Another SFAS prep question

Discussion in 'Special Operations Selection Preparation' started by WanaB, Aug 4, 2017.

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What's my best route?

Poll closed Aug 7, 2017.
  1. Go 11X and work your way through the system to selection.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. You're prior service, just go 18X and be done with it.

    100.0%
  1. WanaB

    WanaB Marine Verified Military

    Messages:
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    Hey all,

    I joined the Marine Corps in 2012, my own ignorance lead me to sign a supply contract, little did I know.

    Now, I have finished my contract and moved home. I miss the military and I've decided to go back.
    This time, without ignorance.
    I've decided to join the Army this time. So, now to my questions.
    I have two, Starting from the top:
    Since I've started in the military I've wanted to be on the ground and in the fight. I do have combat experience, but not much. I want to be a part of the Special Operations community. My plan was this: to sign an 11b contract, work my way to selection, and see how it goes.
    I have a friend that was an 18D and he advised me to NOT go that route. He told me to sign an 18x Contract to cut the BS and guarantee a spot. He said that because I'm prior service and I'll show up with rank, they wont be able to tell me apart from the guys who were working their way up. I've read (mostly on here) that 18x is a joke. I don't want to be weeded out of selection because an instructor finds out I'm an "X-ray".
    What are your thoughts?

    My next question is this:
    I'm in fairly good shape, I've been running triathlons for years and I typically with frost my workouts with a calisthenic routine.
    I think that physically, I will be okay.

    I'm worried about land nav. I did land nav for a couple weeks through basic and SOI but that was years ago and if I recall, I could see every other student around me going to the same spot. That helped.
    I'm not in the military right now, I don't know how to practice land nav before I arrive.
    Any advice here is appreciated.
     
  2. kb2012

    kb2012 Unverified

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    Had a similar situation when joining the Marine Corps as an officer. I had that motivated mindset of "If I enlist first, I'll work my way from the ground up and it'll make me a better officer and people will respect me more!"

    Then a wise fellow (maybe from this site, if I'm not mistaken) asked me a few questions.

    First, "How does enlisting help you achieve your goals? You're still not guaranteed a spot at OCS, and if anything, it might be harder because you have more hurdles to jump through. If you want to go from A to B, there's no sense in going from A to C to B. It's another obstacle in your way."

    Second, "Does being prior enlisted really make you a better officer? No, it doesn't. If it did, then the vast majority of guys going to OCS and becoming officers would be prior enlisted. But there have been wildly successful officers in the Marine Corps that have had no prior enlisted experience."

    So I say to you this. First, going 11x does not guarantee you a spot to go to SFAS. Maybe you'll get there, but there's more things that can go wrong than go right along the way. Second, who fucking cares if you're an "x-ray"? If "X-ray"s didn't end up being successful Special Forces soldiers, then the Army probably wouldn't still be offering them contracts. I guarantee you there have been many successful 18X contracts who make it to Special Forces in the end. And when you make it to a team, do you really think they'll give a shit? Do you really think you'll give a shit? You made it. Who cares.

    Something I hear quite often here at The Basic School from prior enlisted guys is usually the same. "I wish I would have just went straight officer instead of enlisting and winding up in the same spot you are but 10 years older than you." They have a ton of experience, and that will help them out immensely as we transition into the fleet, but at the end of the day, we're both 2nd LT's. Just something to think about.
     
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  3. kb2012

    kb2012 Unverified

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    If you want, I can send you some of the student handouts we have here at The Basic School for land nav. It's not the same as actually doing it, but you can brush up on the basics and lock down the process mentally before you actually start.
     
  4. TLDR20

    TLDR20 SF Medical Sergeant Verified SOF

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    I will speak to this.

    Everyone cares. Getting to the team doesn't mean you made it, it means you are just starting. As an X-ray you will be treated suspiciously when you get to a team. Everyone is, but it will be worse for you as an X-ray. My senior told me something that I loved and have told other guys, he said: "When people ask you say you are an 18D, not an 18X. People don't say their old MOS's. Don't broadcast that you were an 18X. Make people surprised if they find out you were one. "

    I live my life that way now, in my current profession. Nothing makes me happier than an experienced nurse being surprised that I am a "new grad".
     
