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Whats your backup plan?

amlove21

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#1
For all you SOF wanna/gonna be's out there- I know this couldn't POSSIBLY happen to you, but what happens if you go out there and don't make the cut? What if you get injured in your selection, or it turns out you just aren't ready for your services' special operations job? Have you considered the A of your PACE? How about the E?

Let's just say, for the sake of the thread, that you don't get on to a team- what then?
 

Servimus

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#2
For all you SOF wanna/gonna be's out there- I know this couldn't POSSIBLY happen to you, but what happens if you go out there and don't make the cut? What if you get injured in your selection, or it turns out you just aren't ready for your services' special operations job? Have you considered the A of your PACE? How about the E?

Let's just say, for the sake of the thread, that you don't get on to a team- what then?
I don't see myself as mentally incapable for the position I'm looking at. My main hurdle is a physical one, and that just takes time and discipline. Diet, exercise, rest. I'll go where they send me and I won't quit.

Injuries happen to everyone though- the weakest and the strongest. If that happens- Lick my wounds. Capitalize off knowledge gained from failure. Try again.
 

amlove21

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#3
I don't see myself as mentally incapable for the position I'm looking at. My main hurdle is a physical one, and that just takes time and discipline. Diet, exercise, rest. I'll go where they send me and I won't quit.

Injuries happen to everyone though- the weakest and the strongest. If that happens- Lick my wounds. Capitalize off knowledge gained from failure. Try again.
This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. From your "first post" thread intro, you want to be an Army SF guy, and you're not in the military currently. I want you to take this at face value only- but you're on the outside looking in, my friend. You have no clue what it mentally takes to be where you want to go. I hope you're bristling at that statement, because you're motivated. But I also hope there is a sting of truth. Because it's true- you know what you know from books, second hand knowledge, and stories. You don't even have the benefit of working for/with an ODA, because you are currently involved in Academia, and not the Profession of Arms.

What happens when you go to selection or the Q course, have a couple of bad days in a row, and you find yourself outprocessing and looking for a job in the Big Army? Cause I could be wrong here, but I am pretty sure that Special Forces doesn't sign your paycheck- the United States Army does. So when you say "lick your wounds", what do you mean? Cook? Cop? Intel? Infantry? Cause you aren't getting a shot again, at least not right away (in most cases).

The reason I ask is this- I didn't make it my first time. It took me 5 years and an entirely different career in the AF to end up being a PJ. I know a lot of guys that took the "hard way" in different branches of service, and they were completely unprepared because they thought "my main hurdle is a physical one, and that just takes time and discipline. I won't quit." Hey man, I dig it, and that's all well and good- and it's also piss-poor planning.

So I will ask again, because you didn't answer my question- what is your backup plan if you don't make it? Because, regardless of whatever T-Shirt slogan you may have read, failure most certainly IS an option my friend.
 

Polar Bear

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#4
Before all the wannabees hang themselves here....It is Mental and you ain't seen Mental until you have tried selection. If you are smart, there is no backup plan besides death...just telling you from empirical wisdom. I failed Mentally once, had a second chance and blew it because of a DUI.....15 June 1991, that date will live with me till the day I die, it changed my life. It took a dream from me.
 

amlove21

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#5
Before all the wannabees hang themselves here....It is Mental and you ain't seen Mental until you have tried selection. If you are smart, there is no backup plan besides death...just telling you from empirical wisdom. I failed Mentally once, had a second chance and blew it because of a DUI.....15 June 1991, that date will live with me till the day I die, it changed my life. It took a dream from me.
So I will make a concession- I will assume that every person here isn't quitting, and that they will die before you consider option #2.

But let's just, theoretically, consider option #2 for a bit. Because, as we see, unfortunate stuff happens.
 

Servimus

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#6
This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. From your "first post" thread intro, you want to be an Army SF guy, and you're not in the military currently. I want you to take this at face value only- but you're on the outside looking in, my friend. You have no clue what it mentally takes to be where you want to go. I hope you're bristling at that statement, because you're motivated. But I also hope there is a sting of truth. Because it's true- you know what you know from books, second hand knowledge, and stories. You don't even have the benefit of working for/with an ODA, because you are currently involved in Academia, and not the Profession of Arms.
It took me about 10 minutes to post my first comment for exactly that reason. I feel like I'm mentally capable, but I don't KNOW that I am. I am looking in from the outside and my opinion isn't worth shit because I haven't been there and I haven't done that. I can't quantify in concrete terms what it takes to do these things, because I haven't even seen them being done, let alone tried it myself. I understand this, and I remind myself of it. That being said- there have been guys in my shoes who've gotten to where they've wanted to go. That's my aim as well.

