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Accept NFO or try for Pilot

AirWolf25

New Member
Hello Everyone,

I just got offered NFO and am incredibly honored by the opportunity. However, my initial goal was Naval Pilot Officer as a Helicopter Pilot. The only reason I was not put on this recent board for pilot was because my recruiter told me I did not pass my depth perception for pilot at MEPS. However, I got retested at an optometrist as my recruiter instructed so I could petition a retest at MEPS. I passed the finest level of depth perception at the optometrist and have 20/10 vision, so I am determined I will pass my depth perception when I retest at MEPS.

So my current dilemma is, do I accept NFO, or turn it down to try for pilot in October after I retest at MEPS.

I am also concerned I won't be competitive for pilot, with a B.S. in Environmental Science, GPA 3.29, with an OAR 60 6/6/7. In honest I did not study as much as I should have for the OAR, so IF turning down NFO does not reflect poorly upon me, I could actually study and retest for a more competitive score. I do have leadership experience as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of two student chapters of professional research societies at a major state university as well as extra curricular activities in sports, martial arts, and mountaineering, but I'm not sure how much that helps, if at all.

If I turn down NFO now, will that look badly on me when I apply for pilot in October? Or Reapply for NFO later? Are there any bennefits to going into Naval Aviation now vs waiting 8-16 months, depending IF I get picked up at the next board, or the board after that. I am also pushing the age limit a little bit, as I will turn 27 in November 2019.
Do NFOs get any stick time outside of primary? I heard there used to be Naval aviation clubs where aviators could get some stick time. Do those still exist?

In short, I would love to make a career in Aviation for the U.S. Navy, maybe switch to Intel if the door opens. But my heart is in flying helicopters for the U.S. Millitairy.

Thank you for your time and honest input!
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Let me break this down in the simplest of terms...

The only reason I was not put on this recent board for pilot was because my recruiter told me I did not pass my depth perception for pilot at MEPS
WHY DID YOU SUBMIT FOR NFO IF YOU DID NOT WANT TO BE ONE? This is beyond frustrating. If I had an applicant who only wanted to be a Pilot but wasn't PQ, I wouldn't try to submit them for other programs unless they were 100% onboard and committed.

However, I got retested at an optometrist as my recruiter instructed so I could petition a retest at MEPS
N3M won't accept eye exams out in town. Only from MEPS or a military clinic/hospital. MEPS won't allow you to retake a depth perception test. Their job is to qualify individuals for the military... not to qualify Pilots. You should have stopped the application process until you were PQ'd for Pilot.

So my current dilemma is, do I accept NFO, or turn it down to try for pilot in October after I retest at MEPS.
Listen, the Navy is offering you a commission to serve as an NFO. If you turn that down, you will significantly diminish your chances of ever being selected for another officer program. They offered you a commission once, very rare chance they offer it again. There was one kid here who turned down an aviation spot for family reasons... only to be picked up again later at another board. That's an example of the rare circumstance.

Are there any bennefits to going into Naval Aviation now vs waiting 8-16 months
Yes. You essentially have a job offer. Turn it down and good luck getting a second offer...

Do NFOs get any stick time outside of primary? I heard there used to be Naval aviation clubs where aviators could get some stick time. Do those still exist?
Search the forums.
 

AirWolf25

New Member
My recruiter put a lot of pressure for me to submit for NFO, emphasizing that I could make the switch from NFO to pilot once in and how that was easier, also that I was not competitive for pilot. I am learning that switch is actually really rare, and thus far have gotten mixed reviews on having been a good candidate or not. Looking back, I would have never submitted for NFO and held out until I found out for sure that I could not retest at MEPS like my recruiter is saying I can. But we are all human and make mistakes, and unfortunatly there are a lot of mistakes I am learning from in this process. And indeed I had searched the forum for about seven hours with a plethora of questions before posting questions I had not found answers for or that had mixed responses. But I will continue to look.
 

