Welcome to the ShadowSpear Mentor Program!


SOF Support
Sep 8, 2006
Welcome to the ShadowSpear SOF Mentor Program.

Want to be mentored? Go to the mentor groups section and request to join a group. Note that some group members have requirements and others do not.

We encourage you to read the following prior to joining a group:

Joining a Mentorship Group
Per the suggestions of numerous members, we have created mentor groups within our "SOF Mentor Program." We have a number of categories in order for you to find a mentor with the background you are looking for, since it is obvious one size does not fit all. You are more than welcome to "shop" around to find a mentor, but please note that each mentor might have requirements for joining his or her group. Check out the different groups, and if you find one you feel is appropriate for you, simply follow the mentor’s posted rules for that particular group.

After joining, members are free to leave a mentor group at any time, without affecting their membership status on the site (unless site rules are broken). Members of mentor groups might also be asked to leave at the discretion of the group’s main mentor. If you'd rather not use the mentor groups, feel free to post in the below forum to solicit input from the entire community.

You will find mentors from many different backgrounds, and with many different mentoring styles. What happens in the mentorship groups is between the mentors and the group members. Consequently, ShadowSpear staff will usually not intervene in any disputes arising inside the groups, either with the mentor or the way he/she runs their group (exceptions including violations of site policy and illegal/unethical activity). Although we expect mentors to uphold the site policy and the high standards of the SOF community, the intent is to give mentors wide latitude in deciding the best techniques for his or her group.

Becoming a Mentor
Only vetted members are permitted to mentor and no permission is required from the staff. To become a mentor, simple create a mentorship group through the link in the navbar. If later you decide that you no longer want to be a mentor, we request that you delete your group, or send a request to a moderator requesting that the group be locked. If you would like an additional mentorship category added, please make the suggestion in the help desk portion of the forum.

Additional Guidance for Mentors and Group Members
This forum is primarily for verified SOF personnel to mentor the men and women who have taken the first steps to join the ranks of SOF. This is a forum for all SOF units, and all SOF specialties and career fields. This is NOT a forum for chest-beating and spouting off about how bad you are/were/are going to be. Professionalism is key.

This is not the forum for generalized questions about “what SOF unit is right for me” or “what can I expect in “XXX unit.” This is for men and women who have made a commitment to a specific SOF path and are seeking mentors to help them reach their specific goals.

The primary posters in the SOF mentorship groups will be site members who have “Verified SOF” or “Verified SOF Support” tags beneath their usernames, and the people asking them questions. An obvious exception to this rule is if you are a subject matter expert in a certain area that is under discussion in a particular thread.

Please note that features will be upgraded and modified from time to time to improve your group. If, for whatever reason, there is a considerable change to the scripting that will ultimately result in the loss of data, you will be notified in advance to copy the pertinent data. The ShadowSpear SOF Mentor Program is BETA, and efforts to improve it will be ongoing.

Advice for Individuals Seeking Mentorship
Nothing you have done so far in your life is going to impress anyone else here. It’s what you do from here on out that counts. Be honest, be humble, and most importantly be yourself. Internet badasses don’t last long here, and neither will you if you come in with some kind of attitude (this applies equally to Mentors and group members).

Do your research first. You’ll probably get your feelings hurt if you don’t. Don’t waste our time and yours by asking questions that have been previously asked and answered on the site.

Choosing the Perfect SOF Job (for you)
Okay wannabes and newbies, I’m going to try and codify my thoughts on how to go about choosing that “perfect” job for you in the military. Since this is a SOF oriented board and the majority of you want to be “high speed” I’ll start there and also include some of the other “cool” jobs. This is a forest-level view and not intended to answer specific questions. If I forget something, my sincerest apologies to the affected career field, I’m going off of memory here.

Note to Board as a whole: We don't discuss SMU's here.

shoot, jump, dive, break things. Expect to be cold and miserable at some point in your life, perhaps often. If you wash out of BUD/S then you go back to the fleet. Chipping paint is the price for failure.
EOD: Dive, jump, blow shit up. Expect to risk your life dealing with potentially unstable explosives. If a unit finds an IED, you get the call. Old ordnance of an unknown type? Your phone rings. The EOD course is physically and mentally demanding. Price of failure? See above.
SWCC: Drive fast boats and maintain them. Get to shoot a variety of weapons. Limited MFF slots are available. Failure? See also “SEALs” and “EOD”.

Special Forces:
Shoot, jump (static line), and most importantly you’ll work with the locals. You may or may not get to break things. Limited MFF and SCUBA slots exist. If you don’t like cultures other than your own, this isn’t the place for you. Failure during the Q Course? Needs of the Army based on your MOS.
Rangers: Break shit. You do Direct Action in support of SOF units. Failure? Needs of the Army based on your MOS.
LRS: Jump (static line), expect to spend time in a thing called a “hide site” up close and personal with others on your team for days on end. You gather intel, engaging the bad guys is secondary. Must be an 11B. Unless you are in the Guard this isn’t a career field, you’ll go back to a line infantry unit at some point.
160th SOAR: Anywhere in the world, +/- 30 seconds. Limited jump slots exist. If you aren't flying someplace you support those that do. Not everyone will get to spend their careers in the unit. When that happens it is the needs of the Army.
PSYOP: Deploy in small teams to wage psychological operations. Trained under USASOC but may deploy with conventional forces.
Civil Affairs: Mostly a Reserve function, but there is an Active CA unit at Ft. Bragg. You’ll help rebuild a nation, “hearts and minds” stuff.

