12X Combat Systems Officer

Welcome back to another episode of commissioned. We are so grateful that you are here to learn with us today about another career field. This time we’re talking about the combat systems officer or the twelve X AFSC.

This is one of those career fields that not a lot of people know about. And once they hear about it, there’s still a lot of details that are kind of foggy. So we’re really glad that we can kind of clarify that for you folks today. There are three primary things that sizzos, or combat systems officers actually do. They’re only really called sizzos until during their initial Air force commissioning program and then in their undergraduate training, which is UCT or undergraduate combat systems officer training. But once they’re finished that training, they’re actually going to be one of three things. Either they’re going to be a weapons systems officer or a wizzo, an ewo electronic warfare officer, or they’re going to be a navigator.


Regardless of what type of sizzo they become, they do carry an aeronautical rating. They are rated officers, and so they follow a very similar training and development career progression, such as the pilot that we have discussed previously.

Yes, that includes being considered a rated career field, as we’ve already described that in previous videos. If you’ve missed those, we’ve got links in the description to where you can find out that information about being a rated officer. That also includes a lot of their training. So they will go to the initial flight training in Pueblo, Colorado, to learn how to fly, even though their primary mission is employment of their weapon system, whether that’s an electronic weapon system or whether it’s a bomb or whether it’s helping that aircraft get where it needs to be. That’s their job. Different than the pilot, which is actually to physically fly the aircraft.


In some instances, they may have the responsibility of operating the aircraft, but that is not their primary responsibility. So, like Reed said, they will go to IFT in Pueblo, and then after that, they’re going to spend about a year in naval air Station Pensacola in Florida, learning all the things that go into being a sizzo. And that training pipeline is going to be very similar to undergraduate pilot training in that it starts very heavy in the academics, then it goes into simulations, and then they’ll get into an actual aircraft and begin the process of applying what they’ve learned in the classroom while flying in the air.

And as with pilot training, there is a drop night. They have a drop night at UCT, where they will also receive the primary weapon system that they’re going to be assigned to and depending on the weapon system you’re assigned to. That’s really when you branch out into one of those three categories that we described earlier. And after that, you’re going to go to more training. Whole lot of training going on for these folks. If you become a Wizzo, which is primarily a backseater in an f 15, there’s a few other aircraft that they can be assigned to. They’re going to go to four to eight months of more training to become fully qualified on their weapon system.


And if not a Wizzo, maybe they’ll end up as a navigator, where they will be responsible for plotting routes for the aircraft. Could be a B 52 or maybe a reconnaissance aircraft, making sure that it’s going to the right place at the right time and in the right way.

Exactly. As a Sizzo, you’re going to deploy just like our pilots, just like our primary operators. Your job is to be where the aircraft are doing what the aircraft’s mission is. So you’re going to deploy, you’re going to do a lot of exercises, you’re going to do a lot of training. So that’s something you need to keep in mind as you think about this as a potential career build.


And then on top of that, just like with the pilot career field, the expectation is that you’re going to command, you’re going to all of these different things, developing your capability.

So that you.

Can lead other airmen at higher and higher levels of the Air Force. Sizzos are absolutely going to be squadron commanders, group commanders, wing commanders, and even general officers above that.

Yeah. Without question. If you’re interested in this career field, we’ve got some links in the description below to some content that we’ve produced that can help you make that decision. But additionally, this is something you should think about if you really love working as a team and you love bringing the fight to the end, this is a really great career field that not too many people know about. And hopefully now you know a little bit more.


And something that is really going to help you to answer the question of whether you want to be a pilot or pursue something else like a combat systems officer, is ask yourself whether or not you really want to be the one who’s operating the aircraft or if you’re more interested in providing the or strategic effects of that particular airframe.

Yeah. Colin, I think we’ve said this before. Do you really love to be a pilot, or do you really love air power that might help you find that way to make that decision. But bottom line, this is a really interesting career field that not a lot of people know about. If you love working as part of the team, this is absolutely something to consider. Colin, anything else?

Before we wrap up today, if there’s anything that we haven’t covered that you would like to know more about, we hope that you’ll engage with us in the heritage room, send us an email or reach out to us on our social media platforms. And on top of that, don’t forget to like and subscribe this video so that you can continue to get more content as we put it out there, and help you to learn more about not only the combat systems officer career field, but other career fields that are available within the Air force.

Thanks for tuning in today to command. Shanet.

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