Joining up - ethics and other questions


Hi all,

I'm an upper 6th student, giving a serious look at joining the andrew as either a warfare officer (with a view to PWO and command) or a pilot. However i've got a few concerns that i'd appreciate your insight and/or advice on. I'll try to put them in order of importance to me.

1) I'm not a supporter of the war in Iraq, but i realise that this is a job where you go and do what you're ordered to, like it or not. I have faith in our democratic system to eventually represent the wishes of the people and so act in their best interests, and i believe that it is something worth defending, and that i have a duty to do so. In my mind this justifies fighting despite your personal view, but i still have my doubts. How do you deal with having to fight a war you might not agree with?

2) The recruiters are putting me under a lot of pressure to join as a pilot, ditching university and joining immediately. They promise a correspondance degree from the Open University, and a hefty cash bonus for joining straight away, however i'm aiming at a much more prestigious degree if i go to Uni and join as a warfare officer, and so with any luck a better job when i eventually get out. Also there's the worry that they might ditch the new carriers or the yanks might cut JSF. What do you advise?

3) Having have a read around, it seems that the navy's in a real decline, what with the war canoes being mothballed and promotion suspensions. Can you see a relatively able young man making a career in the navy, or am i likely to end up out again in 9 or 10 years time, and having to start on the job ladder again?

Many thanks, i'm looking forward to your replies

ps. good job on the site, it's been a great resource to help me see what i'm getting myself into

pps...first post, feels good
1. Its a profession, you're a professional. Nuff said.
2. Finish your degree unless you are ancient and time is against you.
3. No one can prophesy what the current or a future government will do, but I would suggest there are very few "dead cert" careers these days. Also the skills and training you gain in the mob will mean as and when you decide to move on you will not have to "start on the job ladder again".
im also in the kind of same position
im in lower 6th at the moment, but joining the RN is what ive wanted to do since i was like 13.
Im seriously considering Air Traffic Control, Pilot or Warfare Officer, but then again i think that there are alot of pro's to joining as a Warfare rating.
But im not too keen on going to uni
hmmm im going to have to pop back down to my local AFCO



thanks phil, much appreciated. as for getting out, i guess you're right, i know of a few who've gotten out and moved on really well. Good luck to you manc. as for uni, of course it's your own choice, but i reckon they'll be good years, and raise your income afterwards. Of course there's the debt to consider, but i'm hoping it shouldn't be too bad with the navy's help.


dont worry about the navy decline too much

1) theres been so much coverage the gov has to do something about the state of our forces.

2) we'll get ourselves into another conflict soon enough, and thats a fair way to get some more funding.

also, the forces are unlikely to start chucking people out that quick. sods law says as soon as the gov start downsizing the navy, they'll need it.

regarding morality of it all, as a solider you are not responsible for the war. the gov fights the war. they deal with wether its right or wrong. people dont join the forces because they think they should kill everybody they can, they join because of the life it offers. regardless of whether you physically fight in it or not, it will happen. so you might as well if it offers you a life you want.


Follow your heart! your dreams are always gonna be there!

there is a lot of "talk" of restructuring in the press. But, when did a sane person ever listen to the press?

Do your degree. When the dust settles if you still want in, you can ditch the degree then.

don't allow anyone to lead you somewhere you don't wanna go unless shes extremely pretty....

good luck



War Hero

for me Q1 doesn't arise. Ultimately you are serving, ready to kill and ready to die to protect your country, right or wrong. This is different from the question of an individual being ordered to commit an illegal act of course. Perhaps niavely I have always thought if the govt of the day were that wrong either the CinC (HM Queen) or public pressure would stop 'em.

Re uni - if you can get the RN to pay/sponsor you that is the way to go. If you are going to end up owing 15-20K going independently I would join up first, save some money and then see if you really want to go to uni in a couple of years. A degree is vastly overrated and as a Waafu you will have spare time to be able to progress a degree by correspondence and then there is nothing to stop you getting the important degree ( a Masters) at a reputable uni.

Re Q3, perhaps things have turned full circle but I thought the younger generations didnt think about long term careers anymore? If the RN is prepared to teach you to fly fast jets/ helos for free there are skills there I imagine that are transferable in later life and I personally would jump at it.


maybe i should be asking in the FAA section, but do any of you know how much a pilot could expect to be deployed, and whether it differs if you fly whirlybirds or jets?
Think very long term TruffleHunter and Manc.........(too long to remember)

I'm not sure what qualifications you would get as a PWO that may assist you in civvy street when you retire/leave, however; If you qualify as a pilot, especially as a helicopter pilot, there is a massive call for ex military pilots outside (Police / HEMS / Rigs etc) as they value the wealth of experience and flying hours. Police/HEMS only employ ex-forces pilots due to experience in low-level flying. And it's good money.

I'm sure the PWO gets lots of management qualifications as well - bottom line is what's going to provide you with most fun every day ???

Whatever you decide - good luck - you'll hopefully go on to enjoy yourself either way.

Deleted 7

Hi and welcome!

Firstly, finish your education off, the RN has a way of promosing the world, until you sign that line then comes the excuses of why you can't do something for a few months.

As for the war aspect, you'll find alot of serving members don't actually agree with what is happening but they don't have a say. You signed the line, you do the job.
Jenny_Dabber said:
As for the war aspect, you'll find alot of serving members don't actually agree with what is happening but they don't have a say. You signed the line, you do the job.

That goes for a lot of things in the Armed Forces as a whole.
Lots of forces personnel didn't vote for this government but that makes no difference.
Your "job" is non political and not for discussion. You just do it, you don't ask the ethics of it (unless its obviously an unlawful order you've been given). The armed forces are NOT a democracy, quite rightly so, you are there to apply British Policy as told, whatever that may be.