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View Full Version : Considering my situation, which is the best path for SF?


Adrianthebear
08-04-2015, 22:12
Hello All! Let me thank you in advance for taking your time to lend a helping hand to a highly motivated individual. Just a heads up, the post is not the shortest but i have come here as a last resort to post something. I have researched this topic extensively for years now and after days of reading threads on here I have come to the conclusion that I must ask my question directly without leaving important information for the best possible feedback from professional soldiers and retirees.

Goal: My main military career goal is to be SF. No doubt in my mind. I also want to be an Infantry Officer but my sights are set for an SF career first.
Possible routes available to me: (1) Finish college (which I am currently enrolled with close to 60 credits) and finish the Army ROTC at my school (which I have taken 1 year of in addition to 4 years of JROTC). Then go through the necessary years of service before applying for SF selection. (2) Stop taking classes and enlist under a 4 year contract as a 11x with option 4 (Airborne) and request to be stationed with an Airborne Infantry unit and stay there for a few years (2-4 years) to gain experience and then work on getting my SF packet together and request to go to selection.

Background on me: 20 year old male. Thank God, no medical records or disabilities. Very athletic and speak, read and write fluently: English, Spanish and Portuguese.

My questions: (1) Out of the two routes I have found to be my only routes (I do not qualify for 18x contract), which one do YOU believe will bring me higher chances for making it? (And by chances, I mean which route will give me the necessary experience and knowledge that would make me a more appealing candidate.) (2) I still want to finish my degree if I do go with the second option, so will I have time to work on online and on base classes during those 2-4 years of preparation as a 11x? I understand it will be harder during field training week and deployment but that's deployment and FTXs' so I will plan that accordingly.

Worries: (1) I know the Army is downsizing and with that comes less and less slots for ROTC cadets to gain an active slot. So there's that, and according to my research, ROTC cadets are not guaranteed their first option branch (also, I've read that infantry is the hardest to get for ROTC cadets, if anyone knows differently please share your knowledge).

--Thank You again for taking your time to read and reply to this thread!
V/R,

Adrian the bear

sinjefe
08-04-2015, 22:17
Failure to follow instructions. Not a good start.

Old Dog New Trick
08-04-2015, 22:19
Well, the first thing I'd do is go back read the rules and then fill out your profile in the "Introductions" thread.

Then go be an outstanding Infantry officer and successfully pass Ranger School.

glebo
08-05-2015, 05:58
Well, the first thing I'd do is go back read the rules and then fill out your profile in the "Introductions" thread.

Then go be an outstanding Infantry officer and successfully pass Ranger School.

It should be a breaze now....with wimmens....:rolleyes:

Adrianthebear
08-05-2015, 10:50
Thank you for directing me to the rules and introduction. I took the steps necessary to continue in this fine forum.

Now back to the question, Old dog new trick: so from what you said, you recommend going through the uncertainty of ROTC, hopefully commission as an active duty officer and then go to Ranger school? Because the way I see it, if I take option 2 everything is in my hands. Ranging from the MOS I want and securing active duty to having to wait until I am a E-4 rather than a O-3 or promotable to O-3. (I will be coming in as an E-3 due to college credits so the wait time is shorter)

SF_BHT
08-05-2015, 11:13
Fill out your profile also. :munchin

Team Sergeant
08-05-2015, 11:42
Fill out your profile also. :munchin

The reason to fill out some info in the profile.....

We want to know if we're talking to a 16 year old or a 22 year old. It assists in creating a well thought out answer.

Old Dog New Trick
08-05-2015, 12:08
Thank you for directing me to the rules and introduction. I took the steps necessary to continue in this fine forum.

Now back to the question, Old dog new trick: so from what you said, you recommend going through the uncertainty of ROTC, hopefully commission as an active duty officer and then go to Ranger school? Because the way I see it, if I take option 2 everything is in my hands. Ranging from the MOS I want and securing active duty to having to wait until I am a E-4 rather than a O-3 or promotable to O-3. (I will be coming in as an E-3 due to college credits so the wait time is shorter)

I really have no idea what challenges you will face between your opinions. Sit down with the ROTC Commandant and or go find an SF Recruiter and navigate your best path forward. SF guys overcome obstacles in their path and succeed where others quit.

Ask yourself if you want to be an 18A-Team Leader or an Enlisted 18 series Team member? Once you answer that question, follow your passion. Each COA will take hard work and a goal to remain focused on. Stay focused.

Adrianthebear
08-05-2015, 12:24
Team SGT and SF BHT: Thank you for the tip. I filled out my profile as directed.

