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  #1  
Old 9 April 2000, 22:13
PatK9681 PatK9681 is offline
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Officer VS Enlisted

I get a general impression from the Navy, Army, and Marine Corps forums that if one really wants to see action and by that i mean combat in a spec ops team one should enlist rather than take a commision. Am I misinformed or are officers *generaly* just commanding their teams from headquarters?
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  #2  
Old 9 April 2000, 22:53
pn
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Generally, you're not going to be a trigger-puller if you're higher than O-3 (past this, you get into higher-level management, where you're responsible for the training and supply of hundreds of men). This limits the time you can spend in a direct-combat role. Enlisted people and Warrant Officers, however, can be operational as long as they're fit.

If memory serves, SF line officers spend no more than 18 months in command of an ODA. CWO ********** (screenname Tracy) has written a number of rants on this--look 'em up.

-pn
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  #3  
Old 10 April 2000, 01:46
soup82 soup82 is offline
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Maybe the wrong thread to post this, but the officer structure in SF is broke. Out of that 18 months, how much is really spent commanding a team? Take schools, taskings for various duties and an officer ends up with less and less time on a team. The fact is, if an officer comes into SF, his shortest SF assignment is to a team. In five years on a scuba team, I never had one scuba qualified officer (I've got too much respect for WO's to count them as officers). This hurt us when it came to deployments and missions. Sorry, even though you're all motivated enough to make it through scuba school, your team is not qualified for missions. Why? We didn't have an officer to hold our hands. One of the reasons I got out. They need to jerk officers off teams, leave a major in charge of the company, and WO's in charge of teams. In 18 months, there is no way an officer is going to gain more experience and be more capable than a WO with at least 10 years experience (my team sergeant had 15 years SF experience). Let O's concentrate on sticking their heads up the Group Cdr's butt and let the joes get on with the job. Another pet peeve is what happened to missions. When all the career slots opened up and all the new O's came in, (tell me if I'm wrong) they started looking at missions, and going "I don't want that mission, if something goes wrong, my career is screwed" I came into SF to go places and do hard, tough missions, not to have a career, get promoted early or wear a funny green hat (I can remember when we had to be ordered to wear our green beanies. Support wore green beanies and the teams stopped wearing them and started wearing patrol caps.) In closing, the thing I remember most about O's in group is that "bad" WO's were a rarity and talked about and O's were the opposite. A "good" O (capable, actually believed that an NCO with 15 years experience knew more than he did with one year of SFQC, able to meet the team standard physically) was unusual and talked about.

Cheers,

Patrick LaRocque
5th Grp 89-94
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  #4  
Old 10 April 2000, 12:29
Tracy
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Soup:

The only thing I can add is "FIRE FOR EFFECT".

Tracy
5th Group
77-93

p.s. You remember Brownlee (aka Elmer Fudd) and Conger (aka Elmer Fudd II)? I'd cite them as prime examples for your thread.
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  #5  
Old 10 April 2000, 14:47
Mike
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to soup82 and Tracy, did you ever write a letter or an article on your reforms to Special Warfare magazine? How about the chain of command? They won't listen to you, right? Or maybe the Special Forces Association can do something to close the loopholes. Or what would be the best forum for your suggestions and improvements (codewords for criticism and complaints). Never hurt to write a letter to your Congressmen and Senators of your state. You may be surprised what members of Congress can do (GAO reports, hearings, etc).
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  #6  
Old 10 April 2000, 19:17
Grant Grant is offline
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Why do they limit the amount of time an officer can spend in SF??? This seems stupid to me. AF Combat Controller, and I believe Navy SEAL, officers can stay on the teams as long as they want. Why doesnt the Army do the same? It would produce officers that would be alot more capable and experienced.
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  #7  
Old 13 April 2000, 11:30
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Snake Snake is offline
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It has a lot to do with the "up or out" attitude prevalent in the services. If you arent -constantly- advancing up the chain, your in desperate danger of getting tossed out on your ass. Thats one of the reasons O's spend so much of their time going to school, instead of out in the woods. If I heard correctly, in the bad old days, SF Officers werent in the SF "career Field" (i.e. no CMF 18), which put them outside of the normal run of things. That allowed them to spend much more time on an operational level. It;s also why pretty much every officer in the US Army, from Infantry to MP, has jump wings. It slowly became a "required" school, be there or be square....


