SF route w/o 18x contract?

Badger14

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Dec 31, 2018
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Hello all,

I'm a 24-year-old male, and I'm a new member on the site, but I've spent many hours lurking and finding some good information on this forum. Here's some background information that I believe is relevant to my current situation (double-bracketed), but since I may be wrong in that belief, I've underlined my specific questions:

{{ After having entered the Navy's Delayed Entry Program back in June 2015, shortly after I graduated college, I requested to leave the DEP in August of that year, while I was making myself competitive for an SO [SEAL] contract. I wanted to explore other options at the time. I took the LSAT in October 2015, scored well, and applied and was accepted with scholarships to all law schools to which I applied. However, I opted not to go to law school and instead did a volunteering stint at a legal service agency down in Philly, where I worked closely with attorneys doing Pro Bono work.

Fast-forward briefly to January 2017: I re-committed myself to getting back into the Navy's DEP and securing an SO contract to start the SEAL training pipeline. After a few months of training, I sustained a complete MCL tear and partial ACL tear to my right knee in April 2017, and I made matters worse by rushing my recovery (completing Murph on or about Memorial Day of that year)... A few months later, in July, I started experiencing severe lower back pain and was later diagnosed with a herniated disc between my L5 and S1 vertebrae. I couldn't bend forward from the waist or sit for extended periods of time without nerve pain, but thankfully, I rehabbed well and was asymptomatic by around January 2018.

Unfortunately, in attempting to re-enter the Navy's DEP in February 2018, I was permanently disqualified after revealing the injuries I had sustained to my right knee and then lower back; the Navy denied my waiver request and did not change its decision after I submitted additional medical documentation from the physical therapist I had seen months prior. }}

I know that I'm largely responsible for my current situation, and while the initial knee injury was arguably bad luck, I was terribly impatient and paid the price for not recovering properly at the time... I've spent some time looking into the Army, reasoning that it's the only branch for which I'd have a shot at a medical waiver, given that the Marines and Air Force (from what I've gathered) tend to be more selective than the Navy while the Army can afford to be as selective or less so. Specifically, I'm interested in going SF, but I understand that I'd be ineligible for an 18X contract with a medical waiver. With all the expository out of the way, which I hope has proven relevant up to this point, here's what I'm wondering:

- Is there still any chance of picking up an 18X contract while at boot camp? (I've read accounts of this, but they were dated, so I'm curious what's currently the case.)
- If the answer to the above is "No", what would the process of "dropping an SF packet" look like as an enlisted soldier, including the timeline? (I've heard from multiple recruiters I called up that I could drop an SF packet shortly after completing boot camp.)

Thank you for your time and attention. All informed responses, including critical/corrective ones, will be highly appreciated.
 

HemingwaysPen

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To make a long response short: Yes, you can pick up an 18X or even Option 40 while in OSUT. Stand out, crush PT, and chances are the drills will offer it to you or you can ask. They're giving them out like candy right now. As far as getting a medical waiver, it's probably a slim chance but don't take my word for it and be discouraged. It's case by case. Some guys get waivers and some don't. I can't answer what it's like requesting SFAS while in the regular army. Hope that helps!
 

Badger14

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Thank you for the quick and informative reply. That's consistent with what I had read, and it's good to get confirmation, so now I'll continue to gather more info and make the call. I'll of course need to get in touch with a recruiter regarding the waiver and then cross my fingers; everything hinges on that.
 

SpitfireV

Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!
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There is nothing like starting a career in an Infantry role with existing knee and back issues...


Yeah but the Americans have sherpas in the form of helicopters and trucks to carry their shit unlike you poor bastards down this end :ROFLMAO:
 

ecag

Army
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- Is there still any chance of picking up an 18X contract while at boot camp? (I've read accounts of this, but they were dated, so I'm curious what's currently the case.)
- If the answer to the above is "No", what would the process of "dropping an SF packet" look like as an enlisted soldier, including the timeline? (I've heard from multiple recruiters I called up that I could drop an SF packet shortly after completing boot camp.)
So I was prior infantry, after we turned in gear at osut, they gave us an opportunity to go talk to the SOF recruiters. Several guys with the required PT and GT scores got x-ray contracts. If you wait until your first duty station you’ll have to go the on base SOF receuiters and they can work with you.
As far as timeline, it varies depending on the path you take. If you get it at basic, you’ll immediately hit the pipeline. If you wait until your duty station it will depend on when they SOF receuiters sign off on when they feel you’re ready. Hope this helps. As far as you getting in with your injuries, that I can’t tell you.
 

Cannon850

Green Beret
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I can't add much as for you getting 18X at OSUT, but there is a huge push for SF right now so who knows.

What I do know is that I was told that you have to have a minimum of 1 yr at your initial duty station before you are eligible to start the q course. That being said.... I completed AIT and signed into my unit in August 2012. By the end of Oct I had volunteered for Selection and went to SFAS in January 2013. I returned to Ft Riley after selection and was able to get my unit to release me to work with the SOF recruiters until I PCS'd in May 2013. So my total time on station at Ft Riley was just over 9 months before I PCS'd to Bragg for the Q course.

So if it doesn't work out for you in Basic, don't worry too much just go talk to the SF recruiters when you get to your unit.
 

