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Posted: 1/23/2006 9:04:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 3:14:30 PM EDT by General_Tso]
Hi, folks.

When I spoke to a recruiter a while ago, we were talking about the advantages of going enlisted or commissioned. He suggested that I go enlisted to gain experience before applying to OCS, because I would have to command much older and more experienced soldiers than myself. He said, "Say you are a 'butter bar lieutenant' and you're assigned here." Then, he looks me in the eye. He's a big dude, and he seemed about ten times bigger when he locked eyes with me. "You're in charge now. What do we do, sir?"

How does this work in the military? What if you were a young, inexperienced officer with a combat MOS? How do you benefit from those who are more experienced and be still useful to whatever unit you are assigned? I know when I was faced with that NCO in that recruiting station I was pretty terrified, and it wasn't a real-life command scenario. In fact, it made me rethink Army OCS, becaust the prospect was a little daunting to me. (I also had a chance to follow another of my dreams in the mean time...)

How do those of you in the field juggle inexperienced officers and experienced NCOs? How should a young officer handle himself to become a respected and valued member of the team?

Thanks for your service.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:55:29 PM EDT
A new Lieutenant has things he must do and things he should do. He must perform his duties as an Officer. That means assuming his place in the chain of command, he's a go between for his platoon Sgt. and the company commander. He must see that the mission is understood and accomplished. He must look to the genreal welfare of his troops. He must make sure his platoon is where it is supposed to be with what it is supposed to have, when it is supposed to be there. He must not fear the resonsibility of command. He must understand that being an officer is about responsibilty not priviledge.

He should look to his Plt. Sgt. to teach him how to accomplish these things. He should know when to take the lead and when to defer to his Plt. Sgt.. If he has developed leadership traits throughout his life and applies sound leadership principles as taught to him through training and experience, it won't be long before he is able to lead his platoon with confidence and skill.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 4:40:58 AM EDT
Sukebe pretty much nailed it on the head. A good 2LT will sit back and watch the experienced NCO run the PLT. As time goes by the LT might start to make suggestions where he sees fit. My perspective is from an Army Aviation standpoint. As a Section Sgt and eventually Plt Sgt of an Aero Scout Plt, I had the pleasure of working with a few new butterbar LT’s. None of them simply showed up one day and started to implement changes to how we did business. The LT sat back, observed how things ran and slowly integrated himself into the company and platoon.

As far as going OCS verses enlisted, do what YOU want to do. Many people will say that some of the best officers were prior enlisted, but don’t let that recruiter talk you out of going to OCS. If your officer material and have the opportunity to make it happen then DO IT!
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 4:58:00 AM EDT
In my experience, the young LTs who tapped into the experience and counsel of their NCOs tended to excel.

That does not mean abdicating their command role. It means that they saw a resource and used it.

Then I saw the other kind. A LT comes up with a Big Idea. We NCOs would say, "That's a good concept, Sir. If you change this and this it will work better." The young officer crossed his arms and said, "Just do it my way." We'd salute and think, "And you can have ALL the credit when it falls apart."

Link Posted: 1/24/2006 5:34:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 5:35:14 AM EDT by rickdawggg]
unfortunately, both sukebe and brohawk are correct...

although we enlisted folks like to think of all butter bars being cut from the same mold (and soemtimes it really seems that way) it's true that there are as many types of officers as there are officers. Honestly folks, I know we have all seen the stereoypes and they tend to be the ones that stand out in our minds. I have had the worrst luck with officers I was assigned to, mostly the type Brohawk was talking about. But there are always those precious few that REALLY do know their shit and have the testicular fortitude not to conform to the lowering standard and do look out for their troops while still accomplishing the mission...

So the question should be this: are you willing to make that sacrifice? Will you be the one that listens to your NCO'sand utilizes all their knowledge for the good of the PLT and the mission? Will you go that extra mile timeand time again to make sure your troops have everything they need to accomplish their mission, thereby accomplishing yours? Nobody said it was easy to be a leader...

Damn do I sound like a recruiter now or what?

"Do you have what it takes to be an Army of One? Visit goarmy.com now and you can get the free t-shirt and video..."

ha ha ha j/k!
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 5:57:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 5:59:10 AM EDT by Tanker06]
Sukebe hit it dead on. Hopefully, for the sake of himself and his troops, the inexperienced 2LT will get a good
Plt. Sgt., who can help guide him along until he has his feet on the ground and is up and running, who can make
'suggestions' on what should be done, when it should be done, discreetly, so that everybody comes out looking
good, and nobody loses face in the process.

In my first two duty stations, I got to the unit right before we changed platoon commands, and the officer in
each case couldn't have been more different if it had been choreographed. In Germany, the LT came in,
sat us all down in the vault, and (more or less) said, "I'm obviously brand-new, I don't know what I'm doing,
so I'll need all of your help to get me up and going." And he ended up being one of the, if not THE, best officer
that I ever served under my entire time in.

