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Deja Vu - the Mega oft-repeated question: Differences Between USMC and Naval Aviation

Citizen

Registered User
ok, here's my story,

i'm awaiting my second year of college, the son of a naval aviator. it wasn't until a few months ago that i wanted to join the military at all, my dad had somewhat dissuaded me with his strictness (in my myopic, teenage view of the world i overlooked the many amazing opportunities the military has to offer)

dont know how or why, but something snapped in my head, and i can't wait to become a military officer. i considered the Judge Advocate program for a while, but the financial aspects, along with the excitement make aviation far more appealing at the moment.

i want, love, need challenges, and the Marine Corps makes no mistake as to what it takes to claim the title. I'd love to earn the title of Marine Aviator, but have to also consider reality in that the Navy might be a better option. Either way, i will relentlessly attack my goal.

the question is this: what is the difference between being a Marine or Naval Aviator? just like every other kid that worshipped Top Gun, i would like to fly jets, i understand that the Navy has more available but have been told there are fewer people wanting to fly USMC jets (most want to do helos - just what i was told, no way to verify)

I've talked to OSOs, but would just like to know what you boys think of the idiosyncrasies between the branches, and which of the two offers the best opportunities.

i'd greatly appreciate any help - God bless
 

Frumby

Super *********
pilot
Super Moderator
Your dad sounds like mine. I was a SoCal teenager that cared only about the beach and surfing. Dad was way to much the stiff neck Marine for me. Then I realized that all the mentors I respected were in fact current and or former Marines. My eyes opened and I applied for the PLC program. I never told him that I went to OCS, he just thought I was in summer school. He was suprised when my name was announced at graduation as "2ndLt....." I think he's still in shock.

quote: i understand that the Navy has more available but have been told there are fewer people wanting to fly USMC jets (most want to do helos - just what i was told, no way to verify)
That's a bunch of malarky. There are those that want to fly helo's but they are limited. In the mid 1960's, Marines wanted to fly helo's because they were the new fangled thing on the block. Since then, Marine Helo's have not advanced in technology comparitivly to fixed wing. Most want to work and fly with state of the art so I am reasonably assureed that most Marine SNA's want to fly jets.

quote: the question is this: what is the difference between being a Marine or Naval Aviator?

quote: i want, love, need challenges, and the Marine Corps makes no mistake as to what it takes to claim the title. I'd love to earn the title of Marine Aviator

Sounds to me like you answered your own question. Life's a crap shoot. Take a chance and roll the dice. If you work hard and don't quit on yourself you will be rewarded. Semper, Frumby

Attack Pilot
Major USMC

Edited by - Frumby on 07/30/2002 03:32:57
 

Rainman

*********
pilot
I agree with Frumbly. Keep in mind that Marine Aviators also hold the title of 'naval aviator' and go through the same Naval Aviation Schools Command as the Navy.

For many precommissioned Officer Candidates, some of the differences came in airframes (Tomcats vs Harriers). .In the next 10 years we will see less and less of these differences (e.g. JSF & Osprey) . ..

so let's look at roles of a/c . . Both Marines and Navy have fighter a/c designed to putting bombs on target. Both have transport helos. Both have EW and ECM aircraft. Both have c&c a/c. The navy gets some search and rescus and a few more cargo missions.
I think you'll find from most folks posting here is the difference is in the thread of the service. On the one hand, all Marine Officers (lawyers, supply, infantry, aviators, etc.) go to The Basic School for six months of provisional rifle platoon commander school. You learn a lot of what makes an effective leader of Marines and what it takes to lead combat troops on the ground. You learn that every Marine unit from MEU size on up has a ground element as well as an air element. You are critical to accomplishing all "first to fight" missions that make the Marine Corps special. On the other hand, in the Navy you get to get started with aviation soon after you get commissioned.

Before I get any more long winded, let me say that most of us didn't have a true taste of the differences before giving Marine OCS a chance. For me, it was a great way, while still in college, of really making the choice between Navy and Marine Corps.

Percentage wise, Marines show up as instructors @ flight school, Naval Test Pilot School, in carrier air wings (not to mention the ARG--Frumbly?), as astronauts, Blue Angels (presently four officers), & currently the second ranking mil officer, the Vice Chair of Joint Chiefs --------- not that that is important just interesting and shows that any dreams and aspirations that come along the way could really be filled by either fine service. We all know that Marines and Navy are always the first combatant troops in any theater and serving either honorably will no doubt enrich your life tremendously.

