College Degree--Options in SF?

cryemeariver

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My name is Brian and I'm new to the forum. In case you didn't see my intro, I'm a senior at UNLV. I will graduate in spring 2013 with a BS in civil engineering. However, I don't plan to pursue a career in engineering.

I've always had the desire to serve my country, but even more so to be one of the best. The desire to do my best has been present in everything I've attempted since I was a kid. I had the idea to enlist right after high school, but I decided to get a degree first (mainly due to some parental nudging). I was a little confused on what I wanted to do as well. After 3 years of working hard and getting good grades in a major I have no interest in pursuing, I've made up my mind that I want to be in SF.

My question comes down to whether I should enlist or go to OCS after obtaining my degree. I've talked to quite a few people and the answers always seem to be consistent. Among recruiters or new (or fairly new) active-duty guys, I should enlist. Among enlisted guys or officers who have been serving for a while or have finished serving, they all say to become an officer. I think it's also important to point out that most of these conversations were in the context of joining the conventional army, not SF.

From my understanding, if I were to become an officer, I wouldn't have a slot at SFAS until I become a captain, whereas I could sign an 18x contract upon enlisting, and get put in the 2-year SF pipeline.

I'm looking for experienced and objective opinions. What better place to ask then an actual community full of guys who are or have been there? Thanks for your input.
 

Marauder06

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My name is Brian and I'm new to the forum. In case you didn't see my intro, I'm a senior at UNLV. I will graduate in spring 2013 with a BS in civil engineering. However, I don't plan to pursue a career in engineering.

I've always had the desire to serve my country, but even more so to be one of the best. The desire to do my best has been present in everything I've attempted since I was a kid. I had the idea to enlist right after high school, but I decided to get a degree first (mainly due to some parental nudging). I was a little confused on what I wanted to do as well. After 3 years of working hard and getting good grades in a major I have no interest in pursuing, I've made up my mind that I want to be in SF.

My question comes down to whether I should enlist or go to OCS after obtaining my degree. I've talked to quite a few people and the answers always seem to be consistent. Among recruiters or new (or fairly new) active-duty guys, I should enlist. Among enlisted guys or officers who have been serving for a while or have finished serving, they all say to become an officer. I think it's also important to point out that most of these conversations were in the context of joining the conventional army, not SF.

From my understanding, if I were to become an officer, I wouldn't have a slot at SFAS until I become a captain, whereas I could sign an 18x contract upon enlisting, and get put in the 2-year SF pipeline.

I'm looking for experienced and objective opinions. What better place to ask then an actual community full of guys who are or have been there? Thanks for your input.

I think Viper1 is our most recent/current SF officer, he might be able to help you out. There are many, many other SF-qualified members who might also be willing to provide input.

Advice from a non-SF guy: whatever you want to "be," go do that. If you want to "be in SF," then enlist. If you want to "be an officer in SF," then get your commission, pay your dues in the regular Army, then attempt to earn your way into SFAS and the pipeline that leads to 18A. This, of course, assumes that you have what it takes to serve in SF in any capacity. And with that, I'll leave it to those members who have served in those capacities to take this conversation further, if they choose to do so. I'll conclude by wishing you a sincere "good luck," and congratulating you on your decision to serve. Please keep us posted.
 

cryemeariver

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I think Viper1 is our most recent/current SF officer, he might be able to help you out. There are many, many other SF-qualified members who might also be willing to provide input.

Advice from a non-SF guy: whatever you want to "be," go do that. If you want to "be in SF," then enlist. If you want to "be an officer in SF," then get your commission, pay your dues in the regular Army, then attempt to earn your way into SFAS and the pipeline that leads to 18A. This, of course, assumes that you have what it takes to serve in SF in any capacity. And with that, I'll leave it to those members who have served in those capacities to take this conversation further, if they choose to do so. I'll conclude by wishing you a sincere "good luck," and congratulating you on your decision to serve. Please keep us posted.

I want to actually be out there, on the ground, getting dirty, doing the missions (however else one might phrase it). I guess a better way to rephrase my question would be "Do SF officers actually conduct missions with an ODA or are they behind the scenes giving the orders?"

