Advice on Career Path to 19th SFG?

Winter_Patriot

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I am seeking advice on the best path to eventually becoming a support officer in the 19th SFG. I think my personality and civilian skillset would translate most well to 37A, 38B, or 35A, but I am open to other MOSs that are needed. I am not prior service but I do work with my state's military department as an attorney occasionally. I sometimes sit in on National Guard drills and have sort of a sense of what I would be getting into. I am an attorney (prosecutor) in my civilian life, but I'd like to build and contribute different skills in the military.

I am working with a recruiter now to explore enlisting as a 35F into the 19th. I'd need a colorblind waiver, which I can probably obtain. I spoke to the recruiter and OSM and understand that I can't go to federal OCS due to my age (33 now, apparently would need to have shipped to basic training already). They recommended that I enlist with the 19th and then apply to accelerated OCS down the road (Utah doesn't have a traditional OCS program). One concern I had -- I don't know how long is customary to serve in an enlisted MOS before applying to OCS; I don't want to disadvantage my unit by leaving a few months or a year after getting MOS qualified as a 35F.

If I want to become an officer as soon as possible regardless of the state/MOS, my other option is to apply for traditional state OCS through my home state. My state needs infantry, logistics, field artillery, and signals officers the most currently. If I went that route (I'm disinclined), I would like to branch MI but I realize that it is very competitive in most states. In general, I do want to get through OCS and BOLC while I'm still young and in good shape. Going to traditional OCS and then trying to get involved with the 19th a few years later seems like an indirect, tenuous route. I also hear that state traditional OCS has a very low graduation rate (something like 15-25%) and that it can be difficult to balance a civilian job with two years of OCS. One benefit of going to OCS though in my home state is that it would be less of a financial/time/work burden as opposed to flying to Utah for monthly drill.

Any input or advice would be appreciated.
 

AWP

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I'm a former Guard officer, so maybe I can help a little. Caveat: I commissioned almost 20 years ago, so verify my info isn't horribly wrong.


- Keep in mind that if you go to OCS in one state it doesn't have to release you to another state, accelerated OCS or not (unless UT is willing to sponsor you for the acclerated program. That may be your best answer).
- DO NOT enlist as a 35 series and go to OCS. See below.
- Most states will require you to go to Basic, but I don't know if they will make you go to AIT; FL did Basic only. Why would a state send you to a lengthy AIT and if you enlist under that MOS you're robbing the slot from another enlistee.
- Occasionally an officer can go straight out of OCS to SPT CO, I've seen MI do this, but keep in mind you have one SIGO, 1 MI, and 1 or two QM's in SPT CO. You'll need to be VERY good at your job and juiced in politically.
- While in OCS you have to find a unit that will take you. See the above about slots in SPT CO.

Good luck.
 

Winter_Patriot

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Sir, I appreciate your input and information. I see what you mean about the difficulty in going from OCS to SPT CO.

I hadn't thought about that difficulties in being released from my home state if I went OCS that way, I'll do some more research on it. Sounds like it would be tough to get a SPT CO to pick me up in the 19th either way.

If I enlist as my recruiter suggested, I understand that I'd go to BCT and then 35F AIT for 16 weeks. I did not pick 35M or 35N because the language requirements. Theoretically, if I was given an OCS spot right now as a civilian, I would have to go BCT before OCS, but there'd be no AIT before OCS.

I was also uneasy about taking an enlisted spot if my intent is to apply to OCS, but both the recruiter and OSM suggested I do that since I couldn't get into OCS right away at my age. I certainly am open to staying in that role for a couple years, maybe longer. I don't want to waste the unit's time or money, and I do think I'd enjoy being an intel analyst. Alternatively, I might be able to come in as a cook (shorter AIT), but I worry about potentially being stuck in that MOS if I don't receive an OCS spot or if I don't graduate accelerated OCS.
 

AWP

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As long as you enlist by 35 you can commission before you are 42.

Army National Guard

One potential issue with enlisting into the 19th and then returning to the same company (this jammed me up) is that some officers frown upon that path. I think it is pure BS, but some of your "brother" officers will knife you over it and you may have a commander that will send you to OCS but not allow you to return to the unit. It happened in my class to another candidate. We had several others who went back to their original battalion, but not the same company.

