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View Full Version : Air Force-Warrant Officer Pilots


AirBear
04-01-2018, 01:40 PM
Pilot shortage is starting to really hurt the USAF. They've upped the promotion % for Captains to Majors to 100%, used to be around 50%. Now they're considering "enlisted" (really it'd be Warrant Officers). Of course they're trying the reinvent the wheel instead of just copying the Army's model. I separated from the Air Force almost 30 years ago and they still haven't figured out how to manage their pilots.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/03/31/air-force-may-approve-enlisted-pilots-first-time-75-years.html


BoilerUP
04-01-2018, 01:42 PM
Is the issue filling the pipeline of new pilots...or retaining existing pilots?

AirBear
04-01-2018, 01:55 PM
Mostly to retain pilots. W/O's typically don't have collage degrees so are not as competitive for the major airlines and therefore more likely to stay in for 20 years. That's the idea anyway, but as with most their ideas it probably won't work.

The 100% promotion to Major is to encourage pilots to stay in for 20 years. Before you had to play the game, do the professional military schools, work staff jobs, etc. Now they've created a professional pilot track in all but name. But I'm sure there will still be requirements to do some staff jobs. Pilots at the squadron level are still working 50-60 hour weeks trying to do staff work plus fly.

To show how they're screwing it up (again) the last promotion board from Major to Lieutenant Colonel promoted 3% more officers in staff jobs than the ones who are flying at the squadron level and risking their lives in combat. Promotion boards just can't get over the "Officership" thing. Staff weenies can usually get higher endorsement levels on their Officer Efficency Reports since they're rubbing elbows with Generals, while the folks at the squadron level don't, unless they really stand out.


crewdawg
04-01-2018, 04:05 PM
Mostly to retain pilots. W/O's typically don't have collage degrees so are not as competitive for the major airlines and therefore more likely to stay in for 20 years. That's the idea anyway, but as with most their ideas it probably won't work.

The AF LOVES to tout the education level of our service. I'm guessing if we ever got WOs (not likely), they'll likely have a degree by the time their ADSC is finished. Paying guys even less to do the same job isn't going to fix the cluster the AF has found itself in today. Their needs to be a major change in culture before this situation gets better. Alas, I predict that it will get much worse before it gets better. They reap what they sow!

gollum
04-01-2018, 04:09 PM
Mostly to retain pilots. W/O's typically don't have collage degrees so are not as competitive for the major airlines and therefore more likely to stay in for 20 years. That's the idea anyway, but as with most their ideas it probably won't work. .

You would be surprised how many of us warrants have degrees as (just like o-grades l) it makes us more competitive for promotion.

Also, with the regional flows becoming more prevalent.. a degree is becoming irrelevant.

Also, the average warrant officer now has several additional duties and flying is starting to become secondary.




PS: itís ďcollegeĒ no ďcollageĒ

bizzlepilot
04-01-2018, 06:25 PM
Is the issue filling the pipeline of new pilots...or retaining existing pilots?

Retaining. The AF has screwed itself up so badly it can't keep pilots in. This will do nothing to change that. But hey, I was told by a GO that I am expendable and that if I didn't like my career I am free to leave, they'll press on with the dozens of pilots waiting in the wings to replace me. That's cool, I'll have a higher line number when those pilots decide to punch as well. :)

Frosty88
04-01-2018, 07:25 PM
Doesn't help that people who did a 6 years enlistment then got out and got a degree/pilot training/etc. are "too old" to even apply. The things I would do to be a fighter/airlift pilot..

AirBear
04-01-2018, 08:17 PM
PS: itís ďcollegeĒ no ďcollageĒ

Spell check has atrophied that part of my brain :p The fact that I'm usually watching videos on the other monitor while I type doesn't help.

I agree about the degrees, on W/O's getting them for promotion and on not needing them for the regional flow/thru down the road.

I was an Air Force pilot from 1981-89. Near the end of that time the Air Force threw out some nice retention bonus payments. And most squadron CO's screwed it up by making acceptance of the bonus with the accompanying commitment to the 14 year mark a type of "Loyalty Test". If you declined the bonus then you were on his "bad boy" list.

Of course later on the Soviet Union collapsed and some of the pilots who took the bonus were RIF'd out of the service :rolleyes:

They really need a "Professional Pilot" career track that keeps you in the cockpit and away from most non-flying jobs and guarantees 20 years. I had no desire to command anything more than my aircraft and that wasn't the party line. I did enjoy the missions I flew, I felt like I was making a contribution. But all the other BS drove me crazy, I got out as soon as my commitment was up.

AirBear
04-01-2018, 08:23 PM
Doesn't help that people who did a 6 years enlistment then got out and got a degree/pilot training/etc. are "too old" to even apply. The things I would do to be a fighter/airlift pilot..

When I was in AFROTC we had a former Army Cobra Pilot in the program. He had 500 hours of combat time in Vietnam, shot down 3 times. He was 6 months over the age limit for Air Force Pilot Training, and they wouldn't waive that.

HuggyU2
04-02-2018, 01:25 AM
The USAF already has a program for enlisted to become pilots, and it works great:
OTS

My guess is that is how this issue will work out, save for a few enlisted UAV pilots.

Hacker15e
04-02-2018, 02:59 AM
It is astonishing the lengths that the USAF is willing to go to in order to avoid tackling the actual issues regarding leadership culture and mission focus that are actually driving pilots out the door.

JTwift
04-02-2018, 04:11 AM
It is astonishing the lengths that the USAF is willing to go to in order to avoid tackling the actual issues regarding leadership culture and mission focus that are actually driving pilots out the door.

Shocking, really. I bet you could put together a small team of Captains and Majors, and they'd have the issues fixed inside of a week. It's not like it's a big secret why everyone is getting out.

Gundriver64
04-02-2018, 05:17 AM
You would be surprised how many of us warrants have degrees as (just like o-grades l) it makes us more competitive for promotion.

Also, with the regional flows becoming more prevalent.. a degree is becoming irrelevant.

Also, the average warrant officer now has several additional duties and flying is starting to become secondary.




PS: it’s “college” no “collage”
Agreed, whats “typical” (insert eye-roll here) for entry level warrants is having a degree. You're not competitive for promotion from W3 to W4 sans bachelors and most selected for W5 have a masters degree. A couple comments above are borderline snarky: for edification purposes-the grades of W2-W5 are commissioned ranks.

MX727
04-06-2018, 01:31 PM
The USAF will never understand. Pilots want to be pilots. They make it real easy to separate when they tell someone that they are going to go do some silly ground job for three years. OTS instructor was what they offered me. I wasn't even 30 and had only been flying for 8 years. Not everyone wants to be a manager. In fact, most don't. They also don't seem to understand that putting the most valuable and expensive resource in a job that could be done with a lower cost individual makes much more sense. Separating is a major event and people would avoid facing that unknown if the military didn't force a pilot to have to leave to continue being a pilot.

AirBear
04-06-2018, 05:38 PM
I got out in 1989 and nothing has changed. All I wanted to do was fly, didn't not care a bit about "Officership". The 100% promotion rate to Major is a work-around to ditching the "Officer First, Pilot Second" that's been around so long. If you can avoid non-flying jobs at least you're guaranteed 20 years since you'll be in sanctuary by the time you're passed over twice for LtCol. But they'll need to hire more admin officers/NCO's to take care of some of the additional duties Pilots get saddled with. I was Awards and Decorations Officer, and later Supply Officer and Life Support Officer while I was flying. I was also Flight Safety Officer/Accident Investigator. Now that job needed a Pilot or at least a Nav, but it's about the only one.

The USAF will never understand. Pilots want to be pilots. They make it real easy to separate when they tell someone that they are going to go do some silly ground job for three years. OTS instructor was what they offered me. I wasn't even 30 and had only been flying for 8 years. Not everyone wants to be a manager. In fact, most don't. They also don't seem to understand that putting the most valuable and expensive resource in a job that could be done with a lower cost individual makes much more sense. Separating is a major event and people would avoid facing that unknown if the military didn't force a pilot to have to leave to continue being a pilot.

