• Please take a moment and update your account profile. If you have an updated account profile with basic information on why you are on Air Warriors it will help other people respond to your posts. How do you update your profile you ask?

    Go here:

    Edit Account Details and Profile

USMC Career/MOS Roadmaps

MarsOrBust

New Member
I'm a current SNA almost done TBS and will soon to check in at MATSG-21. We've received a handful of career planning type briefs from a couple of field grade officers and have been strongly encouraged to develop tentative career plans. They said that we should be able to know whether or not we want command by the time we pin 1stLt due to the legwork that needs to be done beforehand. To me it seems premature, but what do I know? I've got months of time to kill while I wait to class up, why not scheme out my career? There's a MMOA roadshow coming to Pensacola in November. I would love to be able to go there and speak more accurately to my career aspirations if possible.

Disclaimer: I'm definitely tracking on:
  • I'm a pilot first and going outside my PMOS too much isn't advisable given the current demand for 75XX's to do 75XX stuff. I'm definitely excited for my tours in the FMF.
  • My primary focus right now should be flight school/not forgetting to breathe IOT make it to the end of TBS.
  • The nature of the billet assignment from monitors and that "if you do this billet, that will happen" logic doesn't really exist with 100% accuracy.
  • Most of the relevant MARADMINs that discuss billet requirements/demands.
  • MMOA's website as far as I can get without getting some kind of web/CAC error (off-topic, but am I forever cursed with working in an organization that has sub-par websites or is there some trick to getting .mil and .usmc websites to actually function?)
  • The rest of the relevant threads in this forum: long time lurker - first time poster.
Questions:
  • Where have some billets led you?
  • Have you held command and, if so, what do you think enabled you to do so?
  • What's your MOS roadmap/career look like? (e.g. "I'm a cobra pilot by trade. After the FRS I did tour A for X years and filled billets 1, 2, and 3 while there. I PCS'd to...") I've scanned a lot of the threads here but haven't found anything like the illusive "MOS Roadmap" I've heard being referenced a lot, I know those are more an enlisted than officer thing since officer careers are generally less linear than enlisted, but it'd be really helpful to see a few examples.
  • I've heard that having experience in all elements of the MAGTF is good for the sake of being diverse and being a "MAGTF Officer". ACE is, well, pilot stuff. GCE would be FAC. What do some LCE billets look like for pilots?
Some of the billets/schools I'm really interested in:
  • FAC(A) (I've read the sticky, lot of good info there)
  • TPS
  • WTI
  • VMX-1
  • Resident PME that's not EWS. (AFIT in Ohio?)
  • Some kind of joint billet (don't know a whole lot about these-->Pentagon?)
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
Questions:
  • Where have some billets led you?
  • Have you held command and, if so, what do you think enabled you to do so?
  • What's your MOS roadmap/career look like? (e.g. "I'm a cobra pilot by trade. After the FRS I did tour A for X years and filled billets 1, 2, and 3 while there. I PCS'd to...") I've scanned a lot of the threads here but haven't found anything like the illusive "MOS Roadmap" I've heard being referenced a lot, I know those are more an enlisted than officer thing since officer careers are generally less linear than enlisted, but it'd be really helpful to see a few examples.
  • I've heard that having experience in all elements of the MAGTF is good for the sake of being diverse and being a "MAGTF Officer". ACE is, well, pilot stuff. GCE would be FAC. What do some LCE billets look like for pilots?
Some of the billets/schools I'm really interested in:
  • FAC(A) (I've read the sticky, lot of good info there)
  • TPS
  • WTI
  • VMX-1
  • Resident PME that's not EWS. (AFIT in Ohio?)
  • Some kind of joint billet (don't know a whole lot about these-->Pentagon?)
Lots to unpack here bud. There is no MOS road map for career progression. No single job in the Marine Corps will prevent you from getting a Command of some sort. It’s like that by design. I’ve seen COs of all TMS do all kinds of B-Billets post first fleet tour. (FAC/Air Officer, HMX, MATSG, TBS, MAW/MEF Staff, VX/HX/VMX, MAWTS, FRS, non-resident and resident PME and many others). However, every T&R manual has a progression timing model that’s used for picking up qualifications and designations. Those quals and timing (i.e. billet availability) will largely drive your career opportunities after your first fleet tour. I.e. Some jobs will want you to have certain aircraft qualifications (...usually flying billets). Some jobs do not care at all. Some jobs are board processes and prefer highly qualified Marines (HMX, MARSOC) Some jobs vet people internally (FRS, VMX, MAWTS). Your first set of orders will be 3 (FW) to 4 (RW) years depending on community. You might do a Battalion FAC or IA tour in that first set of orders for a year to 18 months.

