Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Military: E to O?
Old 06-05-2008, 11:05 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
Keyboard Ninja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 157
Military: E to O?

Found this thread http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...e-o-32255.html and decided to make my own hoping to find more "personal" advice I suppose. I have a few different questions, and they may not seem related at all. I'm just hoping that some of you could share your experiences with me.

Warrant Officer option:
Recently the Army had a CW4 and his team of WO recruiters here to brief us about applying for WO commission. I've been looking at the program via their usarec.com website, and there are 3 MOS's that I'd like to go for . One is Intel (what I do now) and the other two are aviator, and psyop.

Intel: I like what I do, and I see alot of potential in it. I recently received an email from contractor in IRAQ and she mentions that WO intel officers are more of a "liason" or briefer between E's and the O's. I'd prefer to be more hands on.

Aviator: Who wouldn't want to fly a helicopter? Plus the monetary incentives looked really good.

Psyop: I don't have a clue, but it sounded cool. I excel in one on one sales, and I was told that those skills might be good in this field.

Active Duty Officer (USAF or Army)
I would prefer USAF, but the Army would allow me to commission sooner with only 90 credit hours. I currently have 72 credit hours towards a degree in Asian Studies (Japanese). I'm hoping to pick up another 21 credit hours this year via CLEPS and DANTES (upper level elective courses). Should I even finish this degree plan? I've got all the basics done, and just need to finish the upper level stuff. At this point I'm wondering if a degree in communications (or public speaking) would be better since that sort of training seems to fit an Officer. From what I've seen Officers are in front of their troops quite a bit. Wouldn't it be beneficial then to get as much training in public speaking as possible?

I also wanted to stay Active Duty because I'd like to do the 20 and get out. If I really like what I'm doing I could stay longer, but that is a long ways off. Being in the Guard or Reserves seemed like a good idea, but at times I just see them getting jerked around in life (going from a civilian job to active duty with no end in sight at times). I don't mind changes, but the consistency of being active duty just seems more stable. I know I don't know jack about that side of the fence really so if anyone wants to put me in my place you are more than welcome.

I like where I'm at, but one of the obvious reasons for me to even consider these options is because of the money. Most people I've talked to say that if I'm doing it for the money then I shouldn't be doing it. Figured this forum might see it differently and would offer up experiences and advice looking at it from my perspective: being the best troop I can be, teaching others and also preparing myself for the next phase of my life (aka retirement). I've only been in for 2 years, but I know its never too late to learn from others.

That's all I can think of at this moment, but rest assured that I'll have plenty of other things to ask as this thread grows (I hope!).
__________________

__________________
Instead of getting angry I just LOL. Can't waste time with stupid people.
Keyboard Ninja is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-05-2008, 12:52 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
KN=Some of my story is contained in the referenced thread. It was a different War but I suspect much still applies to the Military today. At one time I did all of the appointments as WO from MILPERCEN in the old Warrant Officer Division, about 1,300 a year as I remember. About half were direct appointments (Intel was one of about 97 different specialties at the time; Psyop was not there yet) and the other half were Aviation School attendees who were appointed contingent on completing the Flight Training. I started out at 17 years old in the Army had the opportunity to go directly to Warrant status in VN which I took and later retired at 38 years old with 21+ years of AD. IMO you do not accept the advancement "for the money" at least I did not. I took them because I thought I could contribute to the mission in a positive manner. At that time the WO competition was very fierce and limited, as I believe it still is today. (I think I was just in the right place at the right time). BTW I did Psyop work for a time in VN too, never flew Choppers tho (just a rider). Regarding the education opportunities I had and I suspect you have too, they were outstanding. Considering I entered the Army as a HS dropout (in the 9th grade) and "retired" with a BS in Business Administration/Accounting having attained it in my 17th year of service (took a while but then I was not the brightest light in the room). I would try to get a degree that has a use after you get out (for the second career) as, I am not sure how it is now, but the Military did not care what kind of degree got as long as it was accredited. I would suggest in the Military (at least the Army) you have to set REALISTIC and SPECIFIC goals and endeavor to cultivate a MENTOR or two along the way - it will make all the difference in the world. Yes, you will, as a senior enlisted NCO, WO or Officer, be required to do some public speaking and how well you do it is important. I would try to get yourself into a position where you can brief others however, I would suggest subject knowledge is the critical ingredient. Maybe an assignment at a military school as an instructor is possible - I did not like it but I did one tour and it did help later in the career. You have just started your career and have so many possibilities in front of you. You just have to find them and be REALISTIC regarding what you expect. Remember, I suspect there will be a possible draw down in AD strength in the next couple of years - If I were you I would grab the Warrant in Intel and work that field. BTW you may want to check some of the information available here: Site Map & Foundation Documentation - Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation.
__________________