JTwift
04-07-2018, 04:04 AM
If you can avoid non-flying jobs at least you're guaranteed 20 years since you'll be in sanctuary by the time you're passed over twice for LtCol.

Not even close to true. Promotion board to LtCol hits around the 14-ish year mark. 2nd time would be 15. Sanctuary isn't until 18.

Remember this?

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2016/01/20/sixteen-former-air-force-majors-sue-service-for-unlawful-discharge/

rickair7777
04-07-2018, 06:38 AM
Not even close to true. Promotion board to LtCol hits around the 14-ish year mark. 2nd time would be 15. Sanctuary isn't until 18.

Remember this?

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2016/01/20/sixteen-former-air-force-majors-sue-service-for-unlawful-discharge/

Sort of true.

You are correct that there's enough air gap between 2x O5 FOS and sanctuary that it can in theory be exploited to sep people short of retirement but the USCG reserve is the only service which makes a policy of this. DoD generally does not, and the AF is not likely to try this again any time soon.

Keep in mind a continuation board can separate anyone at any time in theory, unless you're between 18-20 years. But it gets politically questionable to separate folks from 15 - 18.

rickair7777
04-07-2018, 06:45 AM
The USAF will never understand. Pilots want to be pilots. They make it real easy to separate when they tell someone that they are going to go do some silly ground job for three years. OTS instructor was what they offered me. I wasn't even 30 and had only been flying for 8 years. Not everyone wants to be a manager. In fact, most don't. They also don't seem to understand that putting the most valuable and expensive resource in a job that could be done with a lower cost individual makes much more sense. Separating is a major event and people would avoid facing that unknown if the military didn't force a pilot to have to leave to continue being a pilot.

This is pretty far off base.

The military (all services), need warfighters/operators in key leadership positions at all levels. You think it sucks when operators have to do staff jobs, try operating in a service where professional administrators fill all the leadership roles... :eek:

The army has enough combat branch people to fill leadership jobs, so they can afford to maintain a corps of dedicated pilot warrants and still have enough senior leaders and staffers.

The Navy and AF need to tap their operators to be leaders and staffers. Believe me there would be no problem at all finding or creating enough professional bureaucrats to fill all the desk jobs, but you do NOT want to work under that sort of construct... and really don't want to fight under that construct.

Being a dedicated pilot works in the airlines because you have a union contract to protect you from the non-pilot management.

bizzlepilot
04-07-2018, 03:41 PM
It is astonishing the lengths that the USAF is willing to go to in order to avoid tackling the actual issues regarding leadership culture and mission focus that are actually driving pilots out the door.

Indeed, it doesn't seem like they'll ever get it, or that they even want to understand it. Just lower standards and get more grist for the mill.

bizzlepilot
04-07-2018, 03:45 PM
Shocking, really. I bet you could put together a small team of Captains and Majors, and they'd have the issues fixed inside of a week. It's not like it's a big secret why everyone is getting out.

I agree completely, but they'll never listen to the line swine. They'll ask for feedback and send out all kinds of surveys, and they'll get some honest feedback. But then they'll disregard everything and attribute failing retention rates to other issues they feel better about.

AirBear
04-07-2018, 04:30 PM
My bad, I overestimated how long it took for 2x passover for LTC. But still according to that article it's pretty rare for pilots to be invol separated with less than 6 years to retirement.

So although 20 years isn't 100% guaranteed I think it's safe to say it's 99% for pilots.

All they need is a 2 track career path for pilots, a command track and a professional pilot track. The latter would be capped at Major and guarantee 20 years unless you impregnate the Wing Commander's underage daughter or something similar :o

rickair7777
04-08-2018, 08:28 AM
My bad, I overestimated how long it took for 2x passover for LTC. But still according to that article it's pretty rare for pilots to be invol separated with less than 6 years to retirement.

So although 20 years isn't 100% guaranteed I think it's safe to say it's 99% for pilots.

I agree. Very few times have any of the services tried to prevent continuation to 18 years. I was cold-war drawdown era, back then they were cutting lots of people loose but they actually gave early retirements starting at 15 years.


All they need is a 2 track career path for pilots, a command track and a professional pilot track. The latter would be capped at Major and guarantee 20 years unless you impregnate the Wing Commander's underage daughter or something similar :o

They could do this if they managed it carefully, to ensure they have enough mid/senior officers to fill staff and leadership jobs with people who understand operations, flying, and fighting.

It would likely need to be warrants, federal law caps inventory of the various commissioned ranks and they might need those bodies for other things. They could trade fewer O1/2/3 for more warrants.

AirBear
04-08-2018, 10:53 AM
It would likely need to be warrants, federal law caps inventory of the various commissioned ranks and they might need those bodies for other things. They could trade fewer O1/2/3 for more warrants.

Since all I cared about was flying, I would have gladly traded in my Captain's Bars for Warrant Officer bars as long as the pay was the same. But at current 2018 rates that'd be a problem since even W4 pays about $700/month less than O-3 (over 6 years of service). So something would have to be adjusted for that to work. And as far as keeping pilots in the service it would probably only help a small amount since there's lots of other issues that affect QOL.

If the USAF copied the Army's program and allowed enlisted to apply for flight training with W/O bars awarded along with wings at graduation that would probably be a better retention solution. An 8 or 9 year commitment for Pilot training (I forget what it is now) along with several years of enlisted time would make the decision to get out somewhat more difficult.

Good point about the caps thou.

Sputnik
04-09-2018, 06:59 AM
My bad, I overestimated how long it took for 2x passover for LTC. But still according to that article it's pretty rare for pilots to be invol separated with less than 6 years to retirement.

So although 20 years isn't 100% guaranteed I think it's safe to say it's 99% for pilots.


Kinda sorta. Around 2012 or so they denied continuation to a ton of dudes after 2nd passover. With absolutely zero warning. Want to say it was around 200 pilots.

It caused a lot of angst and lost faith and was definitely a retention issue for a few years after that. And probably still is an issue for folks finishing up their initial commitment.

JTwift
04-09-2018, 04:07 PM
Kinda sorta. Around 2012 or so they denied continuation to a ton of dudes after 2nd passover. With absolutely zero warning. Want to say it was around 200 pilots.

It caused a lot of angst and lost faith and was definitely a retention issue for a few years after that. And probably still is an issue for folks finishing up their initial commitment.

From the article that nobody read, apparently.

"In 2011, 157 majors were dismissed from the Air Force after an officer continuation board determined their service was no longer needed."

C130driver
04-09-2018, 10:19 PM
This is pretty far off base.

The military (all services), need warfighters/operators in key leadership positions at all levels. You think it sucks when operators have to do staff jobs, try operating in a service where professional administrators fill all the leadership roles... :eek:

The army has enough combat branch people to fill leadership jobs, so they can afford to maintain a corps of dedicated pilot warrants and still have enough senior leaders and staffers.

The Navy and AF need to tap their operators to be leaders and staffers. Believe me there would be no problem at all finding or creating enough professional bureaucrats to fill all the desk jobs, but you do NOT want to work under that sort of construct... and really don't want to fight under that construct.

Being a dedicated pilot works in the airlines because you have a union contract to protect you from the non-pilot management.

True, but we can argue that where the line is drawn on ground jobs should be addressed. SEFE, scheduling, training, tactics, safety, DO? Absolutely they should be pilots. Equipment custodian, security manager, green dot (thatís sexual assault prevention) manager, Christmas party planner, exec? You donít need a pilot for that. Heck most pilots I know donít mind PILOT related jobs. Itís the other queep that drives dudes out.

