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Old 07-31-2008, 12:59   #1
BoilerPlate
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A Canadian in SF.

Gentlemen thanks for the opportunity to post.

I have read nearly every thread on this forum it seems, and have a question pertaining to my own situation which I have not seen answered. Any and all help is much obliged.

I am a Canadian citizen with a green card but as I have just recently been married, (to a US citizen), I will not have Naturalization until around 3 years. I have lived in the US for a little over 10 years, and wish to serve. Although I may join the US Army regular service with the green card, my current citizenship status limits me from signing an 18x contract.

I am 29 and doing quite well as an independent business owner however I have decided to turn it loose, and earn my place in the US via military service. I am very upset I am ineligible for the 18x contract, so I have researched an alternative path to attend SFAS through an 11B infantry contract. I just recently returned from a visit to Ft.Bragg so I could see and learn first hand how my friend was doing, a current 18x candidate who is I think now in SERE.

My situation and question is this...

While in Ft. Bragg I contacted some SF recruiters who told me that if all my numbers (ASVAB + PT) were squared away, and I excel at BST (OSUT), I can come find them during and around AIT, and they will pull me from my 11B unit assignment, and allow me to work for them in SF liaison while my estimated 6 month citizenship is expedited, at which point they will allow me to sign a 'crossover' contract and carry on as a 18x. At this point I will be 30. (I know 18x age limit is 30 however they mentioned an age waiver for those already in the Army).

This is obviously a substantial risk as I am guaranteed nothing, (no one ever is), and it will not be in writing. All I am looking for is an opportunity and chance to try for SFAS before a years deployment as an 11B.

Is what I have been told by this SF recruiter an accurate enough assessment for me to make a risky yet informed decision down a military path where I can at least get a crack at attending SFAS before spending a year as an 11B? (I understand and am more than willing to serve an 11B if SF circumstances me.)

Many current 18x candidates informed me that during their BST, SF recruiters came and selected a few 11B's to crossover. Does anyone know if this is a regular occurrence? I am wondering if this seems a legitimate path, based on my personal goals. People say all the time that if the Army doesn't put it in writing, don't believe it. Well, I unfortunately have no other choice then blind faith, so I am looking to hear from those in the know.

I appreciate the opportunity to post and hope it's not an out of the line question. It is a complicated scenario and few regular recruiters want to even touch it. Making advice and answers very hard to find.

Thank you.

-Paul.
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Old 07-31-2008, 13:28   #2
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IMHO, if it isn't in writing in your contract, it isn't promised, and the Army has no obligation to honor the alleged agreement.

What is wrong with learning how to be an infantryman for a few months before dropping an SF packet?

Any particular reason you have to be an 18X?

TR
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Old 07-31-2008, 13:37   #3
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Thank you for your desire to serve.

Your issue is that you are not eligible for a security clearance. Why not sign for 11x or 68W with Airborne and worry about the rest once you're a citizen?
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Old 07-31-2008, 14:04   #4
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Originally Posted by The Reaper View Post
IMHO, if it isn't in writing in your contract, it isn't promised, and the Army has no obligation to honor the alleged agreement.

What is wrong with learning how to be an infantryman for a few months before dropping an SF packet?

Any particular reason you have to be an 18X?

TR
Certainly there is nothing wrong with infantry and learning things from those who already know far more than I. But in earnest, and please inform me if I'm wrong, I am seeing a vast difference between an SF man and an infantryman. Amongst which are important to me at this stage in my life, age and maturity. Of course they don't always go hand in hand, and I know the attrition rate for SF is very high, but at this point in my life, I would like to at least work myself an opportunity to try for QP's rather than spend a year 'hoot-n-holleran' with the 18-19 yr olds.

I know myself, and am more suited to the roles which SF plays, than to the roles of infantry. Am I SF material, we'll see. They'll tell me. And please don't take this as me taking a better-than-thou attitude on infantry. I certainly am not. I can and would learn a lot from those hard working experienced men. The old path to SF is probably as it should be. However things have changed and doors have opened, and I'd be a fool not to try to utilize them.

But again I am not disillusioned. I know who I am, where I am in life, and what I am more suited to. Hanging out with the infantry and SF guys in Ft.Bragg, I saw I fit well with one far better than the other. And it wasn't as much the infantry guys.