__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 01:19 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
I have a few different questions, and they may not seem related at all. I'm just hoping that some of you could share your experiences with me.
Warrant Officer option:
Recently the Army had a CW4 and his team of WO recruiters here to brief us about applying for WO commission. I've been looking at the program via their usarec.com website, and there are 3 MOS's that I'd like to go for.
Active Duty Officer (USAF or Army)
I would prefer USAF, but the Army would allow me to commission sooner with only 90 credit hours.
This should be a busy thread!

First, you may get better advice (more current, more realistic, more responses) from discussion boards like Military.com or the USAF version of the "Together We Served" website. I have to go find that link but the Navy version (http://navy.togetherweserved.com/) does a lot of data-entry checking and user recommendations to make sure that you're talking to someone who's actually had the military experience they claim to possess. They might even know what they're talking about.

Second, with apologies to Groucho Marx, you may need to be a bit skeptical of why they're so eager to have someone like you as a member of the club. During the early days of the Vietnam war only officers were allowed to fly helicopters. Warrant officers were invited into the cockpits soon after the shooting started. By the late 1960s, as pilot survival rates over combat zones were measured in seconds, the Army was considering letting sergeants fly.

Third, let's dispense with the leadership & responsibility issues for a minute (even though they're of primary importance) and just focus on promotion statistics. I don't know squat about AF or Army numbers but I can affirm that it's far easier to make Navy O-5 than it is to make E-8 or W-4... in that order. Fireup2025 has more recent experience in that area but the Navy has little idea how to use its warrant officers and they're restricted to very narrow technical fields with few billets or homeports. Enlisted ranks are throttled by the specialty (and its available billets) and it's incredibly difficult to forecast what rate will be in high demand-- or overmanned. The same pyramid-narrowing that affects warrant assignments can occur in the senior enlisted ranks, but O-5s can end up in a lot more places and get paid a lot more for the privilege. So if you want a real challenge-- a darn near insurmountable one-- then go for warrant officer. If you want career flexibility and more choices (while possibly getting better assignments & privileges) then go for an officer's commission. As any NCO or CWO or Chief Petty Officer will attest, it's easier.

As far as the credit-hour difference, refer to the previous Groucho Marx comment. I'm a little surprised at the numbers because the Navy emphasis is on just about any degree as long as it's an accredited bachelor's degree. While some degrees may be better than others for communities like intel, cryptology, or nuclear power-- it doesn't take 150 credit hours to learn how to drive a surface ship or fly an aircraft or handle logistics. If you'd prefer Air Force then that's what you should do. Saving a year or two by accumulating fewer hours may give you years to regret your decision. 10 years from no nobody will remember or care what your degree was in, anyway-- they'll just want to know when you're going to finish your master's thesis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
Intel: I like what I do, and I see alot of potential in it. I recently received an email from contractor in IRAQ and she mentions that WO intel officers are more of a "liason" or briefer between E's and the O's. I'd prefer to be more hands on.
I hope it's better than Navy but it sounds like the other services may also be struggling to figure out how to use their CWOs. I think as a CWO you'd get more hands-on time, especially with the technical issues, but as an officer but you'd get more exposure and a broader range of experiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
Psyop: I don't have a clue, but it sounded cool. I excel in one on one sales, and I was told that those skills might be good in this field.
I see you've found PsyopRanger, and you may want to send him a PM. He's not a frequent visitor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
I currently have 72 credit hours towards a degree in Asian Studies (Japanese). I'm hoping to pick up another 21 credit hours this year via CLEPS and DANTES (upper level elective courses). Should I even finish this degree plan? I've got all the basics done, and just need to finish the upper level stuff. At this point I'm wondering if a degree in communications (or public speaking) would be better since that sort of training seems to fit an Officer. From what I've seen Officers are in front of their troops quite a bit. Wouldn't it be beneficial then to get as much training in public speaking as possible?
You should finish whatever degree plan makes you happy & interested, and you have a lot of effort invested in the current one. It may be best to stay the course.

