Lately I've been thinking a lot about where I want to go to college and the naval academy always appears at the top of my list, in fact, I can't imagine going anywhere else. However, I want a career in aviation, and while I would rather fly for the Navy, I was wondering if anyone has any insight about how difficult it is to raise a family, especially if both parents fly for the Navy. Would it be easier if I flew for the Air Force because you don't have to deploy for six months at a time. I am also thinking now that I would like to go career Navy- is it difficult to do this and also be an excellent mother? Sorry this is so random, I've just been thinking about it a lot. I'd really appreciate any replies.
Good question and probably one of the reasons I turned down the appoinment to USNA and will be going to Stanford this fall.
I am the daughter of two career Naval officers, both retired 3 years ago. I have really enjoyed finally getting to know both parents together over the last three years. Us kids have always been close but I cannot say that we have been a close family. The last three years I can finally call home and was lucky enough to actually spend three years at the same highschool while living in the same house. I've been all over the world but don't have many close friends - until this past few years. Luckily all of us kids went for the most part to the same "dorm" schools, and we spent a lot of time with grandparents. I probably know my granparents better than my own parents.
Do I think my mom was a good mom - of course, my brother USNA03, sister UT Austin 07 and I turned out pretty well. Am I close to my mother - probably not too much.
One thing to keep in mind is this is a question that could apply to any career choice if you choose to have your career come first.
Just a perpective from a daughter of a female career officer.
My father flew RC-135's for the Air Force and was stationed in Alaska, Japan, and Riyadh where all of us had to stay for 2 years. No matter what branch of service you go with, there will always be complications. The Air Force will sometimes let you take your family to live with you on base to where they are assigned to overseas, but the navy won't let you take your family onto ships. If you really want to fly I would suggest the navy because so many people go into the Air Force wanting to fly and only 4% end up flying. You can always make it work. This is probably very bias, but the Marine Corp has probably a better program for flying with families. Most of their Aircraft are stationed at Marine Air Wings, but some do have to go on Navy ships for a period of time. If I were you I would figure out how important your carrer is to you and how long you plan to stay in the military.
Half of each graduating class at USAFA end up in flight careers. Several months ago there was a post of a letter of from retired naval aviator who effectively contrasted the significant differences between air force and naval aviation. If anyone can find it it would be worthwhile while to post again.
His advice...in the end...was Air Force.
wow. thank you for all the great advice-however now I think its going to be a harder decision than ever. I think my main problem is that I love the Naval Academy and I've always thought of naval aviators as the best; and I want to fly with the best.
haha earlier today I thought my mind was made up, and last week USAFA was only an option if I didn't get into Navy. Now I don't know what to do.
My dad was a career Naval aviator. The military life is tough on families in a lot of ways. But, there is a very positive aspect as well - that is the comraderie (sp?) among squadron mates and fellow aviators in general. Our family and the families of dad's navy buddies were constantly over at each other's houses for cookouts, movie watching and just generally hanging out - something you don't see as much in the civilian world. It was a lot of fun being a part of a group like that. Looking back, I think that connection among members of the Navy community made up for the moves and long absences, but others might not agree.
Bob Norris' letter. It comes up in ever single one of these threads. Ever single one. I would talk to Navy pilots and Air Force pilots and try to get an idea of the contrast between their respective cultures. While the Air Force appears to be a more Family-Friendly environment, not all Navy pilots are stationed on ships. A portion are given base assignments, typically those flying P-3s and such. The Air Force tends to be more corporate in structure, lacking a lot of the tradition the Navy holds. I actually saw an Air Force Major speak to a group of people, basically telling them the Navy is better and lacks much of the regulation that holds Air Force personnel. Also, if you don't make pilot in the Navy, there is a vast array of interesting jobs like SWO, Sub Officer, etc. If you're not flying a plane in the Air Force, you're flying a desk (hence the Chair Force). Non-pilot Air Force Officers also hold very few command positions. This is just what I've found, but you need to figure it out yourself. I would look around and read up on what officers in both branches have to say.
Last edited by CWJones411; 07-11-2007 at 08:38 PM.
Bob Norris' letter. It comes up in ever single one of these threads. Ever single one............A portion are given base assignments, typically those flying P-3s and such..............basically telling them the Navy is better and lacks much of the regulation that holds Air Force personnel.
I don't know what point you are attempting to make concerning the Bob Norris letter but, I feel, it exemplifies the differences in a nutshell. Very direct, to the point, and true.
P-3s do deploy, unaccompanied, routinely, just not aboard ships. As do the Marines.
The AF is a derivitive of the Army. It is bound by regulations. The cliche is that AF pilots are given a ton of manuals outlining what the can do while Navy pilots are given one small volume of what they cannot do. It is definitely true from the Navy end and, I suspect, also true from the AF end.
I will never forget coming back to the states on emergency leave. Caught an AF C-5 in Rota, Sp. Everything was perfect. On schedule. Taxied out to the end of the runway. Didn't even stop. Turned around and came back to the line and shut down. The pilot explained that they had just gotten an updated forecast and the revised winds aloft would have caused their crew day to expire prior to reaching Norfolk. Navy pilots would have been laughed out of the ready room for pulling a stunt such as this.