The other, when I got to Ft. Riley, came into the unit (armor) also newly commissioned, having a degree in flight
engineering or something along that line (he never missed an oppurtunity to remind us that he had gone to Embry-
Riddle, and was really a pilot who instead of getting sent to the Aviation unit down at the airfield,
had been stuck
in a treadhead unit ) and that made him so much better than those of us enlisted guys who had a degree
from a community college. You couldn't tell the man anything. He knew it all. His crowning glory just before Desert
Storm was when I walked into the shop, and he had the colonel's radio on the testbench, the top off, and was
fiddling around inside with a screwdriver and a set of needlenose pliers.

"Sir, what are you doing, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Well, the colonel was complaining that his radio didn't have enough power to reach the TOC when he's out
checking on the line companies. I'm just boosting the power level."

"Okay..... do you have the" POP (I never got to ask him if he
had everything grounded, the test gear set up to monitor the levels, etc., as this really bright flash, then the lights
went out.) The emergency lights kicked in, but I couldn't see much due to the smoky haze, but then the main
lights came back on.
He's getting back on his feet, hair standing on end like the cartoons, and still clutching a half-melted screwdriver
in one hand.
"What happened...."
I had to walk out.
Needless to say, the colonel was beyond pissed once he read our very conflicting statements when he
presented the statement of charges for the slagged radio.
(I didn't know that you could melt a radio like that..... )
And it goes without saying that he was "Sparky" to the rest of the platoon until the day he left.....
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 10:21:48 AM EDT

"I'm obviously brand-new, I don't know what I'm doing,
so I'll need all of your help to get me up and going."



I said almost exactly that when I reported in to my new CO.

"I have to tell you, sir, that OCS didn't teach me a damned thing about how to do this job"

NTM
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 10:37:49 AM EDT
Another thing to think about. Can you get in USMA? Both ROTC and OCS officers are looked down on by the "ring knockers" You'll always be a reserve officer much in the same way RA troops look down on AR and NG troops. At least that was the way things were in my day. Plus if you go EM 1st other officers tend to look down on "Mustangs" too.

I saw alot of this growing up as a "officer's brat" and during my service time too. My father was a mustang who was a EM for 6 years during WWII and went thru ROTC during college after the war. He then was officer for 14 years more.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 11:45:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 11:57:37 AM EDT by General_Tso]
First off, thanks for all the informative posts. Your thoughts have been insightful, and the stories are great. Just be clear, I have put off the military decision for at least the next year. I had the opportunity to attend a really distinguished graduate program, and I didn't think I would get another chance if I decided that I wanted to pursue that route in the future. That said, I am happy that I postponed the decision, because I was not ready at the time I was considering the Army OCS. However, I keep returning to the idea even as I continue my schooling, so it is something I may return to when and if I am ready.

I asked about this issue, because it has been something that has stuck in my mind since I met with the recruiter, and I wanted to see what the members here thought. The world I am in now couldn't be more different than the military. It is a priviledge to be here, but I wonder I wonder if it is "where I should be." Either way, the question is pretty much hypothetical right now. Thanks again for all your thoughts.


Originally Posted By DVCAPI:
Another thing to think about. Can you get in USMA? Both ROTC and OCS officers are looked down on by the "ring knockers" You'll always be a reserve officer much in the same way RA troops look down on AR and NG troops. At least that was the way things were in my day. Plus if you go EM 1st other officers tend to look down on "Mustangs" too.

I saw alot of this growing up as a "officer's brat" and during my service time too. My father was a mustang who was a EM for 6 years during WWII and went thru ROTC during college after the war. He then was officer for 14 years more.



I am 25, so I cannot apply for the USMA. To be honest, I am not sure I could have been admitted when I was eligible. It wasn't something on my radar really until had almost completed my bachelors. I've had a few people discourage me from OCS because of similar issues: that doing OCS would hurt my career, I'd never get postings I wanted, etc. Right now, the military is off the table until I complete my masters.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 12:22:26 PM EDT
Do they have a ROTC program at your school? IIRR as long as you don't take the money you don't incure the time in service reguirement.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 1:32:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 1:44:53 PM EDT by General_Tso]
As far as I know, no. Right now, I am working for the University as well as going to school full-time, so I don't know if I could accomodate it in my schedule right now if it were possible. I know they have chased FBI, CIA, etc. off campus. Right now, I'm putting 100% of my energy into my degree (and paying it).

ETA: My school has a relationship with another school that sponsors a Air Force ROTC detachment, but this isn't really a possibility for me where I am now.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 10:03:12 PM EDT
As already stated, a smart LT comes in and knows enough to sit back and learn from the NCO. The best officers I have ever worked with were all former E-5's who went OCS.

The worse "training accidents" I ever witnessed were Butter Bars who thought they out ranked a Platoon Sergeant or even worse Top! LOL The first incident resulted a rather nasty ass chewing from the CO and the second incident resulted in a few officers in the front leaning rest position with Top providing some remedial training.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 5:52:23 AM EDT
While there is still a great deal of prestiege at being a West Pointer, most officers are comissioned through ROTC. Colin Powel is a graduate of CCNY. Tommy Franks droped out of school to join the Army as an enlisted Soldier and finished his education while in the service. Most high ranking generals are not ring knockers.


Originally Posted By DVCAPI:
Another thing to think about. Can you get in USMA? Both ROTC and OCS officers are looked down on by the "ring knockers" You'll always be a reserve officer much in the same way RA troops look down on AR and NG troops.

