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AlphaMikeFoxtrot

Air Liason Officer

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Anyone know anything about ALO? Just curious, some have said that it is a career ender of sorts. Just want to know the validity of this and how the actual job is?

Cheers

AMF

[ 28. February 2005, 16:16: Message edited by: AlphaMikeFoxtrot ]

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Guest Rainman A-10   
Guest Rainman A-10

ALO is in no way a career ender.

Here's an example of a GO who was a wing commander twice. I'm sure there are more examples but this was the first one I could think of.

http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=5681

ALO is not the assignment of choice but I know plenty of guys that couldn't make the ops-ops list that went the ALO to Red Cloud route so they could get an F-15E assignment as a follow on. I've always said never take a bad deal on the promise of a good deal but it has worked for many of my friends.

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Toro    577

Ditto what Rainman said about the follow on. I personally know 6-9 guys who took an ALO from an Ops assignment. They were guys who were very unlikely to get an Ops-to-Ops assignment, but after a year as an ALO they were back at another Ops unit.

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Beaver    208

The Air Liaison Officer is the senior member of the Tactical Air Control Party. He advises the Army on how the AF can incorporate into their scheme of maneuver and coordinates close air support.

You have to be rated to be an ALO because that's what the Army wanted when the AF agreed to take over the CAS role for them.

WXPunk: Very experienced enlisted JTACs have been ALO's at the brigade level for a while now.

ALO's at levels above brigade are all officer's, mostly due to how rank conscious the Army is.

Disclaimer: this is all shit I read, due to the fact that I'm still an F-16 pilot and not an ALO yet. And I knew my career was over before I got the ALO assignment. Why would the AF want to keep combat experience in the jet?

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Guest Rainman A-10   
Guest Rainman A-10

There are a couple trains of thought that do not play well together on this subject. There are the guys that worry about becoming squadron commanders and GOs while they are still captains and there are guys who want to stay operational and kill the enemy. You will hear wildly different perspectives about being an ALO from those two camps.

I posted the bio of the first ALO GO I could think of. If I thought harder I could find more but that is not really the point. This guy is not a patch wearer. He took the fastest (and most common) path to the top...jump into Stan/Eval, stay away from the competition in ACC (remain overseas) and become a GOs exec.

As for going to weapons school so that you can become a squadron commander...I say BULLSH#T! That should not be the motivation of the young captain Ace of the base with an eight foot flame coming out the top of his head who is lucky enough to be selected for weapons school. The guys who go to weapons school because it will help their career make really crappy weapons officers and are typically the guys who give weapons officers a bad name. Going to weapons school because you want to remain in the cockpit and fly and teach is fine. Going to weapons school so you can do a touch and go as a squadron weapons officer and then flit off to ASTRA and hook up with a sponsor is different (I can show you bios for that too).

The reality? Be honest, have a positive attitude, gain the respect of your peers by working hard on your flying skills, do your best at whatever job you are given and you will do just fine.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the cardinal rule...complete PME by correspondence ASAP. I know that sounds gay but it is one of the rules and you have to face it. It is not that hard, get the dirty purples and knock it out. Don't tell your friends if you don't want to (closet PME guy) but you have to get it done.

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Champ Kind    698

Anyone know anything about Air Mobility Liason Officers? (AMLOs) Obviously they deal more with the cargo & tac airlift side of the house as opposed to small & pointy (or big with lots of bombs.... you get the point), but, since we're on the subject, I was just wondering if any of you knew people that served an AMLO assignment or heard about it... Thanks!

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Beaver    208

Some people asked me for some words on what it's like to be an ALO. Here goes.

I've been doing the ALO thing here in Baghdad for 5 months now. I work with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. Also known as the 502nd Infantry regiment, the "Five-oh-deuce." An awesome unit with a storied history.

I have 3 real roles in the brigade. I am an Air Liaison Officer. My ALO tasks are basically just staff work. A brigade is the same echelon as an AF group, and I'm just another dork on the staff. I go to stupid meetings, I give briefings, etc. This is probably me least favorite part of the job.

My second role is that of JTAC (joint terminal attack controller). This is the most "hooah" part of the job, but I'm not really doing anything "hooah." Generally I only control air from the ops center, IE inside a building, way inside the wire. I could go out on more missions, but that's not really my job, and I don't feel like I have anything to prove, unlike some other dorks on the staff.