There's plenty of public-speaking training in the world, and I don't think that an officer who's specialized in it will impress anyone. You already have the UCMJ to help you persuade the troops you're standing in front of. You can pursue public-speaking skills in the military (for example, instructor training) or on your own (Toastmasters) but leadership & management are far more important than making a good impression in front of the troops. Your real officer training begins after you get the commission, not in preparation for it. In the Navy it begins as soon as your first Chief Petty Officer introduces himself to you and lets you know what he needs you to focus on.

A communications degree may help in the public-affairs communities. Your Japanese-language & Asian cultural skills, however, make you far more valuable to the military's intel communities. It also indicates your readiness to tackle Hmong, Mandarin, Cantonese, and other high-interest issues. Some of my shipmates can attest that your Japanese language skills will also get you a high-paying civilian career in Japan or Hawaii. Multinational corporations are desperate for multilinguals.

Personally I believe that officers are in front to help remind themselves who's responsible & accountable. Or maybe to make it easier for the snipers to ply their craft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
I also wanted to stay Active Duty because I'd like to do the 20 and get out. If I really like what I'm doing I could stay longer, but that is a long ways off. Being in the Guard or Reserves seemed like a good idea, but at times I just see them getting jerked around in life (going from a civilian job to active duty with no end in sight at times). I don't mind changes, but the consistency of being active duty just seems more stable. I know I don't know jack about that side of the fence really so if anyone wants to put me in my place you are more than welcome.
Take it one tour at a time. One of my career regrets is not learning more about, and being more flexible toward, a career in the Reserves or Guard. When my family priorities began to take precedence over 80-hour workweeks, active duty became a real problem. While it's true that a Reserve mobilization can really screw up a good civilian career, Deserat and Fireup2025 have balanced theirs quite well-- as have others.

It's not just weekend drilling. I know Reservists, especially in areas like Norfolk or Hawaii with lots of HQ commands, who resign from active duty and then immediately mobilize in their Reserve billet or go on extended active duty for months to years. (PACOM is over one-third Reservists.) You can make a career out of continuous active duty in the Reserves almost as much as on active duty, but you have a lot more control over where you end up and when you do it. Others seem to float comfortably among their jobs with the Reserve, contractors, & civil service (sometimes within the same building). It can be a bit chaotic at times but it offers lots of opportunities and choices, let alone the steady employment.

Deciding whether to stay active or go Reserve depends on a couple of bromides: (1) If you're having fun then keep doing it, and when the fun stops then consider doing something else, and (2) You will know when it's time to go.

Both my spouse and I can attest that staying active duty after the fun stops can be far more soul-crushing (and more dangerous to your health) than going to the Reserves. She figured it out a lot faster than me (or learned from my example) and has been much happier as a Reservist. The key is having enough savings (or be willing to work a semi-retirement lifestyle) to bridge the gap between an active-duty pension (around age 40 or so) and a Reserve pension (age 60).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
I like where I'm at, but one of the obvious reasons for me to even consider these options is because of the money. Most people I've talked to say that if I'm doing it for the money then I shouldn't be doing it. Figured this forum might see it differently and would offer up experiences and advice looking at it from my perspective: being the best troop I can be, teaching others and also preparing myself for the next phase of my life (aka retirement). I've only been in for 2 years, but I know its never too late to learn from others.
My training command had a pretty good system for pursuing college degrees, and every year my 50-instructor department commissioned 4-5 E-5/6s. Funny thing, they never wanted to go back to the submarine force. We even commissioned two USAF 2LTs.

At the board interviews we referred to this as the "fine china" issue-- would you rather get paid to eat on the mess decks using Corelle & stainless utensils, or in the wardroom with the fine china & silverware? It's the same ship and it sinks just as fast from either location, so you might as well get paid more for risking your human capital.

But with that privilege comes a different type of responsibility that some choose not to accept. As an NCO, you're in charge of training your troops and then it's your job to keep them alive. If you screw up then someone may be hurt or even killed, but it's generally accepted that you weren't trying to get them killed in the first place.

