Enlistment vs. Commission and Marines vs. Army for Combat Arms MOSs
Dec 2, 2005 at 11:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

DanG

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I've mentioned before that I was pursuing a commission in the Marine Corps via the Platoon Leader Course for candidates still in college. I would have spent 10 weeks next summer at Quantico doing OCS and then received my commission after graduation and been sent (hopefully directly) to The Basic School.

However, I've decided to leave this upcoming summer free as I can still go to OCC after graduation, and this way I can go back to Israel next summer and learn Arabic which would be useful to the military.

Also, I'm now dead-set on serving as an infantryman or in one of the Special Operations units and there are more of those in the Army (Rangers, Special Forces, and Delta Force, from what I understand). The Army recruiter I talked to says that enlistees can now go straight to SFAS. I served a short year and a half in the IDF (the standard length for foreign volunteers) as an infantryman in the West Bank and I think my experience will be useful. It's also just what I want to do -- I don't want to be some desk jockey. Unfortunately, if I go into the Marines as an officer, I won't have much choice as to which MOS I'm assigned after finishing TBS.

So after that long introduction, my question is this -- can anyone suggest what I should be thinking about when it comes to considering which branch I should serve in? The Army recruiter told me that I can apply for OCS out of my MOS and will become an officer in the same field, but he's told me some questionable things before so I'm not sure I believe him. What specific questions should I ask? And does anyone know where I can find recruiters I'm more likely to be able to trust? All the recruiters I've encountered thus far (Army and Marines) are either shady, offer very bad advice (this Army recruiter suggested I drop out of my beloved college, enlist, and get a degree at Army University), disorganized, careless, or a combination of a bunch of these.

I've been training with an aim to be able to get a 300 on the Marines PFT (I can do 15 pull-ups now, up from 4-5 this summer) but I honestly don't know what my real chances would be for getting into the Special Forces (my top choice because of the language skills required).

I know there are a lot of people on Head-Fi who have served in some military branch or are currently serving, and any advice you offer will be highly appreciated. Thanks for your service and I look forward to any suggestions you provide.
 
Dec 3, 2005 at 12:00 AM Post #2 of 14

grawk

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In the army, it's safe to assume that anything not in the contract you sign on day 1 will never happen. So if you want to go into special forces or rangers, etc, make sure it's spelled out in your contract. You wouldn't have to go to israel to learn arabic, the army's got an arabic school in monterey.
 
Dec 3, 2005 at 8:35 AM Post #3 of 14

1911

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after watching jarhead, i was pysched for the marine corps. the esprit de corps are the best of all the armed services. i was very close in joining the air force at one moment of time and took some army rotc classes in college.
but you are a veteran having already served in the IDF. by the way how does that work with you having served in a foreign army?
yeah, based on my experience too recruiters will say anything to meet their quota. but of the choices you listed i would definately finish college and the school you like and then join the corp.
 
Dec 3, 2005 at 11:04 AM Post #5 of 14

Hey_Its_Cole

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My friend went straight SFAS and that is what he signed up to do, he just got his berret, he had to learn farsie (however you spell it) for his language. You can take your OCC anytime after you join and I actually have been suggested to take this route if I decide to join by my many military friends. They tend to believe that officers who where regular inlisted men perform better and have a greater respect by those they comand (actually everyone in the service I know has told me that). If you want SF, I would go army. Oh and a lot of recruiters are full of ****. I will do some asking for and see what I can find out. I also know a guy who is active SF in germany and I can ask him if I can give you his screen name.
 
Dec 3, 2005 at 11:26 AM Post #6 of 14

Usagi

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Like grawk said, make sure whatever you do is explicitly addressed in the contract. Personally, I wouldn’t choose either service because you're treated like crap in both.

Officer slots are not guaranteed to any enlistee who wants to become an Officer for many reasons; No slots open at the time of application, lack of endorsements, supervisors don’t approve, beat out by other candidates, etc. If you ultimately want to end up as an officer, I say go in with a commission. Don't worry there are jobs for officers who want to get down in the mud with their subordinates.
 
Dec 3, 2005 at 6:11 PM Post #8 of 14

DanG

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Thanks for the advice so far, guys. Cole, I very much appreciate your offer to try to find out more. If I could talk with your friend that would be perfect.

Ken and Usagi: the reason I don't want to go in as an officer is that I simply have too little control over what I will do. I talked to a guy who graduated from my college in the 90s, worked on Wall Street a couple years, then did OCC and got his commission in the Marines. He was sent to Okinawa to rot as a battalion finance officer despite having a 300 PFT score (I've heard that it's sometimes the guys in bad shape that do that work). It's not possible transfer from one MOS to another before two years have passed. He was lucky and made the aide of some diplomatic Marine general so he got to travel a lot and now he's a Captain working in Washington. But he was never a platoon leader.

