Dilemma between Army SF officer and Air Force CRO

Should I become an Army SF officer or Air Force CRO?

  • Army Special Forces Officer

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • Air Force Combat Rescue Officer

    Votes: 4 66.7%

  • Total voters
    6

phann556

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So for the past 5 years I have set my eyes on a career in special operations. I have done my research of each SOF unit and I have come to find that I am most interested in either Army SF(18A) or Air Force CRO. Between those two, I have the strongest passion to become a CRO but when comparing the branch of services and ROTC programs, I like the Army more. The Army provides, in my opinion, more leadership training, interesting extracurricular activities, and more training opportunities. Should I take the path that would give me more training experiences and settle for my second most desired job or should I pursue my dream job? I’m stuck between the two and I would like to hear some opinions so I could make my best choice. For more information about myself, interests, and reasons, please read below. Thank you for your time.


General character strengths(Based from myself, peers, family, and mentors):

Resiliency, determination, perseverance, purpose, integrity, compassionate


General skills(In relation to SF and CRO):

-Experience training others(Trained new volunteers at Adventist Medical Center)

-Have taken many classes, training events, and volunteering related to health and science

-Leadership(Officer for my school’s math honor society and I get some opportunities to lead PT for the future soldiers at an Army recruiting station)


Plans:

-Army SF officer:

I plan on going through Army ROTC, commission, branch infantry, then apply for SFAS and go through the pipeline.


-Air Force CRO:

I plan on going through Air Force ROTC, commission, and apply for indoc and go through the pipeline.


Reason for pursuing a career in SOF:

-Love the fact that I will be challenged on a daily basis

-Enjoyed the brotherhood while I was at BCT and I believe that I will find a stronger one in SOF

-Work with like-minded people who are resilient, hard working, and who desire to serve others

-Experience a lifestyle that is unique and through this experience I will be able to develop essential and advantageous life skills

-Test myself and prove to myself that I am actually a resilient and hard working person that I believe myself to be


Reason for pursuing career in SF:

-I like the idea of being a force multiplier and training individuals

-Become a force capable of overthrowing corrupt regimes or stopping insurgencies

-Like SF methods of combating terrorism by building trust with indigenous forces and teaching them to be independent to protect themselves

-And of course to free the oppressed


Reason for pursuing career in CRO:

-Nothing is more honorable than saving another life

-I have a strong respect for service members because they volunteered to do something that is beyond themselves and dangerous. I just want to be that person who will have the opportunity to rescue and save such honorable men/women.

-Enjoy learning emergency medicine and essentially anything medical related

-Want to give all wounded a second chance to live and see their families again


What the Army route offers

-My #2 most desired career: SF officer

-Very large factor in determining whether or not I excel/pass selection

-Many summer training opportunities: Airborne school, Air Assault school, Mountain Warfare school, Cultural Language and Understanding Program

-An extracurricular activity that I'm interested in: Ranger Challenge Team

-Upon commissioning and branching into the infantry, I've been told that I will have a very high chance of attending Ranger school

-From what I've read, Ranger school is one of the best leadership schools

-I have a lot of support from my Army recruiters(I stay in contact with them and assist them with recruiting) and they believe that I have the mental determination to succeed

-Would like to note that I have already enlisted when they told me this

-Weaknesses for this route:

-I’m weak when it comes to rucking(Working on it though)

-I work well with others but it takes me more time to develop an intimate or close relationship with others when comparing to the average person


What the Air Force route offers:

-My #1 most desired career: CRO

-A few summer training opportunities: Airborne school(Less slots in AF) and Cultural Language and Understanding Program

-From my research, it is easier to request an interservice transfer from Air Force to Army

-A lot of support from my family to join the Air Force(Family believes that the AF as a whole is superior to all other branches)

-Weakness for this route:

-I’m weak when it comes to swimming(Work on it every time I have a swimming pool available)


I’m sorry for writing a lot but I believe that the more information I provide, the more accurate opinions I can receive. However, if you need more information please let me know and let me know if there is anything I can improve on for my future posts. Again, thank you for your time.
 

Il Duce

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@phann556 you are extremely early in the process. I think the real choice you need to make is whether to go Army or Air Force ROTC. You're still a ways away from a commission - which though easier than these specialized branches is no guarantee. As an officer in either service your first job will be leadership in wherever you are placed. I recommend you think about which service suits you best, and how well you think you'll do in that ROTC program based on what they have to offer.
 

AKkeith

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I didn't vote because my answer doesn't matter. It's your life, you need to make the choice.
Also focus more on being an officer. Leading troops isn't a selfish thing. It's not "all about you or what you want." Realize a lot can happen in reaching your dreams and statistically you will end up not in a SOF role and your heart needs to be in the right place while leading your troops.
 

DocIllinois

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TL: DR past the first paragraph.

It would be difficult for me to over emphasize how correct AKkeith is about where the focus should mainly be on your intended route.

