Beginning in October, commissioned and warrant officers that are selected for initial entry flight training will have to serve for at least a 10 years once they become an Army aviator. This policy won’t impact Soldiers that are currently in training.
This 10 year requirement would begin with troops that are selected for flight training beginning in fiscal year 2021. This change is happening due to the cost, increase in requirements for aircraft and more training requirements.
The Army is the only branch that will allow people to apply and be accepted to flight training with just a high school education.
“There are many complexities in these advanced helicopters, which translates to increased costs in flight hours, maintenance, and training requirements. They require more time for people to gain experience. There’s the technical expertise that goes along with it as well. In the end, it’s the Army getting a good return on the investments.” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 William S. Kearns, aviation and officer policy integrator for the Army’s G-1 office.
The 10-year service policy will also apply to Army Reserve and National Guard components. Their obligated service will remain part-time. “The service obligation begins on the date an officer attains an aeronautical rating of Army aviator or is removed from attendance, whichever is earlier, “ said Kearns.
The Army bumped up it’s incentive pay for aviators in January. It was the first pay raise in two decades. The raise came a few months before Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy signed the memorandum for the policy change in June. The pay increase is an attempt to balance pilot numbers at all ranks and remain competitive with the civilian job market.
Warrant officer recruiters are actively looking to fill their ranks and encourage interested Soldiers to apply.
“We want as many applications as we can, so if anybody has any questions, be sure to contact that warrant officer recruiting team. It’s a great time to apply to become a pilot, and [Soldiers] can get in with a high school degree. There are some other prerequisites they have to meet. But, we want as many people as we can get to apply,” said Kearns.
During a Facebook Live stream in June, Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jon Koziol shared his thoughts on this call to action that comes during a time when civilian airlines are running on reduced flight schedules.
“This global pandemic has made unprecedented impacts on the world’s economies and our way of life. Some of the impacts may have directly affected [Soldiers’] ability to pursue [their] goals of working for the commercial sector, especially the airlines,” Koziol said.