Army Training for ATC

easymedicine

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Mar 21, 2009
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My son is about to enlist in the US Army as a 15Q - Air Traffic Controller. I am curious on my behalf and his about Army specific training at Ft. Rucker and elsewhere, the complexity and difficulties of such training, traditional academics required, etc. I am interested in details.

He is a bright kid but failed to spend himself in school. He has tested very high in the Army ASVAB. This combination promotes wonder on my part and if his success in the Army training environment can be realized. As a parent I ponder the consequences of failing the AIT testing requirements which can lead to a new MOS through the needs of the Army.

Any effort given this request is greatly appreciated.
 

planetalkerkp

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Jun 15, 2008
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He will need to study in the school. It is mostly multiple choice type tests, but there is some simulation. In general though air traffic control in the Army is tactical atc, so the standard control tower and radar room that you associate with an airport in the states is not the norm. Expect overseas deployments and air traffic control in forward deployed posts as the normal situation.
 

easymedicine

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Mar 21, 2009
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Thank you for your response........

I have been searching around and found, I believe, most tests are open book-open notes and of durations of 2 1/2 hours or less. But I am not certain if I am looking at the correct information. There are so many abbreviations to sort through that I cannot be sure.

One would think the pretests given by the Army are a genuine indication of an individuals ability. My fears are parental, I suppose, and ponder worst case developments for his safety - a worry-wart. The consensus is.... if he fails AIT he is committed to the whims of the Army assigning him to their needs..... infantry, medics, cooks, etc..... which does not sound very appealing. This in concert with a friend being killed in Afghanistan a few days ago makes for added concern.

My son is out of town this weekend saying farewell to friends. My understanding is he leaves next week for Ft. Jackson and then Ft. Rucker for AIT.

He currently anticipates assignments in forward areas. His recruiter seems to be honest about anything asked about. His sought MOS has evolved from tanker, to heavy equipment, to air traffic control.

Thanks for your reply.
 

srand5002

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Dec 3, 2008
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I went through Army ATC training back in 2005. It is fairly easy as long as he spends his time wisely studying. Most of the work is book work and some simulation.
 

easymedicine

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Mar 21, 2009
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Thanks to everyone for your replies.

My son will be home shortly and we will ponder your wisdom and advise. I spoke to him briefly this afternoon and he has decided to commit to ATC in the Army with formal commitment late tomorrow. So, I guess all that is left is filling in the remaining blank spots. He is excited about me finding Stuck Mic and looks forward to studying the information here.
 

pargarrett

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Apr 27, 2009
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I just finished the ATC School at Fort Rucker, AL
The school has changed much in the last few years. Your son will be there for a min of 4 months but most likely 6 to 8

The school has excellent instructors but if your son does not apply himself he will not pass the first time around. the best advise I can give him is to study study study, and skip all the bull shit he can get in there, yes he can go out on the weekends to Panama City FL, San Destin, FL, Dothan, AL and many more, and most people that do fail the class.

He will have a lot of freedom compared to Basic and that is where many people go wrong.

Your son can bring just about anything he wants to this school. Cell phone, computer, home surround systems, personal cloths, ext, just no food, drinks, drugs, alcohol in the rooms,
Personal cloths have to be turned in when he arrives and will get them back probably on week 3 if he passes the pt test. And he will be moved from phase 4 to 5.

if he is going into the active army he can probably add on some more time because national guard go through the course faster due to the states, and the active will just wait for an opening to get into class.

One guy I went to the school with was active army and he was there before me and he just left 6 months after I did so he was there for 10 months.

Once your son is there for about 8-12 weeks he might be able to qualify for what is called 5+ so he can drink, smoke, drive a car, leave every day after class at 530pm but he needs to be careful,

I saw people get kicked out of the course and now have a felony on their records, people get arrested for OUI, supplying to minors, get caught with drugs, and so on. The list is long so he needs to watch himself and not do things to be cool. They will most likely not kick him out for most of the things but if he gets into trouble or fails the course he will get reassigned to most likely Infantry.

If he fails a course or section he will have to retake that section and I have seen people wait two months to get back into that class. So don?t fail

Take the full amount of time when taking the test you have two hours for the test so take the full two hours and pass, go through the test and answer every one you know 100% the go back through the ones you don?t know, if you don?t know the first question it will most likely be answered later in the test, so that is why I say only answer the ones you know first then go back, you may need to do this a few times.

The best advice is study, don?t get into trouble, stay fit and he will pass the first time.

Good luck.
 