AirWolf25

New Member
7 hours!?! There are countless thread posts with lists of flying clubs lol
Haha I know I know...I never said I wasn't shit at searching, but I did give it a shot. And in all fairness, flying clubs wasn't a top priority when it came to time investment in topic searches, so I will certainly look more into that.
 

pilot_man

No longer the biggest Hornet asshole on AW.
pilot
Let me break this down in the simplest of terms...

WHY DID YOU SUBMIT FOR NFO IF YOU DID NOT WANT TO BE ONE? This is beyond frustrating. If I had an applicant who only wanted to be a Pilot but wasn't PQ, I wouldn't try to submit them for other programs unless they were 100% onboard and committed.

N3M won't accept eye exams out in town. Only from MEPS or a military clinic/hospital. MEPS won't allow you to retake a depth perception test. Their job is to qualify individuals for the military... not to qualify Pilots. You should have stopped the application process until you were PQ'd for Pilot.

Listen, the Navy is offering you a commission to serve as an NFO. If you turn that down, you will significantly diminish your chances of ever being selected for another officer program. They offered you a commission once, very rare chance they offer it again. There was one kid here who turned down an aviation spot for family reasons... only to be picked up again later at another board. That's an example of the rare circumstance.

Yes. You essentially have a job offer. Turn it down and good luck getting a second offer...

Search the forums.
1. Why are you such an asshole?

2. This is beyond frustrating. This exact same thing happened to me just like we are discussing in the other thread. I didn't know I failed for depth perception at MEPS because the shit hot HM3, who was probably hungover and definitely didn't give a shit about his job, or my future, didn't tell me. It happens.

3. Are you saying that now there is no way to go back through the MEPS process, even if you have an Optometrist who says your eyes are fine? Are you saying that the Navy is now letting that HM3 give you one test, incorrectly, and that could be the end of your pilot opportunity? There is no waiver or re-take? I call bullshit.

To the OP, you do have a job offer. If being an NFO isn't what you want to be then turn it down and hope for the best. I did it once and knowing what I know now, I would do it again.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
1. Why are you such an asshole?

2. This is beyond frustrating. This exact same thing happened to me just like we are discussing in the other thread. I didn't know I failed for depth perception at MEPS because the shit hot HM3, who was probably hungover and definitely didn't give a shit about his job, or my future, didn't tell me. It happens.

3. Are you saying that now there is no way to go back through the MEPS process, even if you have an Optometrist who says your eyes are fine? Are you saying that the Navy is now letting that HM3 give you one test, incorrectly, and that could be the end of your pilot opportunity? There is no waiver or re-take? I call bullshit.

To the OP, you do have a job offer. If being an NFO isn't what you want to be then turn it down and hope for the best. I did it once and knowing what I know now, I would do it again.
It's not being an asshole when you're giving facts, not opinions.

Once again, kids were getting NAMI whammied left and right in OCS and when NAMI investigated they found a common theme: kids failing some sort of eye test at MEPS and getting doctor's notes from places out in town. Some kids even straight up admitted it to OCS/NAMI, that they would shop eye doctors until they could get a note saying their eyes were fine. As a result, NAMI tightened the hatchet on N3M and told them not to accept any eye exam information unless it came from MEPS or a military clinic.

Going back to MEPS, you're right, sometimes the HM3 or whoever is administering the test is probably not the "best". Or they're straight up rushing these kids through with little to no instruction on how to take the test. No one is arguing that. What has been said to you numerous times is that MEPS won't allow depth perception exam retakes. It's in their manual/instruction - black and white. The only exception is if the applicant took the test without a prescription in which they can come back with their glasses and retake the test. I had applicants fail the DP test at MEPS under the (somewhat) new NAMI/N3M policy and trust me, I was as frustrated as you. I would try to find any possible reason to send them back to get them another shot and in the end get told "sorry, our job is to qualify people into the military - not pilots or specific jobs" and get shown the MEPS policy that states on paper "no retakes". In the end, I was able to get a "hookup" with the local military eye clinic and most applicants ended up qualifying for pilot (1-2 straight up could not pass DP if their lives depended on it). Some recruiters are lucky to have a hookup as well, others, if you've seen in similar threads simply tell their applicants "end of the line".