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  5. kb2012

    kb2012 Unverified

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    Look, I know you're a Special Forces soldier yourself so I'm not going to argue with you over how it is over there.

    But what I can say to the OP is that you shouldn't let that dictate the way you proceed in this situation. Don't try to fake the funk. There's nothing wrong with being new and owning it. I'd rather admit to myself and others that there's things I don't know than try to fake it. Yeah you may get made fun of or brushed aside, but if someone is making fun of you or brushing you aside because of how you got there, they're not being a team player. They're failing the team. There's a long history of officers here at TBS and students that are OCS grads who look down upon Naval Academy graduates. I used to think that way myself just because that's how it was. But fuck that man. They are here and they are 2nd LT's just like I am. They're not going anywhere; what I choose to do about it is either going to help my squad, platoon, and company or it's going to hurt it. If I embrace them and we come together as a team, we're going to succeed. If I choose to be suspicious and not associate with guys from the Academy, it's going to foster an environment where we have cliques inside our platoon and company that are working against each other, not with and for each other.

    OP, I think that's a stupid reason to lie about your MOS. What qualifies someone to be a Special Forces soldier? Completing the qualification course, according to the Army. If you do that, you get a Special Forces tab and a green beret. If someone wants to treat you differently, fuck 'em. Do you man.
     
  6. Ooh-Rah

    Ooh-Rah Marine Verified Military

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    Hmmmm....advice from a Green Beret, to someone who wants to be a Green Beret, about being a Green Beret.

    Or...advice from a second lieutenant still in the basic school, making analogies about getting along with Annapolis grads.

    Whom to listen to, whom to listen to....

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. kb2012

    kb2012 Unverified

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    What I'm saying is in my opinion it's stupid to treat someone differently because of what contract they signed and I think the OP should do 18x.
     
  8. DA SWO

    DA SWO SOWT Verified SOF

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    Did you actually read @TLDR20 's response?

    He just gave great advice, and you went all yut, yut, oooh-rah, devil dog, semper fi with it.

     
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  9. kb2012

    kb2012 Unverified

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    Yeah his response said that 18x's are treated with suspicion and that he should lie about it.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 7
  10. Ooh-Rah

    Ooh-Rah Marine Verified Military

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    This part of your post made me laugh out loud because....same experience as you, Although I did recall how to shoot an azimuth which helped me track a deer once.

    I do a lot of solo camping and hiking. A few years ago I took this class at REI, if you have one local, I highly recommend.

    Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass 11/04/17 - Cullinan park - REI Classes & Events
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. TLDR20

    TLDR20 SF Medical Sergeant Verified SOF

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    I didn't say that. At all.

    My point, which you missed entirely in your effort to officer-splain to me, was to be what you are not what you were. When I got to a team I wasn't an 18X anymore. I was an 18D. I didn't preface anything with saying I was an x-ray. Especially not after my senior shared that wisdom with me.
     
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  12. WanaB

    WanaB Marine Verified Military

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    That would be awesome
     
  13. WanaB

    WanaB Marine Verified Military

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    I got an REI about 20 mintues from me. Good advice man, I'll check that out right now.

    Wow, I almost didn't post because I thought I'd get eaten alive. Glad I did, lots of real help.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. amlove21

    amlove21 Pararescue Administrator

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    Speaking as a fellow cross trainee from a "regular" AF job into SOF, I would like to award you with the most interwebz points I can for the distinct accomplishment of the least self aware and most off-center post I have read today. Sir, you speak with the confidence of a 15 year old that's smoked weed twice talking to a 15 year old that's smoked weed once.