MMOA has its own responsibility to fill other MAGTF FAC/IA tours. Those are usually 2-3 year orders outside of the Division. (ANGLICO, MARSOC, 5th MEB, MARFORK, etc...) You largely have no control over these job opportunities and they come and go will every move and deployment cycle. They also change a lot depending on real world contingencies (SPMAGTFs). Being well rounded isn’t a bad thing but it’s not a golden ticket to command. Some pilots never leave the cockpit and others do extended amount of time outside of flying... I’ve seen both get selected for command.

I disagree with the notion that you need to know if you want to be a CO by the time your a 1stLt. You really don’t need to figure that out until your a mid-senior grade Captain. You probably will be getting ready for a look to goto WTI or TopGun by that point, and that’s the ticket you’ll need to punch to stay competitive (Although WTI isn’t a requirement technically, but has become one by default). As a 1stLt or junior Captain you are really just looking to learn your TMS. There are some quals you will need to be eligible for attending WTI, but as long as you’ve progressed normally, stand out amongst your peers, and the Corps has upheld its responsibility to get you those reps, then you’ll be fine.

As for the specific jobs/schools you’re interested in... You can’t do all of them just based off of timing. You’ll get a better idea of what all of that means when you get in the fleet for a little bit. That being said I’ll give you some generics.

-FAC(A). Probably need to fly skids. It’s an aircraft qualification. There isn’t a formal school per say, but it is part of certain TMS’ T&R manual that’s in line with the current JFAC(A) MOA. Usually HMLA and VMFA are the only TMSs that maintain that MET. Only about 15-20% of our pilots get that qual and even less maintain currency in it for a extended amount of time. It is a prerequisite for attending WTI. Not sure if VMFA is planning on keeping that MET with the F-35B. I’ll let a VMFA guy speak to that. Pretty sure F/A-18Ds still maintain it but not sure where it’s going with NFOs going away in the near future.

-TPS. It’s board selected. Engineering and/or high level math background is required. It’s developmental test. Aircraft total time and type plays a factor to a lesser extent. If you get selected for TPS, You are probably not going to command a line squadron, but there are other test command and PMOS opportunities. there’s usually one board a year and have specific pilots of certain TMS they want to select.

-VMX. Not board selected. No degree background requirement. They do operational test. Billet availability, aircraft qualifications, and hours play a big role in getting orders for a B-billet. (Post first fleet tour). It’s a normal set of orders like you get anywhere else after your first fleet tour.

-WTI. What about it? 7 weeks of getting to plan and operate with every TMS in the Corps in some very challenging environments. Lots of planning, testing, and flying. It’s a kick in the cajones and the Yuma BOQ is the best in the Corps.

-Resident PME. Ask the monitors for specifics when CCLEB comes out. Resident PME is usually a hook up. 1 year off and nothing to do except study, write, and take tests. It’s a nice break from fleet life. Pilots usually have lower attendance rates to non-Marine Corps resident programs but it does happen. Foreign PME is what I would recommend. It’s a board process so a room full of senior officers will determine your competitiveness.

-Joint Tours. Don’t even worry about these until your post-department head tour complete. Like in 12-13 years from now. You won’t see the inside of the 5 sided wind tunnel for a very long time. Unless you get put on a FFPB. Then you’ll get a guided tour.

Lastly, It’s nice to know what you want to do with your career but things change. People start families, get burnt out from deployments, tired from daily squadron life, and find other interests/opportunities on the outside. Your opinion on all these cool things might change over the next 6-8 years. It might not even be on your radar when the time comes. Additionally some of these things might not even be available to you based off of aircraft selection out of flight school. So don’t get wrapped up
on something that might not even be feasible in the next couple years.
 
Last edited:

Ventilee

Active Member
pilot
Contributor
Hotdogs wrote an excellent post above, I have nothing to add.

