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Didn't get a pilot slot; considering dropping AFROTC to pursue Guard/Reserve/OTS

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This gives me an opportunity to finish school faster, as well as get a better GPA. Questions:

1. What am I going to have to pay AFROTC back for Field Training, uniforms, etc?

2. How will OTS work if I've been through Field Training and the AS300 year?

3. How will Cadre/AFROTC respond?

After screwing up and "settling" on my current enlisted AFSC a few years ago, I have decided that I need to exhaust every possible option before I accept another AFSC. I don't want to take a job in AFROTC that could go to someone else that would appreciate it more than I do. I am not a contracted POC and am currently attached to a Guard unit, of which I am planning to apply to as well.

Stats:

GPA: ~3.35

PFA: 99

AFOQT:

Pilot 86

Nav 85

Academic 80

Verbal 89

Quant 49

PCSM: 55

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1. You shouldn't have to pay anything back that you've gotten for FT, like travel. Any uniforms you've gotten from AFROTC should just be returned to your detachment and they shouldn't charge you for anything unless something was lost or became serviceable. If you've gotten any AFROTC stipend money you might need to pay that back. I'd double check with the cadre on that.

2. I think that if you intend to attend OTS, you'll have to do all of it regardless of completing FT because you haven't actually commissioned yet.

3. Depending on how your cadre are in general, they may or may not be upset with you for trying to disenroll because you didn't get a pilot slot. I think your attitude of leaving other AFSCs for those who really want them is a good one to have, hopefully they'll think the same way.

Keep in mind that AFROTC usually has reboards for rated slots for those on the alternate lists. Your stats aren't bad, so maybe improving your commander's ranking or getting extra flight hours will put you over the threshold. All considered, I'd definitely talk with your cadre about this before making any final decision so you can get all the facts and make the right choice.

Whatever you do, best of luck man.

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Don Frank pretty much hit the nail on the head from everything I know about AFROTC. Since you're not on scholarship or contracted, you shouldn't be required to enlist in AD or investigated. However, I'm not sure about your specific situation since you're a non-contracted POC who has completed FT.

One thing to think about- everyone who got their pilot slots will be doing their medicals this summer. There's always some who get DQ'd, and with the stats you provided it looks like you'd be right on the bubble on the alternate list. If I were you I'd probably stay in until the end of summer when the alternate slots have been awarded for medical DQs (if that's when they award the alternate slots - talk to your cadre).

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I'd hold off on it buddy. I'm in your position too. Wait for the supplemental rated board in September then go to your back ups. That's what I'm doing, take it with a grain of salt.

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I don't want to take a job in AFROTC that could go to someone else that would appreciate it more than I do.


I have no idea what that means. You want someone else to have a job that could help them get a pilot slot because you're thinking about leaving?

My recommendations in specific order:

1. Steal underwear

2. Talk to the guard, they'll tell you what your chances are of getting a pilot slot. Also, being stuck in the prison that is AD I would always recommend the guard route. I wish someone told me about it 10yrs ago.

3. Make profit

4. If that doesn't work, improve your commander's rating. Your stats are good, which had been stated. However, unless it's changed since my time, the commander's rating is worth like 50%. So if you're a shit bag in his eyes, then you'll never get the AFSC you want. Getting extra hours and whatever else will gain you 0.69 points more.

5. I wouldn't tell the cadre until you have secured a guard job. You don't know these people; they're born and bred of AD games and bull shit.

Or the whole fuvkin system is different and you can disregard all.

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If you're in the Guard, why are you bothering with AFROTC? Even if your current unit isn't hiring, seems like it would be a better option to go to another ANG unit, as opposed to ROTC.

Way back in the day, once you came back from Field Training, you were "locked in," and it became diffucult to get out of ROTC (regardless of scholarship or not). Dunno if that has changed, sounds like maybe it has.

Just like anything else in life, I'd make sure to research all the regs invovled, before you show your cards.

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I would hold off on dropping from AFROTC. I just got picked up at an Guard Herk unit and one of the other folks that got picked up just graduated ROTC with a Nav slot. It sounds like it isn't too much work for her to make the switch and now she is already a 2nd LT and I have to wait to get everything set up to go to OTS... Message me and I can put you in touch with her.

