Do intelligence officers ever see combat?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Chockstock, May 29, 2010.

  1. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    I know its a dumb question but do cadets who branch into MI ever have a chance to see action?
     
  2. commanderajb

    commanderajb PC ROTC

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    I doubt it.. I mean it is always a possibility but I believe the chances are extremely slim. I guess the best chance would be if the intell. officer was assigned to a company and the company took fire at base. An intell. officer wouldn't go on patrol or anything.
     
  3. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    Unlikely. Depends on the branch. AF? No. Army? Probably not. Navy? No, because its a restricted rating. USMC? Probably highest chance, but still slim.

    It isn't the intel officers role to participate in combat. An enlisted intel (I'm talking USMC and Army here) might be attatched to an infantry patrol. In which case they may see some action. But an intel officer wouldn't be attatched to one of these patrols.

    If you want to get technical with it. USMC gives their intel officers a shot at recon (since they have the intel experience and have gone through the officer infantry course). But recon is just that, reconnaissance. It's not their mission to actively engage the enemy.

    Long story short, officers of any kind rarely see action.
     
  4. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

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    But recon feeds to MARSOC which does see action. But there are many kinds of Intel in the Marines, the only one with a real shot at fighting is Ground Intel, which is the only one that goes to IOC and they lead a scout sniper platoon so they will likely never actually go out with their men but its possible.
     
  5. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Or you can go Intel, end up being put in an individual augmentee billet and next thing you know: you're in the thick of it.

    More likely you'd be assigned to an intel staff as an intel IA, but there is the possibility.
     
  6. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Don't forget volunteer opportunities. My history teacher is a Navy reserve intel officer currently deployed with the army. He has been allowed on 2 "combat- type" missions, because he volunteered for them.
     
  7. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    I'm not quite getting the military jargon :rolleyes: but it looks like the answer to my question is 'no'

    Is there any branch that involves both? I'm sure officers see combat as much as enlisted do...Infantry interests me as much as MI does
     
  8. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Please, elaborate on this point. I'm interested in how you drew this conclusion.
     
  9. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    ^^^^^

    I was kind of curious about that statement as well. I'm guessing he meant to place the qualifier "intel" before the word "officers", but I think even that statement can be a little "off" in the current conflicts.
     
  10. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    I meant to say intel officers of any kind.
     
  11. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    I don't know where youre getting this info. But intel is one of the AF's highest-tempo career fields in terms of deployments. During my last base visit i spent a few hours with their intel shop and the officer i shadowed told us that normally there were five officers assigned to them. At that point, three of them were currently deployed...in combat zones.

    The two officers that were there (1 major and 1 capt) had both just returned from combat deployments. One was filling an army billet in Iraq and the other was on a PRT in Afghanistan. They both got shot at.

    And if you dont believe me, here's one intel officer who unfortunately did see action.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2010/05/ap_cadet_award_052510/
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    He is generally correct. The majority of AF intel does not get deployed in the manner you saw. While there are exceptions, as you noted with the link, he is discussing likelihood, and thus anecdotal cases don't really give us much of a picture.
     
  13. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    I'm not out to discount what anyone is saying here. Im just relaying information i got straight from the horse's mouth. The active duty intel officers I spoke with made it perfectly clear that they deploy as much as anyone in the Air Force. And they deploy to combat zones.

    This information was again confirmed when i talked to the officers at my det about my own interest in going intel.

    Do they go out on patrols hunting insurgents like Army Rangers? Obviously not. But I think its pretty clear that in the current types of operations the military is in, anyone who steps outside the wire is at risk.
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I think this discussion may be quickly headed in the direction that caused Bruno to re-post the rules of etiquette.

    I would advise you that, in this forum, you are in the company of many who have (literally) multiple years of experience in joint operations in the current theaters. What you may "think" you know about "current types of operations," or the knowledge you have constructed in your mind from visiting an Air Force base in the continental US, is sure to be quite far from reality. That's not your fault. It happens to every servicemember. It is something that can only be cured by a deployment. Or two. Or three.

    There is a HUGE difference between deploying to a combat zone and being in combat. The gulf is almost indescribable. The average intelligence officer, especially USAF intel, will not depart from the confines of his or her FOB/COB. It's not how the system is designed.
     
  15. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    As I said Im not trying to discount anyones information here. Ive never deployed and youre right; what I think doesnt matter.

    I have immense respect for anyone willing to deploy in service for this country. That includes you. But that also includes the few active duty intel officers i happened to come across. I just thought their sentiments would be useful in response to the original question of: "Do intelligence officers ever see combat?"

    After what I was told, and as i thought the link explained, the answer to that question is yes. Thats all I meant to get across.

    No need to re-post etiquette rules. Not trying to offend anyone. If my posts arent clear, please PM me and Ill try to elaborate on what i intended them to mean. Thank you for your service.
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No, my point was not that you were disrespectful. My point was that differences of opinion seem to have blossomed into you-know-what matches lately, and the mods would prefer to not see that happen.

    Yes, you will find that there are some AF officers who will have to fill random taskings like PRTs, but that large, large majority will not be involved in kinetic fights.
     
  17. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    The key in this entire discussion is, as mentioned above, the definition of combat. Is combat defined as "deploying to a combat zone" or is it defined as "seeing direct enemy action" (I'd include indirect fire as well probably).

    If you are the generalist and say that you are seeing combat by being deployed to the AOR, then yes Intel O's will see more combat than you could imagine. As far as I can tell they deploy on a fairly regular basis. On the navy side of things you will deploy with your unit, so basically six months every so often.

    If you are one who uses the specific definition of seeing combat than by the vast majority Intel O's will not see combat. They are in my experience from both an Army base and an Air Force base in the AOR kept in the confines of the wire. They will end up putting together all sorts of "awesome" powerpoint slide shows and be briefing kings/queens. They will at times be called to go off post, but this is rare and will even more rarely have anything to do with a patrol or firefight and much more to do with "building relations."

    To illustrate the vast difference between combat zone and "combat" I give you the country of Kuwait. Would anyone consider people stationed there to be "in combat"? They are sure in the AOR and qualify for combat pay, but in reality they are far from it. (Granted the hospitals there see the results of combat)
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I just LOVE how folks define "combat" these days....

    PERFECT example of "IT IS NOT COMBAT" is in the AF...you fly a sortie as a "support" aircrew member (C-17, KC-135, etc...etc...) from [deployed location in Southwest Asia].

    From there you fly to Afghanistan or Iraq and you deliver cargo or you orbit and refuel other aircraft. After a bunch of boring hours, you fly back to the [same location], land, shower, and put on your PT gear and be harassed by folks because you forgot to bring your reflector belt with you!

    Oh, did I mention you just logged 8.0 hours of COMBAT time?

    Compare that to the first time I "flew combat" in Desert Storm...there were bullets flying by my jet and someone seemed a bit angry I was there!

    Now? A flight in the AOR is a combat sortie and we're passing out medals like candy. There's even a portion of the "Outprocessing Checklist" at 'The Deid to make certain aviators have submitted the requisite paperwork for their Aerial Achievement Medals and Air Medals.

    So...COMBAT has a LOT of definitions now...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
  19. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    The discussions ran its course but I meant to ask about ARMY intelligence, not AF. So let me reiterate - do ARMY intelligence officers see the kind of combat an infantry officer might see?
     
  20. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    In general, no.
     

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