As an officer, you're in charge of getting that training for your troops so they can complete the mission. You will eventually have to send them on a mission that has a high risk, even a probability, of getting some or all of them killed. Everyone will have much more faith in your planning if you personally lead that mission, but as you get more senior then you'll be farther to the rear and in charge of sending out other young leaders to complete your missions while hopefully not getting their people (or themselves) killed. "Success" will be judged on whether or not you complete the mission rather than on how many lives you preserved.

In other words, as an NCO you're taking care of your people while accomplishing the mission. As an officer you're accomplishing the mission while taking care of your people. There's a difference in priorities, so make sure you know which priority you prefer before accepting a commission. That's much more critical than enjoying the money (or the fine china).

Whether you decide to become an officer or not, of any rank, you should finish that college degree and consider a masters. Both will help you at any rank-- both in the military and in a civilian career.

I second RWood's nomination for instructor duty. It made me a much better officer (and a training guy from hell) and it led to many more civilian job offers than being able to run nuclear reactors or shoot torpedoes.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 07:15 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Bimmerbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,631
The WO corps is a good option if you want to specialize in a field. They are the technical experts, where the officer is a generalist and gets moved from assignment to assignment often.

Army requires Bachelors for CPT and I belived Masters for LTC and above. They do have programs to pay for them tho, but it can be difficult to balance military, family and schoolwork.

I was enlisted for 11 years in the National guard before getting commissioned. The commissioned side involves more work, mostly planning, briefing and other long range planning. My last assignment was company commander, and that involved planning 1 years worth of training (resources, times, etc) as well as roughing out the next few years.

My last boss, an O5, said I would have made a perfect warrent officer. I think it was because I didn't yell all the time and have the in your face leadership style he expected of officers (ala ROTC). I think I'm more of a born staff officer...

Anyways, I went to the officer side after deciding I'd stay in for 20 years. Plus, I was tired of being told what to do and though I'd do a better job planning and executing than others.
__________________
Bimmerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 09:04 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
You've gotten great advice here.

The degree: You are pretty far along already, I wouldn't jettison any of what you've done in order to get a degree that somebody >>might<< consider better. Get it in something you enjoy, especially if you plan to stay in the service. Unless you have your sights set on a technical field (e.g. nanomaterials engineering, etc), it won't matter much, and (frankly) you are unlikely to learn specific course material that will help you. The degree will help you get a commission or an enlisted promotion because the services believe it:
-- Demonstrates that you have good thinking and communication skills
-- Are willing to stick to a project and see it through.
They generally aren't counting on you bringing specific knowledge back to your job (again with the exception of technical areas, medicine, etc)

O vs WO vs E:

Quote:
I recently received an email from contractor in IRAQ and she mentions that WO intel officers are more of a "liason" or briefer between E's and the O's. I'd prefer to be more hands on.
There are WO jobs like this, but I wouldn't say that these are the rule. In intel, Army WOs often lead analytical teams, and they are frequently the
technical experts in areas of specialized analysis.

Schools and PME: This differs by service, and I know a little more about the O than WO or E. The Navy has great resident schools for their officers, yet doesn't seem to give a fig whether they attend them or not. At promotion time it appears that the boards are more impressed by an officer who did well in a tough department head job and somehow got his schools done by correspondence than an officer who went to school in residence. In residence schools are more important in the Army and USAF. If you stay in intel, you may have a chance to get your masters degree at DIA (more officers than enlisted get this opportunity)--it is a great program, and anytime you can get paid to go to school full time you should jump at the chance.

Obviously, career tracks in the services are very different. If you decide to seek a commission, know that the Army is considerably more rigid in their "hoops" (especially regarding performing well in command) than the USAF is. Though things have changed a little in the last 7 years due a conscious effort by the Army, performing well in command is still a huge discriminator. In the USAF, it is not at all unusual for an officer, especially an intel officer, to make O-6 and never have commanded a unit. Leading a staff and performing well as part of one is an entirely different skill from effectively commanding a unit, and the USAF rewards both.