Link Posted: 1/25/2006 6:02:38 AM EDT
Your Platoon Sgt and 1stSgt are there to advise you and assist the company/battery/battalion/regimental commander in training you. Your basic course teaches you about an 85 percent solution on how to do things, the Sergeants and your COs are there to teach you the rest. Most of them want nothing but do the right thing and help shape a good leader and officer. Most by the time they are a leadership position are career military men and they understand if you are screwed up, you may end up as a screwed up company or battery CO.

However having said that, you have to be willing to throw the BS flag is something doesn't seem right. You have the "10" percent of guys who have just slipped by and their rank is not an indication of their abilities. I emphasis these soldiers and Marines are far and few between but they do exist and as a young leader part of your job is to develop the judgement to know who to listen to.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 6:07:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Recon_by_Fire:
As already stated, a smart LT comes in and knows enough to sit back and learn from the NCO. The best officers I have ever worked with were all former E-5's who went OCS.

The worse "training accidents" I ever witnessed were Butter Bars who thought they out ranked a Platoon Sergeant or even worse Top! LOL The first incident resulted a rather nasty ass chewing from the CO and the second incident resulted in a few officers in the front leaning rest position with Top providing some remedial training.



I am sorry, but that sounds like a poor company CO, he was right for chewing the asses of the Lts. However, the 1stSgt should not discipline the Lts, that is the Company CO or Battalion XO/COs job. If through their methods the Lts don't get the point they ensure their FitRep/OER are written in such a way that they don't advance and never command troops.


If a officer is doing stupid and will get someone unnecessarily hurt or damage a piece of gear, than take what ever means are necessary to stop the incident. However that is different than you described.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 6:21:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2006 6:22:16 AM EDT by stony275]

Originally Posted By DVCAPI:
Another thing to think about. Can you get in USMA? Both ROTC and OCS officers are looked down on by the "ring knockers" You'll always be a reserve officer much in the same way RA troops look down on AR and NG troops. At least that was the way things were in my day. Plus if you go EM 1st other officers tend to look down on "Mustangs" too.

I saw alot of this growing up as a "officer's brat" and during my service time too. My father was a mustang who was a EM for 6 years during WWII and went thru ROTC during college after the war. He then was officer for 14 years more.



I'm going to call bullshit on this one. I'm one of those "ring knockers" to whom you refer. Three of my best friends were/are officers. One was my classmate, the other two were ROTC. All four of us were in the same company in 2nd Ranger Battalion. That's where our friendship was forged over 20 years ago.

I was more concerned about what kind of warrior/officer a guy was than his commissioning source.

I'm so sick of the stereotypes regarding commissioning sources. One of the best brigade commanders out there, currently in Afghanistan, is an OCS grad.

Regarding newly minted LT's and NCO's. A smart LT will wait and observe before making drastic changes, but it's also his job to lead. Not all NCO's are stellar performers. The key is to figure out what kind of Platoon Sergeant you have. The best one I had was in my Scout Platoon in Panama. One of the worst was in my platoon in the Ranger Bn. Fortunately, I had great NCO's at the Squad and Team Leader level. One of those guys went on to win the MOH.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:00:58 AM EDT
A good junior officer is one that doesn't let his rank immediately go to his head right out of OCS, but is instead humbled in the presence of men/women of lesser rank with far more experience.

Some people where their experience on their sleeve as if it were their rank... which is almost as irritating as someon with no experience who pushes their rank on you as being the same thing AS experience.

In EOD this was a major issue, because an officer comes right out of school and can run as a team leader on incidents. If the 1SG is smart he'll pair the officer up with on of the most experienced junior NCO's to watch his back and tell him when he's fucking up.

I'm sure this applies to any MOS.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 8:31:31 AM EDT
Here is a good anecdote to help explain the relationship. When I was a new 2LT at OBC my Platoon Trainer (SFC Tremain) had a PL that had graduated from the same school as me when he was in Hawaii. He came up and asked if I was “one of those type Norwich Grads?” I replied I didn’t know what he meant. He told me a story of how his old PL had insisted on emplacing the MG because it is the PL’s responsibility to ensure that MGs are emplaced correctly. Well SFC Tremain had already found a good position and had the gunner and AG start digging in. The PL came up and had them move the position about 40 yds just to show that he knew it was his responsibility and he was taking care of it. SFC Tremain tried to talk to this PL and give him some advice (as any good NCO would do). Short version Bn CDR and CSm chewed ass because most casualty producing weapon had poor fields of fire. CSM looked at SFc Tremain and asked why he let the PL put the MG there. The PL at least owned up to his mistake and told BN CDR and CSM that SFc Tremain had emplaced the MG but he moved it because it was his responsibility to emplace. The CSM and SFC Tremain took a walk while the BN CDR “mentored” the PL. I have been luck y in that I had great PSGs and now have one of the BEST 1SGs I have ever seen. I am glad SFc Tremain told me that story it has always stuck with me. The officer may be in charge but it truly has to be a team effort between the “O” and the NCO.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 8:52:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By stony275:

Originally Posted By DVCAPI:
Another thing to think about. Can you get in USMA? Both ROTC and OCS officers are looked down on by the "ring knockers" You'll always be a reserve officer much in the same way RA troops look down on AR and NG troops. At least that was the way things were in my day. Plus if you go EM 1st other officers tend to look down on "Mustangs" too.

