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HawkJ2010

CSO vs. NFO

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Hello everyone,

I have researched both of these occupations and it seems as though they are very similar do you know of any major differences? I realize that both are in different branches of the military. And from what I have read transitioning from NFO to pilot is not possible whereas CSO to pilot is, however it is no easy task. I've recently realized how narrow-minded my flying goals were (ANG slots only) and decided to open up to a more broad spectrum, AD Navy/Air Force, Reserves/Guard, and most recently the CSO/NFO career path. Sure, piloting an aircraft would be an awesome position to be in, however, I do not want to give up my dreams of flying because I was being intolerant to other paths. This may seem like a "what are my chances" post but I'm really just a youngin' looking for some answers and hopefully I can reap some information from all of your experiences. Good or bad.

Previously I was looking into a career as a Reserve/ANG loadmaster in hopes of working my way up to a UPT slot but then I realized that I'm young, I don't have any "barriers", I have a degree, and I want to make a full-time commitment... so why not go Active Duty?

Now, a few questions that I have for you all, which you may or may not be able to answer.

1) What would you say the pro's and con's of the NFO or CSO field?

2) I know deployment lengths vary between the Navy and Air Force but what kind of "down-time" can you expect? I read another forum about a person seeking to pursue an MBA and CSO school. I assume with proper time management I could potentially go for another degree, if need be?

3) I believe I read somewhere that if you do make it to UPT you will tack on the rest of your left-over ADSC to your new 10-year pilot commitment, is that right?

4) An 8-year commitment is doubled what most other officer positions are and I can understand why that is so with all of the money and training they put into each officer. However, do/did any of you find this unappealing or is it affecting any of you?

5) Within the same regards as question #3, you can move from CSO into a pilot slot... can this transition also take place into any other fields?

I appreciate you all taking the time to read this post and hopefully give me some feedback on the case. Cheers.

-Hawk

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Guest one

If you want to be a pilot but are also willing to be a CSO why don't you just apply to OTS. You can put pilot as your number one choice and CSO as number two. You can also add RPA and ABM if you want. If you get selected, any rated job is a great opportunity.

The deployments with the Navy and Air Force depends on a hundred different factors, what aircraft you drop being one of them.

There is a 10 year commitment after UPT for pilots and a 6 year commitment after CSO training. If you want to be an Air Force pilot, being willing to fly for ten years operationally shouldn't be unappealing to you. If it is, you might want to look at other rated jobs. The commitment for becoming an ABM is only four years. Maybe that would be easier for you to commit to.

You can apply to UPT from being a rated or non-rated officer but if you are rated you have to wait 2.5 years after training to start UPT. The board process is very competitive.

Edited by one

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Another thing to consider, Navy/USMC has a higher percentage of fighter aircraft compared to non-fighter types, so if you are looking for fighters, your odds are a little better with the navy. The Air Force has more variety though, Bombers, recce, transport, CSAR, Spec Ops etc... I'm about 3/4 through USAF CSO school.

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If you want to be a pilot but are also willing to be a CSO why don't you just apply to OTS. You can put pilot as your number one choice and CSO as number two. You can also add RPA and ABM if you want. If you get selected, any rated job is a great opportunity.

The deployments with the Navy and Air Force depends on a hundred different factors, what aircraft you drop being one of them.

There is a 10 year commitment after UPT for pilots and a 6 year commitment after CSO training. If you want to be an Air Force pilot, being willing to fly for ten years operationally shouldn't be unappealing to you. If it is, you might want to look at other rated jobs. The commitment for becoming an ABM is only four years. Maybe that would be easier for you to commit to.

You can apply to UPT from being a rated or non-rated officer but if you are rated you have to wait 2.5 years after training to start UPT. The board process is very competitive.

Sorry, I did not mean for it to sound like I wasn't willing to commit. If I got the chance be a part of ANY military branch, pilot OR navigator, I would gladly fulfill my duties.

