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For the military folks - anyone crossed over from E to O?
Old 01-03-2008, 08:56 AM   #1
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For the military folks - anyone crossed over from E to O?

I have 19.5 yrs in total cumulative active & reserve. There are two commissioning programs I have recently (in last 2 weeks) discovered I am eligible for (before the changes I was too old and had too many years in)

I have worked with numerous officers who used to be E's - and have heard mixed reviews on crossing over. However, at this point, I am looking at things from more of a financial perspective (more TSP contributions and higher pension $$), am in a great unit, which has improved my current outlook on possibly extending as a selres for a few more years only in the event I get promoted in the next 12 mos - and BTW, I get to stay in my unit with either promotion - of course I checked that! I have not dropped my retirement papers yet, but I also have not cancelled my reservation at my VFW post for my retirement ceremony in Nov 08! To make a long story short, I am willing to do the things within my power to get reviewed for promotion, and am also willing to hang in for a few more years in the event the boards approve me! LOL

I am just looking for personal perspective from our ER wizards.
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:13 AM   #2
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I have a good friend who recently crossed from being an AF Reserves E-7 to an active duty Air Force 2nd LT. I think he just made 1 LT. He went from swinging wrenches with me in an armament shop to being a Bio-Environmental Engineer. Not sure what his overal function is there, maybe asst. OIC or something. If you'd like, I'll check to see if he minds me giving you his email address so you can converse with him about what you're thinking about doing. He's an exceptionally nice guy, not your typical officer type LOL! Just had to get that in there! Let me know if you want the hook-up.

Marty
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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Things may have changed a bit since I was around the Army. What I saw (I was E went W (I know AF does not have Warrants any longer) and turned down O) and you may find you go from extremely well qualified E or W and very competitive for E or W promotion to not very competitive for O promotions ((for various reasons, Age due to long years of E or W service), Military Education Level, Civilian Education Level, etc.,)). Additionally, if you go O what are the requirements to retire (does it take a minimum amount of O service?). Personally, I turned down a Commission as an O1 for two reasons, time to serve to qualify to retire as an O (it was 10 years active at the time) and the 01 offered. If it would have been 03 I may have taken it (but glad I did not). Of course when the "War" was over the cutbacks may have got me as an O. As it was I stayed a W and cruised through the cutbacks and even got an accelerated promotion as a W which allowed me to "retire" at a tad over 21 active years and age 38.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:30 AM   #4
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I was an "O" in a USAR medical unit where at times some of the "O" slots were given to a higher headquarters unit. This left some folks who were close to retirement without a home or they had to transfer to another unit. The soulution was for them to go the other way...they became an "E" and remained in the unit. Why? At the time, your retirement was based on the highest rank held and the number of points earned. Thus, for retirement purposes, it may be worthwhile to you to pursue the "O".
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:45 AM   #5
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Yup. I know of an E-6 in my reserve unit who "was" an O-3. Don't remember the specifics, but it wasn't a disciplinary thing. Voluntary for some reason or other. I could get the details if anybody's curious........
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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I made the transition for an Army NCO to AF Officer. Night and day difference enlisted to officer, and night and day from Army to AF. My plan was to go back into the Army as an officer, but ended up in the AF. I remember being in the field with my brigade commander when he was reaming these Lts on platoon contact drills, he turned to me and said why are you not a Lt you are far more capable than these boneheads. It happened again when I was in Jumpmaster School and I passed and 2 Company Commanders failed. Needless to say he relieved them on the spot.
For me I felt there was more opportunity as an Officer but my Enlisted time was the most impressionable looking back. I believe overall my talents have been used in far greater roles as they would have been if I had remained an enlisted guy. I admire the NCO corp for the things they accomplish.
The transition was hard at first but overall the best thing for me.

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Old 01-03-2008, 09:25 PM   #7
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I went from E7 to Warrant Officer this year. Here were my main reasons.


I have under 10 years in, no desire to hang out for another 10 years and not get promoted more than once.

The pay and the higher pension. Plus a $20K Bonus just to switch to W.