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This gives me an opportunity to finish school faster, as well as get a better GPA. Questions:

1. What am I going to have to pay AFROTC back for Field Training, uniforms, etc?

2. How will OTS work if I've been through Field Training and the AS300 year?

3. How will Cadre/AFROTC respond?

After screwing up and "settling" on my current enlisted AFSC a few years ago, I have decided that I need to exhaust every possible option before I accept another AFSC. I don't want to take a job in AFROTC that could go to someone else that would appreciate it more than I do. I am not a contracted POC and am currently attached to a Guard unit, of which I am planning to apply to as well.

Stats:

GPA: ~3.35

PFA: 99

AFOQT:

Pilot 86

Nav 85

Academic 80

Verbal 89

Quant 49

PCSM: 55

1. If you leave under your own power, you may have to reimburse any scholarship and stipend money awarded to you. I know when people were not selected to field training or were disqualified for health issues later that they were not required to pay any money back nor serve enlisted, but those were circumstances out of their control. Voluntarily leaving may be a separate animal entirely.

2. It will not matter for OTS. You will still apply with everyone else and you will still complete all of it. You will have previous leadership experience which will help you and you should work that to your advantage in the application process, but I would not say you left ROTC simply because you did not receive a pilot slot.

3. It depends on your individual cadre. I would think after being in their detachment for three years you would want their help via letters of recommendation for your OTS application, so I would be very sure to part ways on good terms.

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I have no idea what that means. You want someone else to have a job that could help them get a pilot slot because you're thinking about leaving?

No, I mean I don't want to take whatever AFSC I'd get if I didn't get a slot, because I would be entering the AFSC without the desire to be in it, possibly taking it away from someone who does. Already made the mistake of "settling" on an AFSC.

If you're in the Guard, why are you bothering with AFROTC? Even if your current unit isn't hiring, seems like it would be a better option to go to another ANG unit, as opposed to ROTC.

Way back in the day, once you came back from Field Training, you were "locked in," and it became diffucult to get out of ROTC (regardless of scholarship or not). Dunno if that has changed, sounds like maybe it has.

Just like anything else in life, I'd make sure to research all the regs invovled, before you show your cards.

I'm pursuing multiple avenues of getting a pilot slot to increase my overall chances. Ideally I would like to get picked up by my unit, but right now I am determined to chase every avenue I can.

I appreciate the advice from everyone, I think I'll wait it out and talk with my cadre to see what my options are.

Edited by Vice

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My AFRC recruiter mentioned that they are talking AFROTC students, since they need to fill pilot training seats. I would talk to your local Officer Recruiter, maybe he has some type of AFI saying that the AFROTC-AFRC transfer is possible.

Best of luck!

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So I have considered afrotc in order to get a pilot slot. But, the thing I don't really like about it is that you can end up not getting a pilot slot and be stuck with another job for years. Whereas, if you apply to the guard or the reserves after college and you don't get selected for a pilot slot, then there are no strings attached. However, if it possible to drop afrotc if you do not get a pilot slot, then would it be a good idea to try afrotc and drop it if it does not work out and pursue the guard/reserves? 

What I am really asking is which avenue to UPT starting from high school is the most assured and leaves the most options open?

Edited by robspenc

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25 minutes ago, robspenc said:

So I have considered afrotc in order to get a pilot slot. But, the thing I don't really like about it is that you can end up not getting a pilot slot and be stuck with another job for years. Whereas, if you apply to the guard or the reserves after college and you don't get selected for a pilot slot, then there are no strings attached. However, if it possible to drop afrotc if you do not get a pilot slot, then would it be a good idea to try afrotc and drop it if it does not work out and pursue the guard/reserves? 

What I am really asking is which avenue to UPT starting from high school is the most assured and leaves the most options open?

I'd say if you're willing to go all the way through ROTC until you find out whether or not you get a pilot slot, you better be willing to crush it along the way and do as good as you possibly can. If you go into it half-assed you would have wasted 3 years worth of ROTC time if you just end up dropping and going to OTS for a guard/reserve unit.

 

Nowadays you can go through ROTC and still end up going guard/reserves by going through the same process as everyone else. Talking to units and sitting on a board and getting hired, only difference is you don't go through OTS (obviously). If you don't get hired by guard/reserve units for whatever reason(usually meaning you didn't try enough units and put in enough work to sell yourself) then you still have ROTC as a backup.

