Engineering Branch

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by kittkatt, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    For those who branch engineering, what are the various sub-specialties that 2Lts are funneled into/select/"voluntold" after EBOLC? Do engineering officers spend time in the field leading platoons building/destroying stuff or, instead, do they spend the bulk of their time "working spreadsheets on a desk"?
     
  2. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    My time-frame was in the mid 80's, so someone can update if any of this has changed.

    Most 2Lt's, especially from USMA, will lead a platoon - either Combat or Combat Heavy (construction). Combat Engineers will work with armor and infantry units clearing obstacles and putting in obstacles (minefields, concertina wire, tank ditches, etc), and yes you do get to blow up a lot of stuff - when engineers go to the range they get to play with a lot of C-4, dynamite, and det cord. If bridges need to be destroyed, engineers will rig the explosives.

    Combat Heavy will improve roads, build forward facilities, and other small to medium size construction jobs - not Hoover Dam type projects.
     
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  3. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    My basic understanding is along same idea as what jl123 is saying but with it now being broken down as combat engineers (think sappers - guys that go blow stuff up, clear obstacles, etc.), vertical, and horizontal units. Vertical and horizontal are both construction type units with horizontal focusing on things such as bridges and vertical on infrastructure. You might not have a lot of control over where you're going, but you can help guide this by trying to be stationed at a unit that has the type of mission set you are looking for.

    Any 2LT, or officer job, you get in the Army, you're going to see a lot of excel. Your job as an officer is to manage the personnel under you, making sure they have the resources and direction they need to accomplish the unit's job. There are very few specialties in the Army where your primary job as an officer will be the doer of the unit. That doesn't take away your responsibility of being a technical and tactical expert in what you are doing, but you will have your NCO's that have much more experience and practice in the tasks your unit is trying to accomplish. Your job is to keep that unit performing and directed onto the task at hand.

    To give an example from the Aviation branch, as an commission officer I am fully expected to be able to fly the aircraft and be a full functioning crew member to include being able to serve as the pilot in command of the aircraft, but at the same time, my primary focus should more be the air mission commander type (the overall mission of the unit versus the accomplishment of the tasks of the individual helicopter that the pilot in command is ultimately responsible). That's where our Warrant Officers come in. They're the technical experts and good ones will typically have much more flying experience than senior officers.

    I don't say this to make it sound like officer jobs aren't fun. You still will do a lot of very, very cool stuff in whatever branch you end up but there is a mindset that you will need to get into of what an officer's job is that you will learn through USMA/ROTC/OCS and continue to build the longer you have been in the Army. Good luck, and hope it works out!
     
  4. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    Really appreciate the great information. While I know that the "Needs of the Army" trump everything else, do 2LTs during EBOLC get to list any mission preferences ("Dream Sheet" lists) for assignments (combat, vertical, or horizontal platoons), units, or forts? I just can't seem to find info on the transition from EBOLC to one's actual unit assignment. I'm assuming what happens at EBOLC resembles branch selection (at USMA or ROTC) where the OML influences what branch you get--at least to some degree.
     
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Are you at Ft. Rucker now, how far are you along in Flight School.
     
  6. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    Almost done! The light at the end of the tunnel is finally appearing. I'm in the UH-60 course now.
     
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  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Nearing the end of that long road, best of luck. My son got a later start and is in the middle of Instruments now, still a ways to go.
     
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  8. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    Best of luck to him. I'm beyond thankful this is what the Army has decided to pay me to do for a living and was stoked when there was a Blackhawk to select at selection. I know I'm getting through here a bit faster than some of my peers (those poor Apache souls will be here literally ever) but regardless, its a good time down here. I will be thankful I only spend 1.5 summers down here though. Alabama heat is no joke. I'd like my snow back lol
     
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