At the end of this contract (5 more years) my specialty currently has a $14k per year re-enlistment bonus. 6 years x $14k = $84k that will put me at about 18 years in.

I was filling an 04 position and getting E7 pay.

I want to go to Grad school. 0's and W's get to go for free and sometimes takes 2 years off and still get full pay and benes.

The respect level jumped overnight even though my knowledge level didn't.

I got out previously and the job/contractor opportunities are greater for 0's and W's, not so much for E's.

As a warrant, I can specialize versus generalize as a regular 0 does. Warrants in my field are getting out at 20+ and with the specialization making $150-250k year currently.

CW4 retirement beats E8 retirement everyday and twice on Sunday.

I don't regret it one bit and many of my friends came over too.

Hope this helps,

Lance
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:08 PM   #8
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I have 19.5 yrs in total cumulative active & reserve. There are two commissioning programs I have recently (in last 2 weeks) discovered I am eligible for (before the changes I was too old and had too many years in)
I am just looking for personal perspective from our ER wizards.
Sucker! Joining the Navy to see the world isn't enough-- you want them to make you rich too?!?

From 1990-2002 I helped 41 sailors leave the submarine force, and they were so desperate that a commission seemed like a good idea. Two of them even (*choke*) became USAF 2LTs but we're still friends.

Commissioning can be a great deal, but you have to ask why they're being so good to you. I believe the last time the services were this generous with commissions was when the Army offered to make sergeants into helicopter pilots-- during the Vietnam war. If you're willing to live with maintaining worldwide deployability and the almost certain fate of backfilling an Army desert billet for 12-18 months... especially with your skills & abilities... then it can be a very financially rewarding deal. But you will earn it, and it's only money.

I'm probably preaching to the choir about this, but COMNAVRESFOR has been letting quite a few local senior officers, who didn't win a billet this year, stay in a pay status ("in assignment processing") instead of banishing them to the VTU for points without pay. Some of them had planned to retire but stayed for another round of the billet competition, only to find themselves deployed to a sandy command center standing watch and running briefs. A friend of ours, a Reserve O-5 METOC aged 58.5, was mobilized to Fort Bragg to train other Navy officers for their own deployments. He was 30 pounds overweight and on several prescription medications, but he was an FMF corpsman during Vietnam with two Purple Hearts and the thought of saying "No thanks" never even occurred to him. He demobilized on his 60th birthday.

Have you had to sit through the typical old salt's commissioning lecture yet? Wardroom china & bigger berthing (ha!) aside, you're putting yourself in a situation where killing people & breaking things isn't just a side effect of doing your job-- it is your job. You may be personally responsible for ordering your own people killed and breaking quite a bit of your own taxpayer-provided equipment to accomplish that mission. You'll have gone from "making the ship run" to "fighting the ship" or even "taking hits to protect the carrier". You could be personally responsible for injuring & killing civilians and leveling towns in the way of targets.

Having spread all that doom & gloom, this Saturday we're going to the wetting-down of one of the Navy's newest & oldest ensigns. He's 38 (39?) years old and already has a total of 20 years of active & Reserve duty, but he says he wants to retire with 40 good years and at least 3000 points. He starts officer indoc next week (Newport RI in January, woo-hoo!) and he's hoping for Supply Corps School in a few more months. His spouse isn't too happy (and their two kids aren't old enough to know the difference) but she knows how he'll be if he passes up this opportunity. He's one of the most motivated people I know, and he certainly put himself through the wringer to get to where he is today. I suspect that both he and you could make O-5 with no problems, but then you already knew that. It can be done, and the only question is the price that one is asked to pay.

Let me know if you want me to give him your e-mail address.
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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Two of them even (*choke*) became USAF 2LTs...
Another side effect of radiation exposure? Or were they just golf nuts?
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:37 AM   #10
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For the record, the program is for Human Resources (1205) for you USN folks...same field I am in now...so I do not see myself "in combat" - plus I am not medically qualified to play in the sandbox (but can be called up stateside any day)
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:13 PM   #11
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I was enlisted for 11 years in the Army National Guard before going to OCS. I just retired in JUN as an O3 with 22 years total. Definately worth making the jump. Its more work, but a different kind.