What happens when you go to selection or the Q course, have a couple of bad days in a row, and you find yourself outprocessing and looking for a job in the Big Army? Cause I could be wrong here, but I am pretty sure that Special Forces doesn't sign your paycheck- the United States Army does. So when you say "lick your wounds", what do you mean? Cook? Cop? Intel? Infantry? Cause you aren't getting a shot again, at least not right away (in most cases).
The route I'm taking is, specifically, that of an Opt. 40 contract. It's 11B and to the infantry if I fail at some point. I don't have any problem with serving with the Infantry. I'm joining because I want to serve and if I fail on that road, I'm still serving with the Infantry. I have no problem with that. If anything I'll learn. Like you said, now I don't enjoy the benefit of experience. If I try and fail, I will. If it takes me a few years to get another shot, then so be it. A few years of more familiarity with the Army and a few years to prepare.

The reason I ask is this- I didn't make it my first time. It took me 5 years and an entirely different career in the AF to end up being a PJ. I know a lot of guys that took the "hard way" in different branches of service, and they were completely unprepared because they thought "my main hurdle is a physical one, and that just takes time and discipline. I won't quit." Hey man, I dig it, and that's all well and good- and it's also piss-poor planning.

So I will ask again, because you didn't answer my question- what is your backup plan if you don't make it? Because, regardless of whatever T-Shirt slogan you may have read, failure most certainly IS an option my friend.
Failure is an option, and that's why I am and plan to continue to work my ass off to mitigate that option. When I sign the contract, I understand fully well what that entails- failure included. I'm focused on this, but I don't have tunnel vision.
 

Servimus

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#7
Failure is an option, and that's why I am and plan to continue to work my ass off to mitigate that option. When I sign the contract, I understand fully well what that entails- failure included. I'm focused on this, but I don't have tunnel vision.
Highlighting my last statement here.

This embodies how I see failure. I take responsibility for it. If I were to fail and I get sent someplace else, then I take responsibility for it and do my job. I don't want to dwell on that too long though. Polar Bear said that there is no other option but death. I feel the same way. When I say it, it carries considerably less weight because the "Who the fuck are you and what have you done?" factor comes in to play. That's my outlook.
 

Polar Bear

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#8
So I will make a concession- I will assume that every person here isn't quitting, and that they will die before you consider option #2.

But let's just, theoretically, consider option #2 for a bit. Because, as we see, unfortunate stuff happens.
Don't think you can, it will give you THAT thought process that I can quit, get hurt and do this. Make them take you off the playing field. Backup plan is 5 more minutes one more step, ok made it through that 5 more minutes one more step. This is just me amlove. If I had thought this way the first time my life would be different
 

amlove21

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#9
Highlighting my last statement here.

This embodies how I see failure. I take responsibility for it. If I were to fail and I get sent someplace else, then I take responsibility for it and do my job. I don't want to dwell on that too long though. Polar Bear said that there is no other option but death. I feel the same way. When I say it, it carries considerably less weight because the "Who the fuck are you and what have you done?" factor comes in to play. That's my outlook.
Hey, again, I dig the motivation, and it comes from a good place- but that particular stance is both unrealistic and melodramatic. You aren't actually going to kill yourself if you fail. And there are plenty of other options.

I just want to open the discussion and get your mind operating. There are times where you need to consider all contingencies; consider this as a "mission planning" exercise.
 
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amlove21

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#10
Don't think you can, it will give you THAT thought process that I can quit, get hurt and do this. Make them take you off the playing field. Backup plan is 5 more minutes one more step, ok made it through that 5 more minutes one more step. This is just me amlove. If I had thought this way the first time my life would be different
Hey, no disagreements here. However, stuff happens. Again, think of it more of a mental exercise. Cause you know what the flip side of the coin is? Thinking about your no-kidding options, seeing what they are, and realizing that they are so crappy that you would rather die than accept the alternative.
 

Polar Bear

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#11
Hey, no disagreements here. However, stuff happens. Again, think of it more of a mental exercise. Cause you know what the flip side of the coin is? Thinking about your no-kidding options, seeing what they are, and realizing that they are so crappy that you would rather die than accept the alternative.
Then I pose this question. What do the other services offer if you fail? In the Army you are already MOS qualified.Where you go, is needs of Mother Army.
 

amlove21

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#12
Then I pose this question. What do the other services offer if you fail? In the Army you are already MOS qualified.Where you go, is needs of Mother Army.
I can only speak for the AF, but it's the same deal. However, you can sort of choose your path if you get good recommendations from the staff at Selection or in the pipeline. It all comes down to Uncle Sam- but simply throwing a dart at a list of career fields isn't exactly prudent.