From what research I have done it looks like you have to be rated for 2.5 years before applying for UPT and you have to be picked up within 5 years of being rated. So you only have 2.5 years to get into UPT. Correct?

Another thing to consider, Navy/USMC has a higher percentage of fighter aircraft compared to non-fighter types, so if you are looking for fighters, your odds are a little better with the navy. The Air Force has more variety though, Bombers, recce, transport, CSAR, Spec Ops etc... I'm about 3/4 through USAF CSO school.

I would prefer transport, and I know there are a lot of C-130's in the Air Force. But being in a fighter wouldn't be quite so bad (sarcasm). Also, I thought I read online somewhere that NFO's are not allowed the chance to cross-train into UPT as the CSO's are, any truth there?

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Guest one

There is nothing wrong with being on the fence with committing yourself to 13 years of military service. It is a serious decision and I was just saying if you have any hesitation you should probably not commit for 10+ years. It sounds like you know what you want.

You do not have to be rated for 2.5 years before applying to UPT, you only have to be rated for 2.5 years before starting UPT. You can apply months before the 2.5 year mark but you have to start training after the 2.5 year mark.

I am not positive about the NFO to pilot process but I know you can commission into the Marines with a guaranteed pilot job. The army will not give you a firm pilot position before going into your commissioning program.

Edited by one

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There is nothing wrong with being on the fence with committing yourself to 13 years of military service. It is a serious decision and I was just saying if you have any hesitation you should probably not commit for 10+ years. It sounds like you know what you want.

You do not have to be rated for 2.5 years before applying to UPT, you only have to be rated for 2.5 years before starting UPT. You can apply months before the 2.5 year mark but you have to start training after the 2.5 year mark.

I am not positive about the NFO to pilot process but I know you can commission into the Marines with a guaranteed pilot job. The army will not give you a firm pilot position before going into your commissioning program.

Are you saying NFO to Marine pilot or just go to a USMC officer and go through the entire Officer Selection Process?

You can go NFO to pilot.

Any literature on this? I'd like to read up on it. So far I've found articles from early 2000 saying you cannot go NFO to pilot.

Cheers.

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Guest one

I am saying you can get a guaranteed slot for pilot by going through the selection process. The Air Force's selection process allows you to only pick pilot only but IMO it doesn't look as good on your OTS package. If you were really sure you only wanted to be a pilot and were real competitive then only listing pilot would be okay. I want to be a pilot but with my test scores I was lucky to get selected at all. I didn't really think I had a chance at any rated job but I was lucky enough to get a CSO slot. I plan on working harder on studying for the AFOQT but in all likely hood the UPT board will be much harder for me to be selected than getting a pilot slot for OTS. One thing important to realize, just because your a CSO doesn't mean you are automatically going to be competitive for a UPT slot or ENJJPT because you are going against other CSOs and ABMs that want to be pilots just as bad as you do.

Edited by one

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I am saying you can get a guaranteed slot for pilot by going through the selection process. The Air Force's selection process allows you to only pick pilot only but IMO it doesn't look as good on your OTS package. If you were really sure you only wanted to be a pilot and were real competitive then only listing pilot would be okay. I want to be a pilot but with my test scores I was lucky to get selected at all. I didn't really think I had a chance at any rated job but I was lucky enough to get a CSO slot. I plan on working harder on studying for the AFOQT but in all likely hood the UPT board will be much harder for me to be selected than getting a pilot slot for OTS. One thing important to realize, just because your a CSO doesn't mean you are automatically going to be competitive for a UPT slot or ENJJPT because you are going against other CSOs and ABMs that want to be pilots just as bad as you do.

Yeah... by no means do I believe that once I become a CSO all I have to do is wait 2.5 years... I just know that if cross-training into UPT does not work out I would MUCH rather be in a position that I know I will enjoy, such as CSO. I hear/read how hard it is to get a slot for UPT, I'm just hoping I am competitive enough to get a CSO slot!

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Any literature on this? I'd like to read up on it. So far I've found articles from early 2000 saying you cannot go NFO to pilot.