The Heatles

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Jun 15, 2008
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The ARMY is not the best training if he plans to do it for a short period of time and get out to persue an FAA career. They train you to be a soldier first... controller second. Any ATC training will be tactical/combat oriented like said above. If he is doing it as a long career in the ARMY then Id imagine its definitely one of the better jobs to have.
 

pargarrett

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Apr 27, 2009
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With my experience

so far I just finished ATC School for the National Guard and unlike the Guard say you cannot get a FAA job right out of training.

I spoke with ladies from the FAA and I will have to go through the FAA process as a newbie.

So if you are looking to get a career in ATC don?t go to the army to do it.

Just contact the FAA on faa.gov and you will have to wait till a public announcement. The next one I was told is in July 2009, and the process takes a year then off to OKC to go back to school.

So the army training was a west of time for me and now I have a comment to show up each and every month and be deployed when every it want me to.

Make the best decision but you can get education anywhere.
Also don?t do it for the educational benefits. I have had the biggest pain in the rear. and 4 months later I still have not received my GI Bill monies and Kicker. And once you are out of active status all benefits are out the window. So think before you sign.

Also you do have 90 days once you finish basic to get out on unable to adjust to military life.

and about deployment if you dont want to go to war dont join because regardless of what your recurter said just about everyone will be deployed very soon. 90 percent of my classmates are deployed and it has only been 8 months since traning.

Good luck
 

Merky

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Dec 9, 2008
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With my experience

so far I just finished ATC School for the National Guard and unlike the Guard say you cannot get a FAA job right out of training.

I spoke with ladies from the FAA and I will have to go through the FAA process as a newbie.

So if you are looking to get a career in ATC don?t go to the army to do it.

Just contact the FAA on faa.gov and you will have to wait till a public announcement. The next one I was told is in July 2009, and the process takes a year then off to OKC to go back to school.

So the army training was a west of time for me and now I have a comment to show up each and every month and be deployed when every it want me to.

Make the best decision but you can get education anywhere.
Also don?t do it for the educational benefits. I have had the biggest pain in the rear. and 4 months later I still have not received my GI Bill monies and Kicker. And once you are out of active status all benefits are out the window. So think before you sign.

Also you do have 90 days once you finish basic to get out on unable to adjust to military life.

and about deployment if you dont want to go to war dont join because regardless of what your recurter said just about everyone will be deployed very soon. 90 percent of my classmates are deployed and it has only been 8 months since traning.

Good luck
:confused: Sooooooooooo..................... You dont get any type of Veterans points when the next Public announcement comes out? Sooooo.... you dont get rated like you would in the Air National Guard? Soooooooo....... your time in AIT training does not count towards time with ATC controlling experience? ....
Damn man, now I so aint going into the reserves dude, I was hoping if I did well enough that I could be stationed at Fort Rucker :salute:and get experience, you squashed the dream:banghead: Next Pub Im doing OTS :tap: Does anybody body know if an Associates degree with and extra semester or two and like a year of work experience is enough to be acceptable?:nicethread:
:band:
:party:
 

ColtsATC

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Aug 27, 2008
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I'm in Iraq right now and all the Army ATC guys do is GCA. The FAA doesn't count that as ATC experience. In the Air National Guard/Air Force, it's actual Tower/Rapcon (Radar Approach Control) you work. The ANG pays you for basic, tech school, and a year of follow on training and you get an actual certification.

Here's the catch with ANG. Your initial facility cert doesn't really count as controlling experience. This just starting happening, because 4 guys I trained with all got picked up by the FAA as VRA only holding that cert. Now they are saying you have to deploy. But a 3 month deployment counts and you can apply for VRA while you are deployed. Another guy I trained with is doing that next month. He is coming here where i'm at now.

I'm partial to the Air Force and I recommend it to anyone wanting to do ATC. Better lifestyle, shorter deployments, and you are ATC first. Not infantry.

Oh, and being ANG now, I pick when I want to deploy :D
 

DutchFSU

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Feb 3, 2009
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I'm in Iraq right now and all the Army ATC guys do is GCA. The FAA doesn't count that as ATC experience. In the Air National Guard/Air Force, it's actual Tower/Rapcon (Radar Approach Control) you work. The ANG pays you for basic, tech school, and a year of follow on training and you get an actual certification.

Here's the catch with ANG. Your initial facility cert doesn't really count as controlling experience. This just starting happening, because 4 guys I trained with all got picked up by the FAA as VRA only holding that cert. Now they are saying you have to deploy. But a 3 month deployment counts and you can apply for VRA while you are deployed. Another guy I trained with is doing that next month. He is coming here where i'm at now.

I'm partial to the Air Force and I recommend it to anyone wanting to do ATC. Better lifestyle, shorter deployments, and you are ATC first. Not infantry.