F4E Mx
04-10-2018, 06:05 AM
True, but we can argue that where the line is drawn on ground jobs should be addressed. SEFE, scheduling, training, tactics, safety, DO? Absolutely they should be pilots. Equipment custodian, security manager, green dot (thatís sexual assault prevention) manager, Christmas party planner, exec? You donít need a pilot for that. Heck most pilots I know donít mind PILOT related jobs. Itís the other queep that drives dudes out.

In WWII the USAAF had a program to train high school graduates to become pilots and were awarded the rank of sergeants upon graduation . One such kid, flying a recon version of the Spitfire, flew over Berlin from the south of England after a bombing raid to access damage. After flying over Berlin for half an hour he realized that one of his cameras was not working, so he flew an additional 45 minutes over the city retracing his camera routes before returning to England. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Oh, and he had transitioned to the Spitfire from a P-38 when that aircraft's superchargers tended to malfunction at the extreme altitude required for recon flights. So much for needing a college degree to fly an airplane.

rickair7777
04-10-2018, 06:51 AM
True, but we can argue that where the line is drawn on ground jobs should be addressed. SEFE, scheduling, training, tactics, safety, DO? Absolutely they should be pilots. Equipment custodian, security manager, green dot (thatís sexual assault prevention) manager, Christmas party planner, exec? You donít need a pilot for that. Heck most pilots I know donít mind PILOT related jobs. Itís the other queep that drives dudes out.

Yeah, that's a cultural issue. Other MOS's could make the same case though.

rickair7777
04-10-2018, 07:47 AM
In WWII the USAAF had a program to train high school graduates to become pilots and were awarded the rank of sergeants upon graduation . One such kid, flying a recon version of the Spitfire, flew over Berlin from the south of England after a bombing raid to access damage. After flying over Berlin for half an hour he realized that one of his cameras was not working, so he flew an additional 45 minutes over the city retracing his camera routes before returning to England. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Oh, and he had transitioned to the Spitfire from a P-38 when that aircraft's superchargers tended to malfunction at the extreme altitude required for recon flights. So much for needing a college degree to fly an airplane.

Nobody said you NEED a degree to fly an airplane. In 1942 they needed several hundred thousand pilot, 99% of whom they were going to discharge in three years. Even the service academies accelerated their graduating classes by one year. Things are different today...

1. Today flying is a bit more technically challenging, and the training is longer, more academic, and requires more maturity. Previous success in education is a good predictor for that stuff.

2. Flying slots are competitive, they can afford to be choosy. It would be hard to imagine a formula which would ever prioritize a non-college grad over a grad. The airlines do that very occasionally, but that's going to be a 45 y/o with 15,000 hours and lots of relevant tickets punched. When you're hiring 20-something kids you typically don't have much relevant professional history to consider.

3. Pilot jobs are a useful carrot to attract potential future senior leaders... giving them all away to enlisted/warrants kind of defeats that purpose. The current pilot shortage is just a demographic bubble at the airlines which lined up with a good economy. This too will pass, so there's no real need to break the mold on how AF (and USN) officer corps is structured (I do get there is need for some cultural tweaks to say the least).

KA350Driver
04-10-2018, 01:31 PM
This is pretty far off base.

The military (all services), need warfighters/operators in key leadership positions at all levels.


The problem is that there are too many positions and too many levels. Many of which only exist as a checkboxe to get to the next level. A lot of fat could be cut and still remain operationally effective. Hell, itíd probably be a net gain.

rickair7777
04-11-2018, 07:52 AM
The problem is that there are too many positions and too many levels. Many of which only exist as a checkboxe to get to the next level. A lot of fat could be cut and still remain operationally effective. Hell, itíd probably be a net gain.

Probably.

Chester Nimitz: A staff should be small, and made up of top men.

Excargodog
04-12-2018, 09:31 PM
The problem is that there are too many positions and too many levels. Many of which only exist as a checkboxe to get to the next level. A lot of fat could be cut and still remain operationally effective. Hell, itíd probably be a net gain.

'Twas always thus:

'Gentlemen:
Whilst marching to Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your request which has been sent to us by HM ship from London to Lisbon and then by dispatch rider to our headquarters.
We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents, and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.
Unfortunately, the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensive carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstances since we are at war with France, a fact which may have come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.
This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government, so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue one with the best of my ability but I cannot do both.
1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London, or perchance
2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.
Your most obedient servant,
Wellington

Gundriver64
04-13-2018, 02:29 AM
'Twas always thus:

'Gentlemen:
Whilst marching to Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your request which has been sent to us by HM ship from London to Lisbon and then by dispatch rider to our headquarters.
We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents, and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.
Unfortunately, the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensive carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstances since we are at war with France, a fact which may have come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.
This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government, so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue one with the best of my ability but I cannot do both.
1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London, or perchance
2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.
Your most obedient servant,
Wellington

Definitely too many "chiefs" and not enough indians. US Army Reserve aviation is a bit smaller today than it was back in 1991. Yet, command structure has gone from one level to three levels over this timeframe.

Merle Dixon
04-14-2018, 10:06 AM
It is astonishing the lengths that the USAF is willing to go to in order to avoid tackling the actual issues regarding leadership culture and mission focus that are actually driving pilots out the door.

Spot on. I am convinced that the vast majority of our AF flag officers are idiots. Iím not kidding. They refuse to fix the reasons we are leaving AD in droves. Also, in the past few years - pilot RIFs, the TERA program, brainless Welsh telling pilots he has truck loads of folks waiting in the wings to take our place. Remember 4 or 5 years ago when a butt ton of pilots werent promoted to Major? I know several of those guys, all at the airlines now.

If you look at the AF pilot retention problem via the premise that 95.69% of all general officers are idiots, it all makes sense.

bizzlepilot
04-15-2018, 10:03 AM
Spot on. I am convinced that the vast majority of our AF flag officers are idiots. Iím not kidding. They refuse to fix the reasons we are leaving AD in droves. Also, in the past few years - pilot RIFs, the TERA program, brainless Welsh telling pilots he has truck loads of folks waiting in the wings to take our place. Remember 4 or 5 years ago when a butt ton of pilots werent promoted to Major? I know several of those guys, all at the airlines now.

If you look at the AF pilot retention problem via the premise that 95.69% of all general officers are idiots, it all makes sense.

Exactly. I remember being told if I'm not happy to leave, they'll find my replacement. Senior "leadership" will never address the issue, they could give two craps about morale. As long as they got their chicken or star they're happy. I didn't start out this cynical, but during my first assignment my eyes were opened.

Grumble
04-15-2018, 10:07 AM
Probably.

Chester Nimitz: A staff should be small, and made up of top men.

Shack. The Navy won the Pacific with 50 Admirals. There are more flags than ships in the fleet now, each with an enormous staff. Itís becoming one giant self licking ice cream cone. Iíd bet maybe 1:4 of those flags are true warriors.

Snag41
05-04-2018, 08:55 AM
Warrant officers are very unlikely, believe it or not. Prior to my retirement, I worked a HAF A3 tour, and some of us (Action Officers) advocated warrant officers for the RPAs instead of enlisted pilots. This would throw a bone to those selected, by making them warrants; a little extra cash and recognition for flying RPAs and keep "rated officers" as pilots. However, A1 and the CMSAF were adamant that there would be no warrant officer positions in the AF. The A1 rep at one point said something to the effect "we've got our officer system and our enlisted system and there's no need to have to create an entirely new system". And the CMSAF sees warrants potentially taking positions from Senior NCO's, so doesn't want to support them either (never mind the fact it would provide additional opportunities to those same NCOs and airmen). All this, despite the fact, that one of the Assistant Undersecretary's of Defense (don't remember who exactly) told one of our guys straight up that he had the answer to the AF's RPA pilot problem (back in 2015 during a briefing he presented to the Undersecretary): Warrant Officer's! He said directly that warrant officers could help the AF with a lot of its pilot problems. But AF, for the reasons mentioned earlier, won't consider it.