    @WanaB , trust me, if you show up through your pipeline as an NCO as an 18X, you're still going to have work your way up. You'll be expected to know all those other "NCO" things as well, but that's the great thing about flat organizations like SOF- I don't care if you're a cross trainee on my team or a brand new dude out of high school. If you're a Team Member (what we PJ's and CRO's call our "juniors"), your job is to shut up, earn your beret with hard work and take the trash out at the end of the day.

    If you're a good team member, and a hard worker, and a good team mate, and humble it doesn't really matter which path you take to get there.

    IMO, put your balls on the table and get to your end goal (18 series) through the most efficient route. Seems to me like that's 18x.
     
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  15. x SF med

    x SF med the Troll Verified SOF

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    That is not what he said, at all. He said to let your new teammates know that you are an 18 whatever, because you are qualified in that MOS, not to fall back on a prior (training) MOS.

    Does it matter that I was an 11B and 11M before I went to the Q course? In prior units yes, in the Q and after, notsomuch, especially since I reclassed into 18D, and picked up a 91B, and 54E along the way - those are the old MOS designators, btw.

    He was letting the OP know to be what he is now, not what he was prior to joining a Team. Any new guy on a Team is treated differently, even if they have experience in SF.

    You need to stop with the stereotypical 2LT crap... it does not help your credibility. Just some NCO advice.
     
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  16. Teufel

    Teufel Force Recon Verified SOF

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    Let me give you some advice that will save you a lot of pain once you hit the fleet. You're a 2nd Lt who doesn't even have an MOS yet. You don't know what the Marine Corps is really like, never mind the Army. I would stick to what you know, which to this point is OCS and 2/3 of TBS.

    As an aside, I don't know why anyone would look down on Naval Academy graduates; I think my time at USNA made me a much better man and Marine officer. This is a great example of something people gossip about at TBS and absolutely no one cares about in the Fleet Marine Forces.
     
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  17. AWP

    AWP Formerly Known as Freefalling Administrator

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    18X is more of a placeholder for an MOS, like an 09S is an OCS candidate. The Army has to assign you something because that's just how it works. For example, almost all of the 09 series are trainees or med holds. Anyone here know the MOS for a Basic Trainee? Exactly, no one in training refers to themselves by their MOS except to say that's what they enlisted for, not what they are.

    Combat Jobs & MOS

    Army jobs = Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) | Army.com

    I'm not trying to quibble with @TLDR20 who entered as an 18X, just illustrating to any wannabes reading this that no one ever uses an "X-ray" MOS except for training purposes and 18X is more of a program or placeholder. Pedantic but some of you will learn the hard way how attention to detail and the ability to do your own research will pay off in the future. Y'all can argue with me on this, but one day the light bulb will turn on.
     
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  18. kb2012

    kb2012 Unverified

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    Didn't realize he was saying that at that point you're not an 18X anymore, you actually have an MOS. I thought he was saying "tell everyone you're an 18D" as in "tell everyone you're a medic even though you're not".

    Got it now guys :thumbsup:
     
  19. Teufel

    Teufel Force Recon Verified SOF

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    Situational awareness must be taught in the latter parts of TBS nowadays.
     
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  20. TLDR20

    TLDR20 SF Medical Sergeant Verified SOF

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    I don't want to quibble either @AWP, but in practice I don't think you are right here. For example, I can think of probably 25 times where some cadre had "all the X-rays raise your hand" or otherwise separate the 18X's from the group, almost all ofnit for negative reasons.

    In the Q course 18X's used to attend courses others did not, like SOPC 1 and 2. Later it became any soft skill MOS got SOPC 2, then it was suddenly just no SOPC 2.

    All your course paperwork until the day you graduate denotes you as an 18X, it says PMOs, 18X, Training MOS:18D. Good luck being like, "well actually I'm an 11B"...

    Now maybe my ERB changed to 11B, I don't recall. I know that after SOCM my MOS actually changed to 68WW1. Nevertheless I was an X-ray all through SFMS, language and Sage....

    Just some insight on how it is/was. As an instructor I also regularly asked studs if they were 18X's. Sometimes it helps to know how best to talk to the studs.
     

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