Oh, and being ANG now, I pick when I want to deploy :D
Wow... Such harsh words from Army ATCers...

I won't be the first in line to suggest that anyone sign up for the Army "because its fun." It was five years of my life that I will never get back. But with that said, here I am right now in Oklahoma City training to work in the Central Florida TRACON. My appointment is an OTS appointment, but I was also hired for a VRA postion at ZNY. Know what they used to count towards the VRA qualifications? My Army GCA experience.

The key to a VRA appointment is the "consecutive ATC experience" more so than RAPCON or ARAC or what not. I mean, if they have tons of selectees to choose from then you might be on the bottom of the list with Army GCA or Tac Tower experience (if you don't get a CTO). But frankly speaking, as an Army ATC you WILL deploy. Eventually. Take that experience from a deployment and apply it directly to VRA experience. And you WILL get vet preference, too. Which might very well be why I got the phone call three months after I applied, versus a year and a half of waiting on OTS...

But hey, I'll also suggest OTS appointments, too. The classroom instruction is at least a little useful. The only difference between VRA and OTS is the pay rate while in training. And the legnth of training.

And Air Force training does not make you a better controller. If you are a doofus who controls fixed wing aircraft, you're still a doofus. And a doofus will not pass ANY type of ATC school. Air Force, Army, or otherwise.
 

EricEmpire

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Jun 23, 2009
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I wouldn't say all the Army ATC does in Iraq is GCA. They also work VFR towers and flight following. Might not be the best thing to put on your FAA resume, but that's why you have to make the army work for you....

I started in a GCA in Germany working with handoffs from Frankfurt Intl. Fixed wing props and jets, and rotary wing.

Came back to the states, got to Rucker, got a basefield rating at Lowe Heliport, and now I'm tasked out to the South Alabam Regional Airport where I'm running the tower as facility chief.

That's right, a regional airport while still on active duty (albeit in my last year).

I can see how people could be bummed out about getting stuck in a flight following facility, or stuck being a Tac Dog, but there are ways to get where you want to be. A solid tower rating will go a long way to getting you a job in ATC outside of the Army, so just keep filling out 4187's, renelist for 2 years when you have 1 year and 364 days left in the army and get the tower you want in your contract. There are a myriad of ways to make the army work for you. I suggest you get to it.
 

Radium

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Jan 14, 2009
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in response to the FIRST POST:

If your son is a bright kid as you say, just not quite focused... the Military should be good for him in general. IMO Nothing grows you up from some time in the sandbox, and thats experiance talking.
 

ColtsATC

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in response to the FIRST POST:

If your son is a bright kid as you say, just not quite focused... the Military should be good for him in general. IMO Nothing grows you up from some time in the sandbox, and thats experiance talking.
Amen. I was 19 and sitting 29 miles from Iraq right before we invaded.
 

RollTide

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Aug 12, 2009
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I currently work for a DoD Army facilty as a civilian. I was a soldier here as well. The problem with Army ATC as far as getting out and getting a job somewhere is they have moved completely away from garrison environment and put all controllers into Tactical units. Like others have said, the rating you get in the Tact units are pretty much worthless. You won't get a CTO. I was very lucky when I got mine. We hade about 30 soldiers here and by the time I was getting out of the Army there were 3 left and now they are all gone as well. You will be able to use the veterans preferance and can get on with the FAA through a VRA announcement, so not all is lost. As far as getting a job at a DoD facility or a contract facility for that matter without a CTO at least is gonna be hard.
 

speediebang

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Jul 5, 2009
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Careful about the VRA announcement thing. If the applicant doesn't have approved experience per the FAA (CTO or facility rating) then they might get rejected on the VRA application. Still true however, that they will get veteran's preference but may have to apply on the Pubnat as an off the street (OTS). If in doubt apply to all, (CTO/VRA/Pubnat). The Re-Inst app is not for prior military.
 

DOD_ATC

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Jun 15, 2008
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Like most have said, if your son's intention is to work in ATC after leaving the military he should NOT join the Army. Any of the other services (excluding the CG) will allow him to get a CTO or radar rating that the FAA, contract towers and DoD facilities require.
 

markthetape

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Jun 23, 2008
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I agree 100%, I have heard of managers saying directly that they would not hire any more army atc'ers and I have never heard any other branches in that kind of a statement. The training is not setup for the outside world, there maybe a couple of approach control's but I guarantee the stateside ones are mostly ran by civilian controllers. And the army has very little fixed wing a/c and mostly helos, so unless your planning on working at a heloport if theyre are any then it would be a mucher wiser choice to join the af, navy, or usmc