AirBear
05-04-2018, 10:31 AM
Not surprising. It'll have to be a severe crisis to see changes like adding W/O's. Never mind that the Army, Navy, and Marines have them.

I wonder how many times in history things would have gone better if any Flag Rank Officer that used the phrase "because we've always done it that way" were immediately handed their retirement papers?


Warrant officers are very unlikely, believe it or not. Prior to my retirement, I worked a HAF A3 tour, and some of us (Action Officers) advocated warrant officers for the RPAs instead of enlisted pilots. This would throw a bone to those selected, by making them warrants; a little extra cash and recognition for flying RPAs and keep "rated officers" as pilots. However, A1 and the CMSAF were adamant that there would be no warrant officer positions in the AF. The A1 rep at one point said something to the effect "we've got our officer system and our enlisted system and there's no need to have to create an entirely new system". And the CMSAF sees warrants potentially taking positions from Senior NCO's, so doesn't want to support them either (never mind the fact it would provide additional opportunities to those same NCOs and airmen). All this, despite the fact, that one of the Assistant Undersecretary's of Defense (don't remember who exactly) told one of our guys straight up that he had the answer to the AF's RPA pilot problem (back in 2015 during a briefing he presented to the Undersecretary): Warrant Officer's! He said directly that warrant officers could help the AF with a lot of its pilot problems. But AF, for the reasons mentioned earlier, won't consider it.

rickair7777
05-04-2018, 10:39 AM
Not surprising. It'll have to be a severe crisis to see changes like adding W/O's. Never mind that the Army, Navy, and Marines have them.

Only the Army has pilot warrants.

The other services reserve pilot slots for those who are going to be upwardly mobile (whether they like it or not). The Army doesn't need to do that because they have a large enough pool of combat arms types from other branches to provide future senior leaders. The USMC considers air as one of three pillars of combined arms, so they place a heavier emphasis on the significance of air than the Army (which considers it supporting).


I wonder how many times in history things would have gone better if any Flag Rank Officer that used the phrase "because we've always done it that way" were immediately handed their retirement papers?

I doubt any of them are stupid enough to say that today.

Grumble
05-04-2018, 08:39 PM
Only the Army has pilot warrants.

The other services reserve pilot slots for those who are going to be upwardly mobile (whether they like it or not). The Army doesn't need to do that because they have a large enough pool of combat arms types from other branches to provide future senior leaders. The USMC considers air as one of three pillars of combined arms, so they place a heavier emphasis on the significance of air than the Army (which considers it supporting).



I doubt any of them are stupid enough to say that today.

The Navy experimented with bringing W’s back to the cockpit about ten years ago. Not sure whatever happened with the ones that got winged.

To be fair, the Army flying Warrants are probably some of the most tactically proficient aviators in the military. Some of the chit I watched those guys pull off in Astan and Iraq would never be possible if asked if any other pilot in any other platform in any other service. (Go land, rearm and refuel yourself and get back in the fight). Those guys are legit, and the 160th is the best of the best of those guys.

rickair7777
05-05-2018, 04:44 AM
The Navy experimented with bringing Wís back to the cockpit about ten years ago. Not sure whatever happened with the ones that got winged.

The Navy has experimented with warrants several times, including recently as you mentioned. The last time around they were restricted to airframes which do not do arrested landings. Made sense, the pointy-nose community historically generates the large majority of aviator Flags. The program ended, not sure if any warrants are still flying (I'm sure they all could have just knocked out a degree and picked up a regular commission no problem as winged, fleet-qualed people).



To be fair, the Army flying Warrants are probably some of the most tactically proficient aviators in the military. Some of the chit I watched those guys pull off in Astan and Iraq would never be possible if asked if any other pilot in any other platform in any other service. (Go land, rearm and refuel yourself and get back in the fight). Those guys are legit, and the 160th is the best of the best of those guys.

Yup.

C130driver
05-05-2018, 11:03 AM
It has been discussed before but Air Force Warrant officers is not a great idea.

First off, it would not solve the pilot shortage. If a major making close to six figures is running towards the airlines to be compensated better for his skill set, would a warrant making even less not figure out how much more he could make on the outside? Some people say itís not about the money but thatís horse$$$$. Eventually it becomes about money to at least some degree, especially when you have a family to keep happy and feed. The warrant system works in the Army because, well, itís a lot harder to become an airline pilot from the rotary world.

Second, the Army operates in a very tactical environment where you can have technical experts flying helicopters around while the Captain/Major types make the operational decisions. In the Air Force, our flying mission is much more strategic and needs officers with their pink rear on the line making those strategic decisions - and those decision makers need to be tactical experts. Itís not about flying the plane, most can be taught to fly a plane. Think about all the various jobs (flying related) needed to run a Squadron. Those jobs require a level of organizational management and critical thinking that comes from some degree of higher education.

Now, if they really want to keep people? They need to provide bonuses comparable to year 1-5 salary as an FO AND address the QOL/morale issues.

ugleeual
05-05-2018, 12:14 PM
The problem is the pilot training pipeline... itís too small now. The only fix is to increase pilot training slots (new base) and increase number of FTU slots for fighters and transport/refuel/bombers... its a chicken and egg issue.

Grumble
05-06-2018, 04:46 AM
It has been discussed before but Air Force Warrant officers is not a great idea.

First off, it would not solve the pilot shortage. If a major making close to six figures is running towards the airlines to be compensated better for his skill set, would a warrant making even less not figure out how much more he could make on the outside? Some people say itís not about the money but thatís horse$$$$. Eventually it becomes about money to at least some degree, especially when you have a family to keep happy and feed. The warrant system works in the Army because, well, itís a lot harder to become an airline pilot from the rotary world.

Second, the Army operates in a very tactical environment where you can have technical experts flying helicopters around while the Captain/Major types make the operational decisions. In the Air Force, our flying mission is much more strategic and needs officers with their pink rear on the line making those strategic decisions - and those decision makers need to be tactical experts. Itís not about flying the plane, most can be taught to fly a plane. Think about all the various jobs (flying related) needed to run a Squadron. Those jobs require a level of organizational management and critical thinking that comes from some degree of higher education.

Now, if they really want to keep people? They need to provide bonuses comparable to year 1-5 salary as an FO AND address the QOL/morale issues.

I donít know a single one of my peers (myself included) that wanted to leave, especially fighter aviation. However the future looked too bleak.... OPTEMPO, political BS, lack of flying, increasing importance of non-tacictal issues to career progression, staff tours, etc etc etc and the ever present instability of the home life. Guys getting out are looking for better, more stable options. The fact those options pay better is just icing on the cake.

If you wouldíve told me I couldíve stayed in the cockpit, stayed tactical, and stayed in one place for the wife and kids Iíd never leave. To further exemplify this look no further than guard/reserve squadrons. Your average 3-5 year FO at a major these days takes about a $500/day hit mil dropping to go into the squadron, but we do it because we enjoy the work and the people. Being able to leave squadron issues at the squadron when you go home and turn your phone off is what AD desperately needs, among many things.

navigatro
05-06-2018, 05:19 AM
It has been discussed before but Air Force Warrant officers is not a great idea.


Second, the Army operates in a very tactical environment where you can have technical experts flying helicopters around while the Captain/Major types make the operational decisions. In the Air Force, our flying mission is much more strategic and needs officers with their pink rear on the line making those strategic decisions - and those decision makers need to be tactical experts. It’s not about flying the plane, most can be taught to fly a plane. Think about all the various jobs (flying related) needed to run a Squadron. Those jobs require a level of organizational management and critical thinking that comes from some degree of higher education.




this is so ridiculous. Sounds like something out of an ACSC manual. Army senior NCO's supervise/manage as many people as AF Squadron CC's.

rickair7777
05-06-2018, 08:45 AM
this is so ridiculous. Sounds like something out of an ACSC manual. Army senior NCO's supervise/manage as many people as AF Squadron CC's.