TYW27

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To tag along I’m somewhat in a similar situation. I don’t think my body is physically ready for an 18x pipeline so I’m considering going in as a different MOS. I’ve seen 11B or 13F recommended as good MOS’s to start from. I have been in touch with an older Ranger who told me to be careful what MOS I choose outside of 18x. He told me I won’t have time to train for SFAS, or my unit would prevent me from going. Or make it miserable. I was a SIGINT Marine. Would 35 series be a good idea or bad one? If I chose 11 or 13F what would my chances of being let go to Selection be?
 

Cookie_

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To tag along I’m somewhat in a similar situation. I don’t think my body is physically ready for an 18x pipeline so I’m considering going in as a different MOS. I’ve seen 11B or 13F recommended as good MOS’s to start from. I have been in touch with an older Ranger who told me to be careful what MOS I choose outside of 18x. He told me I won’t have time to train for SFAS, or my unit would prevent me from going. Or make it miserable. I was a SIGINT Marine. Would 35 series be a good idea or bad one? If I chose 11 or 13F what would my chances of being let go to Selection be?

I'm not green tagged, so I won't answer your question as to what an appropriate initial MOS is, but as for what I bolded; I've seen cooks, mechanics, medical personnel(other than 68W), admin clerks, etc, from my battalion at Campbell all go to SFAS and get selected. Our unit kept a pretty high field tempo, so there wasn't much "work" time for them to be training. They did everything on their own, and usually teamed up on weekends with guys from the infantry company willing to help teach them stuff like land Nav.

You've gotta be prepared to give up some of your free time, regardless of MOS or unit.
 

ecag

Army
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To tag along I’m somewhat in a similar situation. I don’t think my body is physically ready for an 18x pipeline so I’m considering going in as a different MOS. I’ve seen 11B or 13F recommended as good MOS’s to start from. I have been in touch with an older Ranger who told me to be careful what MOS I choose outside of 18x. He told me I won’t have time to train for SFAS, or my unit would prevent me from going. Or make it miserable. I was a SIGINT Marine. Would 35 series be a good idea or bad one? If I chose 11 or 13F what would my chances of being let go to Selection be?
If you go through the proper channels (SORB) there’s not a whole lot that can be done to stop you. That being said, your unit isn’t required to make any accommodations for you in order for you to prepare. While I didn’t attend SFAS on Active Duty, I was Infantry and our training op tempo was high enough that preparing for selection on your own time could’ve been daunting if you weren’t ready for it. As far 35 series, my wife is an AD 35 series and it all depends on the unit and MOS that you get. Some of her friends in the same brigade were constantly in the field, doing an FTX, or working shifts that would make PT more difficult. As Cookie_ stated, anything you do is going to require sacrifice to get prepared for selection. The real question is, what job are you ok with if you don’t get selected. I saw plenty of guys that I thought were going to make it wind up as non-selects with 2 year return dates. Just my .02 cents from what I’ve seen and been around.
 

TYW27

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Good points guys. That’s awesome news. I’m willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices, I’m just not very familiar with the Army way of doing things. I know that once I dropped a package for MARSOC my monitor gave me up for recruiting orders. I’ve heard that SF trumps the unit, but I wasn’t sure how that played out unofficially.
 

ecag

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Good points guys. That’s awesome news. I’m willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices, I’m just not very familiar with the Army way of doing things. I know that once I dropped a package for MARSOC my monitor gave me up for recruiting orders. I’ve heard that SF trumps the unit, but I wasn’t sure how that played out unofficially.
SF will trump the unit with you getting to leave, as in they can’t stop you. But your unit will have to allow you to PT with the SORB guys, but even if they do, they’ll also expect you to perform whatever duties you have until you leave for SFAS. I’ve seen that play out with guys in my old unit working to go to the various selections, as well as friends from other units. If you do get selected you can push to have the SORB guys pull you to assist them in recruiting, I believe. Again, the unit doesn’t have to sign off on that either and you could be stuck at your unit until you PCS to Bragg for the Q course.
 

LibraryLady

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Here's a thought for you. Many times when it comes down to those moments in the suck, the survivors will tell you they found the strength to go on because of their brothers next to them.

So ask yourself, do you think your knee will stay in good enough shape to support those brothers when you hit that moment?

Uncle Sam has a reason for medical limitations. They don't want to waste their money on training a body that can't hack the extremes. And SOF is the extreme.

Doesn't mean you can't rock other things in the military. Plenty of incredible positions available that need bodies that aren't quite extreme rated. You still get to have pride in being a part of something bigger than yourself.

LL
 

LibraryLady

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@LibraryLady - I’m not really sure what to say. I certainly don’t want to be a liability to the team. But I’m going to keep going until I can’t go any further.
My bad. My post is aimed at the OP, @Badger14, not you. I thought I'd hit reply, but that's what I get for doing this on my phone and not double-checking my post.

I'm glad, though, my post got you to think about what you're doing and why.

LL
 

TYW27

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No worries here! That was a tough one for me!

I also could have been less trigger happy with my keyboard. I noticed you mentioned knee problems which didn’t quite make sense. Sorry for jumping the gun.
 
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