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Old 12-08-2004, 07:05   #1
Kuri
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Does the "Regular Army" hate SF?

Gentlemen, I've always believed that it is better to keep your dreams/goals to yourself because if you let others know about what you intend to manifest, you'll end up having to defend your intentions. It seems that many people in the "regular Army" either look at SF as an impossible dream or as something not worth doing. Everyone seems to have a story about how they went to Selection(this also goes for Ranger School too), but they didn't succeed and they then try to discourage anyone else from trying. My reason for this post is not to validate my own reasons for setting my sights on SF. I'm just wondering if any of you guys that came from conventional units had any difficulty with your chain of command letting you go? Kuri OUT.
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Old 12-08-2004, 08:22   #2
Bill Harsey
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Long history on this one.

I'll let the others jump in.
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Old 12-08-2004, 08:26   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuri
Gentlemen, I've always believed that it is better to keep your dreams/goals to yourself because if you let others know about what you intend to manifest, you'll end up having to defend your intentions. It seems that many people in the "regular Army" either look at SF as an impossible dream or as something not worth doing. Everyone seems to have a story about how they went to Selection(this also goes for Ranger School too), but they didn't succeed and they then try to discourage anyone else from trying. My reason for this post is not to validate my own reasons for setting my sights on SF. I'm just wondering if any of you guys that came from conventional units had any difficulty with your chain of command letting you go? Kuri OUT.
I have spoken with soldiers attending SFAS extensively about that.

Much of it is in the timing. If you tell your leadership that you want to go to SFAS right before a major unit event or a deployment, particularly if you are a key player or are in a leadership position, you will probably encounter resistance.

Frequently, the motivation for requesting SFAS is suspect. Many of the students ARE coming to SFAS for reasons other than being selected. These are the ones who fail the APFT, or VW in the first week. Maybe they wanted a free trip to Camp Mackall, maybe they wanted to get out of something back at their unit.

Some units just have a culture that hates SF and tries every trick in the book to keep their soldiers from attending. Some of the worst used to be infantry units, particularly the 82nd or 3rd ID. The absolute worst, hands down, was the Ranger Regiment. They will refuse to allow soldiers to attend SFAS, remove them from leadership positions, re-write efficiency reports, threaten with UCMJ or release from Regiment, refuse to process the 4187, put guys on CQ/Staff Duty for weeks at a time, hide the SFAS orders from the soldiers, refuse to administer required physicals, etc. At the same time, Rangers attending other selection courses get duty time off to prepare, etc. Go figure. Overall, support units give their soldiers less hassles about coming to SFAS than combat arms.

In some cases, the officer leadership is the problem (usually when it is an officer requesting attendance), but in most, it is the NCO chain of command at the E-8 and E-9 levels. Much of that is not wanting to lose their best guys, but in many cases, I think that it is jealousy and a wish that they had done the same thing when they had the chance. Some probably tried, and failed, so that may also be part of it as well.

What is really perplexing to me is that candidates who return to their units have basically been through some great physical training, the most demanding cross-country movement, the best test of operating solo, and the finest land navigation training in the military, an outstanding peer and self-assessment review, and a truly awesome opportunity to see how well you interact with others as a member of a team, for less than a 30 day loss of the soldier. Frankly, I would not care if soldier went, as long as he didn't quit. I know that I would get a much better soldier back, even if I only got to keep him for another six months while he waited for SFQC orders. It really is for the good of the Army and this great nation to let the soldiers try, and let the ones who succeed go to SF. The leaders who don't are putting their personal interests above those of the service.

Any man who sticks it out till the end of Selection gets fully out-counseled on their strengths and weaknesses, what they need to do to succeed, and should leave with dignity and confidence intact. These guys are powerful recruiters (or discouragers) when they get back to their units and talk to their peers about the experience. It behooves us to make their experience a positive one. Most of the trash talkers and nay sayers are probably quitters.

