Aviation/OCS Prior enlisted quesition
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  1. #1

    Aviation/OCS Prior enlisted quesition

    Good Evening everyone. I hope this is in the right place. I apologize if it is not.

    I realize that most questions here are about recruit training but I also understand that there are a few Marine Aviators who frequent this forum. I could really use some advice.
    Alright so here is my story. I've wanted to be a pilot ever since my grandpa took me to a military air show when I was 4. I am 21 years old and going to be a Senior in college this year. For my first two years, I was in Air Force ROTC. My grades weren't the best but I stayed above a 2.0.
    In AFROTC, you have to commit before you even find out if you're qualified to be a pilot and I did not want to get stuck flying a desk. I wanted to do something exciting with my life.

    Close to the end of my Sophomore year, my friend told me about Marine OCS and how they can guarantee you a flight spot if you pass the ASTB. I scored a 6/7/6 and got contracted. The only thing lacking was my PFT score. I had 15 pullups, 100 crunches, and a 26:00 run time.
    I did not get accepted to OCS that summer

    This year, my Junior year, my grades were a lot better. My last term I got a 3.05 gpa. I had 20 pullups and 100 crunches. They told me in order to get selected I needed at least a 24:00 run time. I ended up getting a 23:30 run time. On the same exact day I made that time, my OSO got an email from OCS saying that they had raised the bar to 23:00 flat and under. They still submitted my package, however I didn't get accepted for a second time.

    Now here is my dilemma. I know that OCC is a LOT more competitive than PLC and that I would probably need to get my run down to a 22 or 21 in order to be even considered. But when my OSO told me I didn't make it, he basically told me if I still wanted to be a Marine I would be better off enlisting. Now, I know some officers going into OCS are prior enlisted, but I also know you have to be at least a Corporal to apply for the Enlisted to Commissioned program.
    If I went enlisted, I would try to do something aviation or something that promotes fast with a low cutting score so I could go to OCS as soon as possible but still get that enlisted experience of how to be a Marine so I would have a better idea of how to lead Marines. I want to be able to inspire Marines and be able to motivate and help them and really earn that eagle globe and anchor. Be the guy that they would follow into battle if need be you know? I'm guessing it would be an extra 3 or 4 years before I made corporal since I would already have my bachelors degree. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Here is where my problem is. I have been notified that for this year and next year, OCC flight spots are Reserve only, not active duty, due to downsizing of the service. So now what am I going to do? I would be happy with either NFO or Naval Aviator if it was active duty. But what if there are no spots? Should I consider enlisting and hopefully get accepted to OCS later down the line after a few years? Or should I consider going Navy OCS like some people over at Airwarriors.com suggested I look into? Or even Air Force OTS again?

    I have had no plans after college other than military service. I need to make a decision. Before I found out about Marine OCS offering a flight contract, I would have never considered joining the Marines. But now that I've considered it, in my head it just seems like the only option. I want to be able to earn that title and call myself a Marine. But do I give up my chance to possibly be an officer in another service and fly? Right now my desires to be a Marine and be a Pilot are about even. Being a Marine Aviator would allow me to have my cake and eat it too, but it looks like the only way I can do that with my timeframe is to go Reserves after OCC and look for a civilian job, or Enlist and wait 4 years to apply for OCC (assuming I make Corporal in that time).

    I apologize for my rambling but this has been driving me crazy all summer and I would really appreciate some advice from some Marines other than recruiters and OSO's.

    I could really use some thoughts/advice.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.

    Very Respectfully,
    ~Ventus


    Last edited by Ventus; 07-09-12 at 02:30 AM. Reason: spelling correction and missed word

  2. #2
    Nothing against being enlisted first(obviously because I am) but I would not bother enlisting if you are already this far along with your college degree. ECP is VERY selective and even if you did make Cpl. or Sgt. in 4 years(low chance) the chance you are going to get into the ECP is pretty slim. My suggestion would be to take the OCC-Reserve slot if you can. A college graduate and Marine aviator looks amazing on paper and I don't think you'd have a problem landing a civilian job after flight school. If you are set on going strictly active duty then I would say keep knocking your run time down and wait until you can put in another package for an active duty OCC seat.

    Enlisted service has its benefits but it is not going to make you a better officer, leadership qualities you either have or you don't.


  3. #3
    If you enlist, depending on your personality, you will probably regret it... Especially after you were so close to an Air Force commission. Of all the services, the Marine Corps enlisted side is the most harsh and strict. That may sound glamorous to you now, but you will be at the bottom of the totem pole and no one will care that you have a degree or how old you are (if you are older and mature you will get a little more respect) I have a degree myself and enlisted at 24. I, however, screwed myself over by getting 2 dui's when I was 19 and 20 and am grateful everyday that the Marine Corps gave me a second chance. You have the luxury of not making the same dumb decisions I made, or at the very least not getting caught for similar decisions. If you really want to be trained as a leader and make significantly more money (Anyone who tells you the pay doesn't matter is either a liar, or an oblivious idealist), work as hard as you can to get into one of the OCS programs.

    The Corps gives more power to it's NCOs than the other branches, and you can definitely become a strong leader this route, but you will still wish you had used your degree to get a chance at a commission. If you enlist in the Marine Corps with the intention of going the ECP route and flying, there's a good chance you could be too burned out by the time you have a solid enough resume for a package. You will need solid letters of recc from officers in your command and throughout your unit. No, your platoon commander's letter won't mean much. They want to see Major and above. If you're not a white male, then you could have a pretty good chance right away, but most Marines have to apply a few times before they are accepted. I tell you all this, because it is the truth. I am quite happy that I am able to serve enlisted in the Marine Corps while continuing to turn my life around, but I know if I had joined with a clean record I would regret not going to OCS if I had the oppurtunity.

    It is a harsh change going from doing what you want every day in college and being treated as an adult, to being treated like a high school/middle school kid all over again. If you think you can handle being treated that way for at least the first year (most likely 2), then by all means, join. Just know that you're going to have to earn your way up the totem pole like everyone else. If you're humble, smart, loud, in shape and do what you're told, you'll do well and meet some great friends. Good luck on whatever you decide.


  4. #4

    Marine Equivalent of Air Force TACP, SOWT, CCT

    I realize that I'm going to sound very newbie and wannabe-ish by asking this question.

    Is there a Marine equivalent of the Air Force TACP, SOWT, or CCT? (Excluding Forward Air Controllers which are officers/pilots)

    I've wanted to be a Marine for the longest time. I'll have my college degree in May of 2013 and I cannot go to OCC because all active duty slots are filled and it's only reserve until the October 2013 board. So I figured I'd enlist for a few years and try to get into the enlisted commissioning program. I eventually want to fly.

    The problem is, I'm looking at all of the enlisted MOS's and none of them really click with what I want to do. It's like, I want to go through the struggle and hardship and challenge of becoming a Marine, but I want to go to jump school, dive school, and all that other good stuff. I want to be the small team that goes in and calls in airstrikes or does something weather related.

    I know I sound kind of wishy washy saying this and maybe I need to really re-evaluate why I want to be a Marine.

    But right now I'm just wondering if there is an equivalent of TACP, SOWT, or CCT in the Marines that isn't Recon.

    Just curious.

    Thank you.


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