FAO: If you are really in love with Asia/Japan and would like to stay immersed in that for a career, the Army Foreign Area Officer program might be for you. The USAF has a similar program, but it is far newer and less well defined (i.e. you'd be taking a bigger risk that it might evaporate and you'd be an orphan without a defined career path--not a good position). I don't know about the Navy. Army FAOs alternate between jobs in their specialty region (either physically assigned in it or doing stateside analytical work related to it) and their "regular" MOS (e.g. infantry, etc). It's not a very good way to make O-7, but it is a great way to have some of the most exciting, rich cultural experiences anyone could hope for. FAOs have some of the best "war stories" of any group you'll ever meet.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 09:34 PM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 927
Quote:
Warrant officers were invited into the cockpits soon after the shooting started. By the late 1960s, as pilot survival rates over combat zones were measured in seconds, the Army was considering letting sergeants fly.
I dated a former Vietnam chopper pilot briefly -- he said the Army went through pilots "like sh*t through a goose."

Vivid picture, that.
__________________
Caroline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,072
Sorry I'm late to this -I'm trying to juggle my Reserve and civilian committments and not doing a very good job lately.

WO - I don't think we have those anymore in the AF - only in the Army. E or O - all I can say is you could do ten years enlisted, ten years officer - retire as a Capt or Major and your retirement pay will double or triple. My husband is prior enlisted and he said when he became a 2Lt his pay doubled.

For public speaking, etc - that's just expected - your foreign studies are of more interest - the Air Force has the RAS and PAS programs, although they aren't treating them like career fields but secondary fields (unlike Army which has FAO program). I have a colleague who was affected by PBD 720 - he went from being an Indonesian RAS in the AF to Japanese FAO in the Army.

Reserve/Guard versus active - Nords is right - at the Combatant Command or Joint Command level, you could be what we call a 'trougher' and get by on MPA days - however, you won't get your retirement until 60 years of age and frankly they are starting to abuse the Reservists and Guardsmen. I'm currenty at school for my fifth AFSC at Lackland and have been talking to quite a few people here - I was an IMA and man do I wish for those days - I am spending a lot more time doing Reserve work and it is eating into my civilian job unfairly. The rules have changed and those expectations are here now. If you like doing 'Guard bum' stuff then it's the time for you - if you don't, it is not.

Deployments R US is what's going on - read the AF times, the Army times and the others - it's only getting worse. Some people love that, some don't.

What's interesting is my instructors at this school (logistics) - most are prior enlisted and most are retiring as Captains at close to 20 years - they see the writing on the wall - 365 day remotes every other PCS. Reminds me of when I was active and space ops - you will be doing at least 2-3 remotes in your career.

With all the above being said - there is no civilian job I know of that offers a 50% of your salary retirement at 20 years - most make you wait until 65 for the full retirement benefits and if you wish to RE, you will take a 50% hit at 55 with gradations of increases up to 65. Also, your retirement is based on your last three years and usually it is not COLA'd. Additionally, many companies are foregoing defined benefit programs and going with defined contribution programs.

What I wish I would have done - sort of :-) - stayed in active for at least 20 years - if they had the TSP, max that puppy out and then at 20 years, I would have had a defined benefit pension along with tax deferred income for later.


What I have now - I will probably retire from the Reserves at 23-26 years, I've got the military Reserve pension at 60, my civilian job pension at 65, SS at 62-67 (unless it becomes means tested, of which I might lose SS), tax deferred income from 403Bs and IRAs and after tax savings. Fortunately, my husband is active duty and will have the military pension at 23-30 years (he's crazy) - we think we can ride out 10 years until I'm 60 fully retired on his pension and after-tax savings. Our saving grace? The military healthcare coverage provision with his retirement. Our problem will be when I turn 60 and it will be taxes.

Hope that helps - feel free to PM for more.
__________________
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill
deserat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2008, 11:11 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 227
Keyboard Ninja,

Thanks for the PM.

This all pertains to the Army side of the house.

I am a former enlisted PSYOPer. This MOS is highly misunderstood. Depending on your language and battalion of assignment, there is a tactical side and a strategic side. The tactical side includes going with the infantry and doing all that entails: cordon and searches, raids, etc. The strategic side can put you in an embassy in civilian clothes running a local PR campaign and doing a lot of speaking and briefings to ambassadors and dignitaries. Both sides are fun jobs but expect a high optempo of about 6 months per year in a foreign country.

