Army Civilian WOFT

Ryan Foster

Member
Hey everyone I'm new to this board and figured it would be the right place to get some answers as many of you have flying experience. I myself have never flown any sort of aircraft but have always had an itch to fly as most people probably have at some point. I'm currently headed into my last semester of college and I'll have a Bachelor's degree in Health Studies in May. I had former plans of going to Grad school for Physical Therapy but have had a change of heart and decided that I would look into joining the Army. I've taken the ASVAB and did decent with an 86 AFQT and 124 GT. I have also already gone through the Physical process at MEPs. I'm currently studying for the SIFT, need a flight physical, and need to work on LORs. I have family members that are up there in the military but none with flight experience and I'm hoping that I could get some insight. I'd greatly appreciate any advice from anybody who has been through the application process to become a Warrant Officer.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas,
Ryan
 

Low_Level_Hell

Well-Known Member
I entered the WOFT program after a year of college in 2000 so my knowledge of the application process is probably dated. I recommend talking to a recruiter about the process. No matter what though, don't let the recruiter talk to you into taking a different job. He/she may tell you that enlisting in a different MOS while you have a WOFT packet in shows your intent to serve your country. Please don't fall for that.

Being in the military isn't for everyone. At times it was incredible, every once in a while terrifying, and more than I would like, it is often miserable. The misery comes later in the career, mainly in the form of staff meetings that never end.

While all careers have their disadvantages, the biggest one for mine is the time I've spent away from my family. I would consider that before you commit.

Best of luck. If you have any other questions I could probably help.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Have you talked to the Air Force or Navy yet?

Seriously.... Especially in our ever increasingly crappy environment. Also keep in mind you will not have the pension option for retirement so staying in 8 vs 10 vs 12 years makes a difference especially when you start looking at the money you can invest for TSP matching.

Are you looking at WOFT because you are dead set on a particular mission? Is it a helicopter thing? Because outside that you are living a lot of quality of life and money on the table just so you can "be all you can be."

The only reason I'm not in the Air Guard right now flying for another service is because I'm too old to get a waiver.
 
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Ryan Foster

Member
Thanks for the response guys it means a lot. I'm aware that there will be highs and lows just as there would be with any other career. I've always wanted to fly and it's always been something that I kind of put in the back of my head as a goal that I probably wouldn't attain. With College being the price that it currently is I kind of persuaded myself that a military career may be the best option for a stable environment and pay. I could probably get a job in a hospital making enough to get by, but I feel like I would be missing out if I didn't at least try to get into WOFT and have the opportunity to fly and serve my country as well. I have also just recently taken my SIFT last week I passed with a 61.. I was hoping to study more than I did but I'm in my last semester trying to finish up my 18 credits.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Realistically you are looking at an 8 year bite of your life to stop college or anything else and go do whatever whenever that the Army wants.

Flight school and all the associated training is down to about a 1.5 year run now but that can always swing long or short depending on a lot of different factors both inside and outside your realm of control.

The reason I caution you on this is right now we are doing more with even less than normal. It's become such an issue that manning has hit an all time low but we are still deploying and doing training etc at the rate we always have. The ground Army has phased back and resized so they deploy and train the same amount, so to the Air side of the Army we have the same number of jobs and tasks but instead of 100-110% manning we are doing it with 70%. This is leading to a lot of unit burn out that we simply ignore because mentality is you want to be here so you will out up with it. It's very short sighted on the Army for that idea and I think we've got about another 2-3 years before we really find out how much it hurt us.


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Ryan Foster

Member
Lawman I really appreciate your honesty about it all.. I have heard about the cutbacks and the affect they are having on training which in turn are leading to a higher frequency of accidents. You probably get to see this first hand. I am without a doubt finishing up college this semester as it wouldn't make much sense not to after 3 1/2 years. This is something that I have thought about a lot and the military came before flying and that's kind of where I got the idea from because I found out that I could serve my country and also fly.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
It's amazing how much a decade of service and years of cumulative time away from your family changes your perspective. I've been married going on five years. I've seen my wife and cohabitation with her for half of that... Less than if we count all the little 1-2 week field problems.