Snake
25th ID(L)
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  #8  
Old 13 April 2000, 16:59
1026 1026 is offline
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Snake is right. Officers must constantly strive to get quals which put them "head and shoulders above the rest", lest they be passed over for promotion. When I was in the Navy, officers got two chances to make the next rank, then they were out. Also, during the 90s the practice of high year tenure took effect, in the interest of force reduction. Regardless of specialty or community, officers have certain "ticket punch" billets (staff duty, training cadre, etc) which they must fulfill in order to be promoted.
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  #9  
Old 13 April 2000, 17:35
Whammer Whammer is offline
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Question for all.

How do you avoid the "career progression mentality" of being an O when you are an O--ie wanting to remain with troops in the field, but having to abide by the standards for promotion (which eventually takes you out of being with your troops).

I ask this from the standpoint of an enlisted troop who eventually want to go brass, but is worried about the gradual removal from interacting with the trigger pullers as you move up the chain...

Any opinions, perspectives?

thanks
di
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  #10  
Old 13 April 2000, 19:04
pn
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That's probably not possible. Look at any large corporation and you'll see that the separation of management and labor (professionally at least) is inevitable as you start moving up the ranks.

Being a senior officer is hard as hell (just like being a project manager at Cisco or IBM is), and the priorities of your position as you rise into levels of senior leadership will pretty much demand that your facetime with privates and sergeants dwindle to nothing. You can be respected, admired, and loved by your men, but taking them out for drinks and getting personally close with them is bad for them and bad for the organization as a whole. This kind of control structure is time-tested, and it works. Maybe it's not the best for the officer's self-image as a snake-eating warrior, but hey, preservation of your self-esteem ranks very low on the list of priorities for the armed services.

-pn

<fliping two pennies over his shoulder on the way out>
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  #11  
Old 14 April 2000, 02:49
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Snake Snake is offline
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Unhappy

Simply put Guys, O's are not really spear carriers. They are Leadership, their function is to train, coordinate, and manage the trigger-pullers. Plus, they carry -commissioned- Authority into the AO, something that NCO's, by definition, cannot do. As a Sergeant, I can fight a battle on a tactical level. However, My platoon leader will (evetually) be trained to fight a War on the -Strategic- level. It's a simple as this: O's make decisions, carry the responsability, and the E's carry out the decisions. Now, one Grunts opinion, If SF Officers weren't made to suit the standards of the Infantry (i.e. Staff, Cadre jobs, Tickets-punched,etc, They could spend more time on an operational level. Plus, they might bring back O-2's as a team slot, if nothing else, as a OJT job for the O's....


Snake
25th ID(L)
3 Months till ETS
4 'till College!!
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  #12  
Old 14 April 2000, 07:38
JSOCMarine JSOCMarine is offline
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Lightbulb

Snake,
When are you going to sign up for the Marine PLC program? You already did your Army time, why not try being an Amphibious Warrior? I knew many guys who had prior service in the Army, Navy, etc. They were some of the best officers I knew. Think about it! Semper Fi.

P.S. You would have to learn to say "oohhrah" instead of "hoooah"!
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  #13  
Old 14 April 2000, 12:42
Tracy
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PN:

Before the waters get muddied futher, I want to clear up a distinction between leadership styles of the military and civilian worlds:

Military Leadership is about hurting people; the Enemy for sure, Friendlies if necessary. The whole reason for military leadership is to guide our resources towards destroying the enemy's capacity to wage war.

Corporate Leadership is about making money for the stockholders.

