Branching question

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Chockstock, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    Ok, this is a question mostly for our older members and veterans who I think will be able to help me out.

    I know as a yuk, branching is still pretty far away (having to pick a major is a much closer decision), but I've been really looking into what I want to branch. You may have heard this, but USMA is making an overhaul of the branching system and I am liking what I hear so far - as individuals, we will "apply" for the branches of our choice, and the officers on the branch panel will review our applications and "accept" them and offer an invitation to join the branch. Really similar to applying for college.

    Anyhow, I am considering Armor as my top choice right now. But after speaking with some officers over summer training and doing some research, I've realized that Armor as a branch has been left mostly on the sidelines - although heavy tracked vehicles were used in Iraq and Desert Storm/Shield, their use has been almost non-existent in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. And with the troop drawdown and relative stability in Iraq, tanks aren't really being used anymore. An officer I spoke to at buckner told me that I won't be able to get as much combat experience as an armor officer and that training opportunities are decreased as well due to the military being cash-strapped.

    Question: Is there a future for Armor and Armor officers? Its my passion and dream to work with heavy armoured vehicles but it seems that the nature of this war, as well as the rise of electronic/space/cyberspace warfare really puts tanks out of the equation.

    Thank you :smile:

    -CS
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Armored vehicles have been sidelined to a large degree, but Armor officers have not. Many have gone to Cav squadrons (RSTAs) which are now organic to each BCT. These units feature a mix of Armor and Infantry officers and soldiers. In heavy brigades, you can serve in a CAB as well.

    Is there a future for armor? Of course. So long as China and Russia and Iran and the rest of the not-so-friendly world is rolling around in BTRs and the descendants of the T-64/72 and T-80 line, we will ensure we have the best armored forces on earth. Will they always have a role? Not always. But the most powerful system on the Abrams--the one our enemies (and even our allies) have tried in vain to copy--is the crew of American soldiers who make the machine function. They are what makes the tank what it is, and they are incredibly adaptable. They need adaptable leaders.

    Try not to worry top much about the current fight. It'll largely be over by the time you join the force in 3 to 3.5 years.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Follow your passion and dream. You should always do that, because you will do much better doing something you love than not. And just know that your passions and dreams will evolve over time as you gain more experience. As you face forks in the road, go with your gut.

    Your destiny plays a part, too. Don't begrudge your branch if you happen to branch Aviation or Infantry -- there are "heavy armoured vehicles" aspects in those branches as well (i.e., Apaches or BIFVs).
     
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    The simple fact is you will be a leader first than whatever else.

    If branch Armor, the time that you will spend it a tank will gradually decline. The most time you will spend on a tank is when you are a platoon leader than it will a big drop. In theory there are other positions (company XO, company commander, BN S3 and BN CDR) where an Armor officer will spend some time on tank, but much. When I was a mechanized infantry, sometimes it was entertaining to watch Bn S3 and Bn CDR at our gunnery trying to qualify.
     
  5. alparent

    alparent Member

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    How long is someone generally a platoon leader? What happens after that?
     
  6. cisco

    cisco Member

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    PL's are 2LTs and 1LTs after 18 months of being a 2LT, you'll become a 1LT, you're that rank for around 4 and a half years and then get promoted to Captain. So, around 6 or so years of being a PL and LT.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    6 years? You must be talking about some other country's Army.

    The current PL promotion point is still at 18 months, so after 1.5 years you'll pick up 1LT. In general, you should expect to spend anywhere from 6 months to a year training prior to your first duty assignment, with the exception of aviators, who will spend about 16-24 months training. The captain promotion point varies based on the needs of the Army. During the lean times (the surge in Iraq) we were promoting LTs to CPT at the 37 or 38-month mark. It has recently gone back up to around 41-42 months. The goal is to return it to 48 months, eventually.

    At most, a LT should expect to be a platoon leader for about 2 years. That's a best-case scenario. 18 months in a platoon is about the norm. About 1-in-3 LTs will move up to an XO slot, if their unit has XOs. The rest will go to staff.

    So, you should expect to be a LT for about 3.5 years, of which a portion will be spent training.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  8. cisco

    cisco Member

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    Lol.


    48 months? I could of sworn I read it differently somewhere else :confused:
    Don't I feel dumb.
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    You "could of" sworn or you "could've" sworn? Either way, it's not 6 years.

    "Mend your speech, lest it mar your fortune." -Bill Shakespeare.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The majors I've worked with said people are making captain in 3 years.


    Whatever it is, you will make O-3 in the Army faster than any other service in the U.S. military.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    The fastest promotion rate was in 2006, when they started the list at 38 months. That was back when the Army was hemorrhaging captains. The economy hadn't tanked and they had to offer the retention bonus to captains. Last year and this year the list started at 42 months.
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    This was 2009 we talked specifically about promotions in the Army. I'm sure it's slowed as the economy has headed south. Making O-4 is pretty fast too.
     
  13. alparent

    alparent Member

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    So....how does making Captain change your job description? With each increase in rank, I'm guessing more responsibility. But how does that incorporate itself into your day to day life- time (or no time) in tank, job location, etc??
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    If you consider 9 years fast.
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Captain is a highly variable rank in terms of job. As a junior captain, you'll spend most of your time on staff. As a mid-grade captain, you'll be in a command (if you're not a screwup). As a senior captain, post-command, you'll either be back on staff or filling a non-operational role in a job outside of a line unit. That could be as ROTC cadre, a career course instructor, an OC at a training center, or any other of a number of options. It all depends on what the Army needs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I do.
     
  17. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Well, you are entitled to your opinion. It takes half a career to reach O-4 as it is.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's just faster than other services. I guess the question is relative. Yes, faster than other service, in general is 9 years "fast" probably not.
     
  19. Packer

    Packer Member

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    LITS : What is the promotion rate in the CG?
     
  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Rate or general time frames?


    I don't have the promotion rate in front of me, but it takes 4 years to make O-3, and 10 years to make O-4.
     

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