The best way to explain PSYOP is to say it is a mixture of Intelligence, Marketing, Sales and Human/International Relations. Many times in a non-military manner, ala civilian clothes (read clandestine)

The WO side is the route I went now. Please understand that you also have to be at least an E-6 to apply for WO unless you do the Aviation option.

After a lot of research and talking with WO's and regular O's, this was the route for me. As a senior enlisted NCO, I was stuck in "staff mode" for the next ten years until retirement. WO got me back down at the teams and specializing in a certain area. I'm in MI and the training, language, and schools are great for outside jobs once you retire.

There are no PSYOP Warrants.

I recently attended a course that is a guaranteed $80K per year just for putting it on my resume as a civilian.

A lot has changed in the WO field in the last few years. We are offered all the same options as the regular O's (NPS, Degree Completion,etc.) and you will stay in your field.

I chose the WO option to get my branch of choice and to specialize. I get to stay hands on and in my field of choice. Army Regular O's spend about 3 years down on the team and then head to staff land for the rest of their career.

With the regular O option. The Academy grads get the best branches, ROTC gets the second pick, and OCS gets whatever branches are leftover.

Case in point, a friend of mine has a degree in Middle Eastern History and speaks Arabic, she has worked in PSYOP and Intel for the past 6 years and wanted to go Intel Officer, she was perfect Intel cnadidate. She got assigned to the Military Police branch? Regular O's branch and MOS is all needs of the service at the time of your commission.

In the WO Intel side right now, you are almost guaranteed CW4 if you have at least 10 years left. Most MOS's are very low in strength and the upward promotion and retention is very good. A relative of mine recently made CW5 in 24 years, that's pretty remarkable.

In CI and HUMINT right now, they will give you $20k just to become a WO and then send you through all your training and language (for which you receive a Bachelors degree in Intel Studies), and they are offering bonuses up to $84k to keep you in after the first 6 years.

The Intel WO side offers the following Jobs:

Analyst
Imagery
Voice Intercept
Electronic Warfare
Counter Intel
Human Intelligence
Attache

But, with this also comes the high optempo. Expect to be gone a lot for years to come no matter who is in the White House next Jan.

Whatever route you go, get all the training, schools, and college you can.

For ER, I believe that the military is the best choice.

COLA'ed Pension
TSP and Roth
Tax Free Real Estate
Frequent bonuses up to $100k
Low cost health insurance
Disability
Free College, Adventure and Travel

For some, the risk is too high and the structure and politics are too much.
For others, it is a 20 year plan to FIRE and freedom at 40 to do whatever you want with the rest of your life.

Please understand this is my point of view and my experience, others may have different opinions and advice.

Hope this helps,

Lance
__________________
"Those who think it cannot be done, need to stay out of the way of those of us doing it."
PsyopRanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2008, 03:02 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
Keyboard Ninja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 157
Thank you all for your responses. My internet has been a little sketchy, and since I'll be heading out to the desert soon it may be even harder to get online. Keep the advice coming though!!!

Something new came up. I went ahead and applied at Thomas Edison State College and checked out how I stacked up against thier BA in Liberal Arts degree requirements. Apparently I am only 18 credit hours away from completing it.