I saw alot of this growing up as a "officer's brat" and during my service time too. My father was a mustang who was a EM for 6 years during WWII and went thru ROTC during college after the war. He then was officer for 14 years more.



I'm going to call bullshit on this one. I'm one of those "ring knockers" to whom you refer. Three of my best friends were/are officers. One was my classmate, the other two were ROTC. All four of us were in the same company in 2nd Ranger Battalion. That's where our friendship was forged over 20 years ago.

I was more concerned about what kind of warrior/officer a guy was than his commissioning source.

I'm so sick of the stereotypes regarding commissioning sources. One of the best brigade commanders out there, currently in Afghanistan, is an OCS grad.



SIR, I'm not saying there aren't good OCS/ ROTC officers. I've met and served under them. But between living on base as a service brat, 8 years in the US Naval Sea Cadet Corp training along side the Navy reserve, and 4 years RA, I saw a lot of the bias I described. And I’ve seen all 3 branches of the service as my father was a USAF officer, I saw the US Navy and USMC as a US NSCC cadet, and served 4 years active duty in the US Army plus 2 years in the US Army reserve. Do I think its right? NO. But it is there to some degree. I've been out of the loop since 1979 and don't know if it has changed, but I doubt it.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 9:25:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DVCAPI:
I saw a lot of the bias I described.



If it's a consolation, if West Pointers look down on ROTC and OCS, OCS will look down on Westpointers as arrogant pricks who think they know it all and have no respect for NCOS, and ROTCers look down on Pointers as being arrogant pricks who have no life outside of the military.

Neither is particularly accurate, but just as valid as a Pointer looking down on the other two for being 'enthusiastic amateurs'

So.. ignore the above entirely, and do whatever route makes more sense to you. ROTC/WP/OCS are just commissioning sources. All 2LTs are equal. None of them know much about being a PL, though at least the OCS guys know what goes on at the pointy end from personal experience. I don't think you'll hit general rank through OCS though, the catch is that OCS LTs are usually older, so don't get the same amount of time to advance.

NTM
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 9:58:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DVCAPI:

Originally Posted By stony275:
Originally Posted By DVCAPI:
Another thing to think about. Can you get in USMA? Both ROTC and OCS officers are looked down on by the "ring knockers" You'll always be a reserve officer much in the same way RA troops look down on AR and NG troops. At least that was the way things were in my day. Plus if you go EM 1st other officers tend to look down on "Mustangs" too.

I saw alot of this growing up as a "officer's brat" and during my service time too. My father was a mustang who was a EM for 6 years during WWII and went thru ROTC during college after the war. He then was officer for 14 years more.



SIR, I'm not saying there aren't good OCS/ ROTC officers. I've met and served under them. But between living on base as a service brat, 8 years in the US Naval Sea Cadet Corp training along side the Navy reserve, and 4 years RA, I saw a lot of the bias I described. And I’ve seen all 3 branches of the service as my father was a USAF officer, I saw the US Navy and USMC as a US NSCC cadet, and served 4 years active duty in the US Army plus 2 years in the US Army reserve. Do I think its right? NO. But it is there to some degree. I've been out of the loop since 1979 and don't know if it has changed, but I doubt it.



Let me rephrase this. I don't think your average West Pointer is going to look down upon a fellow officer because he is ROTC or OCS. I used myself as a case in point. I think that whole perception is a carry over from "the old days". In the past, up to and including WWII, West Pointers did things that promulgated that image.

I can't speak to the other service academies. I remember a guy from my home town who was Naval ROTC practically frothing at the mouth at me in a home town bar because I was an academy grad.

My advice to the original poster of this thread is to determine what he wants to do both long and short term. Officers generally aren't trigger pullers. The further an officer advances in his career, the less leadership roles he gets. It's a long time between Company and Battalion command.

If he does want to be an officer, compare the pros and cons of the commissioning sources. ROTC at a "normal" college campus is probably going to be far more enjoyable than West Point. One does not go to WP for the chicks and parties. On the other hand, WP has an excellent academic reputation. If he does decide to leave the Army, having West Point on his resume will probably have more impact than 90+% of the other schools out there. I went to WP because I wanted to be the best officer possible. I despised my classmates who were there more for how it would look on their resume when they got out. They weren't warriors, they just wanted the free education.

Like everything else in life, there are trade offs.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 10:39:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2006 10:41:45 AM EDT by General_Tso]

Originally Posted By stony275:
My advice to the original poster of this thread is to determine what he wants to do both long and short term. Officers generally aren't trigger pullers. The further an officer advances in his career, the less leadership roles he gets. It's a long time between Company and Battalion command.



Thanks for the continued responses. I hadn't intended this thread as immediate career advise (my initial post was not very clear, my apologies), but the information is great regardless. Stony, can you go into the above quote in greater detail in terms of leadership roles? Also, should my expectations for a military career change if I were to go the OCS route? Less opportunity for advancement? (It's my understanding that the armed forces are a bit oversaturated with junior officers overall, which could further limit my career.) Asking these questions is probably premature as I still have a lot a work ahead of me in terms of my masters, but I might as well as ask now since the response has been so great.

