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NFO process and qualifications

Derringer

New Member
Hi everyone, I have read several threads here over the last year or so. I just today set up an account to ask for some input from you all. It would be really great to hear from those with particularly recent experience with becoming a USMC NFO. Of course, any advice and info would help though.. Please feel free to share anything you may find relevant and remotely related. I apologize, as I am sure there have been countless threads similar, but I want advice a little more specific to my personal background. As follows:

I have wanted to be a USMC officer for quite some time. I talked with a USMC officer recruiter a couple years ago (spring 2014). Because of a couple law issues that happened in fall of 2012 (at the time I also had an extremely low GPA around 2.3) the recruiter told me I wouldn't be granted a security clearance and wouldn't likely even get my waiver approved. I am now 24 years old, and have been switching between community college and university since I was 18 and struggled with some personal stuff as well as financing university. I am now on track and only 2 semesters from a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering. I am sitting on a 2.9 GPA, but I expect to bump this to 3.1 or maybe 3.2 before I graduate. I enlisted in the Army National Guard January of 2017, and I scored rather well on the ASVAB with a score of 97.

I recently contacted a USMC Officer recruiter again to try a second time to have them consider doing the paperwork required. Now, I am being given a chance and a recruiter has agreed to help me look into it. I also have quite a few leadership and extra curricular activities that will help my application. I will need to leave for Army Basic Training August 1st, and after that I will be working with a recruiter to file a request to be released from the Guard contract and apply to OCS. The current plan is to attend OCS over the summer of 2018, while I will finish my last 2 semesters of college in Spring and Fall of 2018. Additionally, I have been recently focused on Army PFT training, but fully intend to hit a USMC training regimen upon returning from Army training in December - I know I could hit a 280 score before applying for the waiver and OCS and eventually maybe bump it up to 290 if the process is delayed a little.

With my ASVAB score and leadership experience, along with the STEM degree, is it possible to be accepted? I have 3 amazing letters of recommendation as well (these are great letters that speak very highly of the turn around I have had and come from a CEO, my academic advisor, and my current manager at work). I realize it's crazy competitive to get selected as an NFO. I am fine taking on a different role as a USMC Officer if I don't get the NFO selection, as long as there is a realistic possibility of it. I can't accept not going for it. I want to be a USMC Officer first. A very close second is an NFO. I am incredibly passionate about the electrical engineering topics I have learned in school. I want to use that knowledge but have the opportunity to get out of the typical desk job environment once in a while that I would be confined to as a civilian engineer.

I am also curious to learn more about the process. E.g. at what point during the process do you know whether or not you are able to be an NFO? Is it after accepting a commission, or before? (Yes, I realize it's not easy to get into OCS. I will earn it, but I want to know more about the late process)

Thanks for reading all of this. I would love to hear any opinions.
 
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Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Do not, repeat, do not sign up to be a Marine NFO. The Marines will be out of the NFO business in just a few years (sundown of Prowler and F/A-18D platforms), so your future in that community would be cut short. If you want to be an NFO, go Navy. If you are dead-set on being a Marine, choose another designator.
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
Contributor
If you want to be in Marine Aviation as an officer, go pilot.

If you go NFO, you may be a Hornet WSO for a tour, but then you'll be at the whim of the Marine Corps to designate to something else. The F-35 is a single seat platform, and that's what Marine TACAIR is going to, across the board. So you won't be in another airplane.
 

Derringer

New Member
Thank you both for the input!

Bummer to hear this. My eye sight is less than ideal. Right eye is 20/20 or crazy close to it both near and far. Left eye however, 20/10 near sight and something on the order of 20/100 far sight. Could I go pilot despite the legal issue, vision and low-ish gpa? I'd be more than happy to take a rotary wing designator if that's all I could get.

Does anyone know what other options more focused on electronic warfare or communications opportunities may be available as a USMC Officer?
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
Contributor
Thank you both for the input!

Bummer to hear this. My eye sight is less than ideal. Right eye is 20/20 or crazy close to it both near and far. Left eye however, 20/10 near sight and something on the order of 20/100 far sight. Could I go pilot despite the legal issue, vision and low-ish gpa? I'd be more than happy to take a rotary wing designator if that's all I could get.

Does anyone know what other options more focused on electronic warfare or communications opportunities may be available as a USMC Officer?
You can come in as a ground contract and roll the dice at TBS in hopes of a comm or UAV slot.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
If you want to fly but are "eh" about eyes, don't go Marines. If you want to be a Marine and would be okay not flying, then go green. There's your short answer.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Thank you both for the input!