Literature? No, but I'm a Whiting IP and we've had multiple NFOs come through as students in the last year.

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The commitment for becoming an ABM is only four years.

Just to clarify, this is false; ABM is 6 years same as Nav. Also, keep in mind that 6 years is from pinning wings so that's about 1-1.5 years after entering active duty, making your total commitment more like 7-8 years.

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Guest one

Just to clarify, this is false; ABM is 6 years same as Nav. Also, keep in mind that 6 years is from pinning wings so that's about 1-1.5 years after entering active duty, making your total commitment more like 7-8 years.

Thanks for the correction. I think it use to be 4 years but they changed it.

Edited by one

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I am saying you can get a guaranteed slot for pilot by going through the selection process. The Air Force's selection process allows you to only pick pilot only but IMO it doesn't look as good on your OTS package. If you were really sure you only wanted to be a pilot and were real competitive then only listing pilot would be okay. I want to be a pilot but with my test scores I was lucky to get selected at all. I didn't really think I had a chance at any rated job but I was lucky enough to get a CSO slot. I plan on working harder on studying for the AFOQT but in all likely hood the UPT board will be much harder for me to be selected than getting a pilot slot for OTS. One thing important to realize, just because your a CSO doesn't mean you are automatically going to be competitive for a UPT slot or ENJJPT because you are going against other CSOs and ABMs that want to be pilots just as bad as you do.

I see this all the time on the Air Force OTS boards. The board doesn't care about how many rated positions you put down. If you apply for any rated position, they look at your scores, decide if you make the cut, then look at what jobs you applied for. No one on the board is going to say "This guy is really qualified to be a pilot, but he applied pilot only so we'll give the slot to this guy who applied for CSO as well".

If you want to be a pilot, apply for pilot. If you are willing to be a CSO too, put that on your application. Do not apply for both if you are going to turn down your CSO slot.

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I see this all the time on the Air Force OTS boards. The board doesn't care about how many rated positions you put down. If you apply for any rated position, they look at your scores, decide if you make the cut, then look at what jobs you applied for. No one on the board is going to say "This guy is really qualified to be a pilot, but he applied pilot only so we'll give the slot to this guy who applied for CSO as well".

If you want to be a pilot, apply for pilot. If you are willing to be a CSO too, put that on your application. Do not apply for both if you are going to turn down your CSO slot.

My thoughts are that you put down on the application which positions you would like and the board will tell you "You qualify for all positions so you can take your pick"... not that you could potentially qualify for a pilot slot but because you put CSO down they will stick you there without your consent simply because one is needed more than the other. However, I would be very grateful if I was considered for either position. I want to serve my country, being presented the opportunity to fly for them would far exceed my wildest dreams. Thank you for your responses.

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I see this all the time on the Air Force OTS boards. The board doesn't care about how many rated positions you put down. If you apply for any rated position, they look at your scores, decide if you make the cut, then look at what jobs you applied for. No one on the board is going to say "This guy is really qualified to be a pilot, but he applied pilot only so we'll give the slot to this guy who applied for CSO as well".

If you want to be a pilot, apply for pilot. If you are willing to be a CSO too, put that on your application. Do not apply for both if you are going to turn down your CSO slot.

I wasn't saying that putting pilot only would hurt you. I am just saying there is usually more CSO selects than pilot selects and pilot selects usually have higher averages across the board. If you pick pilot only and there is 150 pilot slots and 150 CSO slots, you just cut your selection chances in half. If you just want to be a pilot, put pilot only but if you want to be an Air Force officer it only seems logical to put all the options you are able to.

Edited by one

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Going a bit off topic, but I'm considering applying for both NFO and CSO. My concern recently though has been the swim testing that NFOs have to go through. 

 

I swam a lap sidestroke and then got a half a length trying breastroke and had to dog paddle for a second. I think I could learn and I think my issue is I don't know how to breathe properly, but that's beside the point.