Holding a commission is a promise to enlisted troops that you'll master what are often officer specific tasks (larger element leadership, planning, administration, policy making, the art of war) and use that mastery in their service. This is a fact which is branch and component immaterial, IMHO.

Troops can sense when this isn't your priority and their willingness to be led by you will reflect accordingly, especially in the combat arms fields where misplaced priorities can some day have immediately bad consequences.
 

AWP

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So for the past 5 years I have set my eyes on a career in special operations. I have done my research of each SOF unit and I have come to find that I am most interested in either Army SF(18A) or Air Force CRO. Between those two, I have the strongest passion to become a CRO but when comparing the branch of services and ROTC programs, I like the Army more. The Army provides, in my opinion, more leadership training, interesting extracurricular activities, and more training opportunities. Should I take the path that would give me more training experiences and settle for my second most desired job or should I pursue my dream job? I’m stuck between the two and I would like to hear some opinions so I could make my best choice. For more information about myself, interests, and reasons, please read below. Thank you for your time.


General character strengths(Based from myself, peers, family, and mentors):
I stopped reading at this point. At least you provided information up front instead of us dragging it out of you.

Look, this boils down to one simple choice. Forget SOF, would you rather be an officer in the Army or Air Force? Statistically speaking you won't make it, so which branch would you rather join? Yeah, you're awesome and whatever....plenty of good men have failed, men better than you. The freshman year of many programs is littered with guys who thought they were great but found themselves a face in the crowd because they were surrounded by the best.

Decide...would you rather take an Infantry or Armor or Signal slot in the Army before making a run at SF (hint, they don't take everyone) or would you rather take a Maintenance officer or whatever in the Air Force? If you aren't picked up for training or if you fail out, guess what happens next?

Pick a branch, the rest will fall into place.

Good luck.
 

DA SWO

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I stopped reading at this point. At least you provided information up front instead of us dragging it out of you.

Look, this boils down to one simple choice. Forget SOF, would you rather be an officer in the Army or Air Force? Statistically speaking you won't make it, so which branch would you rather join? Yeah, you're awesome and whatever....plenty of good men have failed, men better than you. The freshman year of many programs is littered with guys who thought they were great but found themselves a face in the crowd because they were surrounded by the best.

Decide...would you rather take an Infantry or Armor or Signal slot in the Army before making a run at SF (hint, they don't take everyone) or would you rather take a Maintenance officer or whatever in the Air Force? If you aren't picked up for training or if you fail out, guess what happens next?

Pick a branch, the rest will fall into place.

Good luck.
To dogpile,

What is your backup plan if CRO or SF doesn't pan out?
 

x SF med

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To quote GEN Colin Powell:
"You can't make somebody else's choices; you shouldn't let somebody else make yours."
(From Gen Colin Powell's "Rules for Life")

Do your research, figure out what you want, and go for it. If you fail, have a backup plan in place.
 

Il Duce

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@phann556 One thing strongly implied here you need to think about is do you want to be an officer or not? The work of the services, the backbone, is done by the enlisted force. The Soldiers actually shooting, moving, communicating, healing, training, executing, and all the rest of the hooah shit you're describing are done by enlisted troops. Officers lead them. That means they are trained in those same tasks and need to master them to the level to be able to plan and supervise - but they're not the day-to-day executors.

There is a thought process I see frequently in junior officers who think being an officer must be 'better' since they're higher in rank. Officer is not 'better' or 'higher' than an NCO - it is a different job. I won't bore you with an essay on all that means but it's something you need to think about before going down the path to commission. I take being an officer very seriously and wouldn't change the job I have - to lead is to serve your subordinates, not the other way around. But, most of the stuff you're describing as appealing is not what an officer does (note: I am not an SF officer or a CRO but what I am telling you still applies).

There are tons of NCOs with advanced degrees - and even more who could earn them without a second thought. Go to college if that's what you want to do. But, don't pursue and accept a commission if you don't want to be an officer and commit yourself to that profession with everything you have. You'll be expected to lead NCOs who are committed to being NCOs with everything they have and they don't deserve someone with operator-envy who is supposed to be looking out for them.
 

phann556

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Thank you for the responses. I guess I missed the whole point about why I want to be an officer. I intended on becoming an officer to lead a specific group of troops in a certain job that I desired as well. But in reality, my real reason to become an officer should be to lead troops in general. It's about wanting to help them and setting a pathway for them to success. As for my back up plan if I fail SOF selection or change my mind along the process, I was planning on applying for the IPAP program and further my education to become a physician assistant. Which is after I finish my 4 year contract for the infantry.
 

digrar

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There is plenty of leading being done in the ranks and they probably do it longer and more often. NCOs stay in units, Officers bounce around other billets between stints back in the units you're talking about working in.
 