They don't hypothetically employ nuclear weapons. Or have to decide whether or not to shoot that Russian or Chinese guy whose intentions are unclear. There is a difference.

C130driver
05-06-2018, 08:52 AM
this is so ridiculous. Sounds like something out of an ACSC manual. Army senior NCO's supervise/manage as many people as AF Squadron CC's.

They do supervise/manage and many do a good job at it, but ultimately itís the Company or Batallion commander that calls the shots, or should be anyways.

Han Solo
05-06-2018, 11:11 AM
It is astonishing the lengths that the USAF is willing to go to in order to avoid tackling the actual issues regarding leadership culture and mission focus that are actually driving pilots out the door.

shack

Kinda sorta. Around 2012 or so they denied continuation to a ton of dudes after 2nd passover. With absolutely zero warning. Want to say it was around 200 pilots.

It caused a lot of angst and lost faith and was definitely a retention issue for a few years after that. And probably still is an issue for folks finishing up their initial commitment.

Plus, how many RiFs and early retirements has the USAF offered since 2010? Then let's add to the pile: all the pilots who just did their job but didn't kiss all the right butts or fill the right (useless) squares and didn't get promoted to O-4/O-5 and left as a result. It defies all logic that the USAF showed the door to so many pilots who otherwise would have stayed and now they cry about not having enough. The situation reminds me of the perennial drinker who needs a liver transplant and thinks he should just move to the front of the line because well, he needs one. Sorry, but self inflicted wounds go to the back of the line buddy and this pilot shortage while not entirely self-induced certainly had plenty of help from "leadership" at big blue.

Sonny Crockett
05-06-2018, 11:22 AM
The Navy has experimented with warrants several times, including recently as you mentioned. The last time around they were restricted to airframes which do not do arrested landings. Made sense, the pointy-nose community historically generates the large majority of aviator Flags. The program ended, not sure if any warrants are still flying (I'm sure they all could have just knocked out a degree and picked up a regular commission no problem as winged, fleet-qualed people).




Yup.



Navy also had the NAVCAD program, two years of college (60 credit hours) right to AOCS and Flight Training, you needed to complete your degree by the 10th year of commissioning if you wanted to stay in.

Program pretty much was active 1986-1992. I think it still exists only for prior enlisted.

rickair7777
05-06-2018, 04:59 PM
Navy also had the NAVCAD program, two years of college (60 credit hours) right to AOCS and Flight Training, you needed to complete your degree by the 10th year of commissioning if you wanted to stay in.

Program pretty much was active 1986-1992. I think it still exists only for prior enlisted.

I recall it does still exist, or did a few years ago. But that commissions line officers, who have to get the degree and career-progress like anyone else. They are indistinguishable from someone commissioned from another source except the Navy granted some flexibility on when/how they get the degree.

kbay hombre
05-07-2018, 07:15 PM
I recall it does still exist, or did a few years ago. But that commissions line officers, who have to get the degree and career-progress like anyone else. They are indistinguishable from someone commissioned from another source except the Navy granted some flexibility on when/how they get the degree.

The Coast Guard had something similar to this too, not sure if it still exists. If I remember right, prior enlisted Coasties who had a certain number of years and their crows could go to OCS, get a regular commission as an O-1E and then theoretically to flight school and become naval aviators as long as they had 60 college credits and got their bachelors degree by a certain point. I also met a few CG pilots who were prior Army warrants who came in with 60 credits or an associates degree. Then again, the Coast Guard used to have NFO's too but those went away in the 90's after that E-2 crash in Puerto Rico.

gollum
05-14-2018, 06:46 PM
It has been discussed before but Air Force Warrant officers is not a great idea.

Second, the Army operates in a very tactical environment where you can have technical experts flying helicopters around while the Captain/Major types make the operational decisions. In the Air Force, our flying mission is much more strategic and needs officers with their pink rear on the line making those strategic decisions - and those decision makers need to be tactical experts. Itís not about flying the plane, most can be taught to fly a plane. Think about all the various jobs (flying related) needed to run a Squadron. Those jobs require a level of organizational management and critical thinking that comes from some degree of higher education.

Now, if they really want to keep people? They need to provide bonuses comparable to year 1-5 salary as an FO AND address the QOL/morale issues.

I am not sure if I should be ****ed off by your comments or smiling from ear to ear. If you are saying that IF the AF had Warrant Officers that the eventually the upper echelon of AF officers would lack the tactical and technical expertise to make strategic decisions because that expertise would reside with their warrant officer corps, then I might agree with you.

If you think that a Warrant Officer does not have the equivalent aptitude or leadership qualities than that of an AF officer then I would say you are full of poo.

The very purpose of the Aviation Warrant Officer it is be a Technical AND TACTICAL expert and the critical decision making abilities of most CW4/CW5s would rival that of most AF O-5/O-6s.

You do realize that most CW3's and above have at least a bachelors if not a masters degree AND the PME required is essentially the same as that taught at the various O-grade levels.

If you can explain to me how an A-10 pilot's "pink rear" as you called it is more on the line than an AH-64 driver's when it comes to decision making in the combat environment... I would love to hear that.

Hmmm, now lets look at all these "jobs" you mention that are needed for squadron leadership; All of the "flying related" job that usually lead to to command in the AF are jobs done in the army by Warrant Officers; Weapons and tactics, Standardization, safety, Air Mission Commanders, Maintenance

kbay hombre
05-14-2018, 07:48 PM
If you think that a Warrant Officer does not have the equivalent aptitude or leadership qualities than that of an AF officer then I would say you are full of poo.

The very purpose of the Aviation Warrant Officer it is be a Technical AND TACTICAL expert and the critical decision making abilities of most CW4/CW5s would rival that of most AF O-5/O-6s.

You do realize that most CW3's and above have at least a bachelors if not a masters degree AND the PME required is essentially the same as that taught at the various O-grade levels.



I feel like I can contribute to this discussion precisely because the Navy tried this from 2006-2013 and I was in the second half of my career during this period and witnessed a lot of it. The Air Force should (and undoubtedly is) examining the Navy's experience with this. We commissioned some excellent warrant officer aviators from the late 2000's to early 2010's. A lot of them were lightyears ahead of O1/O2 SNA's (Student Naval Aviators) during API and primary. I think I heard of one guy going to the fleet in a VAW (E-2) towards the end of the program but that could have been a myth and the majority of navy aviator CWO's went to helos or VP's (P-3) and never got carrier qualified. After the program ended, I believe everyone left was moved over to the dark side and these legacies are all currently O-3's.

The navy started the program in 2006 supposedly to mimic the Army's WO aviator corps and create a group of aviators who focused on flying. Like the army, their primary job was to fly and they were technical experts, not leaders. Of course they did plenty of leading but they were not put into positions requiring anything close to the same amount of leadership or responsibility for others that their O2 and O3 colleagues were. The reason most never flew off carriers and absolutely zero went to the VAQ/VFA (jet) communities is because these are the core aviation communities in the navy where JO's are groomed for the top. Not justifying it just explaining it. In so doing, the navy deprived all of these CWO's of the chance to fly all but pretty much two airframes, and none at sea. There were other reasons too, but I won't get into that.

Anyway, long story short, the dichotomy between CWO's flying land based helos and patrol whose whole job was to fly and JO's going to the fleet, getting jets but also having significantly more leadership responsibilities and deployments created a lot of problems and the easiest solution was just to axe the CWO aviator program. I personally understand both sides of it; while gollum is absolutely right that most CWO's are incredibly educated and tactically proficient, unless you treat CWO aviators exactly like their JO counterparts, it's going to create problems for both groups. I remember the CWO program being started right when I was in the middle of doing my required JPME 1 at the Naval War College and the end of the program was when I was in zone for O5 and doing a required master's degree for it. I'm sure a lot of the CWO pilots had bachelors and master's degree and some probably voluntarily took JPME but it wasn't required for their advancement like it was for mine. I'm sure a lot of them had significant leadership ability and experience from their enlisted days, but as CWO's, they didn't do much leading and had almost no recent experience leading others by the time they were pilots, nor were they expected to for the duration of their careers. The CWO's complained that they were being held back from jets and the fleet. The JO's complained that unlike the CWOs, they were required to dedicate a significant amount of their time between flying and leading, doing mind numbingly boring JPME and master's degrees and staff tours in DC or Norfolk just to advance, etc. It got to the point where no one was particularly satisfied and everyone was ****ed off.

