Enlistment to SOF - The ShadowSpear Way

Ooh-Rah

Marine
Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
12,028
Over the years, ShadowSpear has been an instrumental part of many member’s journey into the SOF world.

My best estimation is that nearly two-dozen of our vetted SOF members began their ruck towards that goal as civilians or non-SOF here on this site; some as early as high school.

Of them, a number have remained active on the board and now act as mentors to new members.

Some of these SOF members have been willing to publicly share part of their story with the board.

Thank you Gentlemen....


Marine Corps

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What branch/SOF did you join?
Marine Special Operations Command/Critical Skills Operator

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
A fellow A&S attendee that told me about the site. Once here, I began cataloguing information and advice from everyone, and figuring out what else I needed to prepare for. I believe I received a bunch of Ruck based selection prep PDFs from a fellow member, I cut down my rucking frequency to two a week(6 mile sprint for time Fri/3-4 hours under load on Sunday), and branched out my swimming research and prep, and was able to address any weakness or concerns I had just by researching here or on the internet.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
Not really. Once I made the decision and had everything submitted administratively, it was a lot of learning on the go that I needed to happen organically.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Ask yourself if you think you'd be the kind of person you'd want to be your teammate. If you don't think you're an independent problem solver, that you can't perform if you don't have perfect sleep and nutrition, get hung up on small mistakes and can't move on, be critical of yourself and conduct an assessment of needed change, or that somehow your physical prowess is all you need to succeed here; you may the wrong person for the job. The selection and MOS school only make you an entry level team guy, once you show up to your team they're going to try to mold and shape you into a real asset to the team and community.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
I'm a much larger individual, so running was always a weak point. Someone had mentioned getting a running coach to objectively approach training, and through 6 weeks of programming/coaching to my specific goals, I was significantly better.

Anything else you'd like to add?
All it takes is all you got. If you think you can hide character flaws, your selfish habits, inability to work stressed; it will show. Don't overthink it, let the process do its job and select the right person.
Hillclimb's Intro Thread
@Hillclimb

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What branch/SOF did you join?
USMC / Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon and then Force Reconnaissance Platoon
Currently in the Texas Army National Guard in order to attend SFAS in January

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
Jim Flagan
Teufel
Goat Trail Expert

These members had recently completed the phases of training I was in. Teufel seemed to have completed the training some time before I did, therefore being a voice of reason and knowledge during the whole process.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
Coming from a non-combat MOS to Reconnaissance, I would have focused much more on ground combat operations, small unit tactics, and planning procedures, doctrine, and field-craft before and during training.

The limitation to this comes in having the guidance of someone who has a thorough understanding of these subjects as they can present rabbit holes of information that may not be necessary to every team member, given their billet and experience. Eventually, a fluent knowledge in these topics will not only be helpful in understanding task and purpose of an ARP/FRP, but also give weight to decisions and allow small unit leaders to advocate for their team and platoon on a base of knowledge, not just opinion. This bleeds into the next question.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Throughout my time with the ARP/FRP I witnessed a gross lack of knowledge on this critical aspect of the profession, not only on the team level, but also on the platoon, company, battalion, and even regimental level. (The experience I had at the regimental level was isolated, yet with a certain colonel who had held the Ground Reconnaissance Officer position some time ago. This significant lack of basic knowledge in Ground Reconnaissance Operations TTPs at that level needs to be noted though).

Summarized, put the cool photos of dudes in high-cuts and velcro down and pick up some doctrine or even a book. I’d advise young guys to study up on the job they will be doing as I’d assume they would do for any other job that would require everything up to and including their life. It will pay dividends during training and in the field. The same diligence should be applied to any SOF position, obviously.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
The entire Joint Discussion section of threads. It is the foundation of any SOF job and its training pipelines and schools. I referred to it often and always found the solution or answer, if not just good advice and guidance on how to prepare for my next task.

The US Marine Corps Special Operations thread for obvious reasons.
It allowed me to network with guys in the same boat and exchange valuable info, wisdom, and guidance.

The US Army Special Operations thread now that I am beginning another venture to SFAS and hopefully Q and beyond.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I’m thankful to have the ShadowSpear community as I love teaching almost as much as I do learning. This forum has allowed me to do both, if not just give and get some guidance here and there.
BrandonE - Intro Thread
@Brandon E

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What branch/SOF did you join?
Marine Infantry for 4 years then MARSOC for 5. I eventually transitioned to the Army as a Pilot.

