Betenhauser

SOF Support
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
29
Location
Tampa
Do you enjoy your job?

I left active duty in 2010. I was a radio mech and didn't care for the work. Became a nurse, which still isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I'm in nursing leadership now and NP school with rotations at one of my state's VA hospitals. I have been looking at going back in after I graduate, or contracting with [insert acronym-agency here]. I'll make a post about it once I'm settled.

Do you have any further advice and wisdom for me in moving forward?

Take everything I say with a grain of salt, but as rewarding as supporting SF would be, I suspect you might just want to be SF. In which case, you ought to continue to talk to guys on here who are SF, or even call the SF recruiter and discuss options. Things will start to solidify as they give you legit info directly.

Don't forget that there are National Guard SF units too. 19th SFG/20th SFG
 
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Arf

SWCC
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
483
Location
United States
SSMP
SOF Mentor
Whatever your experience of your choice is, please let us know. There are many older guys looking to make these choices, and few who can give answers at that age. I’m an older guy who is considering crossing over to SF myself, yet I also have the same ideas about Nursing and PA, so I am curious about what you choose and how it works out.
 

Buff Commander

Unverified
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
14
Thank you for all of that information, Betenhauser. I’ll reach out to the SF recruiters for sure. I’ve been researching a lot of this for multiple months now. It’ll be good to actually talk to the SF recruiters and get some actuals.

I still have a few options I’m trying to weigh. And since I’m older and don’t have a lot more time to live and learn, I’ve got to be picky in my choice.

When will you graduate? Are you going to direct commission?
 

Buff Commander

Unverified
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
14
Whatever your experience of your choice is, please let us know. There are many older guys looking to make these choices, and few who can give answers at that age.
Hey Arf, I’ll certainly keep everyone updated on my experiences. This is going to take me some time to figure it out, so it’s going to be a long road. Not just in making the decision of the route I want to take , but gathering further information, more interviews of active/retired guys, interviewing with the recruiters, and continuing to get into shape which I need plenty of more time for (I’m considering seeking help from 18Alpha Fitness), plus I’m still not happy about the military covid vax requirements. If you want to talk some more hit me up, I can share what I’ve found so far.
 

Brill

SOF Support
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Messages
4,896
Location
221B Baker St
Nothing to figure out honestly. When you hear the Siren’s song, you cannot do anything to tune it out. SOF forces are full of financial analysts, computer nerds, athletes from all levels & every sport, and even small town farmers but many had much more comfortable & stable lives yet went “All In”.

Not all SOF support jobs are back in the rear either. I never had a SF guy ask me or my team to help with FID because we were busy digging into backgrounds of their students (same with KLEs; not involved with leaders but knew a lot about them…and their social circles…and their dick pics).

If you’re a good SOF guy, the team will consider you invaluable to their ops, whatever their mission is. If you’re a good SOF support guy, the team will consider you invaluable to their ops, whatever their mission is.

In my case, A team we were attached to took us out with them on occasion (prob cuz we were Guard and I was old) but one gunfight changed that. Just a few weeks later, we did stuff* with the Fox, Delta, and two SOT-As accompanying our partner force; the rest of the ODA was our QRF.

*When you gotta stop by a friend’s house at 0230 to wish them a Happy Birthday, sometimes 14 dudes are too big, too slow, and too loud.
 

Buff Commander

Unverified
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
14
Nothing to figure out honestly. When you hear the Siren’s song, you cannot do anything to tune it out. SOF forces are full of financial analysts, computer nerds, athletes from all levels & every sport, and even small town farmers but many had much more comfortable & stable lives yet went “All In”.

Not all SOF support jobs are back in the rear either. I never had a SF guy ask me or my team to help with FID because we were busy digging into backgrounds of their students (same with KLEs; not involved with leaders but knew a lot about them…and their social circles…and their dick pics).

If you’re a good SOF guy, the team will consider you invaluable to their ops, whatever their mission is. If you’re a good SOF support guy, the team will consider you invaluable to their ops, whatever their mission is.

In my case, A team we were attached to took us out with them on occasion (prob cuz we were Guard and I was old) but one gunfight changed that. Just a few weeks later, we did stuff* with the Fox, Delta, and two SOT-As accompanying our partner force; the rest of the ODA was our QRF.