Old dog new tricks: The challenges I will be facing through ROTC is the uncertainty off not gaining an Active-duty commission and in the scenario I do get it, I could be branched to a branch that is not combat arms. Which, in my eyes, would set me back on preparing for infantry related tasks in SF or at least infantry related tasks in selection and training . Additionally, I wouldn't be facing many challenges or uncertainties if I do enlist rather than finishing ROTC (of course, that is without considering the immense challenge(s) that come with selection and whatnot). I have sat down with my ROTC Professors, recruiters and advisors; and they each tell me there's uncertainty written all over. And that is what I want, to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible and simply prepare myself for the challenges ahead.

And about being 18A or 18 series team member. I would like to be both if possible given the timeframe of being elegible for OCS and selection ( is this even a possibility?). But in all honesty, 18 series team member is my primary goal.



NOTE: Thank you for your feedback everyone!

SF_BHT
08-05-2015, 13:30
Team SGT and SF BHT: Thank you for the tip. I filled out my profile as directed.

Old dog new tricks: The challenges I will be facing through ROTC is the uncertainty off not gaining an Active-duty commission and in the scenario I do get it, I could be branched to a branch that is not combat arms. Which, in my eyes, would set me back on preparing for infantry related tasks in SF or at least infantry related tasks in selection and training . Additionally, I wouldn't be facing many challenges or uncertainties if I do enlist rather than finishing ROTC (of course, that is without considering the immense challenge(s) that come with selection and whatnot). I have sat down with my ROTC Professors, recruiters and advisors; and they each tell me there's uncertainty written all over. And that is what I want, to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible and simply prepare myself for the challenges ahead.

And about being 18A or 18 series team member. I would like to be both if possible given the timeframe of being elegible for OCS and selection ( is this even a possibility?). But in all honesty, 18 series team member is my primary goal.



NOTE: Thank you for your feedback everyone!

I will tell you like I have told my son. Finish school first then decide is the enlisted route or officer route is your path at that time. Remember that there are fewer positions for 0s then EMs

Adrianthebear
08-05-2015, 13:44
Thank you SF BHT for your advice, that is what my father told me. I will keep that in mind.

1stindoor
08-06-2015, 07:18
I'll add to that same answer...finish your degree first and then look at your options. Regardless of whether you enlist, get a commission, or decide to remain a civilian a degree will help. By the way, this is coming from a guy that dropped out (or got kicked out...my story, not the school's, so we'll say I quit) in his senior year of college, lost his commission, and finally took the time to finish his degree almost 30 years later. If you decide to come in, whether as an enlisted man or officer, you'll face a lot of challenges to your personal time to complete degrees, train for specific jobs, etc.

Astronomy
08-13-2015, 17:38
Joining the choir: Finish your degree 1st. Then serve. Preferably as an officer. The payoff across both the short term or the long haul of a full career will be greater vs. serving as an enlisted member.

There is a tendency for SF to attract what the British once called "Gentlemen Rankers". Adventurous college souls with the intellect, background, and drive to otherwise serve as commissioned officers. But the kind of men who want to answer the clarion call early and go to where the action is. That's commendable, it provides the Regiment with quality personnel for the teams. It's also short sighted.

There's a big difference between retiring as a Colonel (or potential General Officer) vs. SNCO at the end of a 30+ year string. A greater potential for tangibly impacting the course of things from successive unit commander positions. Greater remuneration (paycheck, benefits, degree granting educational programs, eventual retirement pay, and unique individual assignments). A deeper resume & better post retirement job opportunities.

Nobody thinks that's important when they are young, dumb, and full of testosterone. They just want to serve on an A-Team and live the SF dream.

But that long haul stuff IS important. Starting with that BA. Starting with that first leadership challenge as a commissioned 2LT serving in conventional forces.

Go for the degree & the commission. Be the very best ROTC cadet possible. Shine at everything. The system rewards top performers. Force the system to assign you as an Infantry Officer. Go Airborne. Complete Ranger School. Be the Distinguished Honor Grad. Be the best Airborne 2LT in the Army.

Then go to the Ranger Regiment and do well. Then... go SF. Nothing is promised or assured, but if you are at the top of your game... you'll get to where you need to be. And where the Army needs you to be.

If instead, you really think you want to live on an A-Team for many years... do that and enlist. Again... be the best. Get your ass assigned to the 75th Rangers and learn your trade. Then re-enlist for SF. Consider a future SF Warrant Officer track (after you prove yourself as an SF NCO).