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
I definitely paid a lot of attention those who came from the Marine Special Operations realm such as Teufel.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
I was so set on the Marine Corps I wish I had looked and "shopped around" a little more. As much as I have loved my career, I wish I had known more about special operations units and their actual missions prior to joining.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Take it one step at a time, focus on boot camp, then SOI, then being a squad leader... etc. However, at the same time do not be shy about your goals. I was lucky to have fantastic mentors in the infantry who supported me. That support came because I was humble and hardworking. At no point did I scoff and say I was going to be special ops. I just focused on being the best infantrymen I possibly could. That set me up for success later on, both in knowledge as well as physical fitness.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
I mostly looked at the MARSOC threads and the SF threads, I wish I had looked around more. Especially at the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Anything else you'd like to add?
The best virtues you can have are to be hardworking, knowledgeable and humble. Physical fitness is a given, and non-negotiable but the others are what set you apart. Place the team before yourself and you will succeed.
Give'm the Rooster - Intro Thread
@Give’m the Rooster
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Walra107 - Intro Thread
@walra107

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Chip03 - Profile Page
@Chip03
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US Army

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- What branch/SOF did you join?

Army Special Forces

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
TLDR20 and xSFmed. Both mentored me extensively online before I shipped to OSUT, and TLDR20 even helped in person at points with TPA in the medical course.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
Not really. I was very proactive in seeking out mentors and working as hard as possible before I joined and continued with that approach throughout the pipeline.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Work hard, be a team player, don’t quit, be in shape.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
Off the top of my head I don’t really remember, but I deep dove the site big time going through the threads and utilizing the search bar and found tons of awesome nuggets along the way to help get my mindset right and prepare for the journey ahead.

Anything else you'd like to add?
You’ll never stop being assessed, even after/if you achieve whatever job title you’re looking for. Don’t be the guy with the “I made it” attitude that gets complacent with everything and ultimately becomes a liability to the team.
Duke - Intro Thread
@Duke
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What branch/SOF did you join?
Army, Ranger Regiment

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
II Duce, Marauder06. I ran my situation past these two individuals, and they were nice enough to take A LOT of time out to explore my career path with me. Seriously, I sent a lot of PM’s.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
I wish I started earlier in my career. The amount that I learned in at the 75th couldn’t be matched by the 82nd. To not take this to mean that X is better than Y or that you will be better than “those other people”. What you will have is a very different set of experiences in a driven environment where most people are extremely capable individuals. Never self-select because you know nothing as a wannabe. Let the respective organization and cadre select you out if they think you aren’t suitable.


Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
You should love the process of trainingto become a Ranger, Seal, or SF. You will be required to be proficient at your job along with a deep love for fitness. Looking cool only takes you so far when everything gets hard. Always be aware of the 25m target. Be mindful of why you are pursuing your goal. Why do you even have your goal? If you have a "why", then you "how" will follow.

Read books. They will make you a better leader, team member, and person. What Marcus Aurelius has to say about suffering or about the mind might help you in selection. Dale Carnegie might help you make more friends at selection and be more well thought of. The point is that you do not know everything. When you have downtime, reading will enhance your mind and soft skills. Last, I emphasize reading to everyone because selection courses are tests of the mind and will. Your body has far more mileage in it then you can probably realize. Your mind is the only way to activate those extra miles your body has inside. Train your mind and your body will follow.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
US Army SOF Photos Thread- Visualization was part of my mental workup. I could see myself in these roles. I could see myself suffering and being ok with it. Finally, I wanted to be like the people in the photos and I knew they were only human. If they could do it, so could I.

SITREP Thread – I remember when this thread started, and I looked forward to every post. Progress is intoxicating and the thread gives one the opportunity to track someone’s real journey to the bigger things in their career. I remember always looking forward to posting my own journey.

Anything else you'd like to add?
It’s a journey, not a sprint. Ask questions. Realize you do not know everything. Never be the smartest, strongest, or fastest person in the room. If you are, then you need to find smarter, stronger, or faster people to be around. Earn your place every day.
Lefty375 - Intro Thread
@Lefty375

