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Some USMC NFO Questions- Advice Appreciated

Discussion in 'Naval Flight Officer (NFO)' started by Huffs09, May 8, 2017.

  1. Huffs09

    Huffs09 New Member

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    I've been lurking on this forum pretty heavily for the past month or so and I was wondering if I could get some input from some of the more experienced posters.

    Some Background:
    I'm a soon to be 1/C at the Naval Academy and am rapidly approaching the time when I need to put in my preferences for service assignment. I had LASIK last October, and at my 6 month check up the eye doctor told me that they didn't manage to fully correct all of the astigmatism (or the nearsightedness, but that's less of an issue) in my right eye. He said that I was technically within standards for Pilot but that I was so close with my astigmatism in my right eye that there would basically be a 50/50 shot of me getting DQ'd down in Pensacola at my flight school. He recommended that I have a second surgery on my right eye but due to my summer training schedule I'm not sure if I'll be able to have the procedure done before Sept 1 (the cutoff date for to be commissionable ). With this in mind, I've been heavily considering both USMC and USN NFO.

    The Question (read here if nothing else):
    They are still commissioning a handful of USMC NFOs from the Academy every year, and will still have a few spots for my class (2018). If it takes ~3 years to get through TBS and Flight School, that would mean that if I went this route I would hit the fleet around 2021 or 2022. Assuming my squadron tour is around 4 years, that would put me heading to my B-billet in 2025/26. I know from skimming the USMC Aviation plan from 2015 that the last active duty F/A-18D squadron will convert to the F-35B in 2029. So does this mean if I went USMC NFO that I'd only get one operational tour in the cockpit? Would they even send me to a shore tour if the platform is that close to retirement?

    I'm really interested in being a WSO after reading up on what they do, and I'd really like to be a Marine Officer, but I'm sort of unsure what to expect for my career (at least to MSR). I understand that the community is going away soon, and I don't necessarily mind getting out or transitioning to a new MOS like UAVs or whatever it would be. I just want to be able to actually contribute for the years that I am an NFO. I have read much on this forum about the poor health of the USMC jet fleet, and that coupled with uncertainty over joining a community near the end of its life has given me pause about taking what would otherwise be an incredible opportunity.

    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. RUFiO181

    RUFiO181 Making Recruiting Great Again

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    Is there not a USMC NFO or even Aviator at USNA who can get you a POC? That would be my first attempt at asking if no one answers here.
     
  3. Brett327

    Brett327 Well-Known Member Super Moderator None Contributor

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    If you're only PQ for NFO, then you shouldn't be a Marine.
     
    RHINOWSO likes this.
  4. Huffs09

    Huffs09 New Member

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    There are two USMC NFOs at USNA that I am aware of, a Lieutenant Colonel and a Colonel, who happens to be the Senior Marine. Given their rank I was told to ask up the chain before talking to them vice walking into their office directly/sending an email. When finals are over after this week I will try to start this process. I figured that it wouldn't hurt ask on this forum too.

    Well, technically I am PQ for pilot. The doctor said that he would give me a waiver for pilot but that I stood a really good chance of getting NPQ for pilot since I am so close to the cutoff for astigmatism. I think I measured out at exactly -1.00 diopeters, and the regs say "not to exceed" -1.00 diopeters, but he said that my eyes could still change in the next year. He was convinced that I should try to get a LASIK touch up, but as I said earlier, that might not be possible. The doctor didn't say how likely I was to fail the physical but was very adamant that I consider getting another surgery, so I'm assuming the odds are not in my favor.

    Whether or not I get the surgery/end up being qualified for pilot, I am honesty still curious about the FO community in the Marine Corps, and figured here would be a good place to look for answers.
     
  5. Uncle Fester

    Uncle Fester Robot Pimp Super Moderator None Contributor

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    First question - if you get NPQed out of the cockpit, would you rather do something else in the Navy, or something else in the Marines?

    Second - if you're otherwise within limits for pilot, then put Navy/MC Pilot first and FO second. Worst case, you get the Whammy at P'cola and you can request to redesignate as a SNFO. Worse worst case, they don't let you go FO. In which case: see Question 1 above.
     
    nittany03 and Gonzo08 like this.
  6. Brett327

    Brett327 Well-Known Member Super Moderator None Contributor

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    Got it, my advice remains - do not enter a Marine NFO pipeline.
     
    Swanee likes this.
  7. RHINOWSO

    RHINOWSO "Yeah, we are going to need to see that one again" None

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    When I was considering being a Jarhead Aviator, someone asked me the question "Are you ready to be a Jarhead first and aviator second?".

    And knowing how the USMC D-models do things, plus how old and broke ass those aircraft are NOW, much less in 5 years, there is no way I could suggest someone attempt that carrer path. And yes, when they're finally retired, you'll be the guy standing without a chair when the music stops.

    If you are set on being an NFO (or have a high probability of that being your only avenue into a cockpit), your goal should be flying in a Rhino or a Growler (or whatever they call that thing these days) in the Navy.
     

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