My Dilemma

Ryan110175

Well-Known Member
I just learned that I was selected as a Navigator in the U.S. Air Force. I didn't receive my first choice of pilot, so I'm a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I am tremendously proud that I was picked to be an officer in greatest Air Force this world has ever seen. I am just not certain I should accept the offer, as my aspirations are to be a pilot. However, I know that the Air Force is an opportunity that's hard to turn down.
If I pursue a civilian flying career, I would be entering an uncertain oversaturated industry, but flying is what I love. Being an AF Nav. would fill me pride and I still get to fly around in jets, albeit not behind the controls. Any thoughts and opinions would be appreciated.

By the way, my age prohibits me from transitioning from Nav to Pilot in the AF.
 

JGriffis

New Member
Well congrats first, that is a great opportunity. My ultimate goal is to fly, but navigator is the next thing to it. What are your stats is what I want to know? I know we've exchanged posts on this military forum. What is the GPA requirements for OTS?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Really depends what you want to do. If your heart is into flying and that's what you want to do in civilian after your AF time, then the Nav time won't really do anything for you, hours-wise. It's possible that your time would be better spent working on building pilot time and moving up in the civilian world.

If you want to be in the military and hold the job of nav, not really caring what type of airframe you're a nav on, then there's that option. I believe you'll owe 6 total years for completing nav school, but would you be happy being in a C-130 vs a RC-135 vs an F-15E as a nav? Those are all things to consider since, like pilots, navs get selected for where they go based on 1. the needs of the AF and what's available 2. where you finish in your class 3. what you desire. And the Navigator field in and of itself is shrinking as we speak. F-15E is the last fighter with Navs. KC-135s have gotten rid of most all their Navs. Navs remain in C-130 versions, RC-135s, B-52s, and B-1s mostly. Still, they're becoming fewer and far between.

Then there's the officer aspect of it. Like me, nothing will guarantee that you work as a nav in the AF your whole time. As an AF officer, there's tons of non-flying jobs that require a "rated" officer (pilot/nav) to fill them such as staff jobs, army liasion jobs, UAV pilot, and other desk jobs. There's no guarantee that after your first assignment, you won't get one of these gigs.....gigs that navs seem to get since there's more of them and less cockpits for them, unlike pilots. That's where most of the former F-4/F-111 backseaters ended up. Same with the C-5/C-141 "table navs" that couldn't get the few C-130 gigs left when their airframes got rid of navs. KC-135 guys are seeing the same thing with the PACER CRAG mod on their jets.

All things to consider. From the horse's mouth.
 

JGriffis

New Member
Yeah MikeD is definately right. If your ultimate goal is to become an airline pilot then it wouldn't do anything for you. But if you want to serve your country, then do it. It's all in your hands.
 

Ryan110175

Well-Known Member
Airframe really doesn't matter to me, as long as I'm in the air I'm happy, but I really do prefer to be at the controls. The shrinking Nav field is something I'm really considering, but it seems the AF is focusing Navs as EWO's, WSO's, and possibly UAV pilots because of the reduction in Nav slots on many airframes. The Air Force is in desperate need of Nav's now, as there was a 100% selection rate last board, so they definately need them. I just don't know which way to go, as pursuing a civilan pilot career and an AF Nav career have very appealing pros and not-so-appealing cons
. If I was selected as a pilot, there wouldn't be any hesitation. Oh, by the way, my wife isn't really thrilled about the idea, but will hesitantly support me.

My stats were P75 N70 GPA 3.45. I don't know if there is a minimum GPA for OTS.
 

Ryan110175

Well-Known Member
Hey MikeD,

You mentioned in a previous thread that "all military lifestyles suck." Can you elaborate what the pros and cons of AF lifestyle are....in your own opinion of course
. Thanks
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Oh, by the way, my wife isn't really thrilled about the idea, but will hesitantly support me.



[/ QUOTE ]

Consider too that these days, you'll be gone from home on deployments for pretty extended amounts of time, much like me.

To add: this is one of the major gripes about the overall lifestyle. The military is mostly a deployment force these days, versus the garrison force it was in the cold war era. Depending on airfrace, especially as a nav, you could be gone for many months at a time. Some of the C-130 transport guys I've talked to have a painful deployment schedule. And deploying does get old, let me tell you.