If I'm in the Marines, I would want to be a platoon leader. But there's no guarantee whatsoever that I'll be made one. In terms of career, if I actually can make SF (and I have a lot of time to keep training for it), I've been told that career-wise a former enlisted Green Beret may have even more options available than a former Marine Corps officer. Do you guys know anything about this?

Thanks again for all your help, I really do appreciate it.
 
Dec 4, 2005 at 5:30 AM Post #9 of 14

Giteet

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I have many military friends and associates and I've learned several things (may not be completely factual as they're based on word-of-mouth):

1. The Marines live in the worst conditions and the training received is very limited and not very technical.

2. The Navy and Air Force both have excellent training that is useful beyond the military (technical, computer, engineering, etc.).

3. The Army Special Forces (Rangers, Green Berets and Delta Force) is somewhat tiered, though not exactly:
- From day 1 one can apply for the Rangers and the training is vigorous as one would expect; Rangers sometimes train with other special forces units to expand their skills.
- The Green Berets are a more advanced group of Special Forces that are not completely Army-derived (Navy SEALs and Marine Force Recon are also accepted under certain circumstances) and not entirely comprised of Special Forces units (though over 80% are ex-Special Forces of some type, and most are ex-Rangers). The Green Berets usually work the native population of the foreign nation for training and propaganda purposes (usually with assistance from CIA operatives). Less than half of all Green Berets applicants pass the stringent entry demands.
- The Delta Force is the most elite of all Special Forces; in fact many Green Berets serve with the hope that they will be selected by the Delta Force recruiters (Delta Force is comprised of ~45% ex-Green Berets). While the Delta Force, Green Berets and Army Rangers train in the same facility, the Delta Force area is not accessible to the other units.

BTW I'm currently serving in the Israeli Army as an officer (last year) and I’ve trained with some American Special Forces (Army Rangers, Marine Force Recon and Delta Force) units specializing in counter-terrorism – they were impressed with the difficult regiments and skills of the Israeli units.
 
Dec 4, 2005 at 7:54 AM Post #10 of 14

Homeless

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Doesn't the Israeli Army learn Krav Maga? I tried to find someone around my area who could teach me it, but was lucky to find people who had even heard of it. I'm going to be applying to the local police force and thought it would look good on a resume, plus I havent taken any self defense since karate classes in about grade 5...lol
 
Dec 4, 2005 at 8:22 AM Post #11 of 14

DanG

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We were taught Krav Maga as all combat troops in the IDF are required at least a certain number of hours of training which is always increasing. The type of Krav Maga training provided for Israeli troops is mostly geared toward a military setting where the objective is not to subdue someone without killing him.

There are Krav Maga classes all over the United States. From what I understand, it's often taught to police officers in many departments as well.

Giteet -- I'll send you a PM.
 
Dec 5, 2005 at 1:54 AM Post #13 of 14

jpr703

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DanG
Ken and Usagi: the reason I don't want to go in as an officer is that I simply have too little control over what I will do.


You have even less control as an enlisted guy! Get a commission and demand a contract that spells out what you want. With a war going on, recruiters need you far worse than you need them. Talk to a couple different ones from different branches and see who will offer you the deal you want.
 
Dec 5, 2005 at 2:46 AM Post #14 of 14

DanG

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jpr703
You have even less control as an enlisted guy! Get a commission and demand a contract that spells out what you want. With a war going on, recruiters need you far worse than you need them. Talk to a couple different ones from different branches and see who will offer you the deal you want.


I've talked to recruiters from the Army and Marines (OSO for Marines). Both the Army and Marines offer guaranteed MOSs for qualified applicants for enlistment. I know for sure that officers in the Marines do not choose their MOS unless they request and are qualified to become pilots or JAG. Once a candidate finishes OCS, gets his commission, and goes to TBS, at some point he ranks his MOS preferences from first to last among all the applicable ones in the Marines. But his superiors decide what he'll actually become.

The Army recruiter told me that officer candidates also do not choose the specific MOS but list their top choices and they will get one of them. I don't believe it's available for Special Forces (nor should it be). And if I were to serve as an infantry officer I would want it to be in the Marines simply based on the difference in quality between basic Army infantry units and Marine Corps infantry units.

Does anyone know for sure whether it's possible to sign a commission contract for a specific MOS in the Army? I'm not particularly interested in the Navy or Air Force as I'm not choosing where to serve based on quality of life -- I want to serve in a combat unit, either infantry or Special Operations.

Also, if anyone knows of which areas have Army recruiters who are considered more honest and dependable than Peabody, MA I'd be very interested.

Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions so far, please keep them coming.
 

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