Is a Liberal Arts degree alright? I was hoping to just get it out of the way and then move on to a Master's program (hopefully get into DIA). Would the Liberal Arts degree possibly help me move from E to O? To me it sounds like the "easy" way out vs. getting an EE or some other math/science heavy degree. I just want to move on to a Master's but I don't want to kill my chances of becoming an "O" while doing it.
__________________
Instead of getting angry I just LOL. Can't waste time with stupid people.
Keyboard Ninja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2008, 04:32 PM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 926
KN,
...I am a retired army CW4. I went through flight school at the very end of the Viet Nam war and retired in 1993. Army flight school was tough. My class started with 33 and graduated 11. The US got out of Viet Nam while I was still in school and the need for army pilots dropped so they tried pretty hard to flunk as many of us out as possible. With the very high current need for army pilots the graduation rate is much higher. If you can get accepted and are willing to work at it for the 11 months you can probably graduate. The way army flight school is at this time I think they have about 5 or 6 weeks of training in military leadership followed by flight training. All of this is at scenic Fort Rucker AL. Go see the movie "An Officer And A Gentleman" to get a good idea what those first weeks of WO training will be like. The flight training is mentally challenging but not so tough physically. Aviation WOs make lots of extra money in flight pay and bonuses. The flight pay will continue after we get out of Iraq but the bonuses will probably go away. The pace for aviation warrant officers is grueling right now. Some of them have spent as much as 36 months in Afghanistan and Iraq. I had some easy duty and some that wasn't. The mid 80s thru my retirement I was away from home more than 200 days a year most years. I saw a lot of the world including Panama during Just Cause and Iraq during Desert Storm. I had a great career but did lose many of my closest friends in accidents. With the pace of things in Iraq currently I think that you should very carefully consider your tolerance for personal risk before making the decision to go to army flight school.
Jeff
__________________
jclarksnakes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 03:40 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
Is a Liberal Arts degree alright? I was hoping to just get it out of the way and then move on to a Master's program (hopefully get into DIA). Would the Liberal Arts degree possibly help me move from E to O?
Get the degree, any degree! The top grad of my nuke power school class was an economics major. One of my classmates, a political science major, was commissioned into the Air Force. One officer at a training command had a degree in Fine Arts (theater). History & English majors were welcomed too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
To me it sounds like the "easy" way out vs. getting an EE or some other math/science heavy degree. I just want to move on to a Master's but I don't want to kill my chances of becoming an "O" while doing it.
The surface fleet is widely ridiculed for its policy of "This is too easy-- we have to make this harder." They almost always succeed, which is why so many people want to be aviators, submariners, & Marines.

The bureaucratic answer is to (1) read the instructions to see if a specific degree is required for whatever officer program you're seeking, and (2) consult someone at your command (or call the AF equivalent of BUPERS and the assignment officers) to see if specific degrees are off-limits.

I suspect you'll find that officer retention is sucking at an all-time low you're pretty popular no matter what degree you're sporting. I also suspect that no one hands out extra bonus commisisoning points for demonstrating your ability to repeatedly smack your head into a nuclear engineering degree brick wall.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 04:21 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Ninja View Post
Would the Liberal Arts degree possibly help me move from E to O? To me it sounds like the "easy" way out vs. getting an EE or some other math/science heavy degree. I just want to move on to a Master's but I don't want to kill my chances of becoming an "O" while doing it.
Yes, check with AFPC to see if there are any special requirements. There generally are none, and a liberal arts degree will be fine.

In years past (and maybe today, I'm not current on this), various ROTC scholarships (in the USAF) were available only to technical majors. And, if you took the money, you were going to be used in a technical specialty (e.g. as an engineer, not as an intel officer, logistics officer, etc). But, you don't need a scholarship, you'll be getting $$ for college using tuition assistance (TA).
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2010, 09:42 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
Keyboard Ninja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 157
So it has been awhile since I've participated on this forum. Since I'm PCSing I figured this would be an awesome time to say HI!

I didn't make the USAF "O" cut. I was bummed out for a bit, but after a day or so I was ok with it. Since then I've been going through my daily duties the best I can, and preparing for my next assignment. While looking at the BSEE programs available near the new assignment the the idea of transferring to the big green USA dropped on my lap (literally).

Now I've done everything necessary to go through with the transfer, but I have run into one hurdle. Seems like everyone on the family side of the house (parents in particular) thinks I am going to die. CNN has pretty much screwed any angle I had when it came to explaining that more people die in car wrecks then in the Army. Even some of the retired USAF contractor friends I've met frown on the idea. I normally just LOL, but hearing it at least once a week gets to me.

Cliff Notes: stick with the USAF because I'll die sooner in the USA.
__________________
Instead of getting angry I just LOL. Can't waste time with stupid people.
Keyboard Ninja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2010, 09:54 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
I'm sorry for the disappointing news regarding the commissioning program. What is driving your interest in the Army? The Army isn't "better" or "worse" than the USAF, but the culture is very different. You should give this a lot of thought before jumping. If possible, make some Army friends and compare notes.

