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Wo vs CO career and lifestyle questions


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I've been working on a street-to-seat packet, but I do have a 4 year degree. I've been leaning towards WOFT because of the additional flight time that I hear WO's get over COs. My preference is for a job that keeps me engaged more on the technical side of things.

 

Aside from the flight time and pay differences, are there any major pros/ or cons between the two career tracks? Is anyone able to speak about the day-to-day work/lifestyle differences between a flight warrant and a flight CO?

 

What's your advice for a 24 year old with no major obligations in life aside from crippling student loan debt?

 

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I do not have Army experience. However, there's Army Officers trying to board WOFT this month. They do it once a year from what I've gathered. I think that speaks volumes. In addition, an aviation contract is not guaranteed for you if you tried to go OCS. Most of the aviation slots go to the Academy guys. You'd have to be really high up in your OCS class and get lucky they had an aviation slot open to pick when it came time to branch. Food for thought

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I do not have Army experience. However, there's Army Officers trying to board WOFT this month. They do it once a year from what I've gathered. I think that speaks volumes. In addition, an aviation contract is not guaranteed for you if you tried to go OCS. Most of the aviation slots go to the Academy guys. You'd have to be really high up in your OCS class and get lucky they had an aviation slot open to pick when it came time to branch. Food for thought

I know about the same number of warrants who switched to officer as officers who switched to warrants. There are also far fewer West Point aviation officers than OCS and ROTC officers in my experience.

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I know about the same number of warrants who switched to officer as officers who switched to warrants. There are also far fewer West Point aviation officers than OCS and ROTC officers in my experience.

Cool, I was under the impression it was hard to get at OCS. Thanks for the correction. I am still really happy to go WO even with my degree.

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Cool, I was under the impression it was hard to get at OCS. Thanks for the correction. I am still really happy to go WO even with my degree.

Ive met tons of West Point and ROTC Officers in aviation. Have yet to meet one who got it through OCS.

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Do not plan on going ocs after being a warrant. I cant find the milper but they put a stop to that a few years ago. People were doing exactly what you describe, dropping out of rotc, getting picked up as a warrant and then ocs. Circumnavigating the process to get the branch they want. Not huge numbers but enough to stop it. You can still revert to a warrant.

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Do not plan on going ocs after being a warrant. I cant find the milper but they put a stop to that a few years ago. People were doing exactly what you describe, dropping out of rotc, getting picked up as a warrant and then ocs. Circumnavigating the process to get the branch they want. Not huge numbers but enough to stop it. You can still revert to a warrant.

Wow, I never wanted to go OCS but that's crazy. First time I have ever heard of a whole demographic not being allowed to commission

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JerryN12

 

Have you decided not putting your degree to work in the other military services regarding pilot training? Even though the USAF is in need of experience pilots, they never have a problem in attracting student pilots applicants.

^^ I second this. As a prior AF guy I can tell you that your quality of life will be way better. If you're dead set on rotary wing, I hear the coast guard has the second best chance of flying helos, second to the Army. However, any branch besides the Army gives you the benefit of CO AND the benefit of being a dedicated pilot. No other service uses WOs to fly their aircraft from what I understand. There's a reason the Army is hemorrhaging pilots from both the CO and WO sides. Quality of life, little flight time, additional duties, time away from family, undesirable duty stations, and so much more will very quickly outweigh how cool it is to fly helicopters, especially with a family.

 

If I was in your shoes and knew what I know now, I'd think of the long term and go AF or Coast Guard. The one major downside to this is you risk not getting aviation out of OCS. Additionally, even if you get aviation, there is a chance you could end up as a navigator or worse, flying drones.

 

Your last option, if you want to go the CO route and want to be for sure put in aviation, is to talk to a Guard or Reserve recruiter from any branch. Typically the NG and Reserves have more ability to hire a person for a specific job, including pilots.

 

Good luck.

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Thank you all for your advice. After some thinking I believe it is more important to me personally to have a guaranteed pilot slot with fewer flight hours than to risk not being branched aviation at all.

 

I will reach out to my local Reserve/NG and the CG to see if they offer guaranteed branch contracts.

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To jump off what Zaurus suggested, Marine Corps, and I assume Navy, will allow you to contract Aviation. Both, especially the Marine Corps, have decent size rotary fleets. It's my understanding that selection will be OML based, though it seems fighters are always the top picks from what I've heard. If I were younger and looking to go active I'd have probably given the Marine Corps a serious look, evil you know kind of thing, and shorter deployments, better duty stations with almost everything being coastal, more interesting travel opportunities (being on a float for example). Navy would probably be a better quality of life, but one reason I like the army (and the Marine Corps) is it is a ground focused organization. From the Coastie perspective, I've heard it's virtually impossible to fly for them if you are not a rated aviator from another branch or at the academy.

 

Whereas I went Guard, it wasn't really a choice. I also want to be a WO, which no other branches offer.

 

Just from what I've seen in the Guard waiting to go to flight school, the warrants are 100% focused on flying, their track as it relates to aviation, etc. The CO's have a bunch of other responsibilities that diverge from aviation which I'm just frankly not interested in, especially as I balance a civilian career.

 

I imagine you'll still find plenty of college grad peers in the warrant officer corps. It seems the army is big on pushing college degrees for career advancement. The lifestyle is attractive enough that other branches have considered it, and the airforce is even considering a flying-based career track for their commissioned officers who want to stay in the cockpit.

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Do not plan on going ocs after being a warrant. I cant find the milper but they put a stop to that a few years ago. People were doing exactly what you describe, dropping out of rotc, getting picked up as a warrant and then ocs. Circumnavigating the process to get the branch they want. Not huge numbers but enough to stop it. You can still revert to a warrant.

 

A few years ago the Army lifted the band on Aviation Warrants attending OCS. It only lasted a year. You can guarantee being branched aviation in OCS by being a former WO aviator. No lost of skill set.

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Ive met tons of West Point and ROTC Officers in aviation. Have yet to meet one who got it through OCS.

I had 4 active OCS and 3 guard OCS LTs in my BOLC class including myself.

 

And I know of quite a few others in the classes before and after mine.

 

It's not as uncommon as people are claiming.

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