If it were me, I would make sure that no critical unit activities or deployments were coming up, no efficiency report was due in the near future, start getting all of my paperwork together, train-up and drop the 4187 at the last minute, requesting the first available SFAS class. Then keep copies of everything, track the status, and stay in touch with the recruiter.

Just my .02, YMMV.

TR
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:36   #4
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Kuri there are a lot of folks outside (and some inside) the SOF community that just don't have clue what SF is all about. I find it interesting that those that tried and failed can make up their mind about anything dealing with SF. The training and or selection is just the beginning and someone coming out of the training knows enough to get their foot in the team room door. The real training and development starts from the first day they meet their Team Sergeant and doesn't stop until they hang up their beret. There are a lot or reasons for these attitudes and run from ignorance, as I mentioned, to being absolutely embarrassed professionally by some SF soldier or team. The biggest point of contention from the regular folks is the money available for SOF to obtain the latest widgits and/or for training. Most SF troops fire more ammo in a month during training than many conventional units fire in a year. I realize that there are a lot of variables here and that I have only scratched the surface but I think I can unequivocably say that the primary reason is that most organizations do not want to lose their best troops to something that they either are not willing to participate in or lost their oppportunity because of their own career choices.

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Old 12-08-2004, 12:46   #5
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Excellent posts Sirs.
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Old 12-08-2004, 12:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NousDefionsDoc
Excellent posts Sirs.
Concur!

For every few that succeed, there are a hundred that failed or quit...for the hundred that failed or quit, there are a thousand who say "I was gonna try out...BUT (insert excuse de jour here)".
This creates an impression of aloofness OUTSIDE of the organization. Few folks also get training opportunities that we do on a fairly regular basis. This also can create an air of jealosy and disdain seeing the "guys with long hair and square chutes" drive to the DZ in their POV's while the 82nd was trucked out and has been sitting in chalk lines for 5 hours after JMPI in the Carolina sun.

Bottom line-don't worry about what others think...It's what's in your heart, motivating you to succeed, that is important.

Good Luck-

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Old 12-08-2004, 15:50   #7
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Does the "Regular Army" hate SF?

A tale from the RVN era or it might even be true!!!


When "SPLASH" Kelly had the 5th Gp. in VN,he was able to have afew men he didn't like transferred the the 9th ID in IV Corp.
He warned the divison CG these were not very good soldiers in his book.
Awhile later CG 9th ID contacted "SPLASH" and said he would like atleast 100 more of his misfits.



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Old 12-08-2004, 17:18   #8
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How about Airborne hating SF?

My son went through jump school in the summer of 2001 as a cadet so I had an opportunity to revisit the area, albeit 36 years later. The head shed has just about every airborne unit shoulder patch painted on the outside of the building. Conspicuous in its absence, is our patch & tabs. There is a Ranger scroll with a short tab above it. I like the 82nd. I always tour Division when I am in town. The is a 82nd PX with cheap t shirts. My kids looked like 82nd ragamuffins when they were...kids. Shirts there were unit specific, not like at Clothing Sales or the Main PX. Cool.
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Old 12-08-2004, 23:16   #9
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It's hard to say if "hate" is the reality. I'm sure there is some of that, but more than anything else, I believe that there is a great deal of jealousy/envy of those that have gone on to do more than the regular Soldier.

I am an MI Soldier, and I have seen both sides of the issue. Most MI weenies (pogues, if you will) spend more time avoiding PT and the field than those that are willing to get dirty. These are the same folks that will always comment on "scare me" badges. That is simply a cliche used in an attempt to downplay the accomplishments of those that have done more than the minimum required by the Army. Most flatliners (those with nothing above the U.S. Army tape) are more petty and jealous than anything else.

I am not SF; I am Special Operations Support Personnel. I don't walk around saying "Hey, look at me. Look at my chest". I just do my job better than anyone else. In my experience, that is how most Special Forces Soldiers do their jobs, as well. No bragging, no posturing, just getting it done. Hence, the title "Quiet Professionals".
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:09   #10
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Thanks...

