Joining as officer... Just no clue where

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Scarby, Dec 10, 2007.

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  1. Hi, I'm new here and i thought I'd attempt to get some advice from people who are going to have alot more experience in the area. so background and question to follow:

    I came to the decision about a year ago that i wanted to join the armed forces about a year ago (half way through my second year of university (and at the time being a fat unfit 15stone lad this came as a shock to pretty much everyone). Having now gone from aforementioned fat bastard to a reasonable level of fitness i'm not at the stage where i can seriously consider exactly where i want to go and that is proving somewhat difficult.

    My degree when i graduate in 6 months will be in CompSci however i'm currently unsure weather i want to make any use of it, I have currently whittled my choice down to 3 different areas:

    RSignals - has a definite appeal having a degree in computing
    Aviation (pilot) - is something that has always appealed to me (and in fact the RAF is something i am possibly thinking about - though not really my 1st choice)
    Finally something like Household Cavalry does appeal to me for reasons which aren't too apparent.

    In effect what i'm wondering is can anyone give some advice/opinions which may affect my decision as many of you will hopefully have experience in these fields and therefore a lot more knowledgeable than i in the feild
  2. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Go to the Officers Forum. You'll find all you need there already posted.

  3. Scarby,

    Do you want to be a pilot or an officer who flies occasionally? If it is the former, join the RAF or RN. AAC pilots spend little of their careers in actual flying appointments.

    Firstly, well done on shedding the pounds. As you have identified, you'll need to have a clearer idea of why you wish to pursue your chosen service/regt/corps. Failure to do so will probably mean you falling at the initial selection interviews at Regular Commissioning Board (RCB) (for the Army) or Officers' and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) for the RAF (OASC also conducts pilot aptitude tests for the other services although you will not be interviewed there unless anything's changed).

    Any of the options you are considering will offer rewarding careers. To better inform your decision, do some research and visit your AFCO to enquire about careers visits. These typically last a few days and will enable you to see a little more at first hand; living in the Officers' Mess and speaking informally and candidly with officers in those units. The RAF do these, so I assume the Army do likewise.

    The very best of luck in whichever you opt for!

  4. i would generally say the former. Which just about knocks AAC out of the running

    One of the main problems for me is that I do have a pretty clear idea of why I do want to either (except maybe the cavalry, that's just something that I cant quantify) my desire to do something aviation based is almost bred into me its something i've always wanted to do (blame my father must be something to do with taking me to just about every airshow in the country when i was young often getting me places the public weren't normally allowed to go). I also have a passion for technology/comms and would love to apply that in an environment where i don't just sit behind a desk. I'm really in a position between choosing between a number of things that I'm about as certain as I can be at this stage that would both be excellent choices.

    I will definitely have to enquire about a careers visit, no-one has mentioned this to me (even at the recruitment centre) and it seems to be exactly the sort of thing i need to be doing.

  5. If it really is the Army that takes your preference (as it appears) then I honestly wish you the best of luck. Just before you completely dismiss the RAF however then it might be worth just a little further consideration. As a Comms Engineering Offr you have both the technical side, plus the application to aviation (but not solely spent supporting aircrew!!!) It's also not limited to the 'blue' sit behind desk world which a lot of other RAF areas are. It's definitely possible to spend your whole RAF career in green uniform, with most things though you just need to want to do it.

    Whatever your choice, congrats on making the decision and on what you have achieved so far.
  6. These visits in the Army are called Familiarisation visits, and you do them to specific corps/regiments (i.e. a Fam visit to the AAC, the Irish Guards, the RAC etc.). You probably won't here about them/be offered them until after pre-AOSB. Though if you specifically ask for them to units then I'm sure they'll sort something out.
  7. Scarby,

    Chief among your responsibilities will be leadership and command. If the thought of being responsible for (and with, and to) troops scares you, apply to the RAF as a pilot.

    If, however, you think of yourself as a reasonable chap, who does all things in moderation (including moderation itself) and relish the challenge of blokes turning to you for answers at 3am in the pi55ing rain/sleet/snow or dust storm, when you are all hanging out, then I wish you luck, whichever bit of the Army you choose.

    Get yourself to an AFCO (or the University Liaison Officer, if he still exists) and take it from there.
  8. Scarby,

    The demands of leadership will vary between roles let alone between services so I'd suggest you discount the above trite comment. To place it in perspective, I joined the RAF as a ground branch officer before seeing the light and going aircrew. On my first tour as a 20 year old plt off I was responsible for 15 airmen and women. Other ground branches such as engineers will be responsible for far more.

    As far as aircrew go, leadership manifests itself in a variety of ways. For instance, a fast jet pilot will qualify as a leader of gradually larger numbers of aircraft as he gains experience. For instance, a Tornado GR4 four ship leader will be responsible for the tactical planning and integration of his crews into a larger force. That will involve decisions upon RoE implementation, fuel, flight safety and a whole raft of other aspects. By his second tour, it is not unusual for an RAF flt lt to be mission commanding a 20 ship package and it's support assets involving up to 120 aircrew.

    Similarly, in the rotary and multi engine world, a first tourist fg off or flt lt may gain captaincy of his own crew of up to 30 personnel if he is deemed capable enough. Deployed ops will often mean he has to self authorise flying activity and make decisions which have significant impact upon operations. As a general rule, aircrew responsibilities and leadership tends to be focused more upon experience and qualifications than rank. For instance, it is not unusual for a fg off crew capt to have his gp capt station commander as co-pilot because the latter has less recent experience on type.

    As I said earlier, each service offers uniquely demanding challenges which will involve leadership aspects. Horses for courses. You will enjoy whichever service you opt for. Good luck.