The two styles may exhibit similar conditions and techniques; but their "raison d'etre" are different. Therefore, their motivational techniques have different goals; while appearing the same on the surface.

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  #14  
Old 14 April 2000, 15:34
pn
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Tracy,

Not sure I see what you're getting at (i.e. are you taking issue with something I said?). I do see that the end-state for private corporations is very different from that of the military. However, the point that I was *trying* to make is that people are the same everywhere (basically). If you tell 100,000 people to go dam the Yangtze, a clear structure of management and labor is going to be necessary; likewise, telling 100,000 people to go destroy the enemy or build a superfast computer will require the same sort of leader/doer organization.

Maybe you could elaborate on that motivations/goals bit? I'm really not sure what you're trying to say.

My opinions are based on talking with Os, high-tech managers, and working peers in actual reality, and the sage advice of many regulars on the board.

-pn

<bring the smackdown>
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  #15  
Old 14 April 2000, 21:11
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Snake Snake is offline
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Red face

JSOC,
Had a long chat with a buddy of mine from Ole Miss, he was the Recruiting O for the ROTC batt. He's an SF O-4, and took time to explain to me the opportunities offered by the Army. Then I went home and my Wife decided I'd stay Army....

Snake
25th ID(L)
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  #16  
Old 15 April 2000, 00:44
Whammer Whammer is offline
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Snake,

Can you elaborate on the selling points that made you decide to stay?

thanks
di
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  #17  
Old 15 April 2000, 03:39
Cole Cole is offline
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I know this is on another thread but soup brought it up. How does an NCO become a Warrent Officer; is he selected for his exemplary service or does he apply for a course? How are WO looked upon by officers and enlisted men. (I think the latter is obvious).
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  #18  
Old 15 April 2000, 19:15
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Snake Snake is offline
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Hmmm:
Selling points:

1) Get to skip Basic Camp. Not really a selling point, i'll probably go anyway. Sounds like fun.
2) Cool summer slots. Airborne (not for me, though. I got my wings), Northern Warfare, AA, CTLT, perhaps more, if the rumors are true.
3) Will let me stay till I get a M.S. if I qualify.
4) NO BOATS!!!
5) Get a chance to become an SF officer, or serve in the Ranger Batts.
6) Maybe come back to Hawai'i and my beloved 25th(sniff).
7) I get to join my Buddy, Falken. One of these days, he'll be Lt. Falken. No G.I. Joe jokes, guys.
*8) The Army is my Home. Period.

Snake
25th ID(L)

[This message has been edited by Snake (edited 04-15-2000).]
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  #19  
Old 15 April 2000, 21:34
Ranger002
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Tracy,

I think you're bringing out my inner leftist commie pinko LOL. I agree the styles may be a bit different between Coporate and Military leadership principles but both do a good job of hurting people. The world is rapidly heading into major choas as a result of the imbalances in Global Capitalism between the first world and the rest. Heck even Castro sounds good these days ( A speech he gave to the Group of 77 was reprinted in the LA Times today 4/15) Now don't get me wrong boys but this sh@t does'nt seem fair to me and Tracy you KNOW how I feel about injustice LOL. Both systems ( Corporate and Military) are bastard children of the same mother and if some new pardigms are not put into place soon then our kids may have a very violent world to grow up in. And you thought the last century was bad
William "Monkey Wrencher" Hazen B 2/75 Ranger 1979-1982
HAYDUKE WAS A SPEC OPS DUDE!!!
AND HE LIVES!!!! :-)
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  #20  
Old 16 April 2000, 21:08
Whammer Whammer is offline
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thanks for the info Snake.

I am considering heavily going through an MBA program on the Army's ticket en route to making O. Any thoughts or info on how that works? (ie requirements, cutoff timeperiods etc., age yada yada).

I've done the ABN thing and wanted to get some other schools out of the way prior to going brass. I just don't have the time availibility to commit to the management required for O right now. But, while doing grad school would be as good a time as any to knock it out and lump some other schools in you mentioned (Northern Warfare, CTLT).

di
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