You have options/ paths available. Just spitballing, if you aren't hellbent on leaving for OCS soon you could take the 35F slot, do a few years enlisted, and figure out your next move from there. Regardless, if your ultimate goal is to make a run at 19th Group, I wouldn't commission in any state other than your destination.
 

GOTWA

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Sir, I appreciate your input and information. I see what you mean about the difficulty in going from OCS to SPT CO.

I hadn't thought about that difficulties in being released from my home state if I went OCS that way, I'll do some more research on it. Sounds like it would be tough to get a SPT CO to pick me up in the 19th either way.

If I enlist as my recruiter suggested, I understand that I'd go to BCT and then 35F AIT for 16 weeks. I did not pick 35M or 35N because the language requirements. Theoretically, if I was given an OCS spot right now as a civilian, I would have to go BCT before OCS, but there'd be no AIT before OCS.

I was also uneasy about taking an enlisted spot if my intent is to apply to OCS, but both the recruiter and OSM suggested I do that since I couldn't get into OCS right away at my age. I certainly am open to staying in that role for a couple years, maybe longer. I don't want to waste the unit's time or money, and I do think I'd enjoy being an intel analyst. Alternatively, I might be able to come in as a cook (shorter AIT), but I worry about potentially being stuck in that MOS if I don't receive an OCS spot or if I don't graduate accelerated OCS.

Why turn down the 35M option so quickly? All you need is to pass a DLAB. Language school at DLI comes later, if you even get slotted for it. The transition into a 35F officer billet would, in theory, be much easier, especially if you knock out the schools you'll need prior to the transition.

Settling for a job you don't want is the worst possible choice you can make. Period.
 

Winter_Patriot

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Everyone, I appreciate all your input and advice, it's been very helpful in my decision-making process. I do some volunteer work already with the National Guard and didn't find the JAG-related tasks very fulfilling. It's more desk time than even being a civilian prosecutor. That's the biggest reason I haven't applied for JAG. I want to be an officer someday, but the type of MOS also matters.

I am going to enlist in the 19th SFG as a 35 series and do a couple years enlisted before applying for OCS. I am flying down to MEPS next week to enlist. I am leaning towards 35F because it would be shorter than 35M, but still weighing those two options. I'm just not sure I can afford to be away from work quite as long as I'd need to be for language school.

Ultimately these are the things that my decision boiled down (enlisting in the 19th or OCS in my home state):

1) Enlisting in the 19th will probably keep more doors open for a SPT CO officer spot later. I don't think it would be very easy to come in cold as an officer from another state.
2) I think I'd actually enjoy being a 35-series and having possible real world missions more than being a platoon leader in the peacetime National Guard.
3) I found out that I'd probably qualify for travel reimbursements as a 35 series with the 19th SFG. That means the difference between losing money every drill month and coming out a little ahead. It's a direct flight from my home state but still would've eaten up most of my drill pay every weekend if reimbursement wasn't possible.
4) This was a little unexpected, but the enlistment timeline fits better with my civilian job. I have a large backlog that my employer wants me to finish up before leaving if possible. If I want federal OCS, I'd need to commission by my 34th birthday, which means leaving for BCT in 5 weeks or so. Just not enough time to get my civilian life squared away in time. I'm afraid it would hurt my civilian career a lot to take off without having things in order.

Any other input in 35F v. 35M would be appreciated, especially general info as to how the drill duties differ (I'm not asking for anything that might violate OPSEC though).
 

Brill

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No kidding, I was talking to a 35F today who told me he wished he’d gone 35N because N gives an analyst access to EVERYTHING but Fs are limited.
 

Winter_Patriot

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Went through MEPS today, passed the regular physical and the airborne physical. Scored well enough on the ASVAB to qualify for any of the 35 series jobs (135 ST line score I think). I was a little worried because I hadn't done anything math or science work since high school.

There is a 35F spot open but I'm looking to get 35M or 35N. Need a red-green colorblind waiver either way, which the 19th recruiter says should be no problem.

Thanks again to everyone for the input.
 

Winter_Patriot

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Just an update. I received my colorblind waiver from the schoolhouse today. Going to fly down to Utah to enlist sometime next month, then it'll be a few months before I ship to BCT. I've reflected a lot on this for a few months and think it is the right choice all around. I appreciate everyone's time and experience on this thread.
 