I think I'm leaning more towards enlisting, but it never hurts to get as much information as possible before making a big life decision. Thanks, Marauder.
 

AWP

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I guess a better way to rephrase my question would be "Do SF officers actually conduct missions with an ODA or are they behind the scenes giving the orders?"

You will have far more opportunities for "hands on" work as an enlisted. Officers go out with their teams, but think about it for a second. An ODA is run by a Captain.... 10 of the 11 other slots are NCOs and the Warrant is a prior SF NCO before he goes that route unlike the Captain. The senior NCO on an ODA is an E-8...the ONLY officer is a Captain. You go to a team as an E-5.....or you go to a team as a Captain.

Even conventional officers spend a minimal amount of their career leading troops, SF is no exception to this rule.
 

cryemeariver

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You will have far more opportunities for "hands on" work as an enlisted. Officers go out with their teams, but think about it for a second. An ODA is run by a Captain.... 10 of the 11 other slots are NCOs and the Warrant is a prior SF NCO before he goes that route unlike the Captain. The senior NCO on an ODA is an E-8...the ONLY officer is a Captain. You go to a team as an E-5.....or you go to a team as a Captain.

Even conventional officers spend a minimal amount of their career leading troops, SF is no exception to this rule.

I wasn't aware of most of this, especially the bold. Thanks. I appreciate it.
 

AWP

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I wasn't aware of most of this, especially the bold. Thanks. I appreciate it.

The 75th is the exception to that rule as by the time you have a command position in the 75th, you've already had a successful tour at the same level in a conventional unit.

Figure for an Infantry O: 2 years as a PL, maybe 1 as a company XO, you might squeeze an additional year or so at the platoon level if you pick up a specialty platoon (if your original 2 years weren't cut short). 2 years as a Company Commander...and the rest is staff time until you are a senior Major and pick up a BN XO slot. Even with a platoon or company your best weapon is your radio...you aren't there to pull the trigger. As a broad rule, an O exists to plan and lead.
 

Karoshi

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Why not go 18x, get selected and complete the course, gain some experience on a team and then weigh the option of 180A after the appropriate time or getting a commission and trying again for 18A? Experience as an enlisted Soldier 18 series can only enhance the leadership lessons you pass on when you gain your commission and rejoin the regular Army prior to trying for 18A if that is the route you choose, right? Hopefully one of the SOF Verified personnel has been down this road before and can be a bit more helpful.
 

cryemeariver

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Why not go 18x, get selected and complete the course, gain some experience on a team and then weigh the option of 180A after the appropriate time or getting a commission and trying again for 18A? Experience as an enlisted Soldier 18 series can only enhance the leadership lessons you pass on when you gain your commission and rejoin the regular Army prior to trying for 18A if that is the route you choose, right? Hopefully one of the SOF Verified personnel has been down this road before and can be a bit more helpful.

Yeah, I think enlisting makes more sense for the path that I would like to take. I suppose my degree will help make me more competitive in selection. If not, then hooray for education! haha
 

0699

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Yeah, I think enlisting makes more sense for the path that I would like to take. I suppose my degree will help make me more competitive in selection. If not, then hooray for education! haha

Education is never a waste.
 

18C4V

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The war's over (winding down) and you better hurry up with your decision. Otherwise you will end up on an ODA either as enlisted or officer with no combat experience and that won't go very well on your first JCET with talking to the HN or trying to correct combat vets on your team with regards to tactics.
 

cryemeariver

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Education is never a waste.

I completely agree.

The war's over (winding down) and you better hurry up with your decision. Otherwise you will end up on an ODA either as enlisted or officer with no combat experience and that won't go very well on your first JCET with talking to the HN or trying to correct combat vets on your team with regards to tactics.

I can't really speed up the time. I won't be enlisting for another 2-3 years probably. Besides getting my degree, which will be completed next year, I have some past injuries I need to get fixed up and then start physically preparing. My injuries keep me from doing rigorous exercises right now. I want to make sure I'm 100% before I make the decision.

Also, what is JCET and HN?
 
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