 

What kind of swim testing do you have to pass as an Airforce CSO, the most current and updated info would be very beneficial. I understand it is still a pretty new combined rating so the info has been hard to find?

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Also, if anyone knows how to go about applying for both NFO and CSO at the same time that would helpful as well. Anyone know if I'd have to go to MEPS twice or can I apply for both branch officer positions in one sitting?

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On 8/11/2016 at 5:56 PM, codered1129 said:

What kind of swim testing do you have to pass as an Airforce CSO, the most current and updated info would be very beneficial. I understand it is still a pretty new combined rating so the info has been hard to find?

You have to pass basic aircrew water survival, but beyond that there's no specific swim test.  Check out more about the course at the link below or using some quick google skills.

http://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Features/Display/tabid/5155/Article/635352/sere-water-survival-preparing-airmen-for-the-sea.aspx

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http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums/topic/21098-benefits-of-becoming-a-cso/#comment-409716

Make sure you read this thread as well.  Choice between CSO and NFO should not be made based on a swim test.  Get in the pool and embrace the fact you need to get better and you will.  Anyone, in any service, flying over water with the chance of "stepping out" of the aircraft and getting wet needs to know how to swim...or at least survival swim. 

Cheers

ATIS

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Agree with above.

My info may be dated but the API swim (USN) used to be a mile. You could do the crawl or sidestroke. If you can't do it then you will wash back and they will get you through the swim. It is not that difficult...

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5 hours ago, ATIS said:

http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums/topic/21098-benefits-of-becoming-a-cso/#comment-409716

Make sure you read this thread as well.  Choice between CSO and NFO should not be made based on a swim test.  Get in the pool and embrace the fact you need to get better and you will.  Anyone, in any service, flying over water with the chance of "stepping out" of the aircraft and getting wet needs to know how to swim...or at least survival swim. 

Cheers

ATIS

Hey, thanks for the help, man. That thread was helpful too. 

 

5 hours ago, Herk Driver said:

Agree with above.

My info may be dated but the API swim (USN) used to be a mile. You could do the crawl or sidestroke. If you can't do it then you will wash back and they will get you through the swim. It is not that difficult...

That's encouraging. I actually got back in the pool two times last week (first time was after a workout) and swam 800 yds the first time and then 1000 yds. So yeah you're right I guess it's not as impossible as it sounded first time I read it. My worry was failing one time and DQ'd, but yeah it helps to know you roll back and they work with you.

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22 hours ago, nsplayr said:

You have to pass basic aircrew water survival, but beyond that there's no specific swim test.  Check out more about the course at the link below or using some quick google skills.

http://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Features/Display/tabid/5155/Article/635352/sere-water-survival-preparing-airmen-for-the-sea.aspx

I gave google my best shot, but I couldn't get too much out of it. I had come across the article you posted, but what I was hoping to find was some in depth details. If you search a bit on NFO it tells you exactly what tests you have to pass in the pipeline. I was hoping for the same with CSO

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Go with the NFO/Navy standards....pass those and your are set. 

On the other hand...if you can tread water without getting your golf clubs wet...you pass the CSO course.

 

This carrier aviator and U-28 plankowner had to take this shot...it was just too easy.

 

ATIS

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On 8/15/2016 at 2:24 PM, codered1129 said:

I gave google my best shot, but I couldn't get too much out of it. I had come across the article you posted, but what I was hoping to find was some in depth details. If you search a bit on NFO it tells you exactly what tests you have to pass in the pipeline. I was hoping for the same with CSO

Copy, let me be more clear.  Swimming is not required in the Air Force beyond passing the Water Survival SERE course at Fairchild AFB.  When I did ejection-seat water SERE, the only real swimming was about 1-2 minutes in the Pensacola bay before I hauled myself into my one-man raft and took a nap until I was "rescued."

But that's post-getting-your-wings so I'd focus on near targets right now.

Edited by nsplayr
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I'm pretty sure the AF killed the Pensacola water survival program so you don't even have to worry about that. BLUF : swimming is the last thing you need to worry about.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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