And I know the Xray program is gone now- but there was a good amount of time where guys weren't MOS qualed prior to the SF route. Thats the way it is in the AF, and has been for a bit. You can come in right off the street to be a PJ with no training and no idea what other jobs are about or available.

Furthermore, is getting out an option? If SOF isn't it, are you getting out of the military? How long till you can go back and try again? What job would better prepare you for the re-attack? Get you out of pipeline schools, etc?
 

Servimus

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#13
Hey, again, I dig the motivation, and it comes from a good place- but that particular stance is both unrealistic and melodramatic. You aren't actually going to kill yourself if you fail.
This is a tough conversation. I see where Polar Bear is coming from, and that's what I identify with most, but I understand the pragmatic question you're posing.

Point 1: When I said "death" I definitely didn't mean I was going to kill myself! I'm just saying that "quitting" doesn't exist. Failure is possible, but if I fail, it's because I failed before I even got to selection. It's because I didn't PT hard enough, or I goofed off doing stupid shit when I should have been staying on task. While I'm at selection, "quitting" isn't even something that exists. It's not a viable option.

My best buddy is leaving for BUD/s shortly. If you want to quit, you ring the bell and put down your helmet. What we agreed on is that he wouldn't acknowledge that the "bell" even existed.That's that attitude I think is necessary in a selection environment.
 

Johca

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#14
Interesting topic, here’s some statistics to ponder:

Ranger School (a three phase 61 day leadership course more so than a Ranger duty assignment qual course) has Average Graduation Rate since FY51 of 53%.

USAF Pararescue and CCT has a 85% to 90% attrition rate of students going through all required training needed to do the job.

USN SEALs have a 70% attrition rate at BUDs.

US Coast Guard Rescue swimmer programs and Navy SAR swimmer program typically have higher than 50% attrition rates and in some years it has been as high as 80%.

All these training programs have a must meet level of physical fitness performance to get into the training, so is the primary difficulty physical or mental? As most self-eliminate from training rather than involuntarily eliminated for failure to train it should be obvious mental /emotional fitness is as much looked for as physical fitness.

Considering studies on youth population and military recruitment claim “evidence suggests that cardiorespiratory endurance in young men has declined by approximately 10 percent since 1966” and that there is increasing occurrences of preexisting anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder conditions, bi-polar disorders in the young adult population of graduating high school age., it would be safe to assume it’s a lot easier to adapt physically to training than mentally for more and more individuals attempting to become all that can be or desire to be.

Considering USN SEAL selection includes an emotional screening test as does Pararescue and that a lot of physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding military occupations are moving towards emotional screening tests I have good experience reason to suggest a person can survive the physical fitness requirement much easily than the emotional and physical requirements.

So any boasting of “Injuries happen to everyone though- the weakest and the strongest. If that happens- Lick my wounds. Capitalize off knowledge gained from failure. Try again” sort of gets me laughing as physical injury cause for elimination accounts for only 1% eliminated from training for special operations occupations.
 

Servimus

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#15
So any boasting of “Injuries happen to everyone though- the weakest and the strongest. If that happens- Lick my wounds. Capitalize off knowledge gained from failure. Try again” sort of gets me laughing as physical injury cause for elimination accounts for only 1% eliminated from training for special operations occupations.
For the record- when I wrote that, it wasn't my intention to boast. If it came off that way- apologies.

Also, when I addressed injuries, I was doing just that. I don't think injuries are the biggest cause of failure in training for SOF occupations. It was brought up to me, so I addressed it and answered the question. I agree with everything you've posted.
 

amlove21

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#16
...entire post...
Awesome stats- where was that from? Although I was extremely surprised that only 1% were eliminated from training for physical injury, I had assumed it would be higher than that.

I am even more interested in the "Considering studies on youth population and military recruitment claim “evidence suggests that cardiorespiratory endurance in young men has declined by approximately 10 percent since 1966” statement.

It almost seems as if to say "it actually WAS harder" in times past, at least speaking for the cardiorespiratory endurance in young men post 1966.




 

Tropicana98

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#17
First...like you said about all of us wannabes I'd rather die than quit. But to answer your question I said in my first post intro that I first and foremost have always wanted to be a soldier in the United States Army. So with that in mind if I end up at the needs of the Army I'm going to be the best soldier(infantryman) I can be at whatever unit that may be. I see a lot of pride in that uniform and I'll wear mine with that pride regardless of what tabs, scrolls, or beret I'm authorized to wear in addition to that.

