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freelander
07-01-2009, 01:31
I have been plugging different searches into the function for "SF and cadets", "ROTC to SF", "cadet to SF" with no luck. Not much on the web either.

So, I bring my query to the board...

I hope I don't ruffle any feathers by asking this seemingly simple question but, are ROTC graduates among the capts on teams? I am sure there are a few, but the word on the street is that most SF captains are West Pointers with infantry backgrounds. Is that the norm?

My reason for asking is threefold...I am planning on training hard for the next few years to qualify for selection and do as much as I can to increase my chances, so I just was wanting to know if I choose another branch, say intelligence or aviation first as opposed to infantry, will that affect my application?

Secondly, I will be a graduate student at Georgetown in the fall and I will hammer out my MA in international affairs with a certificate in Arabic all through ROTC. I speak Farsi already and given the recent struggles in my moms native country, I think SF will definitely be playing a bigger role in the years to come--no other place I would rather be. How will these credentials look compared to say an infantry LT with a deployment or two under his belt?

Lastly, this one is a bit random...Has anyone ever seen a pilot go through selection and come out the other side? Reason I ask is that it appears that once an officer reaches captain in their branch, they then choose their final career path. So, if I qualify for a pilot slot and become a flyboy then after a few years decide to go and try out for SF, what happens?

It goes with out saying but I will say it anyway...Thank you QPs for your service and I hope that you will take the time and help me with these questions. Please forgive my ignorance.

Best regards.

blue02hd
07-01-2009, 03:42
IMHO, first decide what you want to do.

With the very short time allowed to CPT's for actual team time these days, you will not have time to become a "flyboy". Research the requirements to drop a packet for Officer Selection after you reach 1LT(P). There are many threads on this site and elsewhere. Google is your friend. (SF, Selection, Officer).

The pilot program is refered to as SFAS, Special Forces Assessment and Selection.

Both Aviation and Special Forces require more than just a passing interest in order for you to be successful. I am not aware of any Army officer that has managed to do both but there is that Navy fighter pilot/ lawyer/ SEAL guy on that TV show. You can catch reruns on cable I believe.

Good luck with whatever you choose to pursue. From where you are sitting it is a long road, but it is worth it! In my honest opinion, of course.

JJ_BPK
07-01-2009, 04:04
I have been plugging different searches into the function for "SF and cadets", "ROTC to SF", "cadet to SF" with no luck. Not much on the web either.



You need to do a lot more reading. Find section(s) "selection" "18A" and read all the posts under these topics.

The reason you don't not find ROTC & SF in a topic is because it doesn't happen.

One may graduate from ROTC and after 5-10 yrs elect to submit a package to SFAS. But by that time, your ROTC education will have little or no effect on your career.

25 yd target 1st. Graduate, then jump school, Ranger school, Infantry.

The current morass in the sand box will not last for ever, do not miss this opportunity.. You need experience as a small unit commander..

If you don't drool and salivate a small amount while talking jump & ranger school,, Don't bother.

If leather flight jackets and Tom Cruise puts a stiffy in your pants??

Your choice(s),, don't waste time,, opportunity is fleeting and does not wait for anyone...

Good Luck.

My $00.0002

Dozer523
07-01-2009, 06:16
From a statistical point of reference since there are way more opportunities to participate in ROTC then at the Military Academy then it stands to reason that there must be more commissionings through ROTC. Thus ROTC has the numerical advantage (if only that mattered). But what USMA lacks in number they more then make up for with the WPPA. Then there is the part about the level of dedication, commitment, and that big F-ing ring and all the stories -- There I was with one week to go and 200+ hours to walk, it was a cold and stormy night . . . (If you have "Trade School' friends you'll here that one. Before the Branch grads were probably rarer in SF because SF was not viewed as career enhancing. SAB many ROTC O7+ aspirants felt the same way. Thus in the Early years OCS ruled SF. When we got the Branch there were stories that Infantry Branch was calling CPTs with the brotherly advice like "Sure go SF Branch (with that progression pyramid) but when it all goes South don't come home crying cause you don't live here anymore".
Want to fly? Go get a civilian ticket. You must be rich you go to Georgetown. (a Jesuit School second only to Gonzaga).
With your education and language skills you look like a real asset. Take your time, GEN/Secy Marshall, Learn your craft at Building 4, hone your skills with Inf assignments, Contribute with SF and stay open to the FAO program.
MAN! I wish I'd had your problems when I was an ROTC Cadet! :p Pace yourself, 20 years is a long time.

bailaviborita
07-01-2009, 07:31
are ROTC graduates among the capts on teams? Yes.