A question & and two comments:

1. Why can't you accession into the Army under the 18X program?

2. You missed a third COA: OCS. Enlist, serve in Ranger and/or SF units. Apply for OCS after you make SSG. Drive on and serve again in the Ranger or SF units you left as an NCO.

3. You missed a fourth COA: Join a Guard SF Group as an eventual SMP (Simultaneous Membership Program) cadet. ROTC cadet serving in a drilling Reserve or Guard unit. Enlist in Guard SF (and complete their SFQC pipeline)... while also completing ROTC & college. It might stretch out your college completion program for an additional year... but suck it up and do it. You can start as an enlisted Sf unit member, complete the requirements for SF (Assessment/Selection/SFQC), and later sign the ROTC contract. Assuming that you are 1) still a college freshman or sophomore and 2) not on a current ROTC scholarship. In short, join the Guard, complete enlisted initial entry, airborne, & SF training (while taking a year or so off from school), then return to school and your ROTC program. Not easy. But it's doable. If for some reason you find yourself unable to make it through the SF pipeline, you'll already have the early answer to your potential future SF officer career. Do something else.

Good luck to you.

Adrianthebear
08-14-2015, 08:19
Thank You Astronomy for your detailed and well-thought out response. To answer your question as to why I cannot enlist under the 18x program is because I do not have my citizenship yet. I am a permanent resident, and will be obtaining my citizenship by late 2018 - early 2019. If I could have, believe me, I would have already done so. That is another reason as to why I am looking at a 11x option 4 contract first.

Additionally, I did consider the enlistment then OCS option. That is my second option, under the ROTC option. The reason for enlisting is so I can get some experience, expedite my citizenship process (requirement for SF) and finish my degree within the four years of the initial contract ( I hear mix opinions in regards to this, some say it is possible others refute that). Once the initial enlisted contract is done, I would then either apply for OCS or SF selection.

I did consider the Guard option. In fact, it is a must if I continue with ROTC because of the citizenship thing. I would need to enlist by year's end and go to training next summer so I can obtain my citizenship before I start my junior year of college. The SF Guard option does seem very appealing, but I would have to check if the citizenship requirements are the same; which I would assume so because of the secret security clearance needed. And if that is the case, i think i wouldn't be able to follow through with the SF NG option because of the citizenship, but we can still look at the 11x NG option.

On a side note: I understand why obtaining a BA is important before starting anything (as noted by some of you guys), but the uncertainties of ROTC slots are increasing with the troop cuts we are expected to have and the decline in deployments. Moreover, I wouldn't want to end up in a reserve unit for a few years after ROTC in the scenario where I do not get an Active duty slot(no offense to the reserve component), i do want to serve AD and the best path that offers more than a few certainties or at least guaranteed opportunities is the enlisting either within a few months or right after finishing college. All the other paths whether it is ROTC, OCS after college without previous service, NG then AD Army do not seem to offer the same chances/opportunities. ---But if anyone finds holes within my reasoning in regards to the last "On a side note" paragraph, please share with me your opinions.

Thank You!

Astronomy
08-14-2015, 12:52
Gotcha. Pursue the citizenship & degree path (by whatever means) as your #1 & #2 priorities. SF becomes priority #3.

On the subject of future geopolitical events in our rosy little world...

If I were a betting man, I'd say that anyone embarking upon a military career today will see ample opportunity to get their ass shot off over the coming decade. Despite recent withdrawal from conflicts de jour, we aren't even close to any lengthy peacetime hiatus. We're drawing down both our force structure and our projected national will. Plenty of challengers will take us up on that exposed chin. The odds of you not being deployed to war over the course of a future career are slim. Probably zero.

Be careful about what you wish for. You'll most likely get it.

Good luck to you.

Astronomy
08-14-2015, 13:22
Here's another possible avenue... the MAVNI Program. I'm not up on current events concerning this and how it relates to SF accessions, but apparently some folks are headed to expedited citizenship & eventual SF by this roundabout route. You'll have to do your own digging and research. You have one of the desired languages (Portuguese). There's a query application included in the last link; it specifically asks for interest in serving with Army SOF (operationally or in a support capacity):

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1504880-immigrants-race-to-enlist-in-u-s-military

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/12/26/pentagon-set-to-resume-special-foreign-born-recruiting-program.html

http://justanotherasian.blogspot.com/2009/11/amazing-things-with-mavni-airborne.html

https://my.goarmy.com/info/form/GetBrcFormRedirectByUrl.do?url=/info/mavni