Thanks for the advice, folks. It's appreciated.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 11:54:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By STLRN:
However having said that, you have to be willing to throw the BS flag is something doesn't seem right. You have the "10" percent of guys who have just slipped by and their rank is not an indication of their abilities. I emphasis these soldiers and Marines are far and few between but they do exist and as a young leader part of your job is to develop the judgement to know who to listen to.



STLRN is correct.

"Sitting back" and letting your PSG run everything is also the wrong answer. Work with your NCOs. Value their professional opinion, but don't let them BS you. Sometimes soldiers and NCOs try to get away with things. You'll learn pretty quick which NCO is a BS'r and which ones really know their stuff. Formulate a plan in your head. Pick your NCO's brains on courses of actions to take based on their vast experience. Ask them "the how", have they done it that way before? What worked? What didn't? NCOs like to tell their stories. They are like your consultants. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Take their suggestions. HOWEVER, as a combat leader always make the final decision affecting major unit policy and the accomplishment of the mission.

I'm not saying go ahead and stifle your soldiers' initiative and micromanage every little detail. Let your subordinates decide whether they want to use the red shovel as opposed to the blue shovel. As long as the hole gets dug at the right spot and on time.

Make sure everyone knows the required end-state. Know where to draw the line between NCO business and Officer business. But don't be afraid to personally step-in those rare times when a situation gets FUBAR and set things right again. Be reasonable, but don't be a pushover. It is still your platoon, company, or battery, and ultimately responsible for its successes and failures.

Link Posted: 1/25/2006 12:12:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2006 12:13:59 PM EDT by TANGOCHASER]
When I was a PSG at Ft. Sill, I got a new LT in on a thursday. Friday he inprocessed and came to meet me that afternoon. I told him to meet me in the motorpool at 18oohrs. He was hesitant but I insisted. He showed up and i took him through an abreviated PMSC class on our rocket launchers (MLRS). Monday morning we had command maintenance and the soldiers in the platoon were absolutely amazed that he knew so much about a rocket launcher. They thought he was a prior service 13M.

Helping the LT establish his credibility with the soldiers is also a responsibility of the PSG. If the LT doesn't know what decision to make, take him off to the side and tell him what decision is the right one but let him tell the platoon what decision he made. Again, establishes credibility.

I spent a lot of time talking one on one with the LT's I've had but let them make the decisions. It's been my experience that a new LT might not do things wrong, just different. Kinda like "Who moved my cheese".

Going enlisted first is your call and can have benefits. I belive it's the character of the man that makes the difference, not how he got there.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 12:45:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By stony275:

My advice to the original poster of this thread is to determine what he wants to do both long and short term. Officers generally aren't trigger pullers. The further an officer advances in his career, the less leadership roles he gets. It's a long time between Company and Battalion command.
Like everything else in life, there are trade offs.



Sir, as you've been on the line since I left, does the Army in general still look down on SpecOp officers like they did during the '60s-'70s? In my time you were lucky if you made bird col. with a spec-op background. All the good old boys hated them.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 3:57:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2006 4:00:54 PM EDT by MontanaVet]
A good NCO will make a 2nd LT. What will probably happen is soon as they get the LT trained good, command will move him and it starts all over. A good 2LT will listen to his NCO's, develop trust and gain their respect. A bad 2LT will know everything and be hated by all his men.

Tin foil hat time-One thing I noticed is officers have their picture taken from the waste up. A smart 2LT will get a Mason ring and make sure it is showing in the picture. Laugh if you will, but this is "No shit" for making rank. MV out!

Ebay Mason Rings
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 5:13:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By General_Tso:

Originally Posted By stony275:
My advice to the original poster of this thread is to determine what he wants to do both long and short term. Officers generally aren't trigger pullers. The further an officer advances in his career, the less leadership roles he gets. It's a long time between Company and Battalion command.



Thanks for the continued responses. I hadn't intended this thread as immediate career advise (my initial post was not very clear, my apologies), but the information is great regardless. Stony, can you go into the above quote in greater detail in terms of leadership roles? Also, should my expectations for a military career change if I were to go the OCS route? Less opportunity for advancement? (It's my understanding that the armed forces are a bit oversaturated with junior officers overall, which could further limit my career.) Asking these questions is probably premature as I still have a lot a work ahead of me in terms of my masters, but I might as well as ask now since the response has been so great.

Thanks for the advice, folks. It's appreciated.



First of all, keep in mind that I was an Infantry officer. 2LT's start out as Platoon Leaders. As 1LT's they still lead platoons, but might get pulled into a Company Exectuive Officer slot. I dodged the bullet on that and had 3 platoons, to include a rifle platoon in 2nd Ranger Bn. As a Captain you get Company Command. I don't know what the standard tour length is now. I was lucky and had 21 months of Company Command. In my day, you were a Captain for about 7 ish years. You can do the math. If you're not commanding, you're either on staff or at school. There are no command slots as a Major. As a Lieutenant Colonel, you hope that you never pissed off any of your raters and get an Infantry Battalion. You do more staff time and hope to make Colonel (full bird) and get a Brigade Command.