Best of luck!
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2010, 11:43 PM   #15
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I'm sorry for the disappointing news regarding the commissioning program. What is driving your interest in the Army? The Army isn't "better" or "worse" than the USAF, but the culture is very different. You should give this a lot of thought before jumping. If possible, make some Army friends and compare notes.
Just about everyone that I know in the submarine force or the Army who got their commission wanted to transfer over to the Air Force...
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2010, 11:44 PM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
HawkeyeNFO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside the Beltway
Posts: 573
Sorry about the USAF "O" board not working out for you. Another angle of attack may be to get out, go to school, get a ROTC scholarship, and then begin getting paid again upon being commissioned. If you have a family to support, this is clearly not a great option, but it may work for you.

As far as the degree, I disagree with some of the other folks here. If you want to get in to a specific field, certain degrees are highly advantageous. For example an engineering degree would be huge if you want to go to test pilot school or switch at a later date into one of the several engineering communities or acquisitions.
__________________
HawkeyeNFO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2010, 11:48 PM   #17
Full time employment: Posting here.
HawkeyeNFO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside the Beltway
Posts: 573
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Just about everyone that I know in the submarine force or the Army who got their commission wanted to transfer over to the Air Force...
Aviator: "I was the first one off the boat for liberty call!"
SWO: "I was the last one off the boat for liberty call."
Submariner: "What's liberty call?"
__________________
HawkeyeNFO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2010, 03:35 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,072
Keyboard Ninja,

Sorry to hear about the Officer selection - you know, both my husband and I have just recently had some similar news wrt our Air Force careers - it can be brutal and very selective at times...lots of gamemanship.

I second the question of why the Army - does it have to do with the warrant officer option? I also second the comment about cultures - the Army is DEFINITELY not the Air Force. I work with it now and shake my head continually. Case in point - the AF officers here are running into the Army brick wall who is a commander....very different communication styles - the Air Force encourages certain types of communication - another case in point: I had a long conversation with a very sharp Army troop - he's 25 and I'm amazed at his maturity - he's already been in for 6 years. His last comment to me was how impressed he was that I, an officer, no less, was so accessible and willing to talk with someone like him....huh? That's my job as a leader - or that's what I was taught in my service culture and I only do this part-time. In any case, I do understand some of the differences in the cultures, however, to switch mid-stream can be very challenging.

Army facilities are usually a notch below Air Force facilities in quality - all of the people in and attached to the service know this. You may need to lower your expectations.

As for deployments/etc - I don't know that the Air Force is any less dangerous than the Army. For awhile, the Air Force was filling in unfilled Army slots (the Navy was, too - one guy said he was in the NArmy). You will be deployed if you are needed - doesn't matter. If you happen to have an AFSC or MOS that is in demand, you'll get to go more often. Heck, I have a friend who is down to his last assignment as a Lt Col (coming up on 28 year retirement) just got notified he's going to Afghanistan for a year......so if you are looking to deploy, you'll get that opportunity no matter what.

The comment about degrees is right on - engineering is *required* for engineering slots, however, you may be put in another slot (I ended up in space ops at first) based on needs of service. Plus, the degree will help with any civilian jobs afterwards. I'm amazed at all of the opportunities now to get a degree while working - the internet is awesome. And that new GI Bill - WOW.

Lastly, if you are looking at the Army because of the WO option (i.e. last salary before retirement boosting retirement pension), you might also take a look at the books Nords is trying to get published on ER for a service member - he runs through an enlisted case of which I was quite surprised at how lucrative it could be.
__________________
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill
deserat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2010, 07:05 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,275
Where is my decoder ring for this thread
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2010, 09:12 AM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,887
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Where is my decoder ring for this thread
They're talking about what to do if you are an Air Force enlisted person, and want to do something more lucrative with your career.

OP apparently tried to move into the officer ranks, but got pushed back. Now he/she is wondering whether the grass will be greener (no pun, I swear) in the Army.

The other posters are military/former military who are giving sage advice.

A.
__________________

__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.’ Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
military


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Current Military trixs Other topics 2 06-23-2006 01:55 PM
Another military retiree gets it. Nords Life after FIRE 2 03-28-2006 11:22 PM
Military pay (ECI) vs military retiree pay (CPI) Nords Other topics 0 11-05-2005 11:51 AM
Military service dory36 Other topics 13 09-13-2005 06:19 AM
Retiring from the Military? FlowGirl Young Dreamers 11 09-17-2004 08:08 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:00 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.