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The Army Needs a Better Solution for its Pilots

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This is a well written article dated 25 Jun 20, regarding the increase in the commitment and overall issues in the Army's pilot force.

Time to google:  the Army needs a better solution for its pilots shortage

Any opinions on the article from you new and old heads? I have two.

1) The General must be brain dead if he thinks the airlines are not having an affect on retention .

2)  I disagreed on having a negative affect on Career Enlisted Soldiers in applying for WOFT. The Army can fill their full WOFT yearly allotment with CAREER Enlisted Soldiers without any help from the private sector if they wish to. In the article, they talk of a 330 pilot shortfall. You can't tell me, you can not find 330 QUALIFIED E-3 to E-6 WOFT applicants in the Army who are fed up with their MOS. They need only the HS/GED degree and a few other requirements in applying.

 Many of the Career Enlisted won't have a love for flying,. It's the pay, Officer title and a different type of BS. Different ranks, different BS, hopefully less.






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Good article but not really raising any points that haven't been discussed here.

One thing I see from the 10 year ADSO, which ends up being a ~12 year additional commitment, is that there is a sweet spot for enlisted applicants.  If you have 10+ years in service you are now committed to serve beyond 20 years.  I'm not sure that's too palatable, but I've never been in that position.  The sweet spot it would seem is for soldiers who are relatively junior with less than 10 years of service, which keeps them retained for longer but reduces the overall experience of the Warrant Officer Corp.

For street to seat you are now asking to sign your life for more than a decade of service.  When I was weighing my options it was bearable to think of 7-8 years of my life.  I'm not sure as a 21 year old I would be so inclined to serve knowing I would be 33 before being able to resign.  Maybe, but if commercial aviation recovers it will be a tough sell.  Ultimately, I joined because I didn't have many other options and I wanted to serve while we were at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I doubt I would make the same choice today.

You cannot compare leaving the military as a helicopter pilot to leaving as an airplane pilot.  The career outlooks, pay, and quality of life are vastly different.  

For those considering it, keep in mind the Army is unpredictable.  In 6 short months we went from having a replacement OH-58F on the way, to the entire community being divided up into those with transitions, those that might get them, and those who were forced out.  2 years later the entire airframe and community was gone.  Think about that before being so confident in your willingness to sign 12 years of your life over to the Army.

I served beyond my initial commitment because I enjoyed flying in the Army and was able to continue doing that after they retired the OH-58D.  But I had the option.  I was done with my commitment.  Towards the end of my service I was offered to transition to the Apache but after 9 years, some combat time, a bunch of hairy flying, I was ready to call it quits.  This is a dangerous job, and my nerves were shot.  And that's the thing, if you asked me as a fresh PC a couple years out of flight school what my plan was I would have told you I was going to fly the OH-58 forever and retire from the Army.

Anyway, that's a lot of rambling and not really anything to do with the article.  But those are my thoughts.



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As the Army is tinkering around the edges in finding solutions to Aviation retention issues, they've come up with 2 and possibly a 3rd solution in their eyes in the last few years.

1) Max 8 yr TIS for WOFT (waiverable if needed)

2) ADSO 10 yrs 1 Oct 20 

3) Adjusting WO1 Date of Rank to Graduation. (Possible in the near future)

QOL & pay incentive issues will never be addressed in a meaningful way. This is the Army solution for the foreseeable future.




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