Help Requested: Options/Coping Mechanisms for An Undesired Branch Detail

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Cadet656889, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    Less than a week ago my school received our branching assignments. Much to my dismay I was informed I received a branch detail of Infantry and a primary control branch of Adjutant General Corps. I am fine with AG, but I literally selected Infantry as my very last choice in my preferences, and did everything I could strategically possible to avoid getting it. However, because I have a good PT score, the AG Corps found it appropriate to detail me to Infantry anyway. If I had received any other detail it would be much easier for me to cope with. Infantry is certainly a branch that requires an adequate amount of interest, motivation, and the right personality type to excel in. Therefore, I find it absurd and irresponsible that the only metric being used to detail cadets to Infantry is their PT score. I also can't help but think this will only set me up for an abysmal failure, as Ranger School will be an implied requirement. To succeed at Ranger School your heart needs to be in it, rather than being forced to go. That being said, even though I completely disagree with this, it still stands as the outcome. These are my questions:
    • Do any options exist to change your branch detail? If so, what are they? (side-note: I have spoken with my PMS about this once. He told me to contact the HR LT Assignment Officer at the AG Branch, and all she said was, "I don't have the authority to change anything.")
    • If there is no other option but to carry out the branch detail, what are some good coping mechanisms to become mentally at peace with this result?
    • Can anyone provide more information about IBOLC, Ranger School, or Infantry in general that might help me take a more positive perspective on this?
    • Does anyone know of another person in a similar situation? How are they handling it? What did they do to accept the outcome?
    • Does anyone have any guidance on how I can take my stance on the situation and make something successful out of it?
    I would greatly appreciate your time and feedback. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  2. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Cadet: I am not going to lecture you about the "needs of the Army," your attitude, or anything else. (others may but I won't). I don't know anything about requesting alternative branches so let me offer some thoughts on your posted questions regarding attitude.

    Take a moment to feel sorry for yourself. Do it privately and don't whine to anyone and everyone who would listen. But after that moment, you need to commit yourself to be the very best professional infantry officer you can be. Your soldiers depend upon it. From that point forward, you need to focus on "embracing the suck" and becoming the best. Learn your trade. With competence comes confidence and pride. Over time, you may discover that this is the most rewarding experience you will ever have.

    This won't be the last time that the Army will hand you a surprise. You had better learn how to deal with it or your tour will be a long and hard one.
     
  3. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    While I agree 100% with USMCGrunt's advice, I will say the only way you'll go to Ranger after graduating IBOLC is by passing the RPFT. Quite a few LTs don't pass and are sent straight to their units. As you're not looking at career infantry, this wouldn't negatively impact your career to any significant degree.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  4. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    You have to volunteer for Ranger School. Don't volunteer and you won't go. Keep in mind if you don't go you may not get a platoon. I would recommend you not request to go to Bragg or Campbell. Going to a light infantry unit without a tab will be a little more limiting than going to a heavy unit or training unit.

    And I'm pretty sure PT score wasn't why you got detailed to infantry.
     
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  5. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    @clarksonarmy Technically true, but at no time during IBOLC are you asked your preference. If you pass the RI-graded RPFT, you will receive orders, fail it and you won't. I suppose you could approach your platoon trainer and make your lack of interest in Ranger school known, but that might have other negative consequences during IBOLC.
     
  6. k2rider

    k2rider Member

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    I should hope not since my son's PT score was 340 and Infantry was his 1st choice. He didn't get it or ANY of the combat arms related branch assignments that were in his top 5 choices. He ended up with his 9th choice in a combat support unit that he's not too excited about either but as parents, I'm bummed for him but happy he'll be in a "safer' assignment. Trying to figure out how the Army slots people, especially after reading my son's written evaluations that highly recommended his placement in Infantry, seems to be a lost cause.

    The best thing I've seen written in other threads essentially states that "the Army needs to spread around the top rated cadets among all of the branches". I have encouraged my son to embrace the role he has been assigned because in reality, he has no idea what he'll like and not like about it until he's fully involved in the unit. He also knows he will need to step it up because priority #1 for him is getting into Ranger school.
     
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  7. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I'm pretty sure you have to volunteer for Ranger school. I don't think just because you pass a pt test they are going to make you attend. I think the way they put it when I was in IOBC back in the day was " you will volunteer for Ranger School or you will be counseled". Most of us volunteered.
     
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  8. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    Well, this was as of the IBOLC class that graduated last Wednesday.
     
  9. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    I see this through the perspective of my son, who worked hard in college in order to get Active Duty and Infantry. This was his first choice, which is obviously different from yours. He was counseled by ROTC cadre that if he wanted to have a successful career in Infantry he needed to pass Ranger School. Later, his IBOLC class was lectured by two different commanding generals at Fort Benning that they were expected to go to Ranger School and earn their tabs. That being said, a substantial portion of those who show up on Day Zero for Ranger School do not make it through. Only half even get through RAP Week, and many are dropped on the first day.