Bummer to hear this. My eye sight is less than ideal. Right eye is 20/20 or crazy close to it both near and far. Left eye however, 20/10 near sight and something on the order of 20/100 far sight. Could I go pilot despite the legal issue, vision and low-ish gpa? I'd be more than happy to take a rotary wing designator if that's all I could get.

Does anyone know what other options more focused on electronic warfare or communications opportunities may be available as a USMC Officer?
Why not navy NFO? Tons of EW opportunities.
 

Derringer

New Member
Maybe answered in OP (tl;dr), but why not get eyes fixed and be a pilot?
I have been under the impression that lasik is a disqualifier. I can't remember where I read or heard that, though.


Why not navy NFO? Tons of EW opportunities.
The USMC is the most elite. That is the appeal in going that route. I have considered Navy. With USMC phasing out NFOs, it is something I need to give more consideration.


I am rather unfamiliar with either processes for USMC and Navy aviation selection. What is the best resource to learn each process to supplement information from OSOs?
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
Contributor
I have been under the impression that lasik is a disqualifier.
It isn't. Nor is PRK.


The USMC is the most elite.
Was it the flaming sword slaying the lava monster commerical that gave you that idea?

When it comes to aviation, the Marine Corps is... Well, hurting. If you want to be a fighter pilot join the AF or ANG and try to fly F-22s or F-15s or F-16s. If you want to fly off of the boat join the Navy and try for a Super Hornet slot.

If you want to occasionally fly broken airplanes and deal with junior enlisted Marines until your eyes and ears bleed, join the Marine Corps.

The Army has cool helicopters and their warrants fly their asses off.

I am rather unfamiliar with either processes for USMC and Navy aviation selection. What is the best resource to learn each process to supplement information from OSOs?
Yes, you are. OSOs are your gatekeeper, it is their job to put people in slots at OCS with the right contract. If you tell an OSO, " But I read on the internet..." or "The guys on an internet forum said..." you will most likely be laughed out of their office.

Look up the NAMI waiver guide for medical stuff.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
To the OP @Swanee nailed it. When it comes to aviation I wouldn't say the Marines are "elite". As mentioned, much of their aircraft is significantly aged.

So right now you have three options: pay for LASIK/PRK and go USMC air, go USMC ground, or consider Navy NFO if you only want to be in the cockpit. I guess you also have a fourth option of eye surgery and consider other services like Army/Guard and Air Force.

Lastly, you need to trust your OSO/Officer Recruiter. They have the most up to date information. If you have trust concerns with your OSO then you have much issues to worry about.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Another thing I forgot to mention, since you're currently in the guard you will need a conditional release approved by your chain of command before you can pursue a commission. Being that you just joined in January, I would expect this to be an uphill battle. I'm sure the Guard invested heavily in your training and would want to get something back in return before you can go elsewhere.

I was working with a USAF applicant who enlisted 18 months ago even though he had a masters degree. Don't ask me why. Anywho, his command would NOT approve his conditional release until his service contract ends, which is still another 2.5 years.
 

Derringer

New Member
I am aware it will be difficult to be released from my current contract. At the very least I will likely need to repay all pretax income earned.

It's not that I necessarily want to be in the cockpit. I want to be in an Electronic warfare or related field. NFO was just the most interesting sounding of the available EW opportunities I have learned about, and the USMC was something I was personally interested in challenging myself with.

I will talk more closely with my OSO. Thank you for the forward replies. I will do some more research. I realize now maybe I should have spent a little more time learning for myself. Either way, the info here is appreciated. Thanks all.
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
Contributor
I want to be in an Electronic warfare or related field.
Your best bet here is to join the AF, then Navy. The Marine Corps VMAQ capabilities are going to be gapped. The VMU was supposed to take over, but they are limited. On the ground side we have the Radio Battalions, and they have limited EW capabilities.

But Aviation-wise, VAQ isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and the AF has some crazy shit they do with both EW, as well as the cyber and RPA world. They have legit "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you" shit going on.

Again, if you want to carry a rifle and deal with LCpls, join the Marine Corps. But it sounds like the AF or Navy is a better place for what you want to do- and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that!
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
I want to be in an Electronic warfare or related field
If this is the primary driver for what you want to do, then you need to look at the Growler Community in the Navy. The Marines are more or less done with the Prowler, and by the time you go tthrough the training pipeline, they'll be gone. Please, for the love of God, divorce yourself from the ridiculous idea that the Marines are some kind of elite group of SEAL-equivalent bad asses. Take it from the Marine aviators who have already posted in this thread. Marines fly the oldest jets, are under-resourced, and will not do any form of EW in about 2-3 years.

If you're into EW, or Airborne Electronic Attack specifically, you want to be in a Growler.
 
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