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Old 5 June 2002, 11:17
e6286 e6286 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 37
WOFT vs. Officer

Just wanted to check and see what you guys think is the better route for becoming a pilot. It seems to me that WOFT's don't have as much room for pay raises but for some reason it seemed to be the choice my recruiter was really pushing at. Also, when you go for officer commissioning I see that you have to select 10 diff. branches, what are the odds of getting what you want? Thanks.
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Old 5 June 2002, 19:34
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It basically boils down to three questions:

1). Is pay important? After about five years or so the commissioned officer pay starts to seriously outstrip the WO pay, and the gap only gets bigger as time goes on. Though, the new aviation bonuses of $12,000 a year that warrants with 6-14 years are now getting makes up for a lot of it

2). How badly do you want to be the alpha male? If you envision yourself as a commander, better go commissioned. WO's are the grunts of the aviation world. On the other hand, once you get to the instructor/standardization instructor level, you're basically "advising" the commander on how to best organize, train for and execute the missions of his unit. There are some CW4's and CW5's out there who command small detachments, it's not common. But, it is becoming more so.

3). How badly do you want to fly? Go may get aviation branch, you may get infantry. Depends a lot on source of commission and how high in the class you are. Go in as an aviation warrant officer candidate....well, you're a pilot, or you're a cook (if you bust out). I have known many commissioned officers resign and accept a warrant because they found that becoming the most technically and tactically proficient aviator in the unit was more important to them than steering the whole ship. Also, as you gain rank as a commissioned officer, you will fly less and less. Staff positions will really cut into your flight time. Joint time.....turn in your flight gear. I know a Major with close to ten years of aviation service and less than 500 flight hours. Flight time generally decreases a bit as a senior warrant, but you're always in the cockpit.

The line between warrant and commissioned has been getting steadily more blurry over the last decade. All warrant officers CW2 and above are actually "commissioned" officers, with commissions from the president replacing the warrants from the secretary of the army. The Army is short on commissioned guys, and WO's are gradually filling more and more jobs that used to be the exclusive domain of lieutenants and captains.

If you decide wrong, and think that the "other" track is the way to go, you can always resign the commission and accept a warrant, or go to OCS and get a commission.
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