Armor Officer?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by fried, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. fried

    fried New Member

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    Hey guys so my goal is to become an Armor Officer but I would just like to know would ROTC or NROTC (Marine option) be better. After looking around on the internet I heard that the Army has more armored vehicles compared to the marines so will that help my chances of becoming an Armor Officer also regarding promotions I also heard that the Army officers get promoted WAY faster than the Marine officers.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. newhampshirecandidate

    newhampshirecandidate Member

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    Well I don't know the answer...my advise is to apply for both. Neither are guaranteed but if you manage to nab both an AROTC and an NROTC scholarship you at least get to choose and have more time to get informed.
     
  3. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Agree, apply to both.

    However, I think you're prioritizing the wrong thing. Army and Marines are very different, usually. Sometimes they do the same thing, but that is rare. The Marines are a penetrating force, the Army is an occupying force. Very, very different. Marines are the "tip of the spear", while Army is the rest of the blade, and shaft. Army has penetrating forces also, but it is a very small part of the Army.

    Take some time to get to know what the differrent Army Branches do... Armor, Infantry, Artillery, Air Defense Artillery, etc., and what Marine Ground does.
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Not sure on the Army side of things, but can talk about USMC. Armor in the USMC is an extremely small community. Your chances of becoming an Armor officer are very slim just looking at the numbers. I am not trying to deter you, but I want to ensure you understand reality in case Armor is not what your future holds. Unlike the Army where you receive your branch during your senior year, in the USMC you will not get your MOS until you are about 1/2-2/3 complete with TBS. I would say on average of a company of 250-300 Lts at TBS, there are probably 1-2, maybe 3 armor spots and that is about the same for AAVs per a TBS company. There are only 3 tank battalions in the USMC, Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, and Camp Lejeune. There are Armor Battalions in the USMC that employ AAVs and LAVs. There are 4 battalions of each of these in the USMC. The USMC has tank officers and AAV officers. Tank officers attend the Army's Armor Course. AAV officers attend school at Camp Pendleton. Both these communinities are on the smaller side of things, which has pros and cons. Promotion rates are slower in the USMC than the Army. On the USMC side of the house, my recommendation is you must want to be a USMC officer first and foremost. Armor is a combat arms MOS, so be prepared to spend time getting your boots dirty and running around as a grunt too. The Army has many more armored assets than the USMC, therefore there are more career opportunities, traning opportunities, and leadership positions. The USMC AAV community has been in flux for years on the replacement of the AAV. The EFV was supposed to solve everything, but so far it hasn't solved anything. Hope that helps.
     
  5. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    Aviation, Military Intelligence, Engineers, Finance, and Medical Service Corps are the 5 most competitive branches to compete for as an Army ROTC Cadet.

    Armor is currently males only. As a male, if you want armor, you will most likely get armor. It might be as your control branch or your detail branch.
     
  6. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    First off, I'm not buying the "tip of the spear" stuff. The Marines were certainly part of the shaft in Afghanistan, and I don't consider riding around in boats and guarding embassies "tip of the spear". Secondly I'm not sure Armor is a lock if you are a male. That branch is getting smaller, and as the military draws down paying at the pump to keep 70 tons of steel on the road is going to get harder to do. Thirdly, make sure you know what you are wishing for. Many of today's Armor Officers are going to scout assignments and not all of them are serving in the "Heavy Force". The days of the First Gulf War, being prepared to fight on the plains of Europe and defend the Fulda Gap, and Heavy Rotations at the NTC are long gone.
    That being said, we commissioned 2 active and one reserve Armor Officers this year, and they all seem to be having a good time so far.
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    :thumb::thumb:
     
  8. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Ehhh armor for the army is certainly a lot bigger than the USMC, buuuuut within armor you don't really have a choice as to whether you are heavy (M-1 Abrams) or light (Bradley/Cav scout). When I was at CTLT my armor branched LT told me he didn't know what area he would be slotted into until BOLC time and even then it was random/based on duty station. He was placed in a cav scout troop.

    As far as armor being a shoe-in, I am skeptical because it usually in the top 5 or close to that area. Perhaps for branch details a cadet has a better chance, but traditionally it is one of the more sought after branches.
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Meanwhile, in the real world, both branches do both missions. The Marines have spent the last 10 years occupying countries. The Army penetrated both countries in question simultaneous to the Marines. You cannot pigeon-hole either service's capabilities. The Army has 10 Forced Entry Brigades at its disposal. That's not including the SOF capabilities on top of it.

    Some very valid points have come up. Most notably that the future of the armored force in terms of size and structure are in flux. In general, though, you have better odds in the Army. There are more tanks in 1st Cav than in the entire Marine Corps.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    No flaming me here, just a simple question regarding scout's post.

    Shouldn't the Army have more since the Army is so much bigger than the Marines? The Army has 1.1 million, the Marines has 1/4 the size. You don't have to be a mathematician to get why the Army has more than the Marines. All you need is logic.