I am sure there are a few, but the word on the street is that most SF captains are West Pointers with infantry backgrounds. Is that the norm? Nope. I'm curious where this street is. If it is near Dupont Circle then that makes sense to me. 2 West Point infantry bubbas who drug their knuckles lower than most were dropped from the course when I went through- had nothing to do with their tactical acumen- and everything with their people skills. Light infantry stuff is a baseline- you better be able to handle stress, respond well to people, and be creative too.

I just was wanting to know if I choose another branch, say intelligence or aviation first as opposed to infantry, will that affect my application? Nope.

Secondly, I will be a graduate student at Georgetown in the fall and I will hammer out my MA in international affairs with a certificate in Arabic all through ROTC. I speak Farsi already .... How will these credentials look compared to say an infantry LT with a deployment or two under his belt? It depends on who you are up against at the time and who is looking at the applications. Farsi and Arabic would look good to me- but others might value infantry and experience more. There's no hard steadfast rule- it really does depend on what SF needs at the time and who is making the subjective calls at the time.

Has anyone ever seen a pilot go through selection and come out the other side? No- but I've seen one try. I'm sure there are some that are successful- I've seen Medical Service guys do great, so I'm sure a pilot could get through ;) Bottom line is that since the SF Course trains and tests mostly on light infantry stuff- you will have a leg up if that's all you've done since entering the Army. If you've been flying or giving S-2 briefings you will have to play catch-up. Not impossible- but harder in my opinion.

Reason I ask is that it appears that once an officer reaches captain in their branch, they then choose their final career path. Yes- around the time of captain you have to make some long-term decisions.

if I qualify for a pilot slot and become a flyboy then after a few years decide to go and try out for SF, what happens? Depending on the needs of the Army and what SF is looking for you may get in or you might not. If Big Army needs pilots more than SF'ers it might be hard- all depends on the timing, etc. Hard to forecast more than 2 years out.

The Reaper
07-01-2009, 08:05
1. More reading, less posting.

2. Decide what you want to do. Then welcome to "the needs of the service". Some branches may not release you, even if you make it that far.

3. Deal with the 25 meter targets first.

4. More reading, less posting.

Now go do PT.

TR

Vermonter
07-01-2009, 08:48
2. Decide what you want to do. Then welcome to "the needs of the service". Some branches may not release you, even if you make it that far.


This is very true. One of my PL bretheren was a WP grad, ranger, infantryman, combat vet, spoke three languages and didn't get past the board to even get a slot at SFAS. That's right, he didn't even get to go to SFAS before they shut him down. Great guy, would have made a great ODA commander, but for his year group they already had too many officers trying for SF. Not to mention, Infantry branch needs good CPTs to stay and command companies. Which this guy is doing right now with great success out in Kunar.

Here's the poop they never tell you in ROTC about being an officer. You're a generalist, not a specialist. You'll never spend more than a couple years in any one type of assignment. As we become more senior, we spend more time in assignments that are non-branch specific. While you will of course bring your own area of expertise from your branch background, you will be expected to be flexible enough to adapt to whatever type of unit you are assigned to.

So, be it flying helicopters or doing the ODA thing, remember that this will be the minority of your career. The vast majority of your life as an officer will be to plan and support your specialists, the NCOs and Warrants who are executing the mission. When you are a staff guy, you will work to provide as much information and as many feasible courses of action possible to your commander. When and if you have the honor of command, it is your job to listen to your specialists, your executors, to take into account the work the staff has done on the COAs, and choose the path ahead. To be good at this, you need to know enough about all the facets of an operation to give it the 'smell test'. You won't be the expert at taking down an enemy safehouse, but you will need to know enough to identify when the plan presented to you makes sense and when it doesn't.