Go out there and get your private, study, work out, do well within ROTC and make some great friends along the way.

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7 minutes ago, ayz33 said:

I'd say if you're willing to go all the way through ROTC until you find out whether or not you get a pilot slot, you better be willing to crush it along the way and do as good as you possibly can. If you go into it half-assed you would have wasted 3 years worth of ROTC time if you just end up dropping and going to OTS for a guard/reserve unit.

 

Nowadays you can go through ROTC and still end up going guard/reserves by going through the same process as everyone else. Talking to units and sitting on a board and getting hired, only difference is you don't go through OTS (obviously). If you don't get hired by guard/reserve units for whatever reason(usually meaning you didn't try enough units and put in enough work to sell yourself) then you still have ROTC as a backup.

Go out there and get your private, study, work out, do well within ROTC and make some great friends along the way.

Okay, I was not really aware that you could still rush guard units while in ROTC, that's a total game changer. That seems like a great plan! Is it usually more competitive to get a pilot slot in the guard or in AFROTC in general?

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Just be careful-you sign a contract before you know your AFSC. Some people have gone to the reserves from ROTC, but it's all "needs of the air force." When I commissioned, we were offered the chance to walk away just prior to commissioning with no strings attached (including if you were on a 4 year scholarship). The year prior, a couple cadets were forced to enlist to fulfill their contract.

Timing is everything. There is no justice.

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Just now, jazzdude said:

Just be careful-you sign a contract before you know your AFSC. Some people have gone to the reserves from ROTC, but it's all "needs of the air force." When I commissioned, we were offered the chance to walk away just prior to commissioning with no strings attached (including if you were on a 4 year scholarship). The year prior, a couple cadets were forced to enlist to fulfill their contract.

Timing is everything. There is no justice.

Then what do you recommend doing? Just not doing AFROTC and rushing units after college?

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Keep in mind that you'll get contracted to the AF upon completion of Field Training (unless you're already on scholarship). Getting out of that contract will have repercussions (I'd do some digging into it/speak to cadre to get the full scoop). I can only speak to going through AFROTC to get a pilot slot, not rushing guard/reserve units, but if you're passionate about it and willing to put in hard work, you'll have pretty good chances. Also keep in mind that completing AFROTC and commissioning will, at the very least, get you a job of some sort in the AF, which could help you get a pilot slot later down the road, whether it's through networking or funding a PPL for experience. Just my two cents, but I really enjoyed my time in ROTC and would recommend it.

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Then what do you recommend doing? Just not doing AFROTC and rushing units after college?
If your only goal is to be a military pilot, and you have no desire to serve for 4 years active in a different AFSC if you're not picked up, then ROTC is a gamble. It's competitive to get selected out of ROTC. Even if you are selected, you might fail the physical, as a couple of my buddies in ROTC did, and still be committed to serve in a different capacity.

If you go through college then rush guard/reserves and don't get selected, would that be the end of your desire to serve in the military?

There are different commit points. You have to commit to the AF early in ROTC, but might get help paying for college. Or you can pay your own way and rush guard/reserve units, or apply to OTS for active duty.

My point is that there's no guarantees. There's no one right answer, but you have to decide if you're willing to serve as an officer, even if you're not selected for pilot.

I took the gamble on ROTC, and it worked out for me. If I didn't get picked up as a pilot, I figured I'd do my 4 years then probably would've gotten out. But I wanted to at least serve, even if only for a short period.

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Also consider the Air Force Academy. Used to be pretty much guaranteed pilot slot as long as you're medically qualified. I'm not sure what the rate is now, but it's traditionally been a high percentage (granted, a much higher bar for entry into the program)

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I am going into my senior year so I don't think the USAFA is gonna work out. Plus, I have very little extra curriculars because I have devoted myself to work and school. I suppose I can try for the academy once in ROTC?

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On 7/5/2018 at 5:24 PM, robspenc said:

I am going into my senior year so I don't think the USAFA is gonna work out. Plus, I have very little extra curriculars because I have devoted myself to work and school. I suppose I can try for the academy once in ROTC?