Don't get me wrong I absolutely love flying and doing the cool parts of my job. I take an amazing amount of gratification knowing some 19 year old kid went home from a deployment with both legs or with only a cool story to tell and not images of his dead friends because I checked on station with 300 rounds of HEDP 30mm and a couple missiles and stopped whatever bully came after him and his team mates. What I don't love is missing birthdays and anniversaries and first steps/words so we can fill a training calendar with events to support whatever training event or deployment devised to fill up that white space.

It's definitely a different perspective from the back side of 20. I honestly don't know how we as a military are going to continue with this brainless mindset of leadership 5 or 10 years from now after we remove the single largest reason people stay into the senior ranks and pass on their experience and training. We are bleeding talent already having a 20 year brass ring to strive for. Taking that away isn't exactly going to make things better.
 

scoobs

Well-Known Member
Lawman, why not get out and join an army guard unit? Sounds like the biggest negative is being gone. That won't change being in the AF or Navy.

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Vector

Well-Known Member
It's amazing how much a decade of service and years of cumulative time away from your family changes your perspective. I've been married going on five years. I've seen my wife and cohabitation with her for half of that... Less than if we count all the little 1-2 week field problems.

Don't get me wrong I absolutely love flying and doing the cool parts of my job. I take an amazing amount of gratification knowing some 19 year old kid went home from a deployment with both legs or with only a cool story to tell and not images of his dead friends because I checked on station with 300 rounds of HEDP 30mm and a couple missiles and stopped whatever bully came after him and his team mates. What I don't love is missing birthdays and anniversaries and first steps/words so we can fill a training calendar with events to support whatever training event or deployment devised to fill up that white space.

It's definitely a different perspective from the back side of 20. I honestly don't know how we as a military are going to continue with this brainless mindset of leadership 5 or 10 years from now after we remove the single largest reason people stay into the senior ranks and pass on their experience and training. We are bleeding talent already having a 20 year brass ring to strive for. Taking that away isn't exactly going to make things better.
We heard that after the 90's and you came in and still found a lot of talent to teach you what you know. There are people who don't want to go fly a shiny jet but rather spend those cold nights camped out next to their war machine.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
We heard that after the 90's and you came in and still found a lot of talent to teach you what you know. There are people who don't want to go fly a shiny jet but rather spend those cold nights camped out next to their war machine.
In a military where we are throwing tend to hundreds of thousands of dollars at professional aviators when they are already half to 3/5 of the way to retirement how do you think they will act when there is no retirement.

Oh yeah we will keep some talent, because there is always those guys who are more than comfortable with the suck and things staying the same. But we already lose way more of the good quality Captains/Majors and NCOs when they are educated and experienced enough to go somewhere else and young enough to make a run at some other retirement program.


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Lawman

Well-Known Member
Lawman, why not get out and join an army guard unit? Sounds like the biggest negative is being gone. That won't change being in the AF or Navy.

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Apache pilot... The Guard is saturated with Apache guard guys who are all gonna need new jobs.

Honestly I'm looking at the Coast Guard or non conventional side of things. Or just getting the hell out after a little more networking and re-uping my TS.


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scoobs

Well-Known Member
Are they still deploying Apaches? Are you really gone that much? That sounds like your biggest gripe.
 
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Lawman

Well-Known Member
Are they still deploying Apaches? Are you really gone that much? That sounds like your biggest gripe.
Yes.

Despite the everything is fine mentality aviation got smaller (2 of 13 Cabs gone, 1 more next year). We have support requirements for CTC rotations at Polk and Irwin which takes you away from home for about 1-1.5 months. The number of rotations done in a fiscal year didn't change, now we just ask 10 Cabs to do what 13 were doing. You will do one of those a year if not 2 now.

