoff for flight WO packets is 33). I know my body is somewhat of a ticking time bomb (minor knee surgery last January).

Can anyone give me insight into the helicopter community in the Army? I'm partly worried the camaraderie doesn't exist like it does in the infantry and it will be a detached experience. Furthermore, I would love to be a Apache pilot (I'm sure everyone does) and I'm apprehensive about being selected to fly Chinooks. I understand that ultimately it's not my decision, but some insight would be appreciated.

Otherwise, I believe I meet all the qualifications to at least submit a packet:

GT: 128

Bachelors and Master's Degree

300 on PT Tests

all NCOERs read very well

Good physical condition

Lasik Eye surgery when I was 25

Thanks!

 

This is cool. kinda like reading something I would have written a couple years ago because I was in the same bind. GO WARRANT. Seriously. There are countless long tabbers here and every one has given me the same answer about leaving group as us regular dudes have for leaving the infantry: the party is over (for now) and the fun has died down a bit with OEF and OIF closed out-ish. I fell in love with guns in Afghanistan, and to be honest, for me flying is just a bonus to the whole aerial weapons platform deal. I would have been a bit crushed had I not selected 64's, But I was also fully prepared for the bad assery of Chinooks and Hawks and I still have massive respect for both of them. They weren't what I wanted but I would have still been happy flying either. That said, 64 wannabes are definitely in the minority so you're not in a bad position. The hardest part for you will be (once you've made your decision) to keep putting that packet together and not letting the day to day drudgery of the grunt life wear you down. The three or four hours after work are absolutely critical in this regard. When you feel like drinking some beer and watching some football after a long day, break out the packet checklist instead and start working on that packet. Feel free to PM me for any additional info you might need.

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My WOBC class is greater than 50% 64 hopefuls, and a good mix of the other platforms after that. I definitely think it varies, and will change throughout flight school prior to selection.

 

But as a former shooter myself, I say go Warrant. I'm very, VERY early in my journey but it has already been worth it. And dirtyfoot is right, there are plenty of us around B Co. right now.

 

Any questions feel free to shoot me a PM.

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How does 160th work? Do they only fly certain platforms? Can any pilot try out? Thanks for bringing this up.

I'm sure there are a lot of people here that have a lot more knowledge on this than me, but from what I've heard here at Rucker, the 160th has 47s, 60s, and 6s (little birds). So if you select 64s in flight school then go 160th, you'll end up in one of those 3 airframes anyway. I also believe that anyone can submit a packet to join the 160th after (correct me if i'm wrong) 2 years in an operational unit. However, the only people that can apply for the 160th out of flight school are the top 10% of your class OML or anybody who has had a prior Special Forces/operator/cool guy type job.

 

And no offense taken on being forced into 47's, most people have their top and bottom choices. Apaches are personally my last pick. So worst case scenario for me is I end up flying the most advanced f*cking gunship in the world. It's not the worst position to be in haha. But all I'm saying is that 47's are very few and far between already, and the chances of you being in a class that has more than one or two available is very slim, and the chances that somebody in your class doesn't already have them as their first or second pick is very rare. Like Lindsey said, It could happen, but I honestly wouldn't stress about it.

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Shut it Lindsey....although it's true. As a population were very long in the tooth. Somewhere about 60% of the WOs are currently over 20 years. We're also very top heavy, it's not uncommon to have several W4s in s company and 2-3 W5s depending on the airframe. A W2 is a unicorn lately. The benefit is you have guys flying together for several years' worth of continuity without PCSing every two or three years.

 

That said, if you can't decide whether or not to commit to SF or aviation at this stage, it would be difficult to succeed at either.

 

Mike-

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Shut it Lindsey....although it's true. As a population were very long in the tooth. Somewhere about 60% of the WOs are currently over 20 years. We're also very top heavy, it's not uncommon to have several W4s in s company and 2-3 W5s depending on the airframe. A W2 is a unicorn lately. The benefit is you have guys flying together for several years' worth of continuity without PCSing every two or three years.

 

That said, if you can't decide whether or not to commit to SF or aviation at this stage, it would be difficult to succeed at either.

 

Mike-

This actually has me curious. Are the people in charge of evaluating and accepting new aviators into the 160th looking to bring in some younger people to get experience before the top retires? Essentially grooming them, or is it constant that it is traditionally top heavy?