Air Force:
Pararescue (PJ’s):
Dive, jump, medical training, shooting. You get MFF and SCUBA as part of your initial training. Failure during the Pipeline? Needs of the Air Force.
Combat Control: Set up airfields, terminal guidance of ordnance. Jump, dive, shoot. You get MFF and SCUBA as part of your initial training. You’ll spend a fair amount of time working with the other services. Failure during the Pipeline? Needs of the Air Force.
TACP: Terminal guidance of ordnance. You live with the Army and work with them. Limited opportunities to go to a SOF unit after you’ve cut your teeth. Failure during the training? Needs of the Air Force.
Special Operations Weather: Start out doing regular weather work. Assess into a SOWT slot. Work with SOF units. Failure? Back to a regular meteorology unit.
SERE Instructor: The only specialist slot like it in the US military. You get a chance to go to jump school and maybe MFF. You primarily train aircrews or work during the repatriation process for POWs. You don’t go downrange. Some SERE guys do parachute testing for the AF out at Edwards AFB.
Special Operations Wings/ Squadrons: Too many flight positions to list, can be entry level. MH-53 airframes are retiring and will be replaced by the Osprey, aircrew manning will shift accordingly.
6th SOS: The Air Force FID unit. Takes experienced members of various AFSC’s and provides language training. Go forth and train the 3rd world.

Marine Corps:
Marine Reconnaissance Battalions:
3 Active, 1 Reserve. Support a Marine division primarily through gathering intel. The potential for jumping (static and freefall), diving, sniping, and other schools exists.
Marine Special Operations Battalions: Absorbed the Force Recon companies. Conduct Direct Action and Special Reconnaissance. Jump (both types), dive, shoot, etc.
Marine Special Operations Advisory Group: Conduct Foreign Internal Defense training as directed by USSOCOM.
Marine Special Operations Support Group: Provides support to SOF missions as directed by MARSOC. This includes planning, K-9 support, communications, logistics, and intel.


SOF/ Joint Communications Assignments

Personnel can volunteer for these positions (especially the Ranger Regiment) but most are assigned by their branch.
Special Forces: Entry level, non Special Forces qualified personnel are assigned to SF Battalions and a Group Support Company. They are usually jump qualified. Training and available schools vary from unit to unit.
Rangers: Communicators assigned to Ranger BNs will usually accompany company or BN sized elements. 11B’s are also used after cross training.
160th SOAR: Entry level personnel occupy positions within the Regiment. Some are jump qualified.
112th Signal BN: Entry level, airborne qualified personnel are assigned to this unit. They are capable of deploying on a moment’s notice, anywhere in the world. Some positions are forward deployed.

Air Force:
Communications support for SOF units is limited to maintenance support. These positions are usually assigned. Jump school attendance is rare.

Hook a brother up, I’m a little lost here.

Marine Corps:
Hook a brother up, I’m a little lost here.

Joint Communications Unit (JCU):
SOCOM’s communications support element. Not entry level.

Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE):
Support Joint Task Forces and Joint Special Operations Task Forces with a variety of equipment. Some personnel are airborne qualified. You can volunteer or be assigned.


Other jobs? Luck of the draw. IT slots for example. You might get high speed equipment to work on, you might get crap. You may have great responsibilities, you might sit on your ass. You might get training towards certifications, you might not. No matter your job your leadership may be great, they may be mediocre, they may suck. You might love your time in uniform, you might hate it.

Expect to get shot at and if it doesn’t happen, you “win.” Expect to deploy. Expect to work outside of your career field (needs of the [insert service here]). Expect to have your x month deployment extended to y months. Expect to be cold, hungry, tired, and dirty at times. Don’t expect to go where you want to.

The thing is, you can't worry about the "cool" stuff, you have to focus on the core competencies of that career field first. Look at what the job does first, worry about the "how" later.

A SOF job will destroy a weak marriage/ relationship or strengthen one that is already strong. To a lesser extent the same can be said for any job in the military.


So here’s a very, very rough start. Maybe someone will pick up the torch and improve upon it. There’s plenty of room for it, I left a lot of holes.

Thank you for your commitment to serve our country, and for taking the first steps towards joining our ranks in the SOF community.
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Just some friendly advice regarding the mentor program:

1. Make sure you are requesting entry into the proper group. Do not request US Army Special Forces if you want to join MARSOC or be a PJ or be a SEAL.
1.a - if there is no group available, contact @ShadowSpear and they will create a community run group that you can join until a mentor is assigned.

2. Make sure you have your required posts- your introduction, and one in the First Post thread in this sub-forum that states your motivation, focus, goals and your level of preparation. You will be rejected if all we know is "I've wanted to be a ___________ since I was a little kid."
2.a - do not blow smoke or say what you think the mentoring staff want to hear.​

3. Do your research. If you have uncorrectable 20/400 vision, are color blind, have asthma, can't obtain a security clearance, have tattoos of dubious character or show when you wear a t-shirt, etc. you are not going to be eligible. the information is out there, find it.

4. Write professionally. NO text speak. Use proper sentence structure. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, capitalization and usage; they are important.

5. Remember you are asking for people to give up their time to help you reach a goal, be polite, do not expect us to do your research. We are fine with guiding you to finding the right information, but you will not be spoon fed.

6. You may hear things you disagree with because you don't know what the mentors know - do not argue, don't get bent out of shape, don't feel you are being picked on - this is a fact of life in the military, you will not be treated with kid gloves.

7. Attention to detail, self motivation, intelligence, self reliance, strength of character, morality and ethics are keys in joining any SOF, they are as important as being a PT stud.

8. The failure rate at Assement and Selection/SFAS/Training courses for the units you hope to join are high, even given the caliber of the people allowed to try. Have a good, solid, well researched backup plan in place. Look to your right, look to your left, 2 of the 3 of you will not be here at the end of the course, if you are lucky.
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