With today's current environment, i.e. you can count on being deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan, I have no idea what the promotion time windows are for officers or how long LT's spend in a platoon.

Frankly, I think the recruiter is trying to talk you into enlisting because he wants to make his quota, not because he's looking out for what's best for you. Do you already have a college degree? If not, I would explore the ROTC and USMA route.

The Cdr of the 173rd Inf Bde (Abn) is an OCS grad and I would bet serious money that he'll get a star. He was close friends with one of my buddies from my Ranger Bn days.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 5:16:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DVCAPI:

Originally Posted By stony275:

My advice to the original poster of this thread is to determine what he wants to do both long and short term. Officers generally aren't trigger pullers. The further an officer advances in his career, the less leadership roles he gets. It's a long time between Company and Battalion command.
Like everything else in life, there are trade offs.



Sir, as you've been on the line since I left, does the Army in general still look down on SpecOp officers like they did during the '60s-'70s? In my time you were lucky if you made bird col. with a spec-op background. All the good old boys hated them.



First of all, stop calling me "sir". I'm a civilian now.

I think by and large that stigma is gone. Wayne A. Downing was a former commander of 2nd Ranger Bn and the Ranger Rgt. as well as other Special Operations units. He retired with four stars. Unfortunately, I've seen officers go the Ranger Battalion not because they were hooah, but because of what they thought it could do for their career.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 6:52:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By stony275:
There are no command slots as a Major.



Armour battalion S-3s are assigned as tank commanders, so they do maneuver and gunnery just as a company commander. XO stays in the TOC, BC has a tank.

If you're lucky, you might go on an exchange for a bit with the British Army, they use Majors in company command slots.

NTM
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:16:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By stony275:
First of all, stop calling me "sir". I'm a civilian now.



Come on now thats a NCO's line. "Don't call me sir, I work for a living". <jk> I don't know where those sirs came from just kinda rolled out there.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:41:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By stony275:
First of all, keep in mind that I was an Infantry officer. 2LT's start out as Platoon Leaders. As 1LT's they still lead platoons, but might get pulled into a Company Exectuive Officer slot. I dodged the bullet on that and had 3 platoons, to include a rifle platoon in 2nd Ranger Bn. As a Captain you get Company Command. I don't know what the standard tour length is now. I was lucky and had 21 months of Company Command. In my day, you were a Captain for about 7 ish years. You can do the math. If you're not commanding, you're either on staff or at school. There are no command slots as a Major. As a Lieutenant Colonel, you hope that you never pissed off any of your raters and get an Infantry Battalion. You do more staff time and hope to make Colonel (full bird) and get a Brigade Command.

With today's current environment, i.e. you can count on being deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan, I have no idea what the promotion time windows are for officers or how long LT's spend in a platoon.

Frankly, I think the recruiter is trying to talk you into enlisting because he wants to make his quota, not because he's looking out for what's best for you. Do you already have a college degree? If not, I would explore the ROTC and USMA route.

The Cdr of the 173rd Inf Bde (Abn) is an OCS grad and I would bet serious money that he'll get a star. He was close friends with one of my buddies from my Ranger Bn days.



I have completed my bachelor's degree, and I am working on my master's now. My current schooling is a mix of literature and political theory focusing on war and terror. (I'm trying to fit an arabic course in the mix, too.) My goal is either to enter academics, some analyst position in the government, or the military. They seem a little hard to reconcile (even to me sometimes), but I look at Joshua Chamberlain as a role model. My fear is that I am either romanticizing military life or that I wouldn't be a good soldier. I'm not preoccupied attaining a certain rank or status, but I want to get the most out of my career whatever avenue I choose. Right now, my focus is to do as best as I can in my program but keep thinking about the future.

I know some MOS's are very selective, but is there any way to predict what the Army's needs may be? Not knowing for sure what MOS I would be assigned was a little unnerving to me.

Thank you very much.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 5:30:49 PM EDT
Don't go Field Artillery; I am rebranching Engineer becuase FA is a deadend career field.

BTW - how's the chicken?
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 6:28:22 PM EDT
I'm a little undecided on MOS. I thought about MI, but I wasn't sure what my odds would be of getting it. Thought infantry, too. Is there some way to guage what MOS fits an individual?

My namesake is pretty good in New York, I must say. Especially at Excellent Dumpling House on Canal and Lafayette. My treat to any Arfcom service men or women living or visiting Manhattan.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 6:31:48 PM EDT
As with anywhere, there is respect which is given and respect which is earned. You will also experience formal and informal leadership.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:02:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:22:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 7:23:49 PM EDT by DvlDog]
a lot of long and very well thought out posts on this thread so i will keep it short.

if you have a bachelors...go officer. after college i enlisted. i was having a rough day. on a sunday night i heard squeeling rubber and looked outside to see someone taking off with my camaro, cops finally leave and i go to sleep a car theft victim, i get a ride to my job and my fiance wants to meet for lunch, she gives me back the ring and tells me she met someone else. when i get back from that lunch my boss fires me. as i was cleaning out my desk i called 1-800-MARINES and the rest is history. i wanted the young enlisted man experience, i was 24 and i felt at rock bottom and i just want to travel the world banging chicks and sending rounds down range. but when reality set in i regretted not becoming an officer.

the first time you end up scrubbing a toilet as a $250 a week private youll think "i went to college for THIS" trust me, go for the collar jewelry.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:48:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By HeavyMetal:

Originally Posted By OrionSix:
Don't go Field Artillery; I am rebranching Engineer becuase FA is a deadend career field.