Since it's really only a decision that you can reach, keep doing your homework! You're taking the right steps by getting winded responses like mine . Read a book or two about some Marine roles in whatever conflict interests you. Not sure how practical it is, but if you still have a few years of college left, and you find yourself not 100%, invest six weeks of your life next year in Quantico at PLC Juniors. . .You just might be 100% decided after that experience!
yes--it seems in flight school Marines and Navy both have a desire to "go for" the strike pipeline.
navy v. mc - lots of similarties -- a few differences

good luck. Semper Fidelis.
 

Tessone

Registered User
As a high-ranking aviator in the Corps, you have a lot (although not all) of the same opportunities as a ground officer. I've been told that aviators can go on to command MEUs (Marine Expeditionary Units). You'd be responsible for both the grunts and aviation element assigned to the MEU. You can also command air wings, etc. After that, you have the chance, just like all line officers, to get your star and go on to bigger and better things.

However, if you have sitting on the Joint Chiefs as a goal, keep in mind that all Commandants of the Marine Corps (CMCs) to date have been groundpounders.

Your chances of getting jets will be about the same as other services--the only difference is that getting a slot as a Student Naval Aviator is easier than getting a slot for Air Force pilot for those of us without hundreds of hours in a plane before commissioning.

--
Chris Tessone
http://www.polyglut.net/
 

grouch

Registered User
From what I understand the airfoce driver walks up to his plan on a red carpet and kissed by three pretty blondes before every flight. The navy guy rolls late out of bed (next to the blondes) and rushes to the flight line. The marine pilot shows up straight from the bar with busted knuckles and has to hot wire his plan.
 
Reactions: RTC

Rainman

*********
pilot
tee hee

for the last part, it's been posted that jet % are within a couple percentage points of each other for Navy, MC, and USAF that are with the Navy. I'll defer the rest to a pilot who's 'been there'

semper fidelis
 

The Wiz

Registered User
Whats the hieght restrictions on flying? Im like 6'1" and i would like to fly a Helo, is that possible? also whats the height to weight ratio if anyone knows?
 

DBLang

PLC Candidate
I think you're fine except maybe too tall for Prowlers. Not sure.
And jet % is about the same. A few of the guys here have said the only limit to getting jets is yourself, and if you have the grades you will usually get them. There are differences though.
 

jmantel02

Registered User
As far as size restrictions go, the thing they are most concerned about is the distance between your hip and kneecap when in a sitting position. It's to guarantee that your legs won't get ripped off when you eject. I'd get on the Martin-Baker website (the company that makes the ejection seats) and find out what the specs are.
 

ghost_ttu

Registered User
I mean no offense in posting this but I'm curious. I've been told that the USMC is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to budget money. That to me sounds like it would equate to flight time. Can anyone comment on that thought, on whether marine pilots get more or less flight time? And I KNOW this has been asked, but what is the common second responsibility of a Marine pilot?

"praying to the SNA board gods couldn't hurt...."
 

Tessone

Registered User
Check out the MOS Handbook at https://www.tbs.usmc.mil/Pages/Officer%20Courses/Default/MOS%20Handbook/MOS.htm

That should give you an idea of the kinds of secondary responsibilities you could end up with. It's true that the Corps only gets about 4% of DoD's budget, but I don't know how that translates to flight hours.

--
Chris Tessone
http://www.polyglut.net/
 

Rainman

*********
pilot
Enter Josh with some anecdotal evidence [8D]

I spoke with an AF F-15E driver last week who says he gets about 15-20 hours per month of flight time. A Marine told me that Hornet guys log about the same. I can't really say if that's a trend or if there is a trend, just thought I'd pass it. I know Hercules drivers log a lot more & probably helo guys--especially when deployed.
 

O-man

Registered User
True- we dont get any money for anything. A while back when I was at SOI- the class after me could not shoot live granades with the 203 b/c they ran out of money- but its a requirement for graduation. weak. I hear your other jobs besides flying are often within the squadron-
 

Rainman

*********
pilot
On the flipside, I've also heard of arty officers needing to fire all kinds of rounds into the sky so they'd get alotted enough for the following quarter or fiscal year. What's that got to do with flight time?
 
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