I always made sure my enlisted solders were taken care of since I knew what it was to pull back to back guard duty and KP etc.

IMO no one should be an officer unless they serve some time as an enlisted.

Pay is much better, so that translates directly to better retirement.

CHeck the pay tables, you probably won't see much of a raise until at least O3, unless you have 3 years active duty or more and can be an O1E-O3E.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:32 PM   #12
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Fireup, if you decide to do it, here's wishing you all the best and I hope you get the position you are hoping for. Sounds like you have paid your dues.
Nothing wrong with wanting to improve your lot. If it is worth it to you, then go for it. Sounds like the rewards will be nice when the requirements have been met. Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:50 PM   #13
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Another side effect of radiation exposure? Or were they just golf nuts?
After working in the fire/damage control simulators at a training command, there was nothing to look forward to during their next sea tours!

One of them, a former electronics tech, joined a finance battalion (there's either an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms) and seems to be doing fine. He was always a finance geek.

The other, an auxiliary systems mechanic, ended up running the passenger terminal & runways at Hickam AFB. (I dont know what specialty that is.) He's resigning due to the assignment officer's lack of concern over the guy's family concerns. But he'll do fine wherever he ends up.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:02 PM   #14
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...the assignment officer's lack of concern over the guy's family concerns.
That's a strange statement from my perspective. I don't believe the assignment officers were aware any of us in my generation had a family and if so, it certainly wasn't a consideration in where we were assigned.

Yeah, I know. We walked to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways...
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:16 AM   #15
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Yeah, the old saying (1950's to about 1972) reference "family concerns" was "don't even bring it up, if the Army wanted you to have a family they would have issued you one". I know it sounds bad now, but then it was considered normal. When I was a Army Assignment Officer in the mid to late 70's at the MILPERCEN in Alexandria for a few Warrant Officer MOS we had to (would) listen but the "needs of the Service" dictated the decision.
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:18 AM   #16
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:18 PM   #17
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Check the pay tables, you probably won't see much of a raise until at least O3, unless you have 3 years active duty or more and can be an O1E-O3E.
Oh yes, in the event they do select me (hee hee!) I'll start off as an O1E - thanks to 11.5 yrs of AD. The pay charts definitely have influenced my decision (more $$$ into TSP!)

Also have learned the O side does not have high year tenure (HYT) structured any way near the E side does, so I could practically stick around the reserve until age 60....provided I kept getting promoted....and if I wanted to!
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:47 PM   #18
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You have 28 years max of comission time (ROPA rules), unless you make O6, then you get a couple more years. Then maybe a couple more if you hit O7.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:29 PM   #19
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To make a long story short, I am willing to do the things within my power to get reviewed for promotion, and am also willing to hang in for a few more years in the event the boards approve me! LOL

I am just looking for personal perspective from our ER wizards.
Your bottom line says it all. Stay in. Get out when you tell yourself you're not willing to do what it takes to get promoted. That's when I said I'm outtahere. The financial aspects are secondary to that.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:04 AM   #20
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Update:
Did not get selected at last year's board. This year....wooohooo!!! 144 packages were submitted, and only 6 of us were selected!! My commissioning ceremony will be in August (on board the USS Intrepid) after I demobilize from this call up. Almost free graduate school (military TA, plus Post 9/11 GIB starting in Aug) in addition to the resume boost of the mobilization in addition to my professional certification obviously paid off! I am on the hook for at least 6 more years. After knife & fork school in Newport, RI, HR officer training in Monterey, I will voluntarily be called up to be an officer recruiter at home in NJ (FYI, I was an enlisted recruiter for 6 years and loved it - just got promoted away from the field...so I left at the time - looking forward to being a field recruiter again) Nothing like maxing out on military retirement points, living at home, staying involved in my veteran activities, and still earning seniority, leave, and raises with my state job!! Plus, my net pay is much higher from mil pay/allowances than my civ salary, so it makes my savings plans easier!

Life is good!!!
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