My third, and favorite role, is flight commander. I'm in charge of 7 TACPs from 19-35 years old. I decide what missions they go on, where they go, when they live, nearly every aspect of their lives. I make decisions every day that directly affect their lives. One of my teams hit an IED today coming back from a mission that I sent them on (they're ok.) I've been through ROTC, ASBC, and SOS, and I still knew jack shit about leadership until I actually started doing it. The Army and the Marines train people to lead, and I don't hold a candle an Army Company Commander. They employ 100 men as a weapon the same way I led a 4 ship of F-16s. Their leadership skills are very impressive. But I've learned a lot about leadership through actually doing it, and it is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

I volunteered to stay in Iraq for a year. I'd hate to think of my guys over here fighting and having all the fun and awesome experiences while I was stuck at home doing bullshit work.

Is an ALO assignment a broadening experience? I'll definitely say yes, but as a fighter pilot, you should keep your experience as narrow as possible as long as possible. I'm a better officer than I would have been, and I know I'm a better leader than most AF fighter pilots. But flying fighters is a highly technical business, and your skills atrophy when they aren't used. Staying in the cockpit is the only way to become the best pilot you can be.

If there's anything else you want to know about being an ALO or being deployed to Iraq or an outsider's view of the army just let me know. It might take me a few days to reply, though.

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Guest KM   
Guest KM

**THREAD REVIVAL**

Any additional insight about AMLO assignments? Pros and cons when considering this assignment vs. a white jet tour? Do you deploy with the Army unit, or is this similar to white jets in that you don't deploy? The assignment comes with "priority placement" upon completion...what opportunities might "priority placement" include?

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Skitzo    128

There are a lot of B-1 copilots going to ALO assignments, and from what I've seen the assignment is great for your resume. Great experience considering that the B-1 is becoming utilized for CAS/TST assignments.

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Beaver    208

The AMLO at Ft Campbell deployed for a couple months when the division first deployed, then again when they returned. Makes sense, he helps them move all their crap to and from theater. And the Army has a LOT of crap. In some places the AMLO works in the same building as the TACP guys, but not here. I've never seen the current AMLO.

This is just my opinion, and I really don't know all that much about what the AMLO does day to day, but I think I would take an white jet over an AMLO. I have the opposite opinion about ALO and white jet. But I don't think the AMLO guys get as much hands on leadership experience as ALOs. I could be wrong, so take that FWIW.

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Guest Hydro130   
Guest Hydro130

Bendy,

You are correct - the Yok AMLO slot is a unique animal within that world, but that's about all I know.

I don't know a whole lot about what a typical AMLO does these days either, but I would agree with Beaver about their field leadership experience in comparison to an ALO.

KM, work through your chain-of-command to find someone (or be able to get in touch with someone) who can answer your questions. I haven't seen an AMLO type on Baseops.net before, so most of the info here is going to be conjecture.

Cheers, Hydro

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sputnik    105

TALOs aren't ALOs. And are now called AMLOs...but your point is valid. Difference is there are 40 odd AMLO billets in the AF compared to about 10 ALO slots at each base that has them=a lot of ALO slots.

In answer to the original question, I just spent 3 years playing ASOS ADO. Majority of our ALOs were great officers who did the job very well. We also got quite a few f'ups that were very clearly flushed to us from their previous base/community. We generally had enough good guys to run the brigades effectively, but it got interesting at times. We had a few guys who volunteered. The majority, good and bad, ended up there just due to timing, there was a slot at their base and they had the time on station, etc, and they got it. A lot of good deals come down to timing, so do a lot of bad ones.

jojo I so suspect I know exactly who you're talking about, where did he do his ALO tour? The only guy we had that came close to a purple heart had his convoy come under attack, he elected to jump out and fight, the driver behind him elected to continue driving, in this case knocking over the BALO then running over his leg. We thought he was going back to Germany but unbelievably he only ended up with a hell of a bruise. I pesonally thought he deserved a PH but he absolutely refused and the Army was saying nope anyway so there it died.

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SPiF    5

I had two questions about ALOs and AMLOs, and this thread was the best I came up with..