Just some quick advice for you. I went through ROTC and was offered an RPA slot. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about that, but it wasn’t my first choice. However, don’t think that you can’t get a pilot slot after you commission. For rated AFSCs (RPA, CSO, ABM) you can apply for active duty UPT slots 2 years after you get your wings in your specific field. You can also do this from any other field , but I’m not sure about the time requirements. I think you really should look into ROTC.  I loved my experience in ROTC, you’ll hear a lot of the “needs of the Air Force” stuff once you’re in and that’s what I heard when I got passed over for pilot. With that being said I’ve seen multiple guys come in with the “ Pilot first officer 2nd” type attitude and none of them make it past the first year. Having a good “officer first” attitude is crucial with any commissioning source.  even if your end game is to be a pilot. With regards to the academy, I knew 1 guy who came to our det for 2 years got accepted to the academy and had to start from the very bottom again and then was dqed for pilot and is working missles in one of the dakotas. Not trying to draw you away from them, but just know BS happens in the academy just like ROTC and OTS. Do I think you can get a pilot slot through ROTC? Yep! Is it the end of the world if you don’t get a slot? Not if you have the right attitude about it. You can apply for slots later on. You may even find whatever job the AF gives you to be quite enjoyable and stay with it.

 

Sorry for the long rant.. I commissioned in December and am still waiting to leave for RPA training so I’m kinda bored.... Gotta love the long beautiful blue line. 

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On 7/2/2018 at 6:38 PM, robspenc said:

What I am really asking is which avenue to UPT starting from high school is the most assured and leaves the most options open?

Standard "this is my opinion and YMMV" warning.

Option 1 Academy: 

-Pros: Pretty much a guaranteed pilot slot if you meet the minimum qualifications. Prestigious degree. Free Education.

-Cons: Lifestyle will not be as enjoyable as ROTC or a normal college experience. Can only commission to Active Duty. You will have to sign a contract without knowing your AFSC (basically your job).

-Notes: The Academy is not for the faint of heart from what I hear. It is a challenge to get through all 4 years there. Most years it is easy to get a pilot slot. If I remember correctly, your first year at the Academy comes with no strings attached, but from the second year on it requires signing a contract that has penalties to back out of.

Option 2 ROTC:

-Pros: More enjoyable than the Academy for most people. Can commission to Active Duty, Guard, or Reserve as of now. Scholarships are available to help with tuition. 

-Cons: Not as enjoyable as a normal college experience IMHO. You will have to sign a contract without knowing your AFSC unless you sign up for the Missiler Scholarship. 

-Notes: ROTC varies heavily from college to college. This includes the how enjoyable the program is and the quality of training you get from it. As of three years ago ROTC started to allow cadets to commission to the Guard and Reserve while keeping their scholarship, but there is no guarantee this program will be around when you can apply to it. If you do not take a scholarship you can wait until Field Training to sign a contract, which is typically the summer between Sophomore and Junior year. If you are on scholarship, your Freshman year has no strings attached, but from Sophomore year on you are "on the hook". Pilot slot competition varies from year to year. Right now the selection rate is very high due to the pilot shortage. Pretty much if you meet the min quals you get it. 

Option 3 OTS:

-Pros: Most enjoyable while you are at college. Can know your AFSC and the force your joining (Active Duty, Guard, Reserve) before signing a contract. 

-Cons: Most competitive option to get a pilot slot. Air Force will not help finance college. Have to attend OTS after college.

-Notes: If you want a guarantee to be a pilot in the Air Force before signing a contract, this is your best option. Keep in mind getting a pilot slot through OTS tends to be the most competitive, but we are 2000 pilots short so it might not be as competitive now. 

TLDR:

If your ultimate goal is to become a pilot, the safest option is OTS... or maybe the Marines since they are promising college students flight contracts before joining. If your goal is to become an Air Force Officer, I would recommend ROTC or Academy. 

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If I remember correctly, your first year at the Academy comes with no strings attached, but from the second year on it requires signing a contract that has penalties to back out of.


You’re not committed until the first day of class of your Junior year. Also, as long as you’re medically qualified, you are virtually guaranteed a pilot slot. I had a friend who received a Nav slot because his grades were too low, and they later swapped it for a pilot slot because they couldn’t fill their allocation.

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Sounds like you are fairly against the idea of being in the military if you're not a pilot.  If that's true, then guard/reserve will be your best option in terms of no strings attached.  But, be ready for the possibility of not getting hired or still failing the medical screening and being right back where you started (civilian, no military service or benefits to speak of).  No way is perfect or without risk.

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