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What branch/SOF did you join?
I joined the Army with an 11X Option 40 contract and eventually worked my way into the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
Rustyshackleford, Goon175 and now banned member all gave me great info about post-9/11 Regiment. Lefty375 got to Regiment a year or two before myself and he provided good, current (for the time) info. He also met up with my a couple times while I was in airborne and RASP. All around great dude.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
Wish I had stayed in shape during college. I had to dig myself out of a hole my last semester in order to get ready to go to MEPS and basic. Also be confident when you show up to your unit. Remember the guys who are in leadership are more experienced than you, they know more than you- but they’re still just human.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Don’t ever quit. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor. Always be for the “boys”- mafia rules apply when you’re going through OSUT, RASP, and your “new guy” days in Batt. Never feel sorry for yourself. I’m guilty of this from time to time. You volunteered, numerous times, to get where you did.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
Seeing other people make it in the “SITREP” thread was hugely motivating.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Never give up. You will regret it for life. A couple weeks of pain is better than a lifetime of “what if’s.” Ingrain yourself in the culture, enjoy the camaraderie, get some good stories and go on a few adventures. Enjoy the journey. Some of the most miserable moments will breed your fondest memories. Good luck.
DasBoot Intro Thread
@DasBoot
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What branch/SOF did you join?
Army/Special Forces

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
X SF Med, his posts always demonstrated the kind of mentality needed for success, I tried to apply everything I read from him and it led me to success.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
I wish I had gone Rep-63/18X instead of joining in a support role first. I joined with the intention of trying out for SF, so I should have picked a contract that would have allowed me to go to Selection sooner.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Be humble, be teachable. I don't care who you are, the second you stop being willing to learn is the second you become irrelevant.

Internal motivation is key, that motivational video won't be there when you're cold, wet, tired and hungry, you have to know your "why", your solid foundation that you can always fall back on.

You must commit yourself 100% to become a Green Beret or else you are destined to fail.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
"Why we do this? Items to consider" is a thread I found myself reading often. I also loved reading all of the posts in the "progress report" thread.

Anything else you'd like to add
I scoured and read this forum for the better part of 5 years before I began posting. There is such a wealth of knowledge on this board. If you have a question, search this forum. I can almost guarantee your question has already been answered. If you aren't willing to do the leg work to find an answer to your question, you are probably not ready to join a SOF unit.
DZ - Intro Thread
DZ - Mentor Intro Post
@DZ
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What branch/SOF did you join?
Army/Special Forces

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
Sf Med helped me a lot by answering my questions in a timely manner and without the sugarcoating

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
There is always room for improvements. I wish I would have Rucked more.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Ruck at least 2 times a week with no more than 55 pounds, and be as fast as you can while doing it.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
SOF thread helped me a alot.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Shadowspear has always been the best place for advice for me, I am glad to be a part of it, and to be able to give back
Zach's Intro Thread
@Zachary6847
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US Air Force

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What branch/SOF did you join?
Combat Aviation Advisor (CAA) in the USAF

Was any particular member here helpful? Who? How so?
All the members were helpful, but there wasn’t one particular in regards to CAA, as there isn’t a whole lot of information on the job.

Anything you wish you had done differently coming in to the role?
All the stars lined up just right for me, so I can’t say that I would change anything. If I had applied to this position earlier, I might not have been picked up due to a lack of certain experiences.

Any advice you'd offer to someone who aspires to be in the job you have?
Be honest with your self, as well as with the hiring team. The hiring team has an important job, and the system needs to work to ensure the right people are where they should be. If you’re the person that deploys and considers yourself better than the “savages”, you’re probably not cut from the correct cloth for this job. Also, not everything is black and white.

Was there a particular thread or set of threads that you found useful?
Again, there isn’t a whole lot of information out there on the CAA mission.

Anything else you'd like to add?
This career field is a different mission and mindset from a lot of the Air Force. It’s not well known, and because of this there is a lot of misconceptions about it. Even running around on AFSOC bases, people confuse the CAA patch for “Career Assistance Advisor” instead of Combat Aviation Advisor. In this career field you’ll be expected to operate with little oversight and in small teams. You need to be a big boy. You need to be trusted. No matter which SOF path you choose, or any path for that matter, don’t let someone else make your choices.
Jedisonsdad - Intro Thread
@JedisonsDad

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Ape Doctor - Profile page
Ape Doctor - Intro Post
@Ape Doctor
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US NAVY

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First Post

SITREP THREAD. Post your Progress Here.

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- Member’s not recently active on the site -

Rage Intro post - There is a LOT to digest in this....
@RAGE275
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Tweeder Profile Page
Tweeder - Intro Post
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Tropicana98 Profile Page
Tropicana98 was the initiator of this now 65 page thread:
SITREP THREAD. Post your Progress Here.
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rubsumlotion - Profile Page
Rubsumlotion - Intro Post
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Sully2490 - Profile Page
Sully2490 - Intro Post
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anarchy44 - Profile Page
Anarchy44 - Intro Post
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Meow - Profile Page
Meow - Intro Post
 
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