BTW - how's the chicken?



The Field Artillery: "The few, the proud, the deaf......."

They should just give you one of those cochlear implants when you sign. At least you can turn it off....


Huh - I missed that . . .
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:50:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DvlDog:
a lot of long and very well thought out posts on this thread so i will keep it short.

if you have a bachelors...go officer. after college i enlisted. i was having a rough day. on a sunday night i heard squeeling rubber and looked outside to see someone taking off with my camaro, cops finally leave and i go to sleep a car theft victim, i get a ride to my job and my fiance wants to meet for lunch, she gives me back the ring and tells me she met someone else. when i get back from that lunch my boss fires me. as i was cleaning out my desk i called 1-800-MARINES and the rest is history. i wanted the young enlisted man experience, i was 24 and i felt at rock bottom and i just want to travel the world banging chicks and sending rounds down range. but when reality set in i regretted not becoming an officer.

the first time you end up scrubbing a toilet as a $250 a week private youll think "i went to college for THIS" trust me, go for the collar jewelry.



And then . . . Depression set in ... sounds like the beginning of Stripes . . .
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 8:42:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 8:43:35 PM EDT by DvlDog]
yeah i was depressed for awhile, then i realized that i could make the most of it. have an open mind, have lots of fun, as a 24yr old college educated E-3 you look like a fucking super-star. it wasnt long before i had the respect of my NCOs and Officers and they definitely treated me differently. rank came fast,as did responsability. when i was given a choice of a warrant officer slot or an OCS slot i decided to take my Sgt stripes to the reserve and start a civilian career. i wish i had done somethings differently but i think i made out pretty good given i started at 24.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 9:01:33 PM EDT
the only thing worse than a officer is a officer who is a pilot
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 9:18:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DvlDog:
if you have a bachelors...go officer. after college i enlisted.i called 1-800-MARINES and the rest is history. i wanted the young enlisted man experience, i was 24 and i felt at rock bottom and i just want to travel the world banging chicks and sending rounds down range. but when reality set in i regretted not becoming an officer.

the first time you end up scrubbing a toilet as a $250 a week private youll think "i went to college for THIS" trust me, go for the collar jewelry.




My father tells a story after WWII spent island hopping in the MC he went to college and ROTC. When he was set to get his butter bar in the AF a marine recruiter came around trying to talk him in to going back into the USMC, as a SGT. Well he retired as a Maj. in the AF.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:06:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 10:08:40 PM EDT by DvlDog]
well that dovetails nicely into something no one has said yet.

a recruiter will ALWAYS try to sell you on going enlisted. they do not get any credit for putting someone in an officer program. enlisted recruiters outnumber officer recruiters at least 10 to 1, officer recruiters typically are regional. like 1 guy for a whole state or group of counties. no stripmall recruiter will EVER spend anytime trying to send you to OCS, if he is honest and forthright he will give you the business card of the regional officer recruiter and send you on your way. if he expresses interest in you its only because he thinks he can sell you on going enlisted.

if you have a degree do not go enlisted thinking it will make you a better officer. the odds are so far against you at the point its almost cruel. if you want to be an officer do it at initial entry
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 4:16:28 AM EDT
Another point for you to keep in mind:

A person who has authority and understands it doesn't have to prove that he has authority. Those around him will know.
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 4:19:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By General_Tso:
As far as I know, no. Right now, I am working for the University as well as going to school full-time, so I don't know if I could accomodate it in my schedule right now if it were possible. I know they have chased FBI, CIA, etc. off campus. Right now, I'm putting 100% of my energy into my degree (and paying it).

ETA: My school has a relationship with another school that sponsors a Air Force ROTC detachment, but this isn't really a possibility for me where I am now.



How close is your school's relationship with Manhattan College? Fordham is the magnet for Army ROTC in the city, and we have the same relationship with both schools (i.e. no relationship).
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 4:22:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Another point for you to keep in mind:

A person who has authority and understands it doesn't have to prove that he has authority. Those around him will know.



Good point, those guys are the type that you want to follow...
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 4:42:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By OrionSix:
And then . . . Depression set in ... sounds like the beginning of Stripes . . .





"We're not homosexuals, but we are willing to learn. "
"Yeah, would they send us someplace special? "


Link Posted: 1/27/2006 8:33:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mmx1:

Originally Posted By General_Tso:
As far as I know, no. Right now, I am working for the University as well as going to school full-time, so I don't know if I could accomodate it in my schedule right now if it were possible. I know they have chased FBI, CIA, etc. off campus. Right now, I'm putting 100% of my energy into my degree (and paying it).

ETA: My school has a relationship with another school that sponsors a Air Force ROTC detachment, but this isn't really a possibility for me where I am now.



How close is your school's relationship with Manhattan College? Fordham is the magnet for Army ROTC in the city, and we have the same relationship with both schools (i.e. no relationship).



