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Why did you enlist and pursue aviation?

I will agree that it was unique.....and extremely satisfying to me - minus the passed over parts. I have only heard of a very few who have managed to do a full career and never leave the cockpit.
I meant to ask but were there any hidden pros or cons that you experienced that you weren’t aware of when you joined?
 

zipmartin

Never been better
pilot
Contributor
I meant to ask but were there any hidden pros or cons that you experienced that you weren’t aware of when you joined?
Everything that I knew about the Navy before joining came from talking to people or reading. There was no internet then. Life was much more simple. I feel that I was pretty prepared for what was coming. Sure, there were things that were somewhat surprising or puzzling, but nothing that was earth shattering. But I wanted to fly, and was willing to accept difficult or uncomfortable situations to accomplish that. And I didn't stick around for as long as I did to continue to build hours for The Show. I had enough time after my initial obligation to get hired. I stayed because I was truly enjoying what I did. I had many disappointments and things didn't always turn out like I'd hoped or planned, but I still had fun. I mentioned that my last 10 years were spent in the adversary role. Flying just doesn't get any better than that.
 

HAL Pilot

Well-Known Member
None
Contributor
Everything that I knew about the Navy before joining came from talking to people or reading. There was no internet then. Life was much more simple.
But…but…how did you ever make a decision without anonymous advice from strangers in multiple forums from anyone with an opinion? Where was your number of views and likes to provide the affirmation you were seeking as a means of justifying your decision no matter how tucked up the internet input.

HOW DID YOU EVER SURVIVE??????
 

Sonog

Well-Known Member
pilot
My grandfather was adopted and came from Europe in the late 1930’s. He enlisted in the USAF out of New York and did a 20 year career as an intelligence airman on B-52’s. He also loved to build RC airplanes. My father picked up the passion for aviation and building planes from him. So, I grew up watching history channel dog fights and flying sims in the late 90’s.

Fast forward to 2012, and, after going through my long hair, skateboarding and metal band phase, I’m in the food service game and going nowhere, so I go all-in and decide to follow a buddy into the USMC. Picked the Aviation option because I had a history, and there you go. Next thing I know I’m in the fleet, then picked up for an officer program, and now I’m on my way near to where my grandfather was stationed in Columbus, MS (just north of Meridian) for jets. Crazy.
You gave up metal???
 
My grandfather was adopted and came from Europe in the late 1930’s. He enlisted in the USAF out of New York and did a 20 year career as an intelligence airman on B-52’s. He also loved to build RC airplanes. My father picked up the passion for aviation and building planes from him. So, I grew up watching history channel dog fights and flying sims in the late 90’s.

Fast forward to 2012, and, after going through my long hair, skateboarding and metal band phase, I’m in the food service game and going nowhere, so I go all-in and decide to follow a buddy into the USMC. Picked the Aviation option because I had a history, and there you go. Next thing I know I’m in the fleet, then picked up for an officer program, and now I’m on my way near to where my grandfather was stationed in Columbus, MS (just north of Meridian) for jets. Crazy.
Doesn’t it ever seem weird to you that at one point, you were just some regular kid and now you’re gonna be flying jets? but great story, thank you so much for sharing.
 
Everything that I knew about the Navy before joining came from talking to people or reading. There was no internet then. Life was much more simple. I feel that I was pretty prepared for what was coming. Sure, there were things that were somewhat surprising or puzzling, but nothing that was earth shattering. But I wanted to fly, and was willing to accept difficult or uncomfortable situations to accomplish that. And I didn't stick around for as long as I did to continue to build hours for The Show. I had enough time after my initial obligation to get hired. I stayed because I was truly enjoying what I did. I had many disappointments and things didn't always turn out like I'd hoped or planned, but I still had fun. I mentioned that my last 10 years were spent in the adversary role. Flying just doesn't get any better than that.
Do you have any book recommendations that were especially helpful to you when you read up on it?
 

mad dog

helnonmonkspankron assistant to the assistant pao
pilot
Contributor
Title, just wondering why y’all decided on this path. Was it a dream? Was it the benefits that sold you? What brought you to this career path?
Full disclosure…I needed a job.