To me this is a huge life 180. It is for all who decide to serve. But at this point, I want to maximize my goals, efforts, and opportunities to their fullest. I would be a fool not to. And to maximize these opportunities the 18x best fits the bill.

So I guess, I hear what you are saying about having it in black and white. But as I said, I don't have much of an option there. I just wonder how often the Army comes through, or if my odds of getting SFAS via said path are even realistic.

Thank you for your input gentlemen. Big decision.
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Old 07-31-2008, 14:14   #5
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Very nice plan. I understand that you really want to be SF. Many people do.

Reality is you are more likely to become an infantryman than SF, even if you could get an SF contract. Attrition includes even people who see themselves as SF material.

This board is covered with stories from guys who thought they were a shoe in for SF. Most of them are now infantrymen on a 5 or 6 year tour.

One misstep, literally or figuratively, and you are out of the program, humping a ruck as a rifleman.

Just my .02, YMMV. Best of luck.

TR
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Old 07-31-2008, 14:42   #6
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Certainly.

I've read all the 'I am SF' material threads many times. But this isn't so much about whether or not I am SF material as much as it is about finding a path to SFAS.

My friend of 4 years in doing very well in the program now. Nothing is assured. However we are a lot alike. He is doing Chinese and 18D/medic. Infantry is a reality if I fail or falter, and one I will accept and handle. Any misstep as you say.

But I am looking at the 25m target, and to me, that is SFAS. Not my failure/washout 6 yr infantry contract and the reality that most who try, fail. For the record, I am not most. (Many say this, as will I. But I say this for myself, not for those who read this).

At this point I am less concerned (in fact not at all) with convincing others I am SF material, knowing in my heart and head I will give it 210% of nothing but my best, and actually getting to the places I need to be so I can prove my worth rather than praise it. Reality, confidence, visions of grandeur, washout, success, misunderstanding, complete understanding...all things pointless to prove, ask, or envision until the moment of truth arrives for each. But building my bridge to get me to that moment, and where I want to be, is with the help of others my goal here. Just want to know if the route I'm navigating is on a map which is current. Are my landmark's going to be there when I need them down the road? This I don't know. So gathering intelligence to make my best intelligent guess is all I can really do right now.
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Old 07-31-2008, 15:21   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoilerPlate View Post
But I am looking at the 25m target, and to me, that is SFAS...
Your 25m target is enlisting. On a UK-D range, SFAS is somewhere between the 175 and 200m line. Pretty far away considering your position at this time.

Right now, 18X isnt an option for you. You can continue to moan about it or you can pony up and enlist into the Infantry, or any other MOS, and learn alot about yourself, being soldier, and the military while you wait for the chance to attend SFAS. Your time waiting would be better spent taking the fight to the enemy than sitting in some office working for a recruiter. No time learning to be an asset to your future team (if you get there) is a waste.

Also, there are quite a few 30+ y/o guys in the Infantry who thought they had what it took to be SF too. Infact I know of two guys who were dropped from the SFQC and sent to the 82nd for a couple years. They are back in the SFQC again and both of them are better for having been to the "line." I am sure they will be bringing something to their future teams because of their time well spent as well...

The 'I will be 30 and dont want to spend my time with a group of 18-19 y/o's' argument is petty to say the least. Those young troopers are out there shooting bad guys in the face everyday. Next time you may want to consider they are doing the deed while you are still talking about it.

Crip
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Old 07-31-2008, 17:49   #8
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I sure have met and know many Canadians in the Ranger BN's. I can't think of a better basic education for an SF soldier, than serving as an Airborne Ranger!.
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Old 08-25-2008, 00:16   #9
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I'm not a QP but have been doing research relevant to your issues, I hope nobody minds me offering a little of what I've discovered.

It's possible to get "option 4" in an 11x or 13series (probably more MOS types) in contract, which means if you meet all requirements and graduate OSUT or Basic/AIT- you have a slot available in airborne training- which upon graduation, you're "Airborne Qualified" and likely to get placed on an Airborne infantry unit (82nd, 173rd, etc). Lots of people cite the difference between a normal infantryman (leg) and a paratrooper, some call them "different breeds." If that is the sort of training you want, I would do everything I could to get option 4 in contract.