Don't get mad at me/the recruiter, get mad at NAMI. It's a shitty situation the OP is in because essentially she got pressured/persuaded to submit for a program she has very little desire to serve. In the end, if she declines, somehow qualifies for Pilot, submits for 1390 with a letter saying she previously declined a commissioning program because "she was persuaded by her recruiter", her chances still remain low for selection - despite her GPA and ASTB scores. Once again, facts not opinion.
 

Ken_gone_flying

"I live vicariously through myself."
pilot
Contributor
Hello Everyone,

I just got offered NFO and am incredibly honored by the opportunity. However, my initial goal was Naval Pilot Officer as a Helicopter Pilot.
My recruiter told me that I had to put three options down, too. I refused because I knew I wasn't willing to accept any job other than pilot. I don't know how deep your desire is to be a pilot, but if it's your dream, being an NFO is not going to fulfill that. Don't plan on stick time if you're an NFO. They aren't pilots. 10 years from now if you're an NFO, are you going to regret the decision to not turn down NFO and try for pilot?

People on here have made good points. You have a job offer, one that most civilians would kill for.

Are you sure you can pass depth perception at MEPS? I wouldn't go in as an NFO with the plan of transitioning to pilot. It happens, but I wouldn't make that plan A with an expectation of being able to do that. You have a big decision to make, make sure whatever you do, you can live with it 10 years from now whether it's being a pilot, being a civilian, or being an NFO in the back of an E-2. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
 
I'm in a fairly similar boat. I scored 63 7/7/7, 3.3 GPA and got accepted for NFO. I didn't apply for SNA because I knew I failed the DP test at MEPS, but I feel I was rushed through and didn't know how to take the test. I have no issues with my vision.

My recruiter did tell me that you retake the test at OCS and I could request to be switched to pilot then if I passed it. Not sure how common this is, based off the posts above and my own skepticism.

I guess difference in my case is I don't have a strong preference between NFO and pilot so I'm accepting my commission and going in with the mindset I'm going to be an NFO. For a bit, I suppose I was frustrated the only thing keeping me from being a pilot would be something I have no control over (the DP test).

In any case, it'd probably be best to make a decision as to whether you want to be a pilot or be in the Navy more.
 
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UInavy

Registered User
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
What has been said to you numerous times is that MEPS won't allow depth perception exam retakes. It's in their manual/instruction - black and white. The only exception is if the applicant took the test without a prescription in which they can come back with their glasses and retake the test.
Not exactly. Notice the below says "A pass of any one test meets the stereopsis standard." NOT "The failure of any one test disqualifies the applicant from further testing."

This is what your "hook-up" at the local military clinic is doing. That is, they are familiar with the instruction and doing it the right way. If MEPS is doing it differently, they're wrong, regardless of what their own internal instruction says. NAMI is the authority for accession standards, not MEPS. Also, they're creating more work for the rest of the system to fix their errors.

From NAMI Aeromedical Reference and Waiver Guide:

"Valid tests of stereopsis include:
a. Armed Forces Vision Tester (AFVT) [passing is lines A through D]
b. Stereoacuity Plates used with polarized viewers such as the Stereo Optical, Titmus Optical Stereo Fly, or Randot. A randomized version of these tests should be used. Passing is 40 seconds of arc, with no head or test book movement, performed with good lighting.
c. Verhoeff Stereopter: tested at 1m, eight correct of eight random presentationsfor passing grade, with no head movement of the patient

2. A pass of any one test meets the stereopsis standard. The tests must be administered and results recorded as specified in MANMED and elsewhere in the ARWG."

and, from
AVIATION PHYSICAL STANDARDS FOR APPLICANTS MAY 2017 :
"Verhoeff : 8/8 to pass. If failed one or more, must repeat 2 series of 8 and candidate must have 16/16 correct in order to pass. AFVT: A-D to pass. Anything less than A-D=Fail. Other acceptable tests: Titmus or Randot Stereo 40 seconds to pass. If glasses required patient must wear them for testing and "with Rx" should be documented."
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
If MEPS is doing it differently, they're wrong, regardless of what their own internal instruction says. NAMI is the authority for accession standards, not MEPS
MEPS follows DoD guidelines. Once again, their sole purpose is to conduct a DoD accessions physical. Get people in, and get people out (whether they qualify or not).