    An often heard phrase in Ranger School is "Embrace the Suck", meaning it's up to you to make the best of it.

    upload_2015-11-22_4-35-33.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  10. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    I'm just going off what my cadre told me - which was that AG has to branch a certain amount of their LTs to Infantry, and the metric they like to use to determine if someone can "take it" is their PT score. If they didn't use my PT score then I find it even more appalling that they looked at my profile, saw there was no indication I would be a good fit for Infantry (except my PT score), and still decided to put me there of all places. Has Cadet Command lost their minds? Furthermore, I don't understand the point behind ranking preferences if they are just going to arbitrarily slot people.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  11. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    Hahahahaha - sad but funny (referring to the comic). That's what my understanding has always been as well. It's also my understanding that Infantry Officers who don't attain their Ranger tab are looked down upon no matter what. In my opinion that's incredibly unfair for those who did not choose that path, so it inclines me to rise to the challenge no matter what. Ranger School might be hard, but the thought of being stigmatized for the remainder of my time in Infantry sounds worse. I guess I will have to hypnotize myself to become super hooah! *Looks in Yellow Pages for a good hypnotist*
     
  12. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    I am sorry for your son. I know the disappointment of realizing your future is not at all what you envisioned. It sounds like he has a winner's attitude though. Your story makes me even more confused about the selection process as well. It doesn't appear to make any logical sense. I'm sure with a 340 PT score it will be easier for him to eventually get slotted for Ranger School. Best of luck.
     
  13. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    Thank you for the encouragement. I understand the magnitude of my responsibility, and I will do my best!
     
  14. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    For the OP, I appreciate your candor on here, knowing you were probably going to get some blowback. Learning how to take what life dishes out when nothing can be altered is a valuable skill.

    For some high-level thinking on how to handle stuff you didn't choose, Google a .pdf out there: Stockdale on Stoicism I, The Stoic Warrior's Triad, by VADM James B. Stockdale, USN (Ret), from a lecture at a Marine Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, VA. It's worth reading.
     
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  15. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    Thank you sir. I will absolutely read it!
     
  16. USMA1985

    USMA1985 New Member

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    You could look on the bright side. Here's your chance - "embrace the suck," earn your tab and think of what a bad a$$ you'll be in the AG corps.
     
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  17. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    You're about to embark on a great lesson of selfless service. Yea it sucks that your plan has been altered somewhat by the Army's needs, but that's the greatest part of service. You're going to do what needs to be done, regardless of how you feel about it, because that's what leaders do.

    And the soldiers you will lead in the Infantry will expect you to be the best infantryman you can be while you're with them. And you owe that, and more, to them. They won't care what branch you're going to end up in or what kind of car you drive or what your favorite song is. They care about being led by someone who cares about them and will take care of them if and when the situation arises where their future is on the line. You have until the date you commission to throw a pity party, after that it's game on.

    I've said before on this site, because I'm experiencing it now as a young LT, but the feeling you get from leading young men in military service, especially in a combat arms branch, is something you can't explain. But once you do it, it's arguably the greatest thing you will ever do. Hopefully, that's the only "coping mechanism" you need.

    Rise to the occasion.
     
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  18. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    Thanks for the optimism. Easier said than done, but I like the way you think.
     
  19. Cadet656889

    Cadet656889 Member

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    It actually does help me cope knowing that so many others have found this to be such a rewarding experience. I would think my anxiety is perfectly normal, especially considering that I never envisioned this for myself, but eventually I will accept it. This could be a journey of discovering a lot about myself I never knew existed (as cheesy as that sounds), or it could blow up in my face (hopefully figuratively not literally) and be a complete disaster. Either way, I think eventually I can accept either outcome. This has put me in a position where I can't really think about myself anymore. No wonder everyone hates growing up!
     
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  20. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Cadet, I also think its great you reached out for some help. It helps provide perspective to you and also lets lurkers read this stuff. I was sort of in the same boat as you many years ago. In the USMC we get our MOSs (branches) about half way through TBS. I got my 8 pick out of 16. I was more than anything stunned at first. I didn't really sulk as I was more stunned and shocked than anything. I think I tried to start to learn about the MOS a week or so after I found out. The MOS I got was a very small community and we didn't even have any TBS instructors who had the MOS or related MOS. Luckily a few TBS instructors sought out one at the career school to come over and talk to us. That really helped to tell me more about the MOS (Internet wasn't quite what it is today when I was going through this, so it wasn't really a resource). Eventually I started to get excited about the prospects and more than anything just getting to the fleet and leading.

    I think your last post shows you are starting to embrace the prospect and realize what the future holds. I think I went through a similar process. Not sure on the Army's process, but in the USMC there are always lat moves to other MOSs. So even if you hate infantry, bust your butt because your Soldiers deserve and the better you do, the more support you will get to apply for a different branch down the road.
     
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