Another TACP thread

Marmaduke123

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Hi Everyone,

I've done my best to do as much research as I could: Google, past threads, and reaching out to recruiters (can't glean too much information from them as they want to meet in person on account that I am only due to return to the US in August which is perfectly reasonable). I'll try to give some background on me, my motivations, and pose a couple questions. Should go without saying but I do welcome any direct feedback if my motivations and overall story makes sense or if I'm deluded in any way.

Background: 28-year old analyst working for an oil major abroad and will be relocating to Texas in August. Married with a boy due to be born in July. I hold a 3-year bachelor in Business Admin with additional financial certifications (if I can qualify to OCS great as I like leading and being responsible, if not I'm a OK going enlisted). Fluent in Russian, decent command of Czech and have lived all over the world prior including several years in Africa. Looking to put pen to paper only next year (early 2021) due to all the transition and events that will be happening this year.

Motivation: First and foremost I want to be part of a highly motivated, professional, close-knit team but I won't bore you too much with my generic reasons for having an interest in SF type roles. There are plenty of MOS' I've researched that are extremely interesting but I have to run a balancing act between providing for the family without too much disruption and keeping my civilian job in order to do so.

Questions:


Thanks in advance guys/girls.
 

Marmaduke123

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Browser cut of the Questions part and I can't seem to edit the first post.

Questions:
- How limited are you to work with SF teams as a TACP guardsman in the future should I have an interest in ramping up dedication? I assume the assignments will likely tend to fall to active folk with a lot more qualifications/experience under their belt.
- The 18x Guard options looked interesting but from what I've gathered is that the continuous training and OPTEMPO will really wreak havoc on trying to hold down a 9-5 job. I am right in assuming going that route means effectively prioritizing SF above all else?
- Any other MOS' off the top of your head worth considering off the top of your heads?

Thanks in advance.
 

x SF med

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@Marmaduke123 - You are going to find it nearly impossible to keep up with your six-figure job and be SOF, one or the other is going to crumble, especially if you work for a foreign owned company. Yes, they have to hold a position for you for training and deployment, but it does not have to be your former position, and while away you will not be keeping up with your CPEs, you'll be training to do a job that sounds to be completely outside your comfort zone, away from your family. I'm not talking physically unable - I'm talking mentally and emotionally unwilling - this is from your own posts talking about how a year of training would ruin your family and career.

You may want to rethink your aspirations, and find the focus that is truly yours.

Yes, there are guys who give up their entire (well paid, successful) lives to go SOF.
 

Marmaduke123

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@x SF med --> Thanks for the perspective, I guess a couple of points worth clarifying and you can let me know if it still sounds outlandish.

- My company is US/Texas based with a fair number of vets/reservists so I certainly would anticipate some career stunting consequences but I don't think it would outright kill my civilian prospects. I clawed my way up the hard way so I'm OK with proving myself over again wherever that has to be done.
- Talked at length with my wife and a years' worth of training would be fine with her (hence TACP's shorter pipeline is appealing in that respect). 2 years of training is probably asking too much from my folks however so it would certainly rule out any green beret/18x ideas I've ever daydreamed about.

May sound ambitious to "have your cake and eat it" but I definitely want to tackle this from different angles to see if a certain fit can work.
 

DA SWO

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1. Have you contacted the TX Guard? They may or may not have slots open.

2. Guard SOFTACP's were REALLY limited; I am retired now, so my info is probably out of date, but we had 16 positions Guard-wide for SF support.

3. Is the TACP pipeline really a year long? That seems like a long time.
 

Marmaduke123

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@DA SWO

1) Have reached out to the TX Guard and they told me to give them a ring/show up once I'm physically back in the US. Been pretty common in my calls with recruiters, some are pretty chatty and helpful while others probably don't consider me a "hot lead" since I'm abroad as of now (reasonable in my opinion). Also, as my goal is to do this the following year I would assume that recruiters won't have a clear picture of availability that far out?

2) I figured that would be the case, thanks for the input.

3) You are right, I took a massive liberty with rounding up, it's close to 8.5 months. Overall it looks like the TACP program (and AFSO in general) is making some changes to training and structure. I saw some previous threads in the forum discussing the changes but to be honest I got lost in the avalanche of military acronyms to get it while on lunch.