Justacone

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"-Nothing is more honorable than saving another life"
"...lead a specific group of troops"

A lot of people think a CRO is an officer version of a PJ and this is incorrect. CRO's do not receive the same training, they are not paramedics nor specialists in dirt medicine. No CRO will be directly saving a life, although helping the mission. What you mentioned about leading troops, yes you will do that as an officer but you will also do that as the premier rescue specialist which is a PJ. I've heard so many stories from my instructors about them leading dozens of Rangers or Marines and telling what to do on a mission because the operator is the specialist.
It's your choice, and I'm obviously partial to PJ's because it think its the coolest career in the military. Not trying to sell you on it but just from what I read, it sounds like your describing a PJ more than a CRO of an SF officer.

On the flip side, it's generally safe to say a CRO won't get as much 'action' as an SF officer, being involved with all the mission planning and support back at the TAC (or something similar).

Mod edit - ALWAYS capitalize Ranger and Marine.
 
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DA SWO

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"-Nothing is more honorable than saving another life"
"...lead a specific group of troops"

A lot of people think a CRO is an officer version of a PJ and this is incorrect. CRO's do not receive the same training, they are not paramedics nor specialists in dirt medicine. No CRO will be directly saving a life, although helping the mission. What you mentioned about leading troops, yes you will do that as an officer but you will also do that as the premier rescue specialist which is a PJ. I've heard so many stories from my instructors about them leading dozens of rangers or marines and telling what to do on a mission because the operator is the specialist.
It's your choice, and I'm obviously partial to PJ's because it think its the coolest career in the military. Not trying to sell you on it but just from what I read, it sounds like your describing a PJ more than a CRO of an SF officer.

On the flip side, it's generally safe to say a CRO won't get as much 'action' as an SF officer, being involved with all the mission planning and support back at the TAC (or something similar).
How much ODA time do you think a SF Officer gets?
 

Etype

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It's a pretty lofty assumption to assume you'll become an SF branched officer when you aren't even in the Army yet... It's a top 1%of the 1% kinda thing.

Good luck.
 

Mindbender

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Congratulations on your desire to serve.

Though your ultimate goal may be SF, you should focus on being the best student you can be and graduate. Then you can focus on being the best officer you can be and after excelling at both those tasks, you can focus on SF.

It sounds basic but it is important to be in the moment when in command or leadership. Troops can tell an officer just looking to punch his ticket before moving on.
 

8654Maine

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"-Nothing is more honorable than saving another life"
"...lead a specific group of troops"

A lot of people think a CRO is an officer version of a PJ and this is incorrect. CRO's do not receive the same training, they are not paramedics nor specialists in dirt medicine. No CRO will be directly saving a life, although helping the mission. What you mentioned about leading troops, yes you will do that as an officer but you will also do that as the premier rescue specialist which is a PJ. I've heard so many stories from my instructors about them leading dozens of Rangers or Marines and telling what to do on a mission because the operator is the specialist.
It's your choice, and I'm obviously partial to PJ's because it think its the coolest career in the military. Not trying to sell you on it but just from what I read, it sounds like your describing a PJ more than a CRO of an SF officer.

On the flip side, it's generally safe to say a CRO won't get as much 'action' as an SF officer, being involved with all the mission planning and support back at the TAC (or something similar).

Mod edit - ALWAYS capitalize Ranger and Marine.
Yo, cone, tell us which instructor said they led a Marine recon team, as in being a Plt or Team leader. I'll tell you it's full of shit.

What happens when they get attached is that we recognize their specialty and expertise. We use it and exploit it.

I never gave up my Team to anyone else out in the field, not even the Plt Leader. If he wants something done, we talk and come up with a plan. I supervise and execute my Team's actions. No one else. I've had a rainbow 6 worth of attachments to my team.

Now a firefight with multiple casualties in the leadership, maybe. But even the lowliest person on my Team was usually a Cpl or Sgt. So no lack of NCO's.

So if it was macho service inflation, it's cool. That happens everywhere.

I'm sure the Rangers on here have their own questions.
 
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Etype

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To follow up @8654Maine

I've spent some time as part of a theater PR asset and plenty of other roles with Air Force attachments, and they are just that- attachments. They are recognized for their unique set of skills and everyone is happy to have them, but the mission doesn't belong to them.

ETA- Here's an unrelated tangent that I'd like to relay to @phann556

To become an SF Officer is to basically be selected 3 times.

First, you have to be selected to be a US Army Officer, not that hard, but people do fail.

Second, you have to be branched Infantry- not really a requirement, but there's only a handful who make it that aren't. This is where it starts to get hard- there are A LOT of studs who want to be Infantry Officers.

Third, you have to go to SFAS. This is where it gets really hard. There are pretty strict requirements for officers just to get there. Remember back at OCS where only the super-studs were branched Infantry? Well, the studs of the studs are now linking up at Camp Mackall for SFAS, and they've been training for it- hard!
 
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