Posted on Jan 14, 2019
SPC Don Raysor
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Morning all. I've finally made the decision to go back in the service and I'm considering going back as a pilot. I'm studying for the SIFT next month, keeping my PT up, and learning as much as I can about warrant officers. As prior service, would I go through the street to seat route, and if I did, would my prior service give me better odds?

Also wanted some information on exactly what the lifestyle of an aviator is like compared to that of an enlisted 11B. I've only ever met one warrant officer in my last battalion (though I'm not really sure what his job was), and one Blackhawk pilot during sling load training. I've heard from the pilot that they get treated like enlisted in their units.

And where does the Army house single warrant officers? Do they live in barracks or are they allowed to have their own housing? And from a background with vehicles in a mech battalion, how involved are pilots with the maintainence of their choppers? I'm assuming they conduct operator PMCS. And finally, how's the camaraderie in an aviation unit? Do warrants stay within their own circles of other warrants and higher up NCOs like commissioned officers? And finally, how much is there in the way of free time? I'm planning on continuing school online, and I'm no stranger to long days/weeks at the COF and training cycles. I'm sure an aviator has more day to day responsibilities than I did, but do the days constantly go past 1700, or does it just depends on the unit/day?
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Responses: 4
CW3 Standardization Instructor Pilot/Instrument Flight Examiner/Maintenance Test Pilot
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Edited >1 y ago
SPC Don Raysor
Keep working hard and remember that you have set that goal when things look grim. I was an 11B and was detailed as a recruiter for a couple years so I understand what you are going through. The WOFT packet is not pushed in recruiting as hard as it should be so there will be hiccups regardless of how good your recruiter is. They may try and tell you to go back in as an enlisted SM and try to work the packet once you're back in. DO NOT DO THAT! as a prior service you would not attend basic training again if thats what your asking. I have friends that were prior service Air Force that were shipped from MEPS straight to Ft. Rucker and arrived at 1st WOC Company with no uniforms and no idea what they were supposed to do. I would talk to the career counselor at the MEPS about what the plan would be for you when you get to that point. WOCS will be either 5 weeks or 7 weeks (these numbers have added time for in processing) based on your prior rank and PME. More than likely as a prior SPC you would be attending the 7 week course. Save money because you will spend around $1000 on sundries while there. Your prior service would not necessarily put you at better odds. You could be competing with someone who is already a professional aviator. Timing and persistence is everything.

The lifestyle is what you make of it. The pay scale is public information and what you do with your money is your business. Treatment is not necessarily like being enlisted, if you still act like you're enlisted then the treatment you receive will be based off your actions and nothing else. Warrant Officers are Officers, and are expected to act accordingly. In an AV company within a Combat Aviation Battalion (CAB), you will be one of many other Warrants. You will not be treated special because you just did what every other AV Warrant Officer did. You successfully learned not to kill yourself through flight school. The real difficult flying begins at the unit as you progress through base tasks, and then mission tasks. You WILL have additional duties, you will more than likely stock a fridge for a while and then move into roles of increasing responsibility. In Korea if you are here unaccompanied you will live in the BOQ if they have room, if not then you get to live off post. Stateside you will receive BAS and BAH.

As an Aviation Warrant Officer I have been to motor pool Mondays and PMCS'd vehicles so that the aircraft mechanics could work on the aircraft. I have done corrosion inspections on aircraft to free up a maintainer to do a technical task that I had not been trained on. A Maintenance Test Pilot will work at great lengths to fix the helicopters with his enlisted maintainers. Pilots are always expected to preflight their aircraft, if they find something that is not right, they will make the appropriate entry in the logbook so that it can be fixed by the correct shop. Pilots are not expected to turn wrenches or do 10 level maintenance if thats what you're asking.

Camaraderie is what you make of it. Its strong but I have never seen the Camaraderie in aviation like I have in the Infantry. I believe this it is because we don't have the same "stuck in the suck" together moments. Thats not saying that you dont have guys you're going to be lifelong friends with.

Long hours are NORMAL; however, we have regulations and SOPs that dictate how long we can work/rest. Being mentally tired is something that happens quite frequently in aviation because of how much information you are responsible for.

Hope this helps.

Good Luck
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SPC Don Raysor
SPC Don Raysor
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Thanks for the in depth insight. And yeah, my recruiters definitely tried to persuade me to go back in as enlisted instead, saying that the warrant officer process will take longer to get me back in boots. All I heard is more time to study and PT.
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CSM Charles Hayden
CSM Charles Hayden
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CW3 (Join to see) Thank you for writing such a thorough response. It is always beneficial to share!
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SSG Section Sergeant
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Being prior service Army doesn't really put you at an advantage. When they look at your packet they want to see that you will have longevity in the Army and that you do not have any issues. Something that would give you a leg up would be having any aviation background whatsoever.
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CW3 Sqdn Uas Officer
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I'm an Aviation Tech Officer and the pilots are treated better than enlisted but there are so many of them they are not treated as special as anyone else. As a single Warrant Officer they mostly leave off post but there is housing available for them on most installations. Besides flying they usually have additional duties such as Supply Officer or ALSE. I definitely would recommend going Warrant. I am enjoying being a Warrant.
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