Trying to get back in -- USMC infantry to Army Aviation

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Figured since I brought this up in the LE section, I'd mention it here. First of all, jbehuniak and Dustoff22, both members on this site, have been VERY helpful in this process and I can't thank them enough. I did a little over 6 years in the Marine Corps reserves infantry out of Fort Devens, with one deployment to Helmand in 2011. I got out late 2014 to start law school, and decided my 1L year I was going to go back into the military. I had considered aviation before (I actually started talking to a recruiter in 2012 when I got back from overseas), but 2 years ago I was toying with going back into the USMC as a grunt or even lat moving to intel. I forget where, but I saw in a thread that jbehuniak was a Guard aviator and I started picking his brain that spring, and got in touch with a recruiter the following fall. I also was in touch with Dustoff22 who beat me by about a generation (or two), but who has had a very impressive career and still has great connections in the Army. And also is, of course, a wealth of knowledge. There are also some other good online resources for prospective military aviators.

To be clear, this is a competitive process and I have not yet had my board or been selected. The Guard selects applicants based on that individual units needs. I don't know who my competition is or how many vacancies they are looking to fill. On the active duty side the Army (and all branches for that matter) are really hurting for aviators. If someone is a qualified applicant for the Army, even with no military experience, they are VERY likely to be selected to fly. By qualified I mean can pass a flight physical, do well on the various tests (ASVAB and SIFT), have a clear moral and medical history, etc. Some of the boards which are held every other month have been accepting ALL applicants, most select 80% or more. Guard is not as sure of a thing, especially as I'm applying as an outsider to that unit. Bottom line though: If you want to be an Army pilot, now is the time. Commercial aviation is also facing a shortage and competition from overseas carriers, so they are becoming a well compensated career again, regionals are paying more, they are offering helicopter to fixed wing transitions programs, etc and as a result are getting a lot of military pilots, again driving up the needs of the military.

I'd love any input from any other military aviators. I'm also happy to answer questions on the process for going from a civilian no longer in the IRR to getting a packet set up and submitted to the Guard. Huge disclaimer, I have not been selected yet, but I've become intimately familiar with the Guard side process, and less so with the active duty process. I had to figure out a lot of stuff for myself in this process to get my packet assembled as the recruiter was unfamiliar with how to get a non guard member through the process.

A huge thanks again to those two NESers who have been immensely helpful in this process.

Mike
 
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Finish out at least 20 years, get another deployment or two (preferably combat) in.

I'm primarily interested in rotary wing. I'm interested in the army for 4 reasons. 1. Guarantee of rotary wing. ANG has much more limited rotary opportunities, and nothing as local as I want (I think there is a CSAR unit in NY). 2. I want to be in a ground support role, coming from the Marine Corps infantry. 3. I want to be a WO, and I like WO career progression in the aviation field, 4. I frankly have more of an interest int he army than the AF from an organizational standpoint.

Mike
 

KBCraig

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If you want to be a WO, then Army aviation is where it's at. I understand they changed the rules some time back so that warrants can now have command slots, but in ANG I suspect those are almost all going to be taken by AGR.
 
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If you want to be a WO, then Army aviation is where it's at. I understand they changed the rules some time back so that warrants can now have command slots, but in ANG I suspect those are almost all going to be taken by AGR.

Not true. There are plenty of m-day slots. But I will say the growing field is drone pilots and cyber. Both of these units were recently stood up.
 
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I've heard a lot about piling on on the active duty side. I'm hoping to be in a position where I can mainly focus on the "technical" side of aviation, rather than command, hence why I'm choosing the Warrant route. Ultimately I'm sure needs of the army dictate.

Mike

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There are units in Windsor Locks, CT, Westfield MA, Cape Cod, and Concord, NH. I'm applying to the Concord NH unit. I live about the same distance from all of them, but my wife and I are planning a move to NH in the next 5 years.

Mike

Check the education benefits first. Mass has some good programs in addition to 911. Especially for deployed veterans.
 
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Just an update: Was a non-select the first time around for NH. The only feedback they gave me is they were concerned about my distance from the unit. Thanks to some help from Dustoff22 getting me in touch with the right people I am on track to board for MA ARNG in a few weeks, followed by round 2 in NH in April, and early summer time frame for CT. I'm feeling pretty good about MA working out, and whoever selects me first I'll contract with. Ironically, even if I get picked for MA or CT in the coming months, it seems they may be able to get me a school slot faster than NH given the size of the units.

Mike
 

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What's the age limit for aviation?

7 years of Marine Corps Reserves here...might look to switching it up once we know what my girl is doing for medical school next year. Until that point, I'm drilling my contract out like business as usual, but will have to make a decision by autumn of 2019.
 
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Thanks!

33 to flight school. If you are seriously interested I've pretty much got the process down to a science now, so shoot me a PM.

I had 7 years SMCR time as well, wish I kept it continuous I'd be at 11 sat years by the time I was in the army.

Mike
 

76Too

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I'm turning 36 this week. womp womp

I told my recruiter when I joined that I wanted to be a pilot. He told me tough shit because I was older than 27...

recruiter: 'i can offer you the chance to be a United States Marine...isn't that enough?'

me (paraphrased from a dream this one time) 'where do i sign? man, i'm going to be swimming in pussy when I pop sticks and slay dragons like in the commercials'

/7 years later

fin
 

76Too

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(my) plan is to keep it continuous if I can hold out that long. damn corps is getting me down again now that I'm actually in charge of bodies though. i don't mind work...it's all the computer BS classes (MCI's) they require now that gets me down.
 
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I'm turning 36 this week. womp womp

I told my recruiter when I joined that I wanted to be a pilot. He told me tough shit because I was older than 27...

recruiter: 'i can offer you the chance to be a United States Marine...isn't that enough?'

me (paraphrased from a dream this one time) 'where do i sign? man, i'm going to be swimming in pussy when I pop sticks and slay dragons like in the commercials'

/7 years later

fin

He wasn't wrong for the USMC. The age is waiverable, but I think you'd be pushing it.

Army has the best aviation program IMO. They let you go straight to guard/reserves as a pilot. One thing to keep in mind is you have to fly once a week or more, give or take, to stay current.

You could always go over to the Guard and go to state OCS or WOCS for another MOS. Its essentially your drill weekends for a year and an AT. Finish out your 20 with a commission.

Mike
 

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Like everyone else my motivations aren't entirely selfless -- this is a phenomenal opportunity if I can make it work. Mike

When my WOCFS orders at Rutger finally came down in '66' the fine print read: 1 year of flight school as temp E-5, and upon graduation 5 more years as a WO. For $600 a month ? Hell, I outright refused and settled for and settled the rest of my time as in aviation as an E-4 with flight/combat pay $400 large a month....lol

I let opportunity pass me by...[laugh]
 

KBCraig

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A buddy was an enlisted Marine, got out, and joined the Army Reserve. He got commissioned in Civil Affairs, stayed active duty, then sort-of retired. A few months ago he decided to go back into the reserves, so now he's doing PsyOps training as a captain.
 
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