All things to consider, along with the desk jobs, etc.
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Depending on airfrace, especially as a nav, you could be gone for many months at a time. Some of the C-130 transport guys I've talked to have a painful deployment schedule. And deploying does get old, let me tell you.

All things to consider, along with the desk jobs, etc.

[/ QUOTE ]

I've got a friend who is a nav on RC-135s and he is TDY ALL the time. Same goes for my friends in high-demand assets like JSTARS or AWACS. Those guys are gone ALL the time as well. And except for an occasional Green or Red Flag, they are never really "good" TDYs...

And the deployments are still mostly no-notice. Supposedly the AEF concept was supposed to alleviate that, to allow families to plan vacations and things like that, but I heard that after Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the AEF went out the window and no one has any way to plan any more.

MikeD, is there any plan to try to return to the AEF schedule, or have the brass given up on that idea?
 

Ryan110175

Well-Known Member
That will be the least I like about the AF lifestyle. I alone would not have a problem with deployments, but I know my wife may not like them as well. Funny, seven months ago when I first put my application in, there was nothing I wanted more than becoming an AF officer, albeit as a pilot, but as an officer primarily.
 

JGriffis

New Member
It is a great opportunity, but your have to decide what is right for you and your family. I would take it, but i'm young, not married, with no dependants.
 

shooter13

New Member
Do you guys get per diem when deployed? What about short 1 month TDY assignments? Just curious.

All we get extra for deploying is Family Sep pay after 30 days. We don't really ever get that except on our extended 6-9 month deployments. Otherwise you can figure that our cruises are 29 days long. Nothing like scheduling a float so that you never have to pay family sep.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Depending on airfrace, especially as a nav, you could be gone for many months at a time. Some of the C-130 transport guys I've talked to have a painful deployment schedule. And deploying does get old, let me tell you.

All things to consider, along with the desk jobs, etc.

[/ QUOTE ]

I've got a friend who is a nav on RC-135s and he is TDY ALL the time. Same goes for my friends in high-demand assets like JSTARS or AWACS. Those guys are gone ALL the time as well. And except for an occasional Green or Red Flag, they are never really "good" TDYs...

And the deployments are still mostly no-notice. Supposedly the AEF concept was supposed to alleviate that, to allow families to plan vacations and things like that, but I heard that after Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the AEF went out the window and no one has any way to plan any more.

MikeD, is there any plan to try to return to the AEF schedule, or have the brass given up on that idea?

[/ QUOTE ]

Copa,

The AEF concept got all messed-up during the Iraq invasion last year. Units then from AEF 7/8 stayed for the duration of two cycles back to back. Two off-timeline AEFs known as Blue and Silver were created to get the AEF cycle back online. I'm currently on AEF Silver, and following us, the timeline will supposedly be back on. How well it works will be seen.

There's not many good TDYs anymore. Heck, I'm glad to be leaving my unit when I get back since when the unit returns, there's about 3 weeks off, then back to the cycle of TDYs here and there around the US supporting this and that training exercises.
 

GatorFC

Well-Known Member
[/ QUOTE ] The military is mostly a deployment force these days, versus the garrison force it was in the cold war era.

[/ QUOTE ]
Cold War/Hot War - the Navy has always been a deployment force.

Just had to throw my $0.02 in as a former squid, MikeD.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]


[/ QUOTE ] The military is mostly a deployment force these days, versus the garrison force it was in the cold war era.

[/ QUOTE ]
Cold War/Hot War - the Navy has always been a deployment force.

Just had to throw my $0.02 in as a former squid, MikeD.


[/ QUOTE ]

Very true. I was thinking in more of a strategic mindset sense of the Army and AF, but to get down to the particular service, I'd definately have to agree that the Navy has always been a deployment force. A tip of the hat to those that endure the 6 or more month cruises away from family.
 

GatorFC

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
A tip of the hat to those that endure the 6 or more month cruises away from family.

[/ QUOTE ]Thanks, MikeD, and a tip of the hat right back atcha for you all that are still active duty and fighting for our freedoms right now.
 
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