USAFA: Cadet Pilot Volunteers also UAV Volunteers
The Air Force Academy published a release saying they have “typically” filled their pilot slots, but they had trouble filling non-pilot rated career fields — CSOs, ABMs, and UAVs. The issue is that all rated career fields are volunteer only. Many cadets would volunteer only for a pilot slot, and the others were going unfilled.
USAFA’s solution? If you volunteer for a pilot slot, you’re volunteering for any rated field — including UAVs:
“They cannot volunteer for just one. By volunteering for one, a cadet is in for all four,” [Laurie Carroll, the Academy’s director of manpower and personnel] said. “However, once cadets are matched to a rated AFSC, they will be given an opportunity to opt out if they don’t desire that rated AFSC. If they do opt out, they will be classified into a non-rated AFSC with their classmates who selected non-rated preferences.”
Theoretically, this won’t affect cadets who are ranked high enough to get their first choice pilot slot anyway — for now, anyway. So a cadet who is otherwise qualified and eligible for a pilot slot won’t be “non-vol’d” into a UAV — but a lower ranking cadet might be.
It’s not clear how USAFA intends to execute the “opt out” option. In other scenarios, “opting out” of rated training selection puts a mark on an officer’s record that prevents him from future eligibility for any other rated course.
In other words, it may — emphasis on the may — be possible that a cadet who turns down a UAV will not be able to apply for UPT at a later date. It will be interesting to see how this is ultimately implemented.