Here's my point. If the Air Force is going to seriously do this, with the breadth of aircraft you have and the differences in roles (which isn't as much of a problem in the army), you need to figure out how to do this right. Otherwise, you'll take 5-6 years and come to the same conclusion the navy did in 2012, which was that it was easier to just make all SNA's O-1's since most of the CWO's selected had the education and aptitude anyway to just go to OCS and then API/Primary.

rickair7777
05-14-2018, 08:41 PM
The only point of using warrants is to create a track that is more focused on flying and related technical specialties... as opposed to commissioned officers who are being developed to potentially become senior organizational managers, combat leaders, and ultimately strategists. The latter requires decades of marination, not just a masters degree and PME-I.

Could a warrant have done 1st Lt Mattis's job as a platoon leader? Sure. Would that warrant's career track have developed him to become CUSCC and SECDEF? No.

Gundriver64
05-15-2018, 02:28 AM
The only point of using warrants is to create a track that is more focused on flying and related technical specialties... as opposed to commissioned officers who are being developed to potentially become senior organizational managers, combat leaders, and ultimately strategists. The latter requires decades of marination, not just a masters degree and PME-I.

Could a warrant have done 1st Lt Mattis's job as a platoon leader? Sure. Would that warrant's career track have developed him to become CUSCC and SECDEF? No.

I don't want to sound overly bitter, but the caliber of O-4/O-5s I am working with these days (Army) aren't going to be SECDEF/CoS material not now, not ever. 99.99% of the time casual conversation always reverts to their career (stressing about requisite KD time or making the next grade). I rarely hear the enlisted obsess over their "career" and the WOs just want to get the job done. I've sat through numerous O-6 CUBs (theater and garrison), and there wasn't much at all "strategic" about them.

rickair7777
05-15-2018, 06:13 AM
I don't want to sound overly bitter, but the caliber of O-4/O-5s I am working with these days (Army) aren't going to be SECDEF/CoS material not now, not ever. 99.99% of the time casual conversation always reverts to their career (stressing about requisite KD time or making the next grade). I rarely hear the enlisted obsess over their "career" and the WOs just want to get the job done. I've sat through numerous O-6 CUBs (theater and garrison), and there wasn't much at all "strategic" about them.

Fortunately we only need that pool to produce a relatively tiny handful of epic strategic leaders. I've done a lot of joint, and compared to the Army and AF, the Navy and the USMC do have a better culture in that regards, more leaders who got there by taking care of their men and mission before themselves.

I didn't understand this until I had been in for twenty years.

I agree with kbay, warrants are not inherently less good than anyone else, but it's a different role, and you have to manage the expectations and dynamics if you have two distinct groups whose jobs and careers overlap. Also you should have a REASON to establish a separate group, because there will be costs and hassles in doing that, so you need to know what the ROI is and make sure you get it. If the warrants were to leave for airlines faster than the academy grads, that probably didn't accomplish the intent.

kbay hombre
05-15-2018, 10:24 PM
I don't want to sound overly bitter, but the caliber of O-4/O-5s I am working with these days (Army) aren't going to be SECDEF/CoS material not now, not ever. 99.99% of the time casual conversation always reverts to their career (stressing about requisite KD time or making the next grade). I rarely hear the enlisted obsess over their "career" and the WOs just want to get the job done. I've sat through numerous O-6 CUBs (theater and garrison), and there wasn't much at all "strategic" about them.

Understood; I've met some terrible O6''s, and the Navy has a few communities best described as dysfunctional. On the unrestricted line side, the SWO community is going through a lot right now in the wake of the Fitzgerald/McCain accidents though it never was known for being "healthy" and it has produced a disproportionate share of awful command climates in the navy. On the restricted line side, pretty much everyone who goes to the 2-week "fork and knife" school in Newport and then gets a commission directly as an O2 or O3 (navy's version of zero to hero) and subsequently spends a decade in school and specialty assignments and doesn't get leadership experience until they are O5's is usually set up to fail and that can also produce some fairly awful O6's.

To be fair though, it goes both ways. I've met warrants in certain rates and communities who got to where they were through a combination of luck and dinosaur points and were fairly incompetent and/or dysfunctional. That's just the navy. You want to talk army? I have much respect for the army and it's WO pilot corps, but it's fair to say that a lot of these guys on the aviation side who are WO1-CWO3 are as naive, ignorant, sometimes incompetent (and dangerous), and inexperienced as any O1-O3. The reason the navy didn't follow the army's WO pilot program is because it didn't want 20 year old warrant officer pilots even less mature or experienced than the 23-24 year old O2 pilots commissioned via ROTC or OCS, and those 20 year old aviators do exist in the army. Don't get me wrong, they earned their wings, but you can't tell me that a 20 year old warrant officer aviator is going to be any better than a 24 year old O2 aviator, in any branch.

My understanding is that the army's timeline is WO1 to CW2 in two years, CW3 in five years, CW4 in six years, and CW5 in five years. So, for a non-prior enlisted "high school to flight school" warrant officer, that means if they progress this way, they'll be CW2's by 20, CW3's by 25, CW4's by 31 and CW5's by 36. They do this with some leadership responsibilities but nowhere near the leadership or admin experience that their commissioned counterparts get over the same period even in the army, so that a 36 year old CW5 and a 36 year old O5 might have roughly the same skill and experience at flying but they are in vastly different worlds in terms of leadership experience and responsibilities. I can't speak to the other services, but in the navy, you don't get to O6 until you're usually 18-20 years in, which is about age 42. That's 20 years of spending as much time leading as flying. A hypothetical 42 year old W5 could probably hand fly the approach better than the same O6, because he's spend most of his career specializing in just being a pilot, but he doesn't have the depth that comes with either being a prior enlisted leader/NCO (or if they were prior enlisted, probably not for long and certainly not an NCO for 20 years) or being a commissioned leader for two decades.

Apples to oranges, and a catch 22 as the navy found out. You treat them differently and both groups get angry and cry unfair about career opportunities and deployments. You can't treat them the same because a sizeable portion of the "high school to flight school" warrants have zero substantive leadership experience and all of the warrants have spent most of their careers focusing on flying rather than flying and leadership, and in addition to that, if you treat them the same, what's the point of having warrants who specialize? Why not just make them get a degree and go to OCS since they're all intelligent, capable individuals.

FullFlaps
05-17-2018, 09:43 PM
Mostly to retain pilots. W/O's typically don't have collage degrees so are not as competitive for the major airlines and therefore more likely to stay in for 20 years. That's the idea anyway, but as with most their ideas it probably won't work.


This is an ex-enlisted man's point of view but most warrant officers I knew had college degrees at the very least and often master's degrees. Most staff NCO in the Marine Corps have associates to bachelor's degrees. I have met NCO's and Staff NCO's in the Marines (the "dumb" branch) with Master's degrees and PhD's from ivy league schools and they stay in the Marines because they love what they do (everyone is built differently.)

The best pilots I have ever worked with were previous enlisted warrant officers that worked in aviation before becoming a pilot. They are technical experts on the specific platform and for some reason have way better aim than straight commissioned pilots. Some in here may disagree but this was my experience (ground guy).

