This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the Factors Influencing the Decisions of United States Army Aviation Officers to Leave the Army




Ramdass, Vicky

Type of Degree



Political Science


This research examined the following questions: (1) What factors cause some aviators to leave the Army? (2) Are private sector employment opportunities perceived differently between aviators who leave and those who stay in the Army? Based on the literature review, five hypotheses were developed regarding the factors that influence officers to stay or leave at the end of their initial term of service. The hypotheses addressed aviator satisfaction, family and work conflict, unit support for family, perceived support from family, and perceived employment opportunity. This study was performed using a cross-sectional survey of U. S. Army aviation officers attending the Aviation Maintenance Managers’ Course (AMMC) and the Aviation Captain’s Career Course (ACCC) at Fort Rucker. The population of this study included 459 of these officers attending between September 2001 and February 2004. Several variables were identified as statistically significant including officer satisfaction, marital status, presence of children in the household, spouse/friend support, and level of civilian education. All variables had a positive impact except civilian education. A series of logistical regressions were conducted based on the survey responses. Results of the data analysis formed the basis for recommendations on how to influence retention through emphasis on family programs, and analysis of the relationship between civilian education and continued service. Several recommendations for additional research are provided including examination of retention of officers in other specialties at the end of the initial term of service in the Army, mid or late career aviators, and aviators at retirement. A major limitation of the research includes the use of a small population from a specific specialty, and attendance at career progression courses.