*When you gotta stop by a friend’s house at 0230 to wish them a Happy Birthday, sometimes 14 dudes are too big, too slow, and too loud.
Brill, I appreciate you sharing all of that. I finally figured out the path I'm going to take to get to where I want to be. I've decided to pursue the Army officer route through OCS application. It's the right decision for me. It'll give me time to get experience, learn the Army, improve, and make the decision to go out for SOF at first lieutenant promotable. I still have a long way to go in terms of being in shape and prepared. But, I'm excited for the process.
 

Jaygo

Unverified
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
6
Location
Japan
Yet, I always felt I wasn't doing what I should have been doing. In 2021 I finally realized I had lost the passion and fulfillment I once had. My job is all about helping others, serving others, and I love that. But the way in which I was doing it was no longer satisfactory.
Like many have stated, very nice resume, and congratulations on your accomplishments thus far.

I really sympathize with what I think you're feeling. The itch does not go away. I was in the Marines for an enlistment, completed MARSOC A&S, but was not selected. That was heart breaking, but after reflecting on it for the last 5 years, it's become clear that my maturity was not where it needed to be. Got out, earned a B.S. in physics, and now have an engineering job as a DoD contractor. The pay is very nice, the work is intellectually stimulating, and I still get to support the warfighter in putting warheads on foreheads.. but it does not provide the fulfillment that I suspect both of us are seeking.

I was really hoping the itch would go away, but it's just not.. and the clock is ticking.
Brill, I appreciate you sharing all of that. I finally figured out the path I'm going to take to get to where I want to be. I've decided to pursue the Army officer route through OCS application. It's the right decision for me. It'll give me time to get experience, learn the Army, improve, and make the decision to go out for SOF at first lieutenant promotable. I still have a long way to go in terms of being in shape and prepared. But, I'm excited for the process.
-Have you thought about what you'll try to branch as? I've been debating this route, attempt to branch infantry (obviously no guarantees here), then look at SOF. Downside, you're likely only looking at a few years in an operational capacity on the commissioned side (someone can correct me if this is an inaccurate assessment). It is also a very indirect route to SOF with many break points along the road.

-This has me leaning SF Guard enlisted (get to keep my civilian job, so that's a bonus). I broke out the ol ruck for some runs recently, and DAMN there are some new pains that didn't exist 5 years ago. I finally got my times within standards (still much room for improvement), but aging is a painful mean b*tch. It really gave me a new found admiration and respect for the older guys that have been ground pounders for a decade or more and still crushing it. Truly admirable.

-Army aviation then 160th is also a current front runner and I already have my PPL. But again, this is a very indirect route to SOF with even more break points.

Good luck in your endeavors, keep us updated, and happy grinding.
 

Buff Commander

Unverified
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
14
Like many have stated, very nice resume, and congratulations on your accomplishments thus far.
Hey, thank you, Jaygo. I appreciate the feedback guys are giving me, honestly, I didn't feel like my accomplishments were all that good. But, I believe I've been looking at the all wrong. So, I appreciate you and the guys, your kind words are greatly appreciated.

I really sympathize with what I think you're feeling. The itch does not go away. I was in the Marines for an enlistment, completed MARSOC A&S, but was not selected. That was heart breaking, but after reflecting on it for the last 5 years, it's become clear that my maturity was not where it needed to be. Got out, earned a B.S. in physics, and now have an engineering job as a DoD contractor. The pay is very nice, the work is intellectually stimulating, and I still get to support the warfighter in putting warheads on foreheads.. but it does not provide the fulfillment that I suspect both of us are seeking.

I was really hoping the itch would go away, but it's just not.. and the clock is ticking.
You know, I was thinking about this the other day. I think the itch really comes from just wanting to find that greater purpose in life. I could be totally off base with that assessment. But if I knew I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing then I don't think I'd feel that itch. Being a previous enlisted guy I know you got your time in, did your duty and then, man, you moved on to BIG things. Like that is insanely impressive. And your experience with MARSOC helped you get to where you are now. I love that you're looking into a guard option, you still have your awesome job and you get to scratch that itch. I know we don't know each other and maybe it sounds weird, but with true sincerity, I'm really proud of you, man.
-Have you thought about what you'll try to branch as? I've been debating this route, attempt to branch infantry (obviously no guarantees here), then look at SOF. Downside, you're likely only looking at a few years in an operational capacity on the commissioned side (someone can correct me if this is an inaccurate assessment). It is also a very indirect route to SOF with many break points along the road.

