T Nation

Any Military Officers?


Okay, so I've finally figured out what I want to do with my life and I've come to the conclusion that I want to be in the military. My parents won't let me enlist right out of high school so I've decided that I'm going to do ROTC in college. I'm still narrowing down my choice between the Army and the Marines.

Why the Army?

1) I want to get involved with Special Ops. Whether it be Green Berets, Rangers, or something else, it's the biggest factor.

Why the Marines?

1) Tradition. It just seems like every veteran I talk to was in the Army or the Air Force. Not that there's anything against those branches, but it just seems like that it only takes a certain person to be a Marine, and I believe that I'm that type of person. The old saying, "There's no such thing as an ex-Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine."

So if anybody who has been an officer or just in the military as an enlisted guy, please shed some light on the situation so I can make the best possible decision for my future. Thanks in advance.



Yeah...this is a great idea...but please, please please don't be an officer!

Everybody hates officers. Even their own mothers!


Ask your parents what's so terrible about being enlisted. I was enlisted started out as a private, eventually became an NCO, led my team in combat, became a civilian then used the GI Bill for my Bachelors Degree.

So I beg the question, what's wrong with being enlisted?

(number of commas in this post = 4)


I've considered this route myself especially after talking with Holymac, he's an army officer.

I guess the big thing for me here is if you're already set up to go to college I'd prefer that route as the money difference going in as enlisted vs an officer is crazy.


I had a four year Army ROTC scholarship and was commissioned in May - 2LT in the Military Police so I guess that makes me double scum?

Branch choice, that's a personal decision. Army, Navy and Air Force have more non combat arms roles than the Marines and by extension better career opportunities. Keep in mind that the Air Force and Navy are basically overflowing with recruits for both enlisted and ROTC/OCS right now which would make it harder for you to get a scholarship.

Job choice, I'll just be clear on this one. Every Joe who goes into the military wants to be a special forces badass. Not many make it through. Getting Infantry through ROTC is very difficult. If you're not in the top 10% of your class (and that's in the entire nation, not just your school) you can forget about it. Not trying to dissuade you here, just throwing some of the hard facts down that my classmates learned to their dismay. If you have any more specific questions I'll answer as best I can.


I was a Captain in the USAF. Why the AF hate?



Truth. Without a degree, you will be put where they need you...also based on how you test. It is great having the goals that the OP does, but it is best to also be realistic.


Thank you. I don't want to be stuck behind a desk all day doing paperwork. That's not why I want to be in the military. Infantry or artillery is what I mainly want to do. I have a couple of questions:

1) If I'm not assigned to what I want, is there any way to transfer?

2) If you're not an infantry officer, is it rare to be in special forces?



You can put in a request, but trust me, most of the guys who got chosen to MP duty didn't seem to like it and didn't often get transferred. Firefighters loved their jobs from what I remember. You have much less choice with no education. That is what the recruiters may leave out.


Not hating on the AF, my uncle was in for 26 years. The only way I would join the AF was if I were to be a fighter pilot. But with all the advances in technology, I'd most likely be sitting behind a computer screen with a joystick controlling a Predator. Not my idea of service.



I'm an enlisted guy. The following info is baseline, general stuff, doesn't apply in ALL situations.
Everyone does a desk job at some point. Officers will be in staff positions much sooner and for longer periods during their careers than enlisted guys. Even as infantry, you'd be a PL, then an XO, then Company Commander so on and so forth. The only time when you would be on the ground is while you are doing your PL time. Everything past that is staff, command, desk job stuff. Later on once you make Captain and you want to try out for SF, you'd do all your training and then go to Group, where you would get about 2 years team time, then begin your Company Command as a Major. Generally if you want to be on the ground, patrolling, conducting combat operations you could get about 5 years worth of that stuff as an officer, as opposed to roughly 15 years as an enlisted man. Again, this is just a rough estimate from what I have gathered in my short time in the military.

1) You can reclass. I don't know the ins and outs of this.

2) Most SF officers are prior infantry. It doesn't matter what your MOS is though, anyone can try out and non-infantry officers make in through the course without any issues.


Everyone here has good points, have you ever though about going warrant officer? The Air Force is great if you like the cush life. They work more like a corporation from what I've seen.
Army is where you have more chances at doing what you want if your good. The marines are a small force compared to the army and I've heard many marines buddies tell me it is harder to move up in rank along with wanting the job you want.
If you go enlisted in the Army you can have the pick of your choice in which job you so desire if you score a high score on the ASVAB.


On a side note glad your doing your research before. I joined at the age 17 and did not put any foresight into it, just wanted to go in. Luckily I scored a high score and got a great job. If you go the ROTC route the time in college might change your mind, I believe you have up until your junior to opt. At least that was my info 3 yrs ago.


I would look into all services, including the Coast Guard, before deciding. That was my biggest mistake when I signed.
All officers will do some time behind a desk, so if you want to avoid that at all costs enlist or become a warrant officer.
You will only be able to try for special operations right away in the Air Force and Navy; you'll need experience first in the Army or Marines.
If you want to be a military officer the best thing you can do is get a commission anywhere because there will be lots of good opportunities you can't know about now once you do. A lot of what happens to you in the military is luck so expect none of your plans to come true but wherever you wind up will probably be just as good as what you wanted.


Yes, the three year thing is still valid. My parents said that I don't want to be a grunt and that the lifestyle isn't what I would want. I'm not completely sure though. I'm always weary about talking to a recruiter because they'll just say shit to sign me up.



Firstly I'm a little lost, you're out of high school, and an adult, and you're parents aren't letting you enlist immediately. Why exactly does it matter what they think?

As far as gaining rank in the Corps, like others have said it can be difficult due to size constraints. A few buddies in several MOS's said that picking up e-5 was easy, and could be done in the minimum amount of time due to most people getting out after 4 years. However, after e-5 it's tough because most people above you stay for 20+. But regardless, in the Corps you should be e-7 or e-8 after 20 years in.

IMO, go find a grunt, and ask him about his life.


I wouldn't waste time either...hurry up before all these wars finish!


It really depends on what specifically you want to do, and what type of job will make you happy, regardless of what your parents are pushing you towards doing. Obviously the fact that you are searching out info on different avenues is a plus. With this, hopefully you can make an informed decision.
I am currently at 16 years of service. I was enlisted, in the Navy, for 11 years and have been commissioned since. I have a somewhat unique point of view, having seen the greener pasture from both sides. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.


No, I'm still in highschool.



"it takes a certain person to be a marine"

that's the bs they brainwash you with to make you ok with the fact that all of your gear is 2nd hand army issue, you always have funding and equipment issues, and you are used as landmine trippers for the main effort (army infantry)

i have zero problems with marines, but i hate that kind of crap they spew out.

x2 lol @ 'omfg i'm going to be special forces' - we had one dude during ibolc who wouldn't stfu about how he was totally going ranger batt and to group. dude failed out of land nav and the 12mi ruck, got recycled, failed again, and was forced to rebranch.

but yeah man, i highly reccomend it. an infantry platoon leader is probably one of the best/coolest jobs i could think of