First Post


Verified Military
Jan 2, 2011
Hey all,

I'm Andrew, a 35W in training in the US Army. After learning a little about SOT-A, I've realized that it is without a doubt the job I want. I have over a year of language training left before I'll be able to accomplish this goal, but that only gives me more time to train. The way I see it, I need to have the same physical/mental preparedness as an actual operator if I'm to have any hope of pulling my own weight and actually being an asset to the team. As such, I've found my way to sites such as this where I hope to learn as much as possible and immerse myself in the community that I long to be a part of.

That all being said, if there are any current/former SOT-A on the site that don't mind answering some questions, I'd love to hear from you.

Welcome. I worked wit ha few SOT-A teams... some sucked, some were great... one guy had a minor heart attack on an embedded training mission... he was that out of shape, other guys were in shape studs... be the latter, ruck your ass off.

To expand on this: be in shape, know your job, seek knowledge not schools or badges, don't whine, be a team player, exercise your brain as much as your body. In time, the "cool" stuff will happen, don't force it.

Good luck.
Welcome to the site, I hope you're able to realize your goal of joining a SOT-A team. I recommend 5th Group.
What rank are you now? I don't remember any of my SOT-As being lower than E6, but I could be wrong about that.

If you want to be on a SOT-A, I suggest three things. First, do very well in your current training. Make it so your instructors want to support your goal of going into SOF. Second, step up your physical fitness level. At this stage in your career you have very little to set yourself apart from your peers. Your overall fitness level is a distinguisher plus it will serve you well no matter what you end up doing in the Army. Third, let your branch manager know you want to go to a SOT-A. Unless something has changed recently it's still a "needs of the Army" assignment.

You don't need the same mental/physical preparation as an operator, you need a sufficient level of mental/physical prep in order to SUPPORT the operators. That's an important distinction. You've got to be able to pull your weight but it's more important that you're able to perform the functions they expect of you, which in your case is going to be SIGINT, particularly your language capability. If you can't do something better than the people you're supporting, why will they want you around? Be the best you can at your job. PT will impress people in the sort term, but in the long term as an enabler your credibility is going to be tied to how well you can do YOUR job, not how well you can do the operators' jobs.
Hey all,
That all being said, if there are any current/former SOT-A on the site that don't mind answering some questions, I'd love to hear from you.

Didn't I square you away when you contacted me on

Ofcourse if you took the time to respond back to my reply of your PM perhaps I would of helped..

I'm feeling kind.

I spent 16 years of my life as a SOT-A trooper. I started out as an 05H (Morse Code Intercept Operator) then crossed over to 98H when the 05H went away. I then picked up Spanish, and became a 98G, got the "V" Identifier, and kept on truckin'.

When I started out, SOT-A was not called that. It was called CEWI Teams. I saw the SOT-A mission go from the red headed step child, to the front seat overnight in Afghanistan.

Being a Guard SOT-A guy, what I noticed was, the SOT-A bubba's I worked with were consumate professionals. We had some differing personalities, but we stayed together for a very long time. We had no MOS producing school to teach us the ways of the ODA. We had to learn it OJT. We had to learn how to patrol like the ODA, how to Infil with them, do MDMP, and we had to carry our own commo shit. The fill we use in our radio systems were 'higher' than the fill in the ODA's... so we had to duplicate the load. SOT-A rucks were notoriously heavy monsters.

Not only did we have to score HIGHER on the DLPT in our given language than the ODA, we had to have a HIGHER clearance, We had to know every peice of radio gear that the 18E knew, and be highly proficient with it... AND we had to be proficient with fieldcraft.

We had to know how to shoot, move and communicate. If the ODA's thought we were shitbags, we didn't get invited on missions. Yet, every year, we had to certify and validate with them, to the same standards... physically, tactically and technically.

In Afghanistan, we were out on the tip of the spear, side by side with the ODA's... most times, driving the mission with the shit we did. So, my heart is, and always WILL be, TAC-SIGINT.

I left Group in the begining of 2003 to cross over into the TAC HUMINT side of the house. I don't regret it one bit.

Either way, your OP TEMPO will be sky high. I still have some very close friends in the SOT-A world, and even though the mission has changed a bit from when I was doing it, the type of soldier it takes to DO the mission is still the same.

It is a very rewarding career... but, it's more of a back seat type of glory. You will never grace the front page of a magazine, or be featured on the USASOC website. But, you can trace your roots to the early ASA days. Good stuff!!!