Specifically the training is posted as :
BMT
8 Weeks​
SW Prep
8 Weeks​
TACP Prep
1 Weeks​
Apprentice
12 Weeks​
Airborne
3 Weeks​
SERE
4 Weeks​
Total
36 Weeks (~8.5 months)​

From Googling I've seen some people mention that slots for some schools like Airborne for Guards can quite limited with long waits. The official AF material touts all the additional training you can go for but taking that with a massive grain of salt, would assume its mostly applicable for active.
 

Cookie_

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From Googling I've seen some people mention that slots for some schools like Airborne for Guards can quite limited with long waits. The official AF material touts all the additional training you can go for but taking that with a massive grain of salt, would assume its mostly applicable for active.
Was just at airborne through Nov/Dec; I remember one guard TACP guy saying he had spent about a month at Lackland waiting to go to Benning.

Obviously results might vary, but it seemed pretty common for guys in pipelines (any branch/job specialty) to average 1-3 weeks between phases.
 

Marmaduke123

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What would guardsmen/reserve do while waiting on the phases to open up? Stay on base pending availability to finish the pipeline or would they allow to leave Lackland for a period?

Assuming a delay here are there I guess it would be fair to assume that training can creep up to just shy of a year if you are unlucky. Also would have to keep in mind this JTAC stuff that would need to be completed later on.
 

DA SWO

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What would guardsmen/reserve do while waiting on the phases to open up? Stay on base pending availability to finish the pipeline or would they allow to leave Lackland for a period?

Assuming a delay here are there I guess it would be fair to assume that training can creep up to just shy of a year if you are unlucky. Also would have to keep in mind this JTAC stuff that would need to be completed later on.
Hopefully one of our experts chimes in.
Lot of changes in the last couple of years, and I thought apprentice was going to cover JTAC-ery, but I could be wrong.
Hold status depends on your unit my son had a 31 day hold, and went back to his unit for 31 days.
The unit may elect to leave you at Lackland for a long hold status, BLUF you'll be on orders until you finish or are eliminated.
Your leave and pass status is AETC directed, you get more privileges based on time after basic.
 
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AWP

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Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Your family accepts this or it doesn't. The DoD considers them as secondary objects and your timelines mean nothing.

You can play the odds, but many have gone before you and failed.

How badly do you want your goal? What cost is acceptable?
 

Marmaduke123

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Appreciate the feedback everyone. In a nutshell - I want it.

I'm a lucky guy because my wife is awesome, I'd have family support for whatever I'd think would fulfill me (as long as the basics are all in order).

I like to do my homework and know my stats on everything but I know that chance/life doesn't care one bit. I could rock up to training in the best shape of my life mentally/physically and still fail due to injury or some other unexpected factor. Hell, you don't know if a truck will t-bone you out of nowhere on the way to the supermarket. Like @AWP and some others have noted, plan for the worst because you can get thrown some real bad shit your way sometimes. Maybe I'll hate being the military or maybe I'll get the top of Maslow's pyramid - I'm chancing its closer to the latter so I'll roll the dice and accept the outcome.

This forum does a good job making you ask yourself why do you really want to do this? A good number of my family members were in the military (the Soviet one) and some of those guys really were larger than life. This is outside any military context by the away, they just happened to serve. They did the right thing, put others above themselves, and were humble about it - basic values right? What makes a good man in any context is putting others above you and understanding there is stuff larger than yourself be it family, community, and so on.
 

AlphaVictor

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Marmaduke,

I am a currently serving TACP in the Texas Air Guard. Message me directly and I will give you the entire rundown of what the unit is about.

However I will also attempt to answer your questions and address some points made.

Question 1- It ain't up to you. TACPs are the conventional component of AF Special Warfare (with the exception of SOF TACPs, which is currently not available to Guard TACPs to enter into without transitioning to active duty). With that being said, many of my guys across the Guard have done deployments with SFODA teams. Its just luck of the draw, being active duty has no bearing on it. In fact, I know very few active duty TACPs who have done SF deployments. The fact of the matter is if you are a JTAC, you will go with whoever needs you in that moment. It may be an armored unit, or it may be a tier 1 asset. In the eyes of your sister services a JTAC is a JTAC, and if they don't have one they will grab one where they can.