Now on to this point. There are by my count 8 SOF-centric sites that I know of and probably more that I don't. I have over a year until I actually show up in Pre-RASP when you factor in OSUT and Airborne even if I got my Opt. 40 today. The "hard" gates to pass are available in the public forum and since I have them bookmarked I can get to that page 100 times over in the time it will take me to write this. I already have a used ruck which I bought over the internet staring me in the face just trying to get enough money for some boots. I started Crossfit and even though it's not an end all be all program I have read enough from verifieds across this site and others that it is good stuff for preparation as far as true functional fitness goes. Combine that with running and maybe even progressing to Military Athlete by the time I ship and the physical will work itself out because from what you all say its not the physical that gets people anyway. I have this mentor section to read and armyranger.com will provide a mentor when I officially sign, that's a wealth of knowledge if I have ever seen one. I actually even know a former 1st batt guy who was wounded on deployment because he's buddies with a kid I played football with here at school, his words "It has nothing to do with down here its all up here." I have all of this at my disposal and if I can't get through 8 weeks for the rest of my life for something that I claim to be my dream...then I really didn't deserve to be there in the first place. With the amount of time, knowledge, and PT time on my side failing and quitting have to be merged into the same thing at that point don't they?
 

amlove21

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#18
First...like you said about all of us wannabes I'd rather die than quit. But to answer your question I said in my first post intro that I first and foremost have always wanted to be a soldier in the United States Army. So with that in mind if I end up at the needs of the Army I'm going to be the best soldier(infantryman) I can be at whatever unit that may be. I see a lot of pride in that uniform and I'll wear mine with that pride regardless of what tabs, scrolls, or beret I'm authorized to wear in addition to that.
The second part of your post was unneeded, yea? Your backup plan is to just be an infantry soldier, and thats enough. I have zero issue with that.

And again, let's stop with the "I'd rather die that quit" analogy. No, you wouldn't choose death over stopping a training iteration, and it takes away from those that actually did die doing their job. Let's keep the drama to a minimum and focus on the topic- what is the backup plan if you don't make it through your selection process or pipeline?
 

Polar Bear

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#19
Point 1: When I said "death" I definitely didn't mean I was going to kill myself! I'm just saying that "quitting" doesn't exist. Failure is possible, but if I fail, it's because I failed before I even got to selection. It's because I didn't PT hard enough, or I goofed off doing stupid shit when I should have been staying on task. While I'm at selection, "quitting" isn't even something that exists. It's not a viable option.
I was given a bad batch of MRE's and so where others. I lost 20 lbs in 2 days. Those 2 days where the worst 2 days of my life. The last 6 hours before I knocked on the cadre door where the longest in my life. It is nothing I did to myself. I can still remember the cadre's face and what he said "You" yes "you really sure" yes and I throw up. The next night the air war started for the the first DS

Edit to add don't eat an MRE if it is bloated
 

Tropicana98

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#20
I apologize for the melodrama amlove. You're right I crossed the line with that comment and I'll push em out after I finish this response. To more fully answer your question no I would not have a problem serving in a conventional unit if I did not make it through however all I meant was that I would have no problem putting my best into the job until I get back to the selection process. I would not show up at say the 82nd counting down the days spouting off about how "I'm only here for this many months then I'm going to RASP fuck this place" that makes me look further like an asshat after already failing, it alienates the men I'm serving with and those that died proudly serving the 82nd, and it would probably get me killed because an attitude like that breeds arrogance, arrogance leads to a lack of situational awareness. But in all honesty my focus is on the second half of my first response which I hope came off as what Servimus said earlier if I fail it will because of my doing in order to make "I quit" can't be an option at all. Injury is one thing I don't control that but failing and quitting I do...those are the only two things I do control.

.

What happens when you go to selection or the Q course, have a couple of bad days in a row
That doesn't mean I have to quit does it?

I cut the other half of this sentence off because that already had the person leaving and I wanted to address this part so its not an uninformed misquote.

Again I apologize for the melodrama and I hope I can help solidify my thinking with this question. Amlove,sir, during those 5 years weren't you focused on doing the best you could as that other AF career while still focusing on the big picture of being a PJ and having that burning desire to make it happen? That is simply all I mean. But I can't afford to go into RASP thinking about what may or may not happen you and the other mentors taught me that's the quickest way out of the door.