    To me it is about stats, not just numbers, something fried is looking for IMPO.
    Chances is stats, not how many tanks in inventory. How many want to be in armored and the amount that gets this career field is the true question.

    Marines can have 1 tank for all fried cares, but if 10 go for it he has a 10% chance. Army could have 100, but if 10,000 go for it he has a 1% chance.

    To tell him the Army has more tanks means absolutely nothing when it comes to chances, unless you back it up with stats.

    I know, I know, I am just an AF wife, never lived a day in the military as an AD member, yadda, yadda, yadda. However, I am not brain dead, I am a business woman, I get stats and understood the underlying question. He wants chances, and the 1st Cav having more tanks than the Marines was not his question. His question was:

    Which branch do I have a better a chance at getting into armor?

    Stats tell the real truth, the number of tanks is only one part of the equation...the other part is how many want that career field.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    As was previously stated earlier in two other posts, his chances are generally higher in the Army because of the increased number of Armor slots per capita, the ability to branch detail, and the uncertainty of availability of armor out of TBS for the Marines. No one can predict how many will shoot for the branch for sure, so we can only speak in broad, but germane, generalities.

    The remark about the 1st Cav having more tanks than the USMC was to illustrate an important distinction: Armor is a much, much smaller portion of the USMC force structure than the USA force structure. The 1st Cav is one of 5 Heavy divisions in the Army (1st Cav, 1st Armored Div, 1st ID, 2nd ID 3rd ID, 4th ID), which are composed of armored vehicles (tanks and Bradleys). That means the Army has a much larger proportional force of armor. Each year, the services commission the requisite number of new LTs. For the Army, a larger chunk of those LTs MUST go into Armor to fill the branch. As someone pointed out, there are times when TBS offers NO armor slots to a class. That doesn't happen in the Army system. On average, 15% of a USMA class will end up in Armor. Among the MFE branches, Armor is not difficult to get in the Army.

    The real answer to the question is that his chances will hinge largely upon his standing in the OML. That means far more than how many of his peers do or don't want Armor. The Army will fill the branch. Whether or not he's eligible is up to him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Scout,

    I think my advice was abundantly clear to the OP.

    How many tanks doesn't matter, statistical chances of getting the career field does matter to the OP regarding Army vs Marine

    You answered the question, unfortunately statistically you answered the question indirectly. ROTC grads you gave no true answer, only stated 15% for USMA
    YEEHAW for USMA. This is a ROTC site, not USMA. What is his chances with the Army to get tanks? Not difficult doesn't cut it for fried when it comes to IRR or guard? Chances, stats, advice. Goose meet Gander...any advice you want to give as USMA grad helo to an AROTC Armor candidate like fried on how to achieve it via AROTC?

    He needs to find the Marine chances, using USMA as his guideline, not AROTC and hopefully soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Actually, this a SA site with an ROTC subsection. Hence the name.

    Obviously, you're not quite understanding all the variables at hand here. No one can give him anything beyond a general guess for ROTC. He could be in the 48th percentile on the OML and not get Armor or in the 52nd percentile and get it, based on the split of their branching system and how many people in each half wanted Armor. That's highly unpredictable down the road. However, 15% of a USMA class going Armor indicates that it's a fairly available branch. Additionally, he can look at where it closed out each year at USMA, as the preponderance of a USMA class branches in MFE so where Armor goes out is a good indication of overall desire among the MFE-minded folks for the branch. But again, that's based on the current trends in a conflict with little use of armored assets. In 3 or 4 years, desires could change completely, especially if a conflict with Iran were to be looming.

    So the demand for someone to tell him that he has X chance in Army ROTC and Y chance in NROTC-MO is foolish and largely impossible. It's like throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks.

    Again, speaking in large generalities, the Army has a proportionally larger armored footprint than the USMC by design. So, again, a much larger proportion of Army lieutenants will end up in tanks than USMC LTs. Factor in that many of his Army LT peers will select support branches vice MFE branches, and the chances increase even further.

    It's like saying you want to fly fixed-wing aircraft. You can do it in the Army, Navy, or Air Force. But if you're looking for a sure thing, the Army ain't your best bet. You can look at the number of aviation commissionees and the number of airplanes and, irrespective of flight students desires, see right off the bat that your chances in the Army are mighty slim. Like the number of tanks in the USMC and the way slots come down at TBS, much of their end results are affected by the structure of the force and the structure of the system.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  14. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    How will using the USMA as a guideline help the OP find out his chances of receiving Armor in the Marine Corps?

    Scouts explaination of branching may come from his experience with WP but for the most part it mirrors the branching process for AROTC in regard to the OML. Even in AROTC, there are a required number of Armor slots that need to be filled. There are also other options a cadet can choose that would place them in Armor such as Branch Details. The Marine Corps does not have these Branch Detail options which can lower the chances of receiving Armor. As Scout and others have said, there are times the Marine Corps offers no Armor slots, as Scout mentioned, that is not the case in the Army. That alone would give the Army an edge in whether a cadet has a better chance at Armor in the Army.