Just a question for the masses, is WTI a defacto pre-requisite to becoming a Commanding Officer in other communities besides the skids? Of the three Commanding Officers I've had in the Osprey community none have been graduates of WTI. They were all Division Leads or NSI's, but none were patch-wearers.

Of course, that all might change as the first pure-bred Osprey pilots start selecting for command in the next few years.
 

Fallonflyr

Well-Known Member
pilot
Get all your quals, fly your ass off, bust your ass at your ground job, and be a good squadron bro. When your commitment is up, if the airlines are hiring make your decision to stay or go. If you do everything in the first sentence the rest will take care of itself. As a Lt at TBS I would be more concerned about doing my best at the next training evolution. Good luck and more importantly, have fun!
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
Hotdogs wrote an excellent post above, I have nothing to add.

Just a question for the masses, is WTI a defacto pre-requisite to becoming a Commanding Officer in other communities besides the skids? Of the three Commanding Officers I've had in the Osprey community none have been graduates of WTI. They were all Division Leads or NSI's, but none were patch-wearers.

Of course, that all might change as the first pure-bred Osprey pilots start selecting for command in the next few years.
Isn’t the selection rate really high for command of osprey squadrons?
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
Isn’t the selection rate really high for command of osprey squadrons?
When they have to select for 10 squadrons and there’s like 12 eligible candidates, then yeah it’s not as competitive as others. Probably why they selected a -53E pilot to command a VMM on last year’s board and slate XOs from HMH, HMLA, and other places to help out with ongoing manpower issues.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
When they have to select for 10 squadrons and there’s like 12 eligible candidates, then yeah it’s not as competitive as others. Probably why they selected a -53E pilot to command a VMM on last year’s board and slate XOs from HMH, HMLA, and other places to help out with ongoing manpower issues.
Damn. I’d heard it was bad, but that’s worse than I thought. Point is, it looks like WTI isn’t necessary for command in that community.

On the other hand, I imagine F-35 squadrons will have a lot of patch wearing CO’s for a while since it seemed like pretty much everyone in that community was a WTI for a while to start.
 

Skinsuit

Member
pilot
Just a question for the masses, is WTI a defacto pre-requisite to becoming a Commanding Officer in other communities besides the skids? Of the three Commanding Officers I've had in the Osprey community none have been graduates of WTI. They were all Division Leads or NSI's, but none were patch-wearers.
Neither of my COs were WTIs either. IIRC, my first CO's highest qual was... section lead.
 

usmcecho4

Registered User
pilot
I'm a current SNA almost done TBS and will soon to check in at MATSG-21. We've received a handful of career planning type briefs from a couple of field grade officers and have been strongly encouraged to develop tentative career plans. They said that we should be able to know whether or not we want command by the time we pin 1stLt due to the legwork that needs to be done beforehand. To me it seems premature, but what do I know? I've got months of time to kill while I wait to class up, why not scheme out my career? There's a MMOA roadshow coming to Pensacola in November. I would love to be able to go there and speak more accurately to my career aspirations if possible.

Disclaimer: I'm definitely tracking on:
  • I'm a pilot first and going outside my PMOS too much isn't advisable given the current demand for 75XX's to do 75XX stuff. I'm definitely excited for my tours in the FMF.
  • My primary focus right now should be flight school/not forgetting to breathe IOT make it to the end of TBS.
  • The nature of the billet assignment from monitors and that "if you do this billet, that will happen" logic doesn't really exist with 100% accuracy.
  • Most of the relevant MARADMINs that discuss billet requirements/demands.
  • MMOA's website as far as I can get without getting some kind of web/CAC error (off-topic, but am I forever cursed with working in an organization that has sub-par websites or is there some trick to getting .mil and .usmc websites to actually function?)
  • The rest of the relevant threads in this forum: long time lurker - first time poster.
Questions:
  • Where have some billets led you?
  • Have you held command and, if so, what do you think enabled you to do so?
  • What's your MOS roadmap/career look like? (e.g. "I'm a cobra pilot by trade. After the FRS I did tour A for X years and filled billets 1, 2, and 3 while there. I PCS'd to...") I've scanned a lot of the threads here but haven't found anything like the illusive "MOS Roadmap" I've heard being referenced a lot, I know those are more an enlisted than officer thing since officer careers are generally less linear than enlisted, but it'd be really helpful to see a few examples.
  • I've heard that having experience in all elements of the MAGTF is good for the sake of being diverse and being a "MAGTF Officer". ACE is, well, pilot stuff. GCE would be FAC. What do some LCE billets look like for pilots?
Some of the billets/schools I'm really interested in:
  • FAC(A) (I've read the sticky, lot of good info there)
  • TPS
  • WTI
  • VMX-1
  • Resident PME that's not EWS. (AFIT in Ohio?)
  • Some kind of joint billet (don't know a whole lot about these-->Pentagon?)
Questions:
1. KC-130J guy. I was selected for FAO (China) right after my first fleet tour. I went to NPS and got a Masters, DLI to learn Chinese, then Beijing for a little over a year for in country training. After 4 years out of the fleet I returned to the fleet as a super senior Captain, got selected for Major, then immediately FAP'd to the MAG for a year. Came back to the squadron as the DOSS then you guessed it. Immediately FAP'd to the MAG. By then it was clear that the writing was on the wall that I wasn't going to be a player in my community so I punched and went to the contractor world with hopes of getting my way to FedEx (anyone have any tips? Lol). There were lots of opportunities to utilize my FAO MOS (teaching in Hawaii, Attache, etc) but I wanted to fly my TMS and that wasn't going to happen anytime soon and I was burning time in grade pretty quickly.

