Air Liaison Officer

Freedombuffalo

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Hey all,
I searched all around the forums and have been all around the web about this but I have never really found a concrete answer about this.

I'm currently in AFROTC and i'm wondering about the ALO (13L) career field. I'm wondering how the TACP and ALO career fields differ and how they are alike. Do ALO's go out on ops like TACPs do, or do they mainly stay on the FOB in an advisory position? I believe the pipelines for TACP and ALO are identical, but someone may need to correct me on that. Basically, I really like the TACP mission and the brotherhood that those guys have, and am wondering if I would be part of that if I become an ALO.

I really want to go TACP (and I know what you're thinking, just shut the hell up and enlist if you really want to be one that bad) but I also have an equal desire to get a degree and commission as an officer. I just want to know if my idea of what an ALO is in my head is actually what I want or if it's all just wishful thinking.

Thanks gents.
 

CDG

Mittens
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ALO and 13L are separate things. ALOs are rated flying officers (pilots, weapons systems officers, navigators, etc.) that take a temporary tour as an officer with a TACP unit. They do not go through the TACP training pipeline. They do their tour as an ALO, and then go back to flying for the most part. The Guard has/had a career ALO program, but there is no such program on the active duty side. 13Ls go through the same training as the enlisted 1C4s do, and they are a 13L for their entire career. I don't know if the ALO slots will start be phased out as more 13Ls come into the community and start putting on rank, or if there will always be a mix of ALOs and 13Ls.

Now that the semantics are out of the way, no, you are not out there running ops like the enlisted guys are. Your job is to provide top cover for your dudes, coordinate airspace and assets, attend meetings, etc. It is a very TOC oriented job. You aren't even going to be on a FOB, you'll be at Brigade at the lowest. The E-4s and E-5s are the ones out on the COPs and FOBs.
 

AWP

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Now that the semantics are out of the way, no, you are not out there running ops like the enlisted guys are. Your job is to provide top cover for your dudes, coordinate airspace and assets, attend meetings, etc. It is a very TOC oriented job. You aren't even going to be on a FOB, you'll be at Brigade at the lowest. The E-4s and E-5s are the ones out on the COPs and FOBs.
25th ID's ASOS (2005-ish) had a Captain who would occasionally pop down to the BN level and went out once or twice. Usually a Tech or Master sat in the battalion's TOC....and this all from the Tech's mouth because I asked the same questions regarding ALO's. You're a combat tourist at that point and maybe you glean something about your men or build a little "street cred" for leaving the FOB. As an outsider I don't know if that's typical or not, but there's no way in hell I'd base a career on one-off possibilities. They actually had some admin type go out more than the ALO's because he could drive their HMMWV.

Like I wrote, typical or not, there's no way in hell I'd base a career on one-off possibilities, but maybe the OP likes to roll the dice...
 

DA SWO

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ALO and 13L are separate things. ALOs are rated flying officers (pilots, weapons systems officers, navigators, etc.) that take a temporary tour as an officer with a TACP unit. They do not go through the TACP training pipeline. They do their tour as an ALO, and then go back to flying for the most part. The Guard has/had a career ALO program, but there is no such program on the active duty side. 13Ls go through the same training as the enlisted 1C4s do, and they are a 13L for their entire career. I don't know if the ALO slots will start be phased out as more 13Ls come into the community and start putting on rank, or if there will always be a mix of ALOs and 13Ls.

Now that the semantics are out of the way, no, you are not out there running ops like the enlisted guys are. Your job is to provide top cover for your dudes, coordinate airspace and assets, attend meetings, etc. It is a very TOC oriented job. You aren't even going to be on a FOB, you'll be at Brigade at the lowest. The E-4s and E-5s are the ones out on the COPs and FOBs.
Did they do away with the C-ALO Program, because they did create an Active Duty Officer career field.
 

CDG

Mittens
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Did they do away with the C-ALO Program, because they did create an Active Duty Officer career field.
I haven't seen any references to C-ALO in awhile. I wasn't tracking that C-ALO was a separate career field. I thought C-ALO was the pre-13L term for career TACP officers. So you're saying there are ALOs, C-ALOs, and 13Ls? Shit, TACPs have more Os than the Army has uniform changes.
 

DA SWO

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I haven't seen any references to C-ALO in awhile. I wasn't tracking that C-ALO was a separate career field. I thought C-ALO was the pre-13L term for career TACP officers. So you're saying there are ALOs, C-ALOs, and 13Ls? Shit, TACPs have more Os than the Army has uniform changes.
C-ALO became 13L.
I know a couple of guys who were in the first classes (One's now a Major).
 

Freedombuffalo

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Now that the semantics are out of the way, no, you are not out there running ops like the enlisted guys are. Your job is to provide top cover for your dudes, coordinate airspace and assets, attend meetings, etc. It is a very TOC oriented job. You aren't even going to be on a FOB, you'll be at Brigade at the lowest. The E-4s and E-5s are the ones out on the COPs and FOBs.
Thanks for the information.

I'll quote a TACP from another forum I posted this question to earlier,
"It depends. Starting out yeah you'll get some time in the field. But you'll always be there to provide top cover. Our 13L's are usually out with us training and what not."

So what I took from that was you're out in the field when you start your career but once you get up to O-2, O-3 and beyond, it's more of an advisory job - similar to any special operations/infantry/battlefield airmen officer position. Any idea if that's actually how it is?
 

DA SWO

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Thanks for the information.

I'll quote a TACP from another forum I posted this question to earlier,
"It depends. Starting out yeah you'll get some time in the field. But you'll always be there to provide top cover. Our 13L's are usually out with us training and what not."

So what I took from that was you're out in the field when you start your career but once you get up to O-2, O-3 and beyond, it's more of an advisory job - similar to any special operations/infantry/battlefield airmen officer position. Any idea if that's actually how it is?
Officers are managers, get your fun in by year 6 because you get to be a staff guy after that.
What to stay operational as an officer? Then get an aircrew job and be operational until you become a Major.
 
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CDG

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Thanks for the information.

I'll quote a TACP from another forum I posted this question to earlier,
"It depends. Starting out yeah you'll get some time in the field. But you'll always be there to provide top cover. Our 13L's are usually out with us training and what not."

So what I took from that was you're out in the field when you start your career but once you get up to O-2, O-3 and beyond, it's more of an advisory job - similar to any special operations/infantry/battlefield airmen officer position. Any idea if that's actually how it is?
Yeah, you'll be out training with the guys. That doesn't mean you'll be doing it on deployments though.
 

Kmart

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Yeah, you'll be out training with the guys. That doesn't mean you'll be doing it on deployments though.
I apologize for reviving a dead thread, but I am curious as to why the ALOs would train in the field with their guys stateside, when they don’t go on ops when deployed? Is it to gain a better understanding of the TACP mission, so the ALOs can better advise the ground commander?
 
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