DoD guidelines > NAMI
(When it comes to who has greater authority)
 
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UInavy

Registered User
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Right, and they are governed by DoD 6130.03 for accessions. You are correct that NAMI could not set a looser standard than DoD for accessions. However, 6130.03 does not address depth perception. Therefore, they need to meet the NAMI standard as I listed above. If they are not testing to the full range of tests allowed by NAMI, they are shorting the candidate- regardless of their policy. Again, your MTF "hook-up" may be allowed to test to the full standard and the fellow at MEPS may not be. That does NOT mean that the candidate is not qualified, that just means that MEPS had insufficient training or equipment to test to all the possible standards. If that is the case, and MEPS is stating 'No re-takes", they are narrowing the pool of candidates somewhat arbitrarily and is something that should be run up the chain by......someone in recruiting.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Right, and they are governed by DoD 6130.03 for accessions. You are correct that NAMI could not set a looser standard than DoD for accessions. However, 6130.03 does not address depth perception. Therefore, they need to meet the NAMI standard as I listed above. If they are not testing to the full range of tests allowed by NAMI, they are shorting the candidate- regardless of their policy. Again, your MTF "hook-up" may be allowed to test to the full standard and the fellow at MEPS may not be. That does NOT mean that the candidate is not qualified, that just means that MEPS had insufficient training or equipment to test to all the possible standards. If that is the case, and MEPS is stating 'No re-takes", they are narrowing the pool of candidates somewhat arbitrarily and is something that should be run up the chain by......someone in recruiting.
I absolutely agree with the last two sentences and YES, I have brought this up to my local MEPS as well as USMEPCOM. In the end, the same reasoning "we qualify people into the military, not qualify certain jobs" was sent back. Their reasoning is if they started allowing retakes for eye exams for certain enlisted/officer jobs it would start to create a backlog and slow down the entire medical exam process.
 

Ironstar

New Member
Hello Everyone,

I just got offered NFO and am incredibly honored by the opportunity. However, my initial goal was Naval Pilot Officer as a Helicopter Pilot. The only reason I was not put on this recent board for pilot was because my recruiter told me I did not pass my depth perception for pilot at MEPS. However, I got retested at an optometrist as my recruiter instructed so I could petition a retest at MEPS. I passed the finest level of depth perception at the optometrist and have 20/10 vision, so I am determined I will pass my depth perception when I retest at MEPS.

So my current dilemma is, do I accept NFO, or turn it down to try for pilot in October after I retest at MEPS.

I am also concerned I won't be competitive for pilot, with a B.S. in Environmental Science, GPA 3.29, with an OAR 60 6/6/7. In honest I did not study as much as I should have for the OAR, so IF turning down NFO does not reflect poorly upon me, I could actually study and retest for a more competitive score. I do have leadership experience as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of two student chapters of professional research societies at a major state university as well as extra curricular activities in sports, martial arts, and mountaineering, but I'm not sure how much that helps, if at all.

If I turn down NFO now, will that look badly on me when I apply for pilot in October? Or Reapply for NFO later? Are there any bennefits to going into Naval Aviation now vs waiting 8-16 months, depending IF I get picked up at the next board, or the board after that. I am also pushing the age limit a little bit, as I will turn 27 in November 2019.
Do NFOs get any stick time outside of primary? I heard there used to be Naval aviation clubs where aviators could get some stick time. Do those still exist?

In short, I would love to make a career in Aviation for the U.S. Navy, maybe switch to Intel if the door opens. But my heart is in flying helicopters for the U.S. Millitairy.

Thank you for your time and honest input!

Hey man, its been a while since your post. Literally in your exact same position. what did you end up doing?
 
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