While my career progression in my primary MOS was no doubt limited by my performance I did myself no favors careerwise by staying outside of the community for so long. By doing so when I came back it was along the lines of "who the hell is his and where can we stash him?" The folks I've seen that have success will generally have two fleet tours as a Captain then promote at the very end of their second tour or soon thereafter. Those guys will have a solid and current reputation in the community and the senior Captains they worked with in their first tour will now be the departments heads in their second tour. There's a tendency to bring along "your guys" when you're a department head so you want to be a drafted and not a walk on if you know what I mean. They then will come back as department heads after some sort of ground tour, do their department head, then if wait for a command opportunity to present itself (or not).

2. Nope. All my COs were WTIs except for one who stumbled into command because two primaries pissed off the higher ups and got their command slating revoked.

3. Tour 1: 1stLt to Captain, KC-130J Copilot to Aircraft Commander, Combat Deployment
B-Billet: Captain, FAO
Tour 2: Captain to Major, KC-130J Aircraft Commander, Div Lead, Section Lead, Aerial Delivery Instructor, Assistant NATOPS Instructor, FCF Pilot, FAP, DOSS, FAP, Punched

Diversity is good but don't make yourself "exotic' like I did if you want to have an clearer path to command. That said being exotic was a fucking blast and I'd do it again in a heartbeat just realize what you're doing to yourself and the obstacles you're placing in your way if you're looking for a traditional career.

4. It's more of a Major thing but lots of folks will do a turn as a MWSS XO, realize that logistics is not fun, then run as fast as they can back to anything else. The successful Major B billet will be Regimental Air Officer or MEU Air Officer, or something similar. Lots of work and not much flying buy a good time to shine if your gonna.

Advice:
  1. Don't be a "tweener" for your second tour. Either be able to do it as a straight up Captain or as a straight up Major. Getting promoted anywhere but at the end of your second fleet tour will not be a good for you.
  2. Do what interests you and try your best to succeed at what you do. You can only fake the funk for so long so if you're hating life your performance will suffer.
  3. Find someone who seems to have figured it our and do what they do.
  4. If you want to go to WTI or some other school make sure you hit the prerequisites. For instance for KC-130J you need to be NSI eligible so 100 goggle hours. Can't tell you how many night hours I wasted my first tour because I wasn't clued into this fact. When one of our WTI candidates dropped out of contention the next guy they looked at was one of the two dudes that actually had 100 goggle hours so he became our new candidate pretty much by default. Worked out well for him! Same goes for the other schools. Do what you can to ensure you don't take yourself out the running without even knowing that you did.
  5. These are weird times. When I was growing up flying to flying to flying tours were unheard of now a flying to flying seems to be almost the norm (naval aviator shortage I guess). What was the proverbial "kiss of death" for the LtCols of today may in no way be the kiss of death for your year group.
  6. While it's good you're thinking ahead there are so many variables outside of you control its really just an intellectual exercise at this point. Kick ass in flight school and select Herks!
Best of luck!

s/f,
usmcecho4
 
Top