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Thread: Executive Officer

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    #1

    Executive Officer

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    My husband found out today that he just got picked to be the exec to his current group commander. He interviewed a few days ago so it isn't out of the blue. All I keep hearing is basically how I'll never see him and he will always be busy. Has anyone been or anyone's SO been an exec before? I know that as an officer this is a position that has to be done at sometime, but we weren't really expecting it to be so soon! Career wise, I hear it is a good thing, but I don't know much about it. I'm just worried that he'll be told he can no longer take our planned and paid for two week vacation to South Africa next year lol!

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    #2
    I've learned from these boards the XO means very different things in different services and even in different types of commands. In Navy aviation squadrons, the XO job is an O-5 job, and they go directly from that to the CO job. So it is basically one set of orders, with them doing 15 months as XO, then 15 months as CO of the same command. In those cases, it is definitely a ball buster job (though DH hasn't done it). Our friends and the XOs and COs DH has had easily put in 80-100 hour weeks.

    On the other hand, DH is currently the XO for his office (not for his whole command--just for this subset of his command), which is Army, though he is Navy. And most of his coworkers are civilians. Really, it just kind of means DH does all the administrative work for his office. It's no big deal at all. In fact, in his 15 year career, these are the shortest hours he's ever worked (~60 hour weeks), and XO is not his only role here.
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    #3
    Dh did the exec gig a couple of years ago. It was great for his career, honestly.

    The hours were long, but totally worth it. If you have any specific questions, feel free to pm or FB me!
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    #4
    It really depends on the commander. Normally at the group commander level, it's not as intense hours wise as it would be for a wing king or a MAJCOM/Numbered AF commander.

    He will have some travel associated with it, not long deployments but possibly some short TDYs when the Group Commander has to do things like meetings/conferences stuff like that, if the commander is going to need the exec help. Some do, some don't. That really depends on the GC's personality.

    I would just have your husband get his vacation plans on the calendar. It could be in jeopardy, (just being honest) depending on what comes up for the GC - like if he has to present at a conference and wants his exec with him, he could cancel the vacation. But if it's on the calendar, the GC could take that into account when dates are discussed for meetings and such.

    It's really good for his career. It's going to count as his first career broadening rotation and being an exec is a really good way to be seen and network!
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    #5
    As people have said, it can be great for his career. I know an navy pilot who kept getting XO positions. After that they offered her the position with the VP. Quite an honor.
    But depending on the unit, command etc, yeah, it can be 24/7 on-call.
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    #6
    Like villanelle said, I know that the position is different depending on the branch, but DH (who is a marine) was an XO, and it was the most horrific job ever. There were times when we literally went days without seeing each other because he left at 5am and came home at 11pm. And frankly, the stress of it and just the pure amount of work he had to do just about ruined him. It was good for his career but it also changed him as a person, changed what the marine corps is to us, definitely changed our marriage. Sorry to be the downer but that was my experience. Hopefully yours is better.
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    #7
    Thanks for the insights and experiences. I guess he spoke to his current exec and it doesn't seem like he's that bad. He doesn't expect him to stay late or work weekends and the vacations shouldn't be an issue - he actually mentioned them to the group commander during the interview and he was told they'll work around it so that's good!

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    #8
    My husband was an XO. I don't remember him working all that much more than when he was in other positions. That said, the dude works long hours no matter where he goes. We're of the mindset that occupational positions are almost always temporary and worth it if they can help you progress

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