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Old 02-12-2021, 12:03   #16
Quiet Professional
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 5,782
Put on your reading boots fellas - this one's a doozie............

Aviation as a feeder?
Aviation as a feeder for what?

Have you ever met any SF Officers who came from aviation? Yes and No.
I've seen lots of former signal guys, MPs, Artillery, Chemical Officers, and a ton of Infantry Branch become 18A's but never an aviator.
I did have an ODA Warrant Officer - 180A - that had a stint as a helicopter pilot. I have no idea why he went from flying whirlybirds to being in SF - i never asked. This was in the early 90's and he was already a CW3 when I met him. Great Guy.
In 2005 I had a Civil Affairs Captain attached to my ODA and we found out halfway through the rotation that he had been an Apache Pilot - also a great guy.

Did they have any extra rapport when working with aviators from a CAB or a sister service?
Partway through my 2005 trip, we got ambushed - we didn't have a TACP attached to the team and as things progressed, the CA Captain ended up on the radio in his truck talking to the aircraft in what sounded like a foreign language and they started shooting at stuff for him - so we let him have at it while we herded our Afghan Militia like we would have herded cats.

What did they bring to the table?
We found out later that evening that he was a former Apache pilot with a LOT of flight hours under his belt so he absolutely knew how to talk on the radio about shooting at targets on the ground. I DID ask him why he switched and he said it was because he wanted a break. Going from Aviation to SF just because you might someday make a good substitute for a TACP is a horrible waste of talent and skill. He had a reason and was in Civil Affairs - NOT Special Forces.
The ODA Warrant officer never did anything that make me think "wow, this guys knows some cool aircraft shit" and its a good thing he does. He was however, an exceptional SF guy. He knew SF shit frontwards and backwards. Being a great SF guy is what he brought to the table - he was my measuring stick for every 180A that I worked with for a long long time.

That being said - if you have a foundation in the Infantry, SF would be a fine path to follow. If you had a foundation in Aviation and still wanted to contribute to SOF - there is an Army Special Operations Aviation Command that would love to put you through their assessment and selection process when you are ready. They would DEMAND that you excel at performing in an Aviation role. One of their founders went on to become a four star general and USSOCOM Commander - so there is certainly a future in SOF Aviation if aviation is your thing.

As an ODA Commander, the 'New Space' industry will continue to rapidly develop - while you are busy focusing on the non-space related day-to-day business of a Special Forces A-Detachment. if aviation is your thing, Special Forces is not for you. Those emerging technologies will STILL be fielded as assets and then employed to provide actionable intelligence that would eventually be passed on to an ODA - maybe even 'your' ODA. Then, those targets could be prosecuted by boots on the ground. The thing is - those assets and information would be developed, fielded, employed, collected, analyzed, prioritized, and assigned by people NOT serving on an ODA so again - if aviation is your thing - SF probably is not your thing.

If you pursue aviation and find yourself in SOF Aviation, you might become indirectly or even DIrectly involved in the process of collecting and pushing actionable intel down to the operator but you're not going to action that data if you are busy in the cockpit saying things like "tree, fife, and niner"
The same trickle down process you mention will ALWAYS flow back and forth between the prime contractors and the fat corrupt bureaucracy - you wont be a part of that either if you are busy either flying little Birds, or leading host Nation troops in combat.

At some point, Monty Hall is going to ask you to pick a door.
Behind Door Number One is an ODA doing what ODA's do
Behind Door Number Two is an Aviator - with cool sunglasses and neat flying machines.
Behind Door Number Three is a lucrative career as a defense contractor rubbing elbows with an increasingly corrupt bureaucracy.

YOU have to choose the door.
The beauty of it all - is that you don't have to play 'Lets Make a Deal' - Monty Hall isn't going to send you home with a zonk prize if you pick the wrong door. The choice is all yours.

If you like the ability to land 500 tons marbles from orbit for the guerillas to play with, then being an ODA Team Leader means you are going to stand there and watch while your TACP or 18E runs the equipment that lands the alien spacecraft full of magic slingshot ammunition. Maybe 18A isn't the MOS you are looking for - maybe an enlisted MOS would be more rewarding.

If you "really really freakin' believe in the FID mission" then you need to understand that guerillas are the BAD guys that SF tangles with when they are doing Foreign Internal Defense - so you just gave 500 tons of marbles to the wrong people (you should try politics - congress does that shit ALL.THE.TIME.) - just kidding with you - but there IS a difference and it DOES matter.
Guerillas are who SF works with when they do Unconventional Warfare. There are TONS of people in congress - today - collecting a paycheck - that also "[I]really really freakin' believe{/I]" in FID that would that shit a giant gold egg if they found out you were giving marbles to guerillas.

Another option would be supporting the mission. Maybe your BEST contribution might actually be in support of SOF. Names like Billy Waugh, Bob Howard, Robby Miller, Aaron Bank, Roy Benavidez, and a long long list of men of such greatness that this nation will never truly appreciate...
...all of them needed support at one point or another. Even if it was just a supply guy that made sure they had bullets and hand grenades. They all needed a ride to the battlefield. Everyone needs support - you dont need to wear a uniform to support a mission.

In the most sincerest of intentions - pick the door that appeals to you the most. The "Monty Hall Problem" does not exist in this context - all three doors are opened to you - all you have to do is pick which one appeals to you the most. There's no trick - there's no music that goes WAh WAH WAAHHH when you find out that you picked a door with a goat behind it. All "you" have to do is just accept the fact that you cant go through all three doors at once.

You also need to understand that very few folks in SF desire to interact with someone that seems to be communicating the message that they seek to use Special Forces as a stepping stone to some other end. That is why so many posts like this one tend to go south on the OP. As much as you might intend NOT to communicate that message - EVERY.SINGLE.POST.EVER. that starts out with...
"Ive been thinking about going SF, - but..."
...immediately leaves the impression that the poster looks at "us" like a stepping stone to some other objective.

Aviation as a feeder?
Yes, definitely - just make sure you are well aware of what door you pick before you walk through it.
Opinions stated in this post are solely those of the author, and in no way reflect the opinions or policies of The Department of Defense, The United States Army, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Screen Actors Guild, The Boy Scouts, The Good, The Bad, or The Ugly. These opinions are provided purely as overly sarcastic social commentary and are not meant to be used for mission planning or navigation.

"Make sure your own mask is secure before assisting others"
-Airplane Safety Briefing

Last edited by Box; 02-12-2021 at 12:19.
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