I picked up my MS from G-town so it is out of respect for my alma mater (of sorts) I'm taking the time to write all this down. If you can avoid the inevitable cadet delta force fanboyism (I was a ROTC puke, too) go read Mr. Blaber's book The Mission, The Men and Me and learn the leadership lessons within. Specifically, identify where 'Me' lies in the 3Ms and what bearing that has on this conversation.

If what I've told you bothers you, perhaps you should rethink getting a commission. If being an SF Soldier is absolutely what you have to be, being an officer may not satisfy you. I have counseled many cadets in my day and I tell them all the same thing. If you are more focused on being an Army officer and serving wherever and however the service needs, go forward with your commission. If you have your heart set on a particular kind of service, be it Regiment, Aviation, SF, or what have you, you should enlist into that job instead of pursuing a commission. Ultimately both you and the Army will be happier if you understand this.

Good luck. Thank you for volunteering to serve.

freelander
07-01-2009, 10:37
Thank you all for both the thorough advice and fast responses. Team Sergeant, your directions are well taken. 25m plans are first priority.


If I may, lets say all goes well and everything happens according to plan, as a cpt, in order to stay with a team or "stay operational" can one pass up a promotion or opt to stay in the field? The reason I ask is that there appears to be a general rule of thumb that cpts are on teams for just a short while until they get promoted etc. Im someone who is going the officer route only for the money. I have a wife and 2 kids---which are dear to me---but the fire to serve in such a capacity keeps me up at night. So I am sure you can understand the need to balance my own ambitions with that of my family needs. The whole 9-5 is not for me, and as an officer it appears there is a fair amount of that, correct? So...can I choose to not leave a team? Again, all hypothetical and purely informational...maybe it will save another wet behind the ears cadet some time. I guess what I am asking is how can I keep my boots dirty as an officer?

Team Sergeant please forgive my follow up questions as time is short and I am packing up my apartment for DC and these questions have been nagging a while and as much as I would like to devour the site and read, this appears to be the path of least resistance.

Thank you all again and the PMs are much appreciated.

Pete
07-01-2009, 10:44
....So...can I choose to not leave a team? Again, all hypothetical and purely informational...maybe it will save another wet behind the ears cadet some time.........

NO!

I would think if that were the case very, very few Captains would opt to move on.

You would get, for the most part, one shot at it and then move on.

The Reaper
07-01-2009, 10:46
Thank you all for both the thorough advice and fast responses. Team Sergeant, your directions are well taken. 25m plans are first priority.


If I may, lets say all goes well and everything happens according to plan, as a cpt, in order to stay with a team or "stay operational" can one pass up a promotion or opt to stay in the field? The reason I ask is that there appears to be a general rule of thumb that cpts are on teams for just a short while until they get promoted etc. Im someone who is going the officer route only for the money. I have a wife and 2 kids---which are dear to me---but the fire to serve in such a capacity keeps me up at night. So I am sure you can understand the need to balance my own ambitions with that of my family needs. The whole 9-5 is not for me, and as an officer it appears there is a fair amount of that, correct? So...can I choose to not leave a team? Again, all hypothetical and purely informational...maybe it will save another wet behind the ears cadet some time. I guess what I am asking is how can I keep my boots dirty as an officer?

Team Sergeant please forgive my follow up questions as time is short and I am packing up my apartment for DC and these questions have been nagging a while and as much as I would like to devour the site and read, this appears to be the path of least resistance.

Thank you all again and the PMs are much appreciated.

First off, the Team Sergeant has not posted here. Attention to detail and SA.

Second, the people we are looking for do not require hand-holding or personal attention. They can do their own research.

The 18A career has been laid out in detail here. Look it up for yourself.

More reading, less posting. I really hate to repeat myself.

TR

Richard
07-01-2009, 10:51
...but the word on the street is that most SF captains are West Pointers with infantry backgrounds.

Must be talking about Sesame Street - but thanks - I needed a good laugh today. :D

Richard's $.02 :munchin