    The Branching process for AROTC is a complicated system, there are many factors that come into play when branching:

    ADSO
    Branch Details
    Top 10%
    DMG
    Upper 50%
    Lower 50%
    The Dead Zone

    The list could continue an explainations could take pages.

    In the end, Scout's advise in both his posts was spot on, the Army has more Armor opportunities then the Marine Corps and and the OP's chances will hinge largely on his position on the OML.
     
  15. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I posted a link from the myMOS site (I hope it works). I have no idea how old that breakdown is of MOSs, but I can tell it is pretty representative of what the numbers roughly fall out around even today, how the process works, and percentages of those who got what they wanted. As you can see between Armor/AAV a total of 4 spots for 157ground contract Lts. Also, there could be more (probably only 1 or 2) Armor/AAV spots in your company, but there could also be less or even none. It all depends on the needs of the USMC at the time. Yes there is a pilot spot and NFO spot listed, but these are for folks who initially had ground contracts and put in for pilot/NFO and received them. These numbers do not count the Lts who had flight contracts when they entered TBS. Probably another 50-75 of those within this TBS company they show.

    Also every company may do MOS selection slightly different. My company never did a straw poll. Another company had them make a would love to have line and anything below here I will be miserable line. We did not do that either. Some companies go purely by lineal numbers. Others there is more trading going on (but generally very little).

    But as pointed out above speaking from a purely statistical point of view you have a better shot at Armor in the Army.

    http://www.dbdriven.net/mymos/All_MOS_Assignment_Process.asp
     
  16. Packer

    Packer Member

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    If I was the OP, Scoutpilot and NavyHoops supplied the necessary information to make my decision.
    If you don't get Armor, what else does your selected service have that you would like to do?
     
  17. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Great question Packer.

    Over the last 4 years it was real interesting to hear how the cadets in my son's class had changed their minds, more then once, regarding their branch choices. As the years in ROTC progress you will begin to get a feel for where you may land on the OML, there will be a lot of different factors. I'm speaking in reference to AROTC. You may end your junior year with a 3.5 GPA and a 300 APFT, in your mind at this point you have a great shot at getting a branch you desire, then comes LDAC, an S can mean your in the 28% mark on the OML, an E could put you as high as 10%. Until you finish LDAC you will not really know where you stand.

    There are cadets that join AROTC with their mind made up that they want nothing but Infantry, 3 years later they now want something else. The main and first goal of every cadet should be to commission and serve. Over the course of ROTC you will be counseled on the different branches and your chances for each of them. As you progress through ROTC don't be suprised if you change your mind a couple times. My son changed his mind at least 3 times when it came to branching, it's not uncommon.

    Look at all the opportunities in both the Army and Marines and make sure in your own mind that you would be happy with whatever you get.

    My son thought about armor, he's 6'-4", he crawled into a tank, that was the end of that.
     
  18. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    One recent TBS class, Charlie Co (3-12), was allocated 2 Tanks/3 AAVs.

    The USMC also has LAR (Light Armored Reconnaissance, using LAV-25s) battalions, but those guys are infantry officers and choose to go LAR from the Infantry Officers' Course. There's only 3 active/1 reserve LAR BNs, so that's also a small community.
     
  19. khergan

    khergan Member

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    For AROTC, it has a lot to do with OML but additionally to do with who wanted which slots above you on the OML.

    If you go to http://career-satisfaction.army.mil site, which is the whole ADSO process explained, there were 124 slots for Armor officers from ROTC for fiscal year group 11. You can roughly expect this number to stay the same or add/drop by a small amount.

    Looking again at the slide with all the bars, under AR you can see that everybody pretty much up to 30% on the OML got their branch, although the last few percent near 30% needed to use a Branch ADSO. Then, the bottom 50% of the list needed to Branch ADSO to fill.

    So, there's your exact answer. It should be around 124 give or take a few slots for Armor - if you're close to or in the top 30% you shouldn't have to worry. ADSO if you know that you definitely want to be around tanks and do your best at LDAC and you should be okay.

    Finally - remember that the OML is flexible and therefore hard to predict. Understand that the top 10% get exactly what they want. However, it's not as simple as filling all the slots from AV, IN and MS. There might be squared away cadets that top the OML that want quartermaster or finance. Essentially what I'm saying is that there is no sure way to know exactly what your chances are if you're out of the top 10%. For example, the Aviation guys were telling cadets this year at LDAC that everybody assumed a few years back that AV was totally full and impossible to get. As a result, very few people picked it as first choice (again, assuming they wouldn't get it) and people with mediocre OML scores ended up getting it to their extreme surprise.

    You just never know, so do your best and try to get as high as possible.
     
  20. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    So very true.

    In 2009 Aviation did not fill until it reached very far down the OML.

    Don't forget Branch Details, there were approx. 96 Armor slots that were given as Branch Details, Armor had the second highest number of Branch Details after Infantry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012

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