-This has me leaning SF Guard enlisted (get to keep my civilian job, so that's a bonus). I broke out the ol ruck for some runs recently, and DAMN there are some new pains that didn't exist 5 years ago. I finally got my times within standards (still much room for improvement), but aging is a painful mean b*tch. It really gave me a new found admiration and respect for the older guys that have been ground pounders for a decade or more and still crushing it. Truly admirable.

-Army aviation then 160th is also a current front runner and I already have my PPL. But again, this is a very indirect route to SOF with even more break points.

Good luck in your endeavors, keep us updated, and happy grinding.
I've been thinking about this deeply. It's been on my mind and I'm constantly thinking about my options. I spoke with Jake Zweig on the phone a few weeks back, he's a Navy Seal officer veteran. Check him out on YouTube, he helps out a ton of dudes who are trying to go Seals and other SF. He's just got a ton of great information and he really hold no punches. I highly recommend you check out his video talking about going enlisted versus officer. Anyway, with all the research I've done that video really hit it home for me, and talking with him over the phone was even better. He talked about things I already know, like how what you want out of life changes as you age and if this route is even worth the time. We talked about a good amount of other things too, like going infantry officer and why he recommends that to guys who want to go SOF. He gave me a lot to think about.

I won't go enlisted, I've weighed the pros and cons and its not worth it, in my opinion. I can still have the option to go Ranger or SF with the officer path. Everyone wants to get there fast, and I thought I wanted to as well, but taking your time to get there isn't a bad thing. Plus, if I were to enlist and quit, get injured, or not get selected, now I'm screwed. Well, if you enlist and get an MOS you like then you might be alright, but you know it better than I do how you'll have to endure all the BS of being an enlisted man. And I don't want to be stuck as an enlisted guy, with a degree, 32 years old, scrubbing toilets, taking orders from guys well younger than me who may also be incompetent. If I enlist and fail I'm stuck for 4 years, if I enlist in 18X and fail, I'm screwed for 6 YEARS. Guys fail all the time, the statistics are against us. Still doable, just me thinking out loud there.

Going officer is not a direct route, but it does give me time to cut my teeth, learn the military, and it gives me room for growth in rank. Maybe I get through my few years as an officer and I love what I'm doing and decide not to go SOF. Maybe I find out it's truly not for me. OR maybe I find out it really is for me and then I go out there and get after it. That experience in my eyes is going to be valuable, it's not bad. If I'm not mistaken I believe those SF guys are older, in their early to mid 30s. Where as the Rangers are primarily young guys. I never ran before this year, that was a shock on my body, I had to nurse runners knee a couple times on the same knee, so I know what you mean about feeling those "old man" pains. really gives you that appreciation for the guys still in there getting after it. Plus, the opportunity to go to Ranger school as an officer and get a Ranger tab, one of the best (if not the best) leadership courses you can ever get in the military. I believe an article I read said only 7% of all the Army have one. Not to mention the opportunity for other schools, maybe, if the Army if feeling it.

I've had a few thoughts. I've been thinking military intelligence, the work sounds stimulating and I'll get a security clearance which can help me be a great candidate for a three letter agency or elsewhere once I get out of the military. I was also thinking, and bare with me now, helicopter pilot. It's a fat commitment in terms of service years, but that's a job to fall in love with man, plus the opportunity for post military life is astounding. I thought about infantry officer as well, it would certainly help prepare you as a leader. But I remember Jake Zweig and I talking on the phone, he was telling me that you'll be in charge of great and brilliant guys, but then you'll also be babysitting a lot young incompetent children. They need infantry officers so I don't think that role is in short supply. Not a bad job, just an interesting perspective Jake gave me.

I'm still trying to figure it all out. I haven't gotten as far as I want to. I still need to study for the ASVAB, it's been forever since I took high school math, and math was always a weakness of mine. I'll also need that math if I want to take the SIFT for aviation. I believe you'll also need to take the SIFT for aviation (even if not going for a pilot job). So, I've gotta keep getting in shape. I'm dropping weight, my running has improved dramatically, and I'm getting some very much needed flexibility and ROM back. I also need to reach out to an Army officer recruiter to see what I need to do to get things rolling, I know it can take months to go through the OCS application process, board interview, and all that.

Some not so fun things are happening at work, so that's also a nice kick in the pants to keep pushing.
 
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