If you went that route, became airborne qualified, you may even end up stationed at Ft. Bragg. Either way, I've heard nothing but amazing things about all of the US Army's Airborne Units. Most beneficial to your cause- if you were still pursuing SFAS- you would already be airborne qualified, and would save some time, since it seems to be important to you.


That said, although I'm trying to be helpful, I'm a peon, and bow in the QP's presense
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:55   #10
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To respond to the initial questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoilerPlate View Post
Is what I have been told by this SF recruiter an accurate enough assessment for me to make a risky yet informed decision
That's something you have to decide for yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoilerPlate View Post
Many current 18x candidates informed me that during their BST, SF recruiters came and selected a few 11B's to crossover. Does anyone know if this is a regular occurrence?
We never had SF recruiters visit my OSUT class. Maybe five or six weeks in, the drill sergeants asked if anyone wanted to add Airborne, Ranger, or SF to their training pipe. Lots of guys did. The cadre attitude made it seem like a routine thing.

Two guys in my class started with SFAS pipeline orders (both of us were Guard REP-63s). One added when the drill sergeants offered. Two more went to the SF recruiter while on the Sand Hill airborne hold unit.


On a related note: One guy in my OSUT platoon was Canadian, and he came in with a RIP contract. He was dealing with clearance paperwork through the entire process, and eventually was barred from RIP due to inability to get a clearance. He did have some legal history, though. Judging from Trip_Wire's comment, his citizenship probably wasn't the issue.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:28   #11
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What did we do before?

You do realize that the 18X program has not always been present? That being said, this forum, not to mention the teams, are full of QP's that have payed their dues in the infantry, as well as every other MOS out there.

My personal story includes time in RGR Bn, as well as 101st before I was accepted to try my hand in SFAS. I personally feel it has improved my performance, and allowed me to bring more to the table to share once I did arrive on an ODA.

Just because you WANT something does not mean you deserve it. As has been pointed out, your pathway to the long tab will be slightly different from others due to your security clearance issue. This is the reality of your situation. You can accept it and choose to arrive at SFAS via a different route, (a route that many of us have also traveled), or you can choose to drop it and excel somewhere else. Pretty simple choice really, but I am not you.

Any attempts to backdoor, circumvent, or "get over" will only prove to others that you are not willing to do the same thing that non- 18x's have been doing for decades: Earn it.

I simply don't see why your challenges are any worse than challenges other QP's have had to face, and defeated.

<Steps off his soap box>
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Old 08-25-2008, 15:58   #12
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Quote:
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The 'I will be 30 and dont want to spend my time with a group of 18-19 y/o's' argument is petty to say the least. Those young troopers are out there shooting bad guys in the face everyday. Next time you may want to consider they are doing the deed while you are still talking about it.Crip
Missed that one.....VERY WELL SAID!
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Old 08-25-2008, 19:37   #13
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Road to SF Qualification ("Green Card" holder)

The Army/DOD rules covering a resident alien say you may enlist and serve to the end of a second enlistment before either qualifying for citizenship or be administratively separated from the service.

Citizenship is required for the base Special Forces prerequisite of a Secret security clearance.

You would be enlisting for the Army first, and later qualifying as an in-service Special Forces volunteer (at grade E-4) and not as an 18X.

There are no guarantees or contracts for anyone who does not qualify or is waived for the baseline.
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Old 08-25-2008, 20:00   #14
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If you can qualify for SF selection, or whatever the hell they call it now, and you have something that is wanted or needed, your citizenship status can be resolved. I remember when I woke up my first morning in the SF barracks. At first I thought I was in Germany, then Hungary. There were conversations in several languages going on around me. My favorite was the semi-famous story of an A-team XO born in Europe-
"I speak German, Norwegian and have a working knowledge of English."

Last edited by mark46th; 08-26-2008 at 21:17.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:04   #15
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Quote:
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If you can qualify for SF selection, or whatever the hell they call it now, something that is wanted or needed, your citizenship status can be resolved. I remember when I woke up my first morning in the SF barracks. At first I thought I was in Germany, then Hungary. There were conversations in several languages going on around me. My favorite was the semi-famous story of an A-team XO born in Europe-
"I speak German, Norwegian and have a working knowledge of English."
Times have changed.

TR
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