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It's top heavy because the only reliable attrition we have is retirements and most WOs stay beyond 20 for several reasons, bonuses being one, and the fact that you can stay at the same duty station to see your kids all the way through school and pay off your house. Though you can safely plan on being gone half of each year...every year but in smaller chunks than the traditional year long deployment.

 

We get W2s and 3s, but if nobody leaves they eventually become the aforementioned W4s and 5s.

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Thank you all very much for the responses. I've decided to begin building my WOFT packet and schedule the SIFT soon. If I were younger, SF would be a stronger option but I think I only have a few years left in the tank for a truly rigorous lifestyle. Hopefully, I earn the opportunity to meet some of you on the other side.

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Shut it Lindsey....although it's true. As a population were very long in the tooth. Somewhere about 60% of the WOs are currently over 20 years. We're also very top heavy, it's not uncommon to have several W4s in s company and 2-3 W5s depending on the airframe. A W2 is a unicorn lately. The benefit is you have guys flying together for several years' worth of continuity without PCSing every two or three years.

 

That said, if you can't decide whether or not to commit to SF or aviation at this stage, it would be difficult to succeed at either.

 

Mike-

 

 

It's top heavy because the only reliable attrition we have is retirements and most WOs stay beyond 20 for several reasons, bonuses being one, and the fact that you can stay at the same duty station to see your kids all the way through school and pay off your house. Though you can safely plan on being gone half of each year...every year but in smaller chunks than the traditional year long deployment.

 

We get W2s and 3s, but if nobody leaves they eventually become the aforementioned W4s and 5s.

 

I appreciate the info sir!

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I'm sure there are a lot of people here that have a lot more knowledge on this than me, but from what I've heard here at Rucker, the 160th has 47s, 60s, and 6s (little birds). So if you select 64s in flight school then go 160th, you'll end up in one of those 3 airframes anyway. I also believe that anyone can submit a packet to join the 160th after (correct me if i'm wrong) 2 years in an operational unit. However, the only people that can apply for the 160th out of flight school are the top 10% of your class OML or anybody who has had a prior Special Forces/operator/cool guy type job.

Not trying to "put the cart before the horse," but if I am selected into the WOFT program, my end goal has been to join the night stalkers. I assumed that one had to have plenty of experience before applying, but is this true with members of top 10% of flight school class being able to apply directly into the 160th?

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Not trying to "put the cart before the horse," but if I am selected into the WOFT program, my end goal has been to join the night stalkers. I assumed that one had to have plenty of experience before applying, but is this true with members of top 10% of flight school class being able to apply directly into the 160th?

 

Although my experience in the 160th hasn't been as long as Mike's I will tell you what I have seen in the regiment. There are WO1's that come to the 160th, I have seen multiple WO1s in a green platoon class. I have also seen multiple WO1's leave the regiment prior to graduating and after arriving at the unit.

 

It isn't that the regiment doesn't take WO1s it's that statistically speaking your knowledge and experience or lack thereof will make it more difficult for you to focus on complex tasks once you are in the unit. By no means am I saying you couldn't do it, you could and I think everyone that wants to go to the 160th should go ASAP. the worst thing that happens is they say no, come back later.

 

It isn't that you couldn't make it through green platoon / advanced skills. Certain companies, depending on their culture / OPTEMPO do not have time to explain basic flight school related or core aviator skills. You can be expected when you show up to your unit to be able to plan, brief and execute a mission with little to no assistance either because everyone is too busy to help or you are being evaluated on performance.

 

That being said, having experience / bad habits presents it's own argument for going to the Regiment young. I have had my own issues because of having bad habits / my way of doing things.

 

From a timeline perspective I did not assess for the 160th until 3 years out of flight school and pilot in command. I didn't start green platoon until 4 1/2 years out of flight school. So if going to the regiment is what you want to do make sure that you lean forward and plan accordingly. If you have a family, make sure they know your intentions and no matter what, do your best both, in flight school and in your unit.

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I was a former 47 Flight Engineer and new to the 64 community. I absolutely miss the mission I used to be part of, and maybe miss the community even more. The 64 community is ummm....different. It's not the stereotype everyone makes it out to be, but just different than the 47.

 

One thing I noticed about flight school was it seemed like every other person, if not every person, wanted to go 160th.

 

Also to be honest your packet already looks way better than mine did. I had 8 years TIS and no college hours at all. I only had good LORs, experience and awards.

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