Foreign Language relationship to Special Forces Selection?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Full Metal Bulldog, May 21, 2013.

  1. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    A few reliable resources in my ROTC dept. have told me that being a Foreign Language stud is somewhat of a way to be somewhat encouraged (to be put very lightly) to pursue the Special Forces branch of the Army at the appropriate time. How true is this? The reason I ask is because I'm minoring (possibly double majoring) in German, I'm one of my unit's top choices for CULP next year, and I never before seriously considered the career path (I actually am one of the few cadets probably ever seriously considering Chem Corps as one of my top 5 branches). I was surprised to be spoken to about this considering hmy 265-ish PT score doesn't exactly scream "I'm the perfect candidate to be talked to by his cadre about a Special Operations career". How accurate is this though? I would certainly take the opportunity to branch SF at O-3 if offered, especially if I get to learn and practice a whole bunch of foreign languages.
     
  2. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Just reposting so my post doesn't get swallowed up, it is a legitimate question I promise. Also, there was a slight typo: I meant to type 275 as my average PT score. Not much of a difference and still not very impressive, but still worthy of mentioning.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Just guessing

    I really don't know the answer to your question but if I were a guessing man I would guess being fluent in a language that is needed would be a plus. That being said, I wouldn't think German would be one that would fill the bill. Arabic, Farsi, Korean, Chinese maybe. I'm sure there are others in hot spots in the world that would be desirable. Again, I'm just guessing.
     
  4. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I would say that unless your "resources" have been special forces, I wouldn't put too much stock in it. If there were to be a preference, it would be for a language that is spoken in a country where we might inject special forces. East Germany hasn't been a target in several decades.

    That being said, being able to learn a foreign language quickly could be a benefit if you meet the other qualifications.

    x-posted with kinnem.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
  5. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    One way to look at it is it certainly can't work against you, that's for sure.
     
  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    If you have a knack for languages and you take the DALB and score high, it would be a plus for you. You would still need to pass selection, language alone won't get you in. If you don't score well on the DALB, there is always the 7th Special Forces Group, Spanish is the easier of the languages.

    Once you reach O-3 or O-2 promotable, you won't be offered SF, you would be able to submit an application to attend selection, if approved part of the process will be the DALB. One plus is that you can apply for SF Selection from any branch in the Army so Infantry is not required.

    Right now just concentrate on school, ROTC, and preparing for LDAC, the rest will come down the road, plenty of time to explore your options.
     
  7. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    I would take a look as to what the SF mission actually is in order to make a decision on if it is right for you.

    Learning a language is part of the pipeline to SF, but it's only a fraction of what will be taught to SF O's. I've got family in the branch and they went to language school as part of their training, but they haven't been speaking their assigned language in the past 12 years. Also, just because you learned a language in school doesn't neccesarily mean that will be the language you're told to learn for SF. That can go for CULP too, you may not go to a country that uses the language you've learned already.
     
  8. Frankie

    Frankie Member

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    Slightly off topic, but for CULP, how in-depth do you go into the language of whatever country you go to?
     
  9. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    I like to think my "knack" for languages is useful lol, I'm taking German because it was my High School language, I already have lots of experience with Spanish, both academic and practical, and Spanish, French, and German are the only languages offered at my school. If a Southwest Asian or Eastern European language was offerred, I would've taken that alongside German.

    I've only heard a little about the DALB, what exactly is it?

    I'm very interested in the SF branch's mission, building positive intercultural relations between a local populace and American forces especially is my cup of tea. I was just surprised to be talked to about it because of my lower PT scores, which is a dealbreaker in most opportunities or recognition in my unit.

    As for CULP, you only choose your region and how you want to be utilized overseas. By region I mean continent. Everyone I knew sent to Europe for CULP was sent to Croatia, not alot of German spoke there. One guy said everyone in his Mil-Mil unit spoke English.
     
  10. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The Defense Aptitude Language Battery, does just what it says, it determines your aptitude for learning languages.

    As for CULP, you don't choose anything, you put down a request of where and what type, very few actually get what they put down, some do, but not a lot. If you put down Europe, don't be surprised to end up in Cambodia.

    Best advice, Be flexible.

    As far as anyone in your cadre talking to you about SF, just take it as conversation, don't get to excited unless the SF talks to you directly. Your right, they wouldn't with 275 APFT.
     
  11. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I am assuming you are looking at being in a SF Support unit and not an actual operator right? I have a buddy who went to a SF group right after commissioning as a QM guy and he wasn't exactly a stud but he does get to do a bunch of "high-speed" training.
     
  12. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    That would be right up my alley!! Was he just lucky and the Army needed him there or was he somehow able to request that position? I heard from a former Green Beret (not sure if he was support or an actual operator, unless only operators actually wear the coveted headgear) that SF units utilize their CBRN officers for more than just SLJ's......which to be honest was probably the biggest letdown of my cadet career so far (until I knew better Chem Corps sounded like my dream branch)....is there somewhat of a way to actively end up here or is it just a roll of a dice?
     
  13. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    The best way to "actively end up there" would be to excel as a junior officer, then apply for and excel at selection.
     
  14. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Eh, it wasn't random. He had to make a few phone calls down to group so they could hand pick him. It also helped that his dad was a former Green Beret. However, from what he tells me the unit is short on 2LTs with only 1 out of 4 platoon leader slots filled.

    It is definitely a possibility to go straight from ROTC to support group. Oh and support guys wear the MAROON beret.
     
  15. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    If only I was a rising MS-4.......

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app.
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Going to an SF group straight out og the gate can be good and bad. As a 2LT you would very likely not be in the line battalions but would be in the Group Support Battalion (GSB). GSB is the butt of many jokes.

    If you want to know more about SF, pm me.
     
  17. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I know a few field grade logistics guys who said it was bad start for a career. They suggested that a new logistics LT should go to a BSB right off the bat instead.
     
  18. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Why is that? More opportunity in a larger BN?

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app.
     
  19. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Brigade Support Battalion. I believe they think BSB time will help you more because it will expose you to a full spectrum of operations involving support of a brigade while SF might be a little too specialized to start out on (Thus missing important growth time in a regular unit).
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  20. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Makes sense. Would you or anyone else have a decent guess as to which units would be most likely to use their Chem officers practically or have a legitimate need for CRBN experts instead of just labeling them as the USR Lord?
     

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