I think warrant officer pilots can work for all branches but I would prefer that those selected serve at least 3 years in an aviation related role on that specific platform (if possible) before beginning flight training. The main goal of military aviation is to help close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver. Your weapon is human as you are human, the best person to fly the platform is the guy that knows every nut and bolt on it.

S/F

kbay hombre
05-17-2018, 09:59 PM
This is an ex-enlisted man's point of view but most warrant officers I knew had college degrees at the very least and often master's degrees. Most staff NCO in the Marine Corps have associates to bachelor's degrees. I have met NCO's and Staff NCO's in the Marines (the "dumb" branch) with Master's degrees and PhD's from ivy league schools and they stay in the Marines because they love what they do (everyone is built differently.)



Agree with most of what you said, but in point of fact, it varies by service. I can definitely speak to the differences in the Army versus Navy. Most Navy warrant officers are extremely experienced ex-Chief Petty Officers (E7 and above) and yes, I'd speculate that more than half have at least an associates degree and as high as a PhD from what I've seen. It depends on the community (subs, aviation, etc) and the rate (nuke vs boatswain) too. The point is, in general, navy warrants are experienced technical experts. To say they have the same education level as the officer corps is a stretch given the simple fact that a bachelor's degree is a requirement for most of our commissioning sources and a master's is required above O-4.

I believe what earlier posters have alluded to with regards to young inexperienced relatively uneducated warrant aviators is the Army's high school to flight school program. Don't get me wrong, these guys are excellent pilots and they wouldn't get to WOFT if they weren't intelligent and capable. The program seems to work very well for the army, and a bachelor's degree has zero to do with how well you can fly a UH-60 in combat. With that said, they are the youngest officers in the military (many W1's are 19 years old and commissioned CW2's at 20 years old). Yes, they can become officers even faster than those 2-year junior college military academies that can pump out a 20 year old 2LT. Army warrant aviators can literally go boot camp -> WOFT (WOCS, flight school). While a lot of them do get associates or bachelors degrees after their first few tours, make no mistake, the army has operational 19-20 year old commissioned aviators with absolutely no leadership experience and no degree. Non-aviation army warrants are the same as the warrants in the rest of the military, i.e., highly experienced former NCO's who also have more education.

rickair7777
05-18-2018, 06:37 AM
Yes, they can become officers even faster than those 2-year junior college military academies that can pump out a 20 year old 2LT.


Which schools are those? Never heard of them, and I've been in over 30 years... :confused:

ArmyFW
05-18-2018, 06:59 AM
There are very very few 19-20 year old WO1ís. I was the youngest everywhere I went on Ft. Rucker, and am the youngest at my unit currently at 23. I was prior enlisted for 4 years (joined at 17), and was an NCO before I switched over to Warrant which helped a little but the jobs are completely different. There are not many street to seaters most are prior enlisted, and of those street to seaters almost all are older and have degrees and life experience. In my unit of the other 4 WO1ís we have one is 35 (street to seat) with 3500 civilian flight hours, another is a 26 year old (street to seat) with a degree in biology who had a good paying job prior to joining, another is a 32 year old (prior E-6), and a 36 year old (prior Air Force E-7).

Also we do get chances to lead, just not in the ďtraditional military sense.Ē The additional duties we perform arenít just menial tasks, and our Safety, AMSO, IP, and MTP positions are battalion level jobs. Just adding another army perspective.

navigatro
05-18-2018, 11:30 AM
The Air Force leadership (i.e. 4 stars) obviously don't want Warrants.

What they could do is offer pilots a career "track" option at the 4 year point:

1. fly only, 15 year retirement, no PME or staff crap.

2. leadership track - like it is now for all pilots

Hobbit64
05-18-2018, 02:26 PM
The Air Force leadership (i.e. 4 stars) obviously don't want Warrants.

What they could do is offer pilots a career "track" option at the 4 year point:

1. fly only, 15 year retirement, no PME or staff crap.

2. leadership track - like it is now for all pilots
This!
As a Warrant myself, this sounds like the best idea. Most importantly because y'all would keep the rank (i.e. pay).

kbay hombre
05-18-2018, 02:40 PM
There are very very few 19-20 year old WO1ís. I was the youngest everywhere I went on Ft. Rucker, and am the youngest at my unit currently at 23.

I didn't say the Army was overrun with teenage pilots; I just said the army had operational teenage pilots/officers. No disrespect intended - as I said before, every army warrant I've met has been a professional and I know you guys are great pilots.

And, I've met two teenage UH-60 pilots, one at Schofield and one at Rucker when I was visiting an in-law who is now a retired army aviator. I'm speaking from experience though maybe those happened to be very rare. The army actually has an article about a high school to flight school warrant who was flying the Apache at 20 (https://www.army.mil/article/31913/high_school_to_flight_school). My point was simply that you can't apply a one-size-fits-all rationale/logic of "warrants are usually older, as/more educated and more experienced" than a 23 year old O1 in flight school when it's a fact that you can be an officer at 18 and a pilot flying attack helos at 19-20 in the army.

kbay hombre
05-18-2018, 02:44 PM
Which schools are those? Never heard of them, and I've been in over 30 years... :confused:

Yeah I hadn't heard of them until I met a guy in the sandbox who did this at a junior college in New Mexico. There are several lesser-known commissioning sources and one is a small group of "military junior colleges" that are 2-year "mini-service academies" where you go there, get an associates degree and get commissioned with the plan to get a bachelor's degree as a JO. I believe that ONLY the Army does 2-year junior college option this and it's not an option for the other services.

Check out the wiki article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_junior_college

Sputnik
05-23-2018, 06:54 AM
I believe that ONLY the Army does 2-year junior college option this and it's not an option for the other services.

Check out the wiki article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_junior_college

That checks. Met a few as well. Got commissioned as 20 year olds. I thought they were required to get a bachelors to make Capt, but wouldn't swear on it. NMMI is the only school I personally met folks from, but there may be others that do it.

BeatNavy
05-23-2018, 10:37 AM
That checks. Met a few as well. Got commissioned as 20 year olds. I thought they were required to get a bachelors to make Capt, but wouldn't swear on it. NMMI is the only school I personally met folks from, but there may be others that do it.

There was a 1LT in my CPT PME class who did one of these things. He had to finish his bachelors in order to make O3. This was 6 years ago.

kbay hombre
05-23-2018, 04:03 PM
That checks. Met a few as well. Got commissioned as 20 year olds. I thought they were required to get a bachelors to make Capt, but wouldn't swear on it. NMMI is the only school I personally met folks from, but there may be others that do it.

In retrospect, if I was going to go army, I would have gone this route. Getting a commission before you can legally drink a beer is a bit much but there's something to be said about retiring at 40.

SikorskyDriver
06-01-2018, 06:40 AM
Felt like I needed to chime in since there are alot of misunderstandings about how the Warrant Officer Corps works in the Army.

#1. Are there 19 year old pilots, yes. Most are highly, highly qualified. Think eagle scout ect. and very mature. The High School to Flight school is a marketing gimmick that results in most getting enlisted as something else to get em in the door. The same way the navy will offer you a "shot" at BUD/s knowing you have no chance and will be sent to the fleet as an undesignated seaman.

#2. In my class of 55 pilots, we had two under 20.

#3. The vast majority are prior service NCO's with former crew chiefs making up the largest single set. Of those I'd say 75% come in with 4 year degrees. Degree's are kinda the expected entry level document for most professions now. It no longer sets anyone apart. The difference being you can start the job as a WO without one, but if your gonna make CW3 you'll probably need it just based on the fact everyone else has one.

