Looking for best route to 18A for prior service 12B

Chuck12B

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I was an active Army 12B from 02-06. I got out, went to school and just finished my bachelors degree. My eventual goal is to be an 18A and I've gathered what I believe to be most of the info on how to achieve this, either going straight to OCS, then a few years conventional before SFAS, or 18x, a few years as an NCO, OCS, a few years conventional, then the Q-course as an officer. I'm 27, will be 28 when I go back next year hopefully, so time is a factor.

Although I was an NCO my last year in, I'm inclined towards setting my sights on being an SF NCO for several years before going to OCS and moving towards 18A. It means extra time but hypothetically I could get to OCS well before I was 35 (cutoff age for active OCS applicants).

It's my understanding that officers applying to SFAS have a more narrow window during which to get to SFAS. In addition to wanting SF experience as an NCO before going for 18A, this also seems like a safer bet and a route with fewer possible roadblocks to getting into what I have heard and what I believe has got to be the best career path in the Army.

I'm trying to cut down on the number of unknown variables in this plan and hopefully find some advice/insight from those with firsthand knowledge of these endeavors. So I guess I'm asking if anyone knows of factors important to this process that I'm likely ignorant of, and if anyone has opinions as to which path is best.

Hope that articulates where I'm at in my thought process well. And thanks for this sub-forum!
 

Etype

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Officers have to meet benchmarks(like staff and command positions) throughout their career like NCOs, except they have to make them on pace with their year group. Selection is harder for officers since there are 1/13 of the officers in SF. I'd say 20% of them were SF NCOs who went to OCS and the other 70% were shit-hot infantry officers from the 82nd, 101st, and Ranger Regiment. Mech INF makes up another 5% with the last 5% being anomalies from wherever. It's hard to become an INF officer in the first place, that's what everybody wants.

If you come back in as an O, they may push you towards the engineer branch. Either way, you need to go to Ranger school, hit all your career progression benchmarks, get a great recommendation, be a physical machine, and be lucky- and that's how you become an 18A.
 

TLDR20

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Have you considered SF Warrant after serving as an NCO?
Unless you aspire to be a great staff officer.

Great point, there is/was a push fir senior guys to go that route a lol while ago.
 

Chuck12B

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I only have a general idea about what the warrants do. I've never talked to one and have never heard a whole lot what their careers are like, so it hadn't really crossed my mind. One thing I'm wondering; do warrant officers generally stay on a team their whole careers?

By the way, thanks for the excellent feedback.
 

TLDR20

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I only have a general idea about what the warrants do. I've never talked to one and have never heard a whole lot what their careers are like, so it hadn't really crossed my mind. One thing I'm wondering; do warrant officers generally stay on a team their whole careers?

By the way, thanks for the excellent feedback.

Warrants are the continuity on the team. They are normally guys who have done at least 5 years on an ODA who then go to the warrant course. THey then have another 5 or so years on that team. My warrant had 13 years straight team time, when he became a company warrant. If you want a lot of team time, that is the way to go.
 

moobob

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This is the military in general, but: If you want to be an officer, then be an officer. If you are capable of doing it right now, and want to do it, then do it right now.

Someone with the capability to be a good officer is going to be a good officer without enlisted experience.
 

goon175

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Going Warrant is the best of both worlds (officer and enlisted) it seems to me. I'm not in SF, don't know anything about warrants on an ODA, but just generally speaking every warrant I have ever talked with absolutely loves his job.

Edit: I can't say the same for every officer or enlisted soldier I have ever met.
 

Brill

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Going Warrant is the best of both worlds (officer and enlisted) it seems to me. I'm not in SF, don't know anything about warrants on an ODA, but just generally speaking every warrant I have ever talked with absolutely loves his job.

Completely agree: they can kick ass, are experts in their MOS, but don't have the "babysitting" responsibilities.
 

Etype

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I only have a general idea about what the warrants do. I've never talked to one and have never heard a whole lot what their careers are like, so it hadn't really crossed my mind. One thing I'm wondering; do warrant officers generally stay on a team their whole careers?

By the way, thanks for the excellent feedback.

Warrants don't know what they do either. They are in charge when they want to be, and "just warrant officers" when they don't want to be.

Just kidding, but seriously- I'm sure warrant officers know what their job is, nobody else does though.
 

Warchief

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Becoming a SF Warrant Officer was one of the best decisions I made in my career. It allowed me to extend my time on an ODA much longer than I would have as an NCO. I had several unique opportunuities for training and missions that might not have been available if I remained as an NCO. I was able to add ODA Commander to my resume and have the honor and privilege of leading my ODA during combat. When it came time to move on and up to the ODB, Battalion and Group level, I'd like to believe that I was able to influence in a positive way the Group's leadership when we tasked and supported the ODAs.
 

Marauder06

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This is the military in general, but: If you want to be an officer, then be an officer. If you are capable of doing it right now, and want to do it, then do it right now. Someone with the capability to be a good officer is going to be a good officer without enlisted experience.