Brill

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Just an update. I received my colorblind waiver from the schoolhouse today. Going to fly down to Utah to enlist sometime next month, then it'll be a few months before I ship to BCT. I've reflected a lot on this for a few months and think it is the right choice all around. I appreciate everyone's time and experience on this thread.

Which MOS did ya get?
 

Winter_Patriot

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Which MOS did ya get?
Ultimately I went 35F. I was flirting with 35N or 35P, but there weren't any projected openings with the 19th, and I couldn't quite justify the longer AIT and DLI requirements. I had to compromise a little bit and balance my goals versus what my civilian job / family could bear.

Any tips you could give me about 35F AIT (not much info online) or the best way to learn/contribute once I'm at my unit, that would be appreciated. Once I get settled in, I would like to go to BLC or WLC so I can make Corporal.
 

Winter_Patriot

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Wanted to get some more advice. The 35F spot is no longer be available, but one may be opening up. There is a 35N position open though.

Can anyone give me insight about how drill and deployments would be different for 35F v 35N? Also interested to see which might give me the most variety of options for missions, schools, and career progression.

I was originally interested in 35F because it seemed to be a big picture, generalist MOS. Another factor was that the AIT was a couple months shorter. At this point I think the extra couple months of AIT for 35N would be worth it in the long term.
 

Brill

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Wanted to get some more advice. The 35F spot is no longer be available, but one may be opening up. There is a 35N position open though.

Can anyone give me insight about how drill and deployments would be different for 35F v 35N? Also interested to see which might give me the most variety of options for missions, schools, and career progression.

I was originally interested in 35F because it seemed to be a big picture, generalist MOS. Another factor was that the AIT was a couple months shorter. At this point I think the extra couple months of AIT for 35N would be worth it in the long term.

In the Guard, 35Ns at the BN-level are SOT-Bs and at the Group-level they’re a CSE-like element. The biggest issue is access to a specific network where they can do their job: very limited opportunities exist. The only real opportunity for Ns to actually work in their MOS is on deployments. 19th Group in UT is THE exception.

Career progression in the Guard is up to the dude who occupies the position you want.

edit: CSE- Cryptologic Support Element
 
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Winter_Patriot

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Thanks for the response.

You mentioned in one of your earlier posts that 35Ns have access to everything, compared to 35F. Does that translate to the job being more interesting or challenging?

Which of the MOSs do you think has more exit options if I wanted to find a civilian intelligence job someday?
 

GOTWA

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@lindy would it be safe to say 35N's are really weird? They're the group of people that will rather play dungeons and dragons on a Saturday afternoon rather than watch anything athletic or go outside. Very analytical and non-emotional. Plenty of work for them on the outside of the military. I'd say the more outgoing and personable you are the more opportunity for field work. My experience anyway.
 

Brill

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You mentioned in one of your earlier posts that 35Ns have access to everything, compared to 35F. Does that translate to the job being more interesting or challenging?

Which of the MOSs do you think has more exit options if I wanted to find a civilian intelligence job someday?

That depends: do you enjoy crossword puzzles, “jumbles”, or games with words? Or are puzzles, models, rebuilding engines more your fancy?

I think any 35-series (and sister equivalents) job is a great springboard to civilian intel world, govvie or contractor. In my opinion, the “hot jobs” for civilians are 35P, 35N, & 17C.

For what it’s worth, the Office of General Counsel at any agency would love your experience...and a potential clearance!
 
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Brill

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@lindy would it be safe to say 35N's are really weird? They're the group of people that will rather play dungeons and dragons on a Saturday afternoon rather than watch anything athletic or go outside. Very analytical and non-emotional. Plenty of work for them on the outside of the military. I'd say the more outgoing and personable you are the more opportunity for field work. My experience anyway.

Stereotypically, Yes! SIGINTers enjoy D&D and Magic Cards during lunch breaks whereas HUMINTers enjoy interacting with others. Sometimes they cross contaminate though and you get guys who are nerds but like guns. Hence, the SOT-A or OST, TIO, and SOCS-F.
 

GOTWA

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Stereotypically, Yes! SIGINTers enjoy D&D and Magic Cards during lunch breaks whereas HUMINTers enjoy interacting with others. Sometimes they cross contaminate though and you get guys who are nerds but like guns. Hence, the SOT-A or OST, TIO, and SOCS-F.

That's funny about HUMINTers. The majority of CI personnel HATE other people. You can ask a group of us if we like talking to people and generally the answer will be no.
 
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