1) Is an A(M)LO really that bad? It seems like not many people like it, but if I was told to either go teach at UPT or go operational as either an ALO, AMLO, or FAC, I'd go operational. It doesn't sound like it gets you kicked out of the cockpit permanently, you just have a nonflying job for awhile.

2) Are AMLOs for cargo guys? I'm looking at going -130s, and I was just curious to see if an AMLO tour would be a possibility. I just think it'd be great to get a chance to see things from the other side (especially having grown up in an Army family).

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Guest Boom   
Guest Boom
I had two questions about ALOs and AMLOs, and this thread was the best I came up with..

1) Is an A(M)LO really that bad? It seems like not many people like it, but if I was told to either go teach at UPT or go operational as either an ALO, AMLO, or FAC, I'd go operational. It doesn't sound like it gets you kicked out of the cockpit permanently, you just have a nonflying job for awhile.

2) Are AMLOs for cargo guys? I'm looking at going -130s, and I was just curious to see if an AMLO tour would be a possibility. I just think it'd be great to get a chance to see things from the other side (especially having grown up in an Army family).

I know a -130 slick pilot who went to be an AMLO at Ft. Riley. He goes back to Little Rock once a month for 2-5 days just to fly to maintain his currency.

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Toro    577
It seems like not many people like it, but if I was told to either go teach at UPT or go operational as either an ALO, AMLO, or FAC, I'd go operational. It doesn't sound like it gets you kicked out of the cockpit permanently, you just have a nonflying job for awhile.

It doesn't get you kicked out the cockpit permanently, it's just one tour. It's abnormal to have a full AF career without taking at least one tour out of the cockpit. Personally, I'd rather stay flying and prefer not to hang out with the Army dudes, so if I had a choice between the two, I'd go back to UPT.

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sputnik    105
I had two questions about ALOs and AMLOs, and this thread was the best I came up with..

1) Is an A(M)LO really that bad? It seems like not many people like it, but if I was told to either go teach at UPT or go operational as either an ALO, AMLO, or FAC, I'd go operational. It doesn't sound like it gets you kicked out of the cockpit permanently, you just have a nonflying job for awhile.

2) Are AMLOs for cargo guys? I'm looking at going -130s, and I was just curious to see if an AMLO tour would be a possibility. I just think it'd be great to get a chance to see things from the other side (especially having grown up in an Army family).

Haven't checked the thread in a while and just saw this.

1) Totally up to you whether it's good or not. From what you say I suspect you'd enjoy it, an awful lot of airlifters would hate it (I think I said it earlier but it bears repeating, not a lot of folks become AF pilots because they want to play on the ground with the Army). I went to a lot of places where I was the only AF, I went to places I was the only Officer, I went to places I was the only American. I thought it was fun, some people would hate it. While still closely tied to the flying world it was completely different than anything I'd done as aircrew and that was cool too.

2. AMLO is Air Mobility Liaison Officer. Used to be Tactical (or occasionally Theater) Airlift Liaison Officers and a lot of AFIs still call them TALOs though the term officially doesn't exist anymore. To be qualified you have to be a tanker or airlift guy. I've meet a couple KC10 guys that were first rate even though they'd never really seen a pallet before and had no idea what airdrop was. Used to be a very 130 centric field, but now they pull from all over AMC. At any rate, as a Herc guy yes you'd be more than qualified. And if you wanted to be one, wouldn't be hard to find a slot.

There are roughly 40 slots worldwide, if no one wants an open slot and you happen to be the high time guy on your base you might get forced into it, but it's nothing like what fighter/bomber guys face with ALO slots.

If you get a CONUS AMLO slot you'll actually keep flying (today's rules), they attach you at a base with your MWS. If you end up at a base colocated with your MWS (i.e. Ft Lewis/McChord for C17s, Ft Bragg/Pope for Hercs) you can end up flying a lot. PACAF/USAFE behind the power curve on flying but still not a bad deal.

I went willingly, had a good time, was more than ready to return to the active flying world when I was done. A few of my hip pocket long term plans involve AMLO assignments in one place or another.