I agree with this statement. If you ever want to be an officer, sooner is better than later. I think you can go into SF from any basic accession officer branch, except for maybe aviation. I also concur that it's not necessary to be prior enlisted before becoming an officer, but that's probably a topic for another thread.

Warrants don't know what they do either. They are in charge when they want to be, and "just warrant officers" when they don't want to be.

Just kidding, but seriously- I'm sure warrant officers know what their job is, nobody else does though.
lol

I think Viper1 might be our most recent 18A, he might be able to provide the best input on the officer side of SF.
 

x SF med

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Becoming a SF Warrant Officer was one of the best decisions I made in my career. It allowed me to extend my time on an ODA much longer than I would have as an NCO. I had several unique opportunuities for training and missions that might not have been available if I remained as an NCO. I was able to add ODA Commander to my resume and have the honor and privilege of leading my ODA during combat. When it came time to move on and up to the ODB, Battalion and Group level, I'd like to believe that I was able to influence in a positive way the Group's leadership when we tasked and supported the ODAs.

I still consider you a defector, you used to be a great Medic... then you ran away and became a Warrant... :mad::ROFLMAO: still better than Spiro T... he went to med school and was never heard of again....
 

AWP

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Although I was an NCO my last year in, I'm inclined towards setting my sights on being an SF NCO for several years before going to OCS and moving towards 18A.

Just keep in mind that being a prior SF NCO doesn't guarantee you a slot at SFAS. Once you pin on your bar, no one cares how great of an NCO you used to be, they'll only care how great of an officer you are.
 

Viper1

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Chuck, send me a PM. I'll be happy to answer your questions. I'll post something up here soon in case others have questions.
 

Viper1

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I was an active Army 12B from 02-06. I got out, went to school and just finished my bachelors degree. My eventual goal is to be an 18A and I've gathered what I believe to be most of the info on how to achieve this, either going straight to OCS, then a few years conventional before SFAS, or 18x, a few years as an NCO, OCS, a few years conventional, then the Q-course as an officer. I'm 27, will be 28 when I go back next year hopefully, so time is a factor.

First, thanks for your service and congratulations on actually getting your degree. A lot of folks get out with that same plan, few actually achieve it. Nice that you have a Plan A and Plan B. Nothing wrong with either, and you seem aware that one involves more training and extra time.

Although I was an NCO my last year in, I'm inclined towards setting my sights on being an SF NCO for several years before going to OCS and moving towards 18A. It means extra time but hypothetically I could get to OCS well before I was 35 (cutoff age for active OCS applicants).

Nothing wrong with wanting to become an SF NCO before going to become an O. If you're worried about minimum age requirements, plan it out on a timeline and see if it is actually feasible. By the time you get done with Basic, AIT, SOPC, SFAS, WLC, Q Course, and your first 3 years of team time, you might be 32 maybe 33. If you go to OCS after that, you'll do a year in officer training, three years in the conventional Army, SFAS (again) then at least 6-8 months of the Q course (LNG, SUT maybe, Alpha Course, Sage), possibly more. You'll be at least 37-38 by then. Not impossible, I went to the course with a guy who was 38 years old, 20 years in service, and still healthy. Keep in mind, his tolerance for BS and "sleeping in bunk beds with a bunch of dudes" was LOW.

It's my understanding that officers applying to SFAS have a more narrow window during which to get to SFAS. In addition to wanting SF experience as an NCO before going for 18A, this also seems like a safer bet and a route with fewer possible roadblocks to getting into what I have heard and what I believe has got to be the best career path in the Army.
As far as being "safer", I'm not so sure. Keep in mind you'll do deployments, jumping, specialty training, and all sorts of other stuff before you decide to head to OCS. You might get broke, blown up, shot, or just plain tired. Or you might enjoy it so much as an NCO that you don't want to leave. Once you're in SF, if you decide to forgo the O route, you can still specialize within the NCO corps or go warrant eventually. Team Sergeant and Team Warrants and your seniors will help you with your career management once you make the cut. Keep in mind, selection is continuous and membership is never guaranteed. It's earned, everyday.

I'm trying to cut down on the number of unknown variables in this plan and hopefully find some advice/insight from those with firsthand knowledge of these endeavors. So I guess I'm asking if anyone knows of factors important to this process that I'm likely ignorant of, and if anyone has opinions as to which path is best.
Like I said earlier, work it out in a timeline. You'll have a moment of clarity at a point and go with it. As far as officers having a narrow window, that's definitely the case. One shot and that's it, unless you get injured and you get a second date to attend. Plenty of my Officer buddies (and myself) were in PNR mode. Going to SFAS burns a lot of bridges in conventional units. Also, I wouldn't call the NCO route "Safer". Plenty of people fail the MOS phases and they are NOT easy. I would have struggled with the weapons pile, construction, anatomy/physiology, and the the computer build. The SF MOS phases aren't for the weak-hearted, despite the jokes made about the 18Bs....
 

Rabid Badger

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As Viper can attest, let me know (PM) which route you choose.

Once you make the decision, your next 25m is S.F.A.S. and being the best troop in your immediate MDMP.

There are several open doors and fireside chats waiting for you in the Fayetteville area.

8-)
 
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