We have a requirement to keep 1 Battalion of Apache at a minimum in Kuwait/Iraq. We also have the pacific pathways requirement and the European requirement and after next year when they start folding the unit in Korea we will do more rotational deployments there as well. And there's Afghanistan which isn't going away any time soon for Army Aviation. We will be one of the last things to come home. Dwell time pretty much doesn't exist in Aviation or we do the whole only treating Afghanjstan/Kuwait as deployment. A month in the box at Irwin or 4 weeks in the field doing Gunnery still counts as "being home." So when you start adding up time away from home TDY/field/CTC it ends up looking awful.

Like I said its bad. Used to be unit didn't deploy with less than 100-110% manning so they could support and sustain operations. Now with us trying to grow 5 Apache Battalions on the Active side we simply don't have enough bodies to do that. So units are deploying now with 70-80% manning or not seeing new guys show up fast enough to farm out all the additional non flying duties or grow technical expertise at the rate it should and it's on the individuals to just pick up more work. And the ground commanders haven't relaxed their requirements for those deployed guys. When I went to Afghanistan we were all flying on duty hour waivers because of the requirement to keep teams in the air.

There are plenty of papers on it out there about the burn out we are facing as a force.


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scoobs

Well-Known Member
Are they still doing 10 months deployed, 6 months home? I'm surprised they are removing the units from Korea. Sounds like the manning is bad enough it would be smarter to keep the Apaches in the Guard.

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Lawman

Well-Known Member
Are they still doing 10 months deployed, 6 months home? I'm surprised they are removing the units from Korea. Sounds like the manning is bad enough it would be smarter to keep the Apaches in the Guard.

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That's part of the problem though, the guard doesn't deploy its Apaches. We took Utah with us to Afghanistan and that was the first time that unit deployed in years. Other issue is the Kiowas are gone but we can't reach oil the Kiowa pilots fast enough to eat up all this open manning slots. It's not that we want to have their Apaches its that we got rid of an entire series of aircraft and Boeing can't build us Apaches fast enough to replace that loss.

The deployments are all down to 9 months under the idea we get more "home time" which was true under the 13 CAB model. But under the 10 CAB model now you have less recovery time between deployments compared to when we had the longer deployments. So you get to be home more often but for shorter times to reset the unit before it goes to location X/Y/Z and you have less time for people to get their schooling or developmental training in that window. I've been due for a PME class for about a year and a half now but between deployments and training events that "we can't lose you for" I'm well past when Big Army wants me to get it. I finally got them to let me out of a future event because the only other option was me late deploying and being uncurrent when I hit country.


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scoobs

Well-Known Member
Utah was my hometown unit. I think they deployed twice since 9/11. With the 58's gone manning should be over 100% but it's the military. How much would you say you're gone when your not on deployment?

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Lawman

Well-Known Member
Utah was my hometown unit. I think they deployed twice since 9/11. With the 58's gone manning should be over 100% but it's the military. How much would you say you're gone when your not on deployment?

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We can't absorb the 58 guys fast enough for them to remain competitive. That's kinda the blame for why we are only keeping about 2/3 of the pilots.

Take out deployments and your probably gone to the field or CTC3 months of the year. Figure 1 CTC rotation, two gunnerys (which only a couple places can do out of their own hanger), and 2-3 field problems where you head out on the reservation for a week or so to support a ground unit.


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scoobs

Well-Known Member
That's not terrible but the 9 month deployments every other year must be a drag. Is flying slow when you're home?

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Lawman

Well-Known Member
That's not terrible but the 9 month deployments every other year must be a drag. Is flying slow when you're home?

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The semi annual requirements for FAQ 1 (line aviator) are 70 hours semi-annually but that can be prorated based on leave or aircraft unavailability.

I know we are having problems hitting that goal even with the short manning. Garrison units aren't getting the money to fix their stuff and keep the fleet going. Problem being the ebb and flow of hours so for the low hour guys we have periods of drought where they barely fly and their proficiency drops off a lot. It makes progressing guys from straight out of flight school to PIC to Tracked Warrant take a lot longer.


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