Edited by sputnik

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Guest Swingin_1   
Guest Swingin_1

(Original login still inop)

Being an ALO kicks ass. I met an AMLO once but I don't really know what they do, so I can't help you there. Being an ALO doesn't hurt your career, BGen Rand was an ALO and went on to be the commandant of the weapons school and a fighter wing commander 3 times over. The reputation though may stem from the fact that ALOs have sometimes been selected from the dregs of each assignment cycle, so a lot of those guys weren't going to advance very far anyway.

I like the job because of the leadership experience. Most other flying jobs won't have you supervising anyone other than a couple life-support troops until you are the squadron commander, whereas an ALO will lead an entire 6-9 month deployment for 15 TACPs as a Captain.

The army side of it sucks, no denying that. I prefer it over AETC though, but that would come down to personal preference. Not flying is no fun either. Seeing the tangible results of our mission was awesome though, and I'd much rather be controlling JDAMs onto badguys or developing a CAS plan than I would instructing pitchouts and rejoins three times daily for 3 years after PIT (ALO is two years uncontrolled).

Expect one 6-9 month deployment as an ALO (some guys skate by without deploying), but life in garrison is super easy and very good for quality of life. Locations vary - Carson, Lewis, Hawaii, Riley, Vicenza, and Germany are nice; Irwin, Polk, Bragg, Drum are not so good. Korea is being phased out slowly. There's a few others.

PM me if you have any ALO questions.

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HercDude    222
2) Are AMLOs for cargo guys? I'm looking at going -130s, and I was just curious to see if an AMLO tour would be a possibility. I just think it'd be great to get a chance to see things from the other side (especially having grown up in an Army family).

We had several AMLOs at Pope - both pilots and navs. Someone said there are only 40 AMLO billets in the AF but that seems awfully low to me. I can personally come up with 8 names off the top of my head. A couple were at Ft. Bragg so they flew pretty often for attached guys - once a week at least. We had one from Ft. Drum and two from Ft. Dix, so they had to come down TDY a few times a year and fly several times a week to stay current. Although those guys kept basic curriencies and accrued gate months, they did not stay proficient at all. It was also always kind of a pain to schedule them for 15 different ground & flying currienceis in the one week they were in town.

One one deployment we picked up one of our AMLOs in Baghdad and since we had an IP he was able to get in a leg back to Kuwait. So your flying can still remain relevant I guess.

The other thing to remember is that not all AMLO billets are the same. Some are non-flying. Some require you to go to jump school, some don't. Others are non-jump, non-flying.

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Guest tollfree969   
Guest tollfree969

What would be a typical timeline (if there is one) for an ALO tour? i.e. 1 year of training, 6 months in Iraq/Afghanistan, etc.

Also, are any of those ALO bases close to AF bases? Girlfriend (possible soon to be fiancé) is also AF (in medical school). Could she get stationed at an Army base as an AF doctor? I would love to do it, but we will already be in at least a 4 year long distance relationship...

I know this is a lot, so answer what you can. Thanks in advance…

Edit: Sorry if I’m hijacking the thread in any way…

Edited by tollfree969

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Guest Swingin_1   
Guest Swingin_1
What would be a typical timeline (if there is one) for an ALO tour? i.e. 1 year of training, 6 months in Iraq/Afghanistan, etc.

Also, are any of those ALO bases close to AF bases? Girlfriend (possible soon to be fiancé) is also AF (in medical school). Could she get stationed at an Army base as an AF doctor? I would love to do it, but we will already be in at least a 4 year long distance relationship...

I know this is a lot, so answer what you can. Thanks in advance…

Edit: Sorry if I’m hijacking the thread in any way…

ALO training is 13 days at the joint fires schoolhouse at Nellis, then two years "OJT" (plus or minus) at whichever post you end up (one year for the shrinking Korea spots). 6-9 months is the normal deployment length and most ALOs will do one but it's not a sure thing. You can be deployed almost as soon as you arrive on station. If they elect to upgrade you to JTAC that will take some time but I was still out the door for 8 months with 4 months TOS and I've seen guys leave even a little sooner than that.

A few of the posts are adjacent to or close to AF bases. Lewis and McChord are actually consolidating; Wainright is near Eielson; Richardson and Elmo; Pope and Bragg; Carson and Peterson, etc.

I would never set a career path around being an ALO unless you are really passionate about wanting to go do it. I don't personally know any joint-spouse ALOs that are even close to being collocated (other than married ALOs in the same ASOS) and I would say that it would be easier to work joint-spouse with a more traditional career progession as a pilot.