#4. All Army aircraft are dual pilot. For crews it is often within regulations to approve an 800 hour cockpit. ( We change crews in a company almost every time we fly) But in reality the unofficial number in my battalion is nothing less than a 1000 hour cockpit gets approved. So while that PI may have 140 hours out of flight school, he will not fly with anyone who has less than 860 at first, and the scale adjusts as it grows. That also includes that they will not fly with anyone except an instructor pilot or MTP for a pretty good amount of time as well. Even at 500/500 that combination is not likely and the number often goes well above 1000 hours combined experience in every cockpit, on every flight. 1000 is the minimum, and will require an explanation on why. Most cockpits end up being closer to 1400+ hours combined experience. Basically the first couple years out of flight school is still flight school for us, and thats how they are able to do it in half the time. 18 months of school followed by about 3-5 years of on the job training to make Pilot in Command, and then they still are not going to turn around and let you fly with a junior PI for a long time. I've seen two LT's, both had just made pilot in command and were competent and safe, get approved for traffic patterns with a combined 750 hour cockpit. Traffic Patterns. No emergency procedures. No passengers. Two crew chiefs. On a perfect day. I dont expect to see that again for years.

#5. So for those 1LT's and Captains, they are groomed in the cockpit by the senior CW2's 3's and 4's and on the officer side by whatever the hell the staff guys push down to them. Not my lane, and never will be. Staff guys at the battalion rarely fly unless we are short on pilots and considering most times we dont have a high enough experience mix to get all 10 of the company's blackhawks off the ground at the same time we do occasionally pull from them. It's not the best option and usually we will pull another WO from another company instead to get the right crew experience mix before that happens. The LT's and Company CO fly all the time. Without them we wouldn't be able to pull off larger air assaults. A company only has 20 pilots and 10 aircraft. There is no one extra. In an assault unit they act as Air Mission Commanders, and ultimately do make decisions about the overall mission based on what the Flight Lead (Always a Warrant Officer) advises. The flight lead drives the mission tactically, and is responsible for overall planning and execution of the mission. The AMC is responsible overall, but his focus is on who and where, our focus is on how.

#6 While these may not seem like very high hour numbers vs our fixed wing counterparts, a blackhawk has only 2 hours useful fuel and its time to put it down, so those hours do represent an awful lot of FARPS and time spent near the ground. Its not uncommon for us to land and depart 4 or more pads or airfields or pinnacles or riverbeds or fields in a routine movement. We also spend the majority of our time at 1000' agl or below, and much of it where I'm at now is below 600' agl I got upto 3000' today on a maintenance flight and felt like I could reach out and touch space.

#7 Grass is not greener at all. With the rotary to airline programs popping up, everyone is running for the door. Out of my company (10 aircraft 20 pilots, which includes the 2 LT and 1 Cpt) only a couple are planning to stay in. Due to the same quality of life problems and additional duties common in the other branches. While we don't get promoted out of the cockpit as CWO's we have alot of additional duties that take our focus away from flying. I believe the other branches have specific MOS's for alot of the positions we are expected to fill. If I see less than a 12 hour day my wife asks why I'm home so early. It doesnt happen often.
#8 I dont know how they would use Air Force Warrants, but the system does at least give a place for those who want to be good at what they do without being forced into another career field after a couple of years. Only taking a couple people and growing them from the bottom does work for us. Our Lt. Col knows what we can do, he was there at one time, and his WO counterpart spent 20 years at the company level kept continuing to hone those skills. Our Lt. Col doesnt ask his XO for advice on if we can execute a mission, he asks his CW4 who's been doing it for 20 years straight.

HercDriver130
06-01-2018, 06:59 AM
Felt like I needed to chime in since there are alot of misunderstandings about how the Warrant Officer Corps works in the Army.

#1. Are there 19 year old pilots, yes. Most are highly, highly qualified. Think eagle scout ect. and very mature. The High School to Flight school is a marketing gimmick that results in most getting enlisted as something else to get em in the door. The same way the navy will offer you a "shot" at BUD/s knowing you have no chance and will be sent to the fleet as an undesignated seaman.

#2. In my class of 55 pilots, we had two under 20.

#3. The vast majority are prior service NCO's with former crew chiefs making up the largest single set. Of those I'd say 75% come in with 4 year degrees. Degree's are kinda the expected entry level document for most professions now. It no longer sets anyone apart. The difference being you can start the job as a WO without one, but if your gonna make CW3 you'll probably need it just based on the fact everyone else has one.

#4. All Army aircraft are dual pilot. For crews it is often within regulations to approve an 800 hour cockpit. ( We change crews in a company almost every time we fly) But in reality the unofficial number in my battalion is nothing less than a 1000 hour cockpit gets approved. So while that PI may have 140 hours out of flight school, he will not fly with anyone who has less than 860 at first, and the scale adjusts as it grows. That also includes that they will not fly with anyone except an instructor pilot or MTP for a pretty good amount of time as well. Even at 500/500 that combination is not likely and the number often goes well above 1000 hours combined experience in every cockpit, on every flight. 1000 is the minimum, and will require an explanation on why. Most cockpits end up being closer to 1400+ hours combined experience. Basically the first couple years out of flight school is still flight school for us, and thats how they are able to do it in half the time. 18 months of school followed by about 3-5 years of on the job training to make Pilot in Command, and then they still are not going to turn around and let you fly with a junior PI for a long time. I've seen two LT's, both had just made pilot in command and were competent and safe, get approved for traffic patterns with a combined 750 hour cockpit. Traffic Patterns. No emergency procedures. No passengers. Two crew chiefs. On a perfect day. I dont expect to see that again for years.

#5. So for those 1LT's and Captains, they are groomed in the cockpit by the senior CW2's 3's and 4's and on the officer side by whatever the hell the staff guys push down to them. Not my lane, and never will be. Staff guys at the battalion rarely fly unless we are short on pilots and considering most times we dont have a high enough experience mix to get all 10 of the company's blackhawks off the ground at the same time we do occasionally pull from them. It's not the best option and usually we will pull another WO from another company instead to get the right crew experience mix before that happens. The LT's and Company CO fly all the time. Without them we wouldn't be able to pull off larger air assaults. A company only has 20 pilots and 10 aircraft. There is no one extra. In an assault unit they act as Air Mission Commanders, and ultimately do make decisions about the overall mission based on what the Flight Lead (Always a Warrant Officer) advises. The flight lead drives the mission tactically, and is responsible for overall planning and execution of the mission. The AMC is responsible overall, but his focus is on who and where, our focus is on how.

#6 While these may not seem like very high hour numbers vs our fixed wing counterparts, a blackhawk has only 2 hours useful fuel and its time to put it down, so those hours do represent an awful lot of FARPS and time spent near the ground. Its not uncommon for us to land and depart 4 or more pads or airfields or pinnacles or riverbeds or fields in a routine movement. We also spend the majority of our time at 1000' agl or below, and much of it where I'm at now is below 600' agl I got upto 3000' today on a maintenance flight and felt like I could reach out and touch space.

#7 Grass is not greener at all. With the rotary to airline programs popping up, everyone is running for the door. Out of my company (10 aircraft 20 pilots, which includes the 2 LT and 1 Cpt) only a couple are planning to stay in. Due to the same quality of life problems and additional duties common in the other branches. While we don't get promoted out of the cockpit as CWO's we have alot of additional duties that take our focus away from flying. I believe the other branches have specific MOS's for alot of the positions we are expected to fill. If I see less than a 12 hour day my wife asks why I'm home so early. It doesnt happen often.
#8 I dont know how they would use Air Force Warrants, but the system does at least give a place for those who want to be good at what they do without being forced into another career field after a couple of years. Only taking a couple people and growing them from the bottom does work for us. Our Lt. Col knows what we can do, he was there at one time, and his WO counterpart spent 20 years at the company level kept continuing to hone those skills. Our Lt. Col doesnt ask his XO for advice on if we can execute a mission, he asks his CW4 who's been doing it for 20 years straight.

Back to the OP.... I was an active duty AF pilot 1985-1992. The AF wont solve its staffing problem until they have a solid pilot career path available, bonus's will have to go up.... and this ops tempo that they have been in for the better part of 25 years has to come to an end. Endless deployments have to cease. Its on most levels about QOL...... end of story.



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