I graduated from college in May of 1986 at age 22 with a BS in geology with a not-so-hot GPA of 2.5. The intent was to work for one of the large oil companies as an exploration geologist. No joy…the oil companies at that time were laying off employees or weren’t hiring. I figured why not see if the military could use a geologist…no joy again…they wanted a masters degree in geology. BUT…the USN and USMC were recruiting heavily for pilots at the time and the officer recruiters made their pitch regarding a guaranteed AOCS or OCS pilot slot. I had never thought about being a pilot in the military…I thought that was only for USNA and NROTC types…hell, I didn’t even know that AOCS and OCS existed. What an opportunity…I can fly for my country AND have a job…better take advantage of this now…I’m in! A few months later I found myself at AOCS being heckled [almost continuously] by USMC DIs…good times!

NOTE: I had also applied to USAF OTS…they were not too impressed with my not-so-hot GPA of 2.5…they said “NO”.
 
Full disclosure…I needed a job.

I graduated from college in May of 1986 at age 22 with a BS in geology with a not-so-hot GPA of 2.5. The intent was to work for one of the large oil companies as an exploration geologist. No joy…the oil companies at that time were laying off employees or weren’t hiring. I figured why not see if the military could use a geologist…no joy again…they wanted a masters degree in geology. BUT…the USN and USMC were recruiting heavily for pilots at the time and the officer recruiters made their pitch regarding a guaranteed AOCS or OCS pilot slot. I had never thought about being a pilot in the military…I thought that was only for USNA and NROTC types…hell, I didn’t even know that AOCS and OCS existed. What an opportunity…I can fly for my country AND have a job…better take advantage of this now…I’m in! A few months later I found myself at AOCS being heckled [almost continuously] by USMC DIs…good times!

NOTE: I had also applied to USAF OTS…they were not too impressed with my not-so-hot GPA of 2.5…they said “NO”.
Thank you for sharing! I appreciate it a lot. Seems AF tends to be more particular about their pilots, Navy takes chances (and it pays off)
 

RoarkJr.

Well-Known Member
You gave up metal???
No...classic metal/rock when I'm driving my classic mustang, ~2015 metalcore anytime else. Though it is funny imagining my kid seeing their 30+ year old dad listening to that stuff.
Doesn’t it ever seem weird to you that at one point, you were just some regular kid and now you’re gonna be flying jets? but great story, thank you so much for sharing.
I guess so. I used to skip class to go smoke Newports with friends at a trailer park...I'm extremely lucky to be here. Find good mentors.
Do you have any book recommendations that were especially helpful to you when you read up on it?
I know you didn't ask me, but I'd say - just make sure you're reading something. Early on I read biographies, Chesty, Lejeune, Boyd, Boyington. I got into some Vietnam era helo pilot memoirs too. Then some good contemporary fixed wing books like Nightmare's Prayer and One of the Few. The idea is that reading this stuff broadens your understanding of the job, the service, the military as a whole, our nation and geopolitics etc etc. and it keeps you connected. Easy to go through the day by day and lose sight of why we do what we do and how quickly we could end up in major conflict again.
 
No...classic metal/rock when I'm driving my classic mustang, ~2015 metalcore anytime else. Though it is funny imagining my kid seeing their 30+ year old dad listening to that stuff.

I guess so. I used to skip class to go smoke Newports with friends at a trailer park...I'm extremely lucky to be here. Find good mentors.

I know you didn't ask me, but I'd say - just make sure you're reading something. Early on I read biographies, Chesty, Lejeune, Boyd, Boyington. I got into some Vietnam era helo pilot memoirs too. Then some good contemporary fixed wing books like Nightmare's Prayer and One of the Few. The idea is that reading this stuff broadens your understanding of the job, the service, the military as a whole, our nation and geopolitics etc etc. and it keeps you connected. Easy to go through the day by day and lose sight of why we do what we do and how quickly we could end up in major conflict again.
Thank you for giving me some recommendations though, I’ve only read Jet Girl by Caroline Johnson (fantastic memoir type book about her time as a WSO in the Super Hornets, I do recommend it.) but I see what you mean and I’ll definitely do that.

in terms of mentors, I have reached out to few people, including author Caroline Johnson. She told me that reaching out to former aviators or current ones is fantastic. I appreciate hearing your story and hearing what sort of advice/recommendations you have for me. Thank you!
 
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