I'm not sure how many ties we have with them, but it is my understanding that our AF ROTC associated with Manhattan College. I don't see any listings for my school on the ROTC web site, so I think that is out of the question. I don't think I could get any kind of credit for it as a graduate student, so it probably wouldn't be a good option for me at this point.
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 10:46:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By General_Tso:

Originally Posted By mmx1:

Originally Posted By General_Tso:
As far as I know, no. Right now, I am working for the University as well as going to school full-time, so I don't know if I could accomodate it in my schedule right now if it were possible. I know they have chased FBI, CIA, etc. off campus. Right now, I'm putting 100% of my energy into my degree (and paying it).

ETA: My school has a relationship with another school that sponsors a Air Force ROTC detachment, but this isn't really a possibility for me where I am now.



How close is your school's relationship with Manhattan College? Fordham is the magnet for Army ROTC in the city, and we have the same relationship with both schools (i.e. no relationship).



I'm not sure how many ties we have with them, but it is my understanding that our AF ROTC associated with Manhattan College. I don't see any listings for my school on the ROTC web site, so I think that is out of the question. I don't think I could get any kind of credit for it as a graduate student, so it probably wouldn't be a good option for me at this point.



I meant, do you get any credit/official recognition from AFROTC. If you're worried about ROTC not accepting you, I don't believe they need any official tie to your Univ to accept you as a cadet. I know we don't. Our guys just go up to Fordham/Manhattan, do their training, and Columbia is happy to take the military's tuition money and not give them any credit. Last time I visited the Fordham detachment, I believe I ran into an NYU cadet.

If you need the credit it's a moot point anyway.

Not to get all recruiter-like, but have you considered Marine Corps OCS? It is THE commissioning source for the Marines; only Naval Academy grads (~15 percent) don't come in through OCS, so the Academy guys are in the minority. OCS grads get to joke about how the ring knockers aren't tough enough to survive OCS, but it's moot once you hit the fleet.
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 12:57:51 PM EDT
I am glad that someone posted this topic. I was getting ready to ask pretty much the same thing when I found it. I am going to AF OTS at the end of February and I am a little nervous about being in charge of people once I get through training. This thread has been a great help.

I'm gonna hijack the thread just a little bit. Does anyone has any more good suggestions for an officer-to-be.

John
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 5:03:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mmx1:
I meant, do you get any credit/official recognition from AFROTC. If you're worried about ROTC not accepting you, I don't believe they need any official tie to your Univ to accept you as a cadet. I know we don't. Our guys just go up to Fordham/Manhattan, do their training, and Columbia is happy to take the military's tuition money and not give them any credit. Last time I visited the Fordham detachment, I believe I ran into an NYU cadet.

If you need the credit it's a moot point anyway.

Not to get all recruiter-like, but have you considered Marine Corps OCS? It is THE commissioning source for the Marines; only Naval Academy grads (~15 percent) don't come in through OCS, so the Academy guys are in the minority. OCS grads get to joke about how the ring knockers aren't tough enough to survive OCS, but it's moot once you hit the fleet.



Good thoughts. My suspicion is that they don't offer any funds and/or classes to graduate students. All the wordings I find on the ROTC sites seemed to be tailored to undergraduate programs, but I really am not sure. I'll try to sign into GoArmy chat one of these nights to see if I could do it. The only concern I have is that I don't have time to take more classes. My load is pretty demanding, and I am working, too. However, I'm going to look into it once I get a chance.

Can you pick your MOS with 100% certainty if you do ROTC?

I had not considered Marine Corps OCS for two reasons. First, most of my military friends tell me that they can't envision me being a Marine. Either they don't see me fitting to that culture or they see me in another branch. Secondly, my grandfather was very proud of his service in the Marines, but he always discouraged his kids from joining the Marines. I don't know if he thought the training was too difficult for them or if he knew what terrible things they endured in the Pacific theater. I'm not sure. No disrepect intended to Marines! My grandfather had and I have nothing but respect for you! But I'm a little torn between following in his footsteps and respecting his wishes.

What can people expect from the various OCSs? How is that different from the ROTC route--whether or not that is an option?

Again, I appreciate all the thoughts. Please feel free to add any jr. officer/NCO thoughts and general "officer route" advice for myself or anyone who is interested.
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 5:31:45 PM EDT
Strictly speaking MOS is a term re enlisted qualification although it does get used re Officers; strictly speaking it is called "branch." You will never get a 100% gurantee re the branch - needs of the Army rule. Combat arms are a pyramid - lots of LT's few COL's; conversly, CS and CSS branches have few (relatively) LT's and more SR Officers - they do what is called Branch-detail Branch as a Combat ARms officer for you LT tiome and then rebranch as a CPT. But let me say this, if you want to be in the Army, you need to think of yourself as Soldier - not an Infantryman, not a Redleg, not an MI guy - if you are that picky and you only want to work in a specific job then you won't be happy. Additional duties as assigned will take most of your time as an officer.

Also keep in mind that officers are leaders and managers of large organizations; the Infantry CPT spends more time making it so his company can be trigger pullers, not pulling the trigger himself. The MI CPT spends more time organizing his/her analysts than doing MI - stuff - from your posts I don;t think you would be very happy in the Officer Corps.
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