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sputnik    105
We had several AMLOs at Pope - both pilots and navs. Someone said there are only 40 AMLO billets in the AF but that seems awfully low to me. I can personally come up with 8 names off the top of my head. A couple were at Ft. Bragg so they flew pretty often for attached guys - once a week at least. We had one from Ft. Drum and two from Ft. Dix, so they had to come down TDY a few times a year and fly several times a week to stay current. Although those guys kept basic curriencies and accrued gate months, they did not stay proficient at all. It was also always kind of a pain to schedule them for 15 different ground & flying currienceis in the one week they were in town.

One one deployment we picked up one of our AMLOs in Baghdad and since we had an IP he was able to get in a leg back to Kuwait. So your flying can still remain relevant I guess.

The other thing to remember is that not all AMLO billets are the same. Some are non-flying. Some require you to go to jump school, some don't. Others are non-jump, non-flying.

Used to be 43 slots worldwide but I know PACAF lost a few and am no longer sure of total number, but it's still close to 40. Keep in mind that along with ALO it's two year assignment so there's a lot of flow thru. There are 3 slots at Bragg as you have a Corps and a Division colocated. When you're not stationed near an AF base it is a pain in the ass for schedulars, no doubt about that.

All stateside AMLO slots are flying per AMC policy. They tried backing off that a bit but met too much resistance within community. If you've already completed all your gate months and you're not colocated with a unit flying your MWS you might be out of luck but otherwise you'll be okay under current guidance.

The only CONUS jump billets are at Bragg. And not all the Bragg AMLOs jump (minor point the 82nd Airborne is no longer entirely Airborne, and the 101st Airborne is 99% not Airborne). The AMLO slot at Ft Rich is a jump billet and is the only one in PACAF. There should be one at Vincenza but I'm not sure if there is or not. Actually there may be one at Benning too but I can't swear to it.

No USAFE AMLOs fly. In PACAF only the Schofield slots are flying positions but they're wing funded so if you're not a C17 guy you're probably not going to fly anyway (there's a 135 guy trying to work an attachment to Guard, might work).

Edited by sputnik

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sputnik    105
What would be a typical timeline (if there is one) for an ALO tour? i.e. 1 year of training, 6 months in Iraq/Afghanistan, etc.

Also, are any of those ALO bases close to AF bases? Girlfriend (possible soon to be fiancé) is also AF (in medical school). Could she get stationed at an Army base as an AF doctor? I would love to do it, but we will already be in at least a 4 year long distance relationship...

I know this is a lot, so answer what you can. Thanks in advance…

Edit: Sorry if I’m hijacking the thread in any way…

I mostly agree with Swinging but I do know of a few married ALO's. Schofield is close to Hickam, PACAF, PACOM not to mention Tripler so a lot of opportunities there. Similar situations in Europe though more likely to be stationed an hour apart or so. It would be a challenge and don't forget ALO tours are two years so you're setting yourself for being off cycle on assignments unless you extend. And as I can personally attest, an extra year in an ASOS almost certainly will get you another deployment (today's ops tempo).

It's good to plan ahead but at this point...focus on flying and getting married.

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afnav    33

I had assignment notification for an ALO command billet in Germany, and it was hijacked away from me by USAFE nazis. Unfortunately, STRAT was all that was left, and it's killed me.

The ANG is opening ASOS units in a lot of different locations. If your flying days are done, they might hire you into a AGR position. You can coast out your remaining active duty time, and then go traditional after you retire. That's my plan now.

In the meantime, I think Red Cloud is definitely in my future in '09. Anything to keep me out of another non-flying staff tour...

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Guest tollfree969   
Guest tollfree969

If you end up flying heavies can you still do an ALO tour or would it have to be an AMLO tour? I talked to some Colonel the other day who said ALOs are in huge demand and probably will be for a long time to come... Just curious. Thanks.

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Guest Fogo   
Guest Fogo
Generally an ALO is a fighter/attack or bomber pilot/nav. BALOs are usually, but not always A-10 fliers.

To the best of my knowledge, ABMs can be ALOs as well. A very broad description would be "any AF flyer with a working knowledge of weapons employment." That's just the Fogo definition though.

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