Question 2- as I am not a SF guy I cannot speak to that point. I can, however, say that if you are attempting to become a TACP with no prior service you can expect well over a year's worth of training before you move to a traditional guardsman schedule. I saw your estimate of 8.5 months, and I'm telling you right now you can toss that estimate in the trash. You are just looking at the initial courses (assuming no washbacks, of course) and not counting your JTAC upgrade training at your unit, JTACQC, and initial JTAC evaluation requirements, on top of attending required unit training during that period. All said and done you're looking at closer to a year and a half of time up front dedicated solely to the unit. Remember, we can't do our job at home station, so you will go TDY constantly, especially as a new guy. Expect to be on CAS trips monthly, ranging from 1 to 2 weeks each.

Question 3- man it depends what exact job you are looking to do. Every one of these jobs has a different mission, and they are not really comparable to each other.

Once you get past the initial training hurdle and are established as a JTAC, the tempo becomes what you make of it. Some guys stay on orders constantly and are gone 250+ days out of the year. Others do just the bare minimum because it is very difficult to balance work, home, and military life. I used to be in the first camp, and right now I fall into the second camp as I am focusing on my civilian career more at the moment. We have a schedule that plays well with people's jobs, and the unit is pretty understanding, but again, that initial year plus of commitment is unavoidable.

I hope this helped. If you have more questions, pose them here or message me directly.

-AV
 

GCAS

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A real good JTAC I know told me a story of when he was deployed in Afghanistan attached to an ODA team. There was a GB on his team who had 2 degrees and he was attending Harvard or some other prestigious school before the military. The man had everything, his family was wealthy and he was in line to inheriting the family business. My buddy asked him why he threw that all away to become a GB, and the man said, "You can buy your way to a degree, but you can't ever buy a beret."

I am basically piggybacking on what x SF med said.

Ask yourself, are you willing to give up a cushy life to be out in the field in sh*tty conditions with death creeping around the corner?
 

Marmaduke123

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Appreciate the insight everyone, really helps add context to my eventual decision when the time comes.

Personally, I have no doubts I can handle a fair bit of sh** conditions. Only piece left is to finally make that move back stateside and get everyone settled happy, healthy and employed ((the virus isn't helping much).

Will be sure to update you guys on what eventually happens.
 

Trooper1992

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Messages
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Marmaduke,

I am a currently serving TACP in the Texas Air Guard. Message me directly and I will give you the entire rundown of what the unit is about.

However I will also attempt to answer your questions and address some points made.

Question 1- It ain't up to you. TACPs are the conventional component of AF Special Warfare (with the exception of SOF TACPs, which is currently not available to Guard TACPs to enter into without transitioning to active duty). With that being said, many of my guys across the Guard have done deployments with SFODA teams. Its just luck of the draw, being active duty has no bearing on it. In fact, I know very few active duty TACPs who have done SF deployments. The fact of the matter is if you are a JTAC, you will go with whoever needs you in that moment. It may be an armored unit, or it may be a tier 1 asset. In the eyes of your sister services a JTAC is a JTAC, and if they don't have one they will grab one where they can.

Question 2- as I am not a SF guy I cannot speak to that point. I can, however, say that if you are attempting to become a TACP with no prior service you can expect well over a year's worth of training before you move to a traditional guardsman schedule. I saw your estimate of 8.5 months, and I'm telling you right now you can toss that estimate in the trash. You are just looking at the initial courses (assuming no washbacks, of course) and not counting your JTAC upgrade training at your unit, JTACQC, and initial JTAC evaluation requirements, on top of attending required unit training during that period. All said and done you're looking at closer to a year and a half of time up front dedicated solely to the unit. Remember, we can't do our job at home station, so you will go TDY constantly, especially as a new guy. Expect to be on CAS trips monthly, ranging from 1 to 2 weeks each.

Question 3- man it depends what exact job you are looking to do. Every one of these jobs has a different mission, and they are not really comparable to each other.

Once you get past the initial training hurdle and are established as a JTAC, the tempo becomes what you make of it. Some guys stay on orders constantly and are gone 250+ days out of the year. Others do just the bare minimum because it is very difficult to balance work, home, and military life. I used to be in the first camp, and right now I fall into the second camp as I am focusing on my civilian career more at the moment. We have a schedule that plays well with people's jobs, and the unit is pretty understanding, but again, that initial year plus of commitment is unavoidable.

I hope this helped. If you have more questions, pose them here or message me directly.

-AV

Hey brother, I'm in the Texas Guard as well but Army. Do you mind if I shoot you a email with some questions?
 
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