Gentlemen once again, thanks for your input. It seems that when a soldier wants to do things to better themselves, the world is against them. But this isn't a shock because it happens in the civilian sector as well. Luckily, I know how to motivate myself and can accomplish my goals without constant positive reinforcement. Thanks again! Kuri OUT.
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Old 12-13-2004, 05:05   #11
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Just to add my 2cents worth. The resentment and reluctance to let soldiers try out for SF also extends to here in Australia. Relating my own experience (I serve in our Army Reserve), I applied for SF Selection several months ago and it's only recently that my request was signed off at Battalion level. I still have several steps to go in the process, however the ball is rolling. Based on anecdotal evidence and speaking to other diggers in the same situation, the hold up directly relates to our BHQ being reluctant to let soldiers go, a situation I find pretty hard to fathom. If a soldier has the motivation and desire to further their career's they should be encouraged and given the opportunity - not held back due to a desire to keep the numbers up within the various Company's in our Battalion. I had to push as hard as I could, however being way down the foodchain in terms of rank their is a limit to how hard I could push. The level of support I've received at my Company has been fantastic, mainly due to my 2IC being ex SF and making it known very early when I marched in that my desire is to head in the SF direction once I completed the necessary time within my unit (approx 18 months). As has already been mentioned in previous posts, even if a digger is unsuccessful they generally return to their previous unit a better soldier for the experience than when they left . The situation also extends Army wide to soldiers expressing a desire to try-out for SF. This is more in terms of those wishing to join Commandos (4RAR and 1 Commando Regiment) as opposed to SAS, as SAS is deemed the pinnacle within our SF community. To provide an example our Army has recently introduced a direct recruiting scheme (which I believe the US Army has had for a few years - please correct me if I'm wrong), the main aim being to increase numbers within 4RAR, which is our full-time Commando Regiment. On the whole this has caused a great deal of resentment within our regular battalions, the main gripe being civvies are provided with a short-cut and preferential treatment in terms of the additional and advanced training the receive right from the word go. Whilst I can see both sides of the argument my feelings are that as they have to go through the same selection process with the same standards expected as anyone else joining SF, I don't have a problem with it. Every fulltime soldier has the opportunity to join SF and if they choose not to then they don't have a basis to gripe. Besides, the whole reason for introducing the direct recruiting scheme was the numbers weren't their from within the regular battalions for those wanting to try out.
As I said, just my 2cents worth (more like 5cents with the amount I've written!!)
Take care

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Old 12-13-2004, 05:36   #12
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Oh shit, the Aussies have arrived You're just lucky the third ODI was called off there Ocker.

On topic, my understanding is that here a soldier can't be turned down from going to Selection by his Officers, unless they're deploying. I understand.

A Logs guy just passed Selection BTW.
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Old 12-13-2004, 07:45   #13
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Time for a VFOG to jump in..

In the beginning Special Forces Chain of Command went from SWC straight to the Theater Command. In the States: CONARC. It then went to JUWTF and up through the State Department. Local commanders, Gen Paul D, Adams CG Ft. Bragg and XV!!! Abn Corps comes immediately to mind., resented having us for Quarters and Rations while having no operational control.

Another problem was that Special Forces was not a Branch or Career field. Officers would come in for a short tour and then return to their Branch. To do otherwise was career suicide. As a result, good career officers were rare. Most were ticket punchers.

The rest I read from other posters is just the normal "sour grapes" attitude of those who fail to measure up. I don't know but I would now guess that the opposite situation exists for the Officer Corps. Special Forces is probably siphoning off the cream of the Career Officers.
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Old 12-13-2004, 22:26   #14
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Huey14.

We've been here for awhile mate - just been in my LUP doing some Recon !!!

Cheers

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Old 12-13-2004, 23:00   #15
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Fair enough mate, welcome aboard
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