Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by joshhh117, Sep 19, 2018.
OCS, ROTC, Academies.
Best way to become at least an O-7?
The best way is to work extraordinarily hard, be ranked number one of your peers in both operational and staff billets, consistently deliver leadership as well as strategic and tactical acumen, hope that the needs of your Service match the skills and abilities you have brought to bear among a hugely talented pool of equally bright, successful and driven captains and colonels in the O-6 paygrade. Ethical leadership that has earned the respect of enlisted personnel as well as subordinate, peer and senior officers, impeccable personal and professional conduct are always desirable.
Yes, there are stats about which commissioning sources produce how many GOFOs, but it takes about 26 years to grow an admiral or a general, so who knows what the yield will be in a quarter of a century.
I realize this is not a direct answer. I have always contended the SA grads are the most professionally prepared as they enter onto AD, but that effect wears off quickly in a year or two. Equally bright people come through ROTC/OCS/OTC who quickly catch up. Any CO will tell you they want junior officers who can perform, no matter their commissioning source.
Most of the senior officers I knew/know never came in aiming for GOFO rank, thought they might get out after their initial obligation, and surprised themselves by staying. The ones with stars in their eyes were often the first ones to go.
This may be the key phrase from @Capt MJ. Twenty-six years — more than a quarter century — stand between butter bars and a gold star. That’s ample time to dilute any discernible differences among the various commissioning sources. By that point in anyone’s career, real-world work experiences far outweigh the program from which they graduated. In other words, OP’s question is moot.
There have been some studies on this over the years... SAs have been the front runner. I wouldn’t worry about that part. The statistics and chances of staying in that long or making FO/GO are so slim, it’s best to not select a school based upon that. Things like career assignment can impact this more than anything. What does that mean? Well if you are in the Army, being in the Infantry there are much more Generals than say Chem Corps.
I omitted to mention that you could be the hottest runner in your pack, and while in command, as the saying goes, you are “only one 17-year-old from disaster.” That means you could be on an apparently sure path to GOFO rank, and one of the sailors under your command chooses to do something that hazards the ship, crew or mission. The CO is accountable for the decisions of all, and it only takes one error to undo a glittering career.
In the civilian world, that is somewhat like asking 'which Ivy league college will best enable me to become a member of senior management/CEO?'
Since the OP is only in high school, I don't recommend choosing ANY college based solely on how fast you think it will help you climb the corporate (or military) ladder.
Before you make Flag Rank (General/Admiral), you first have to make O-6 (Colonel/Captain) . . . based on my experience no one on a promotion board ever cared what school you graduated from . . . on day 1 once you commission you are a 2Lt/Ensign. I do believe the SAs and SMCs provide a "head start" in preparation to serving as an officer vs a "normal" ROTC environment or OCS, but it is up to the SA/SMC graduate to use that head start to excel in the active duty environment.
Further to my comment about being only a subordinate’s poor choice away from career derailment, admirals and generals are perfectly capable of doing stupid things on their own, as the scandals over the years have indicated.
Sex with the wrong people, cheating on NATOPS exams or travel reimbursements, being jerks in a variety of ways, professional negligence, ethics violations, and oh yes, the horrifyingly mucky ongoing Fat Leonard/Navy investigation that is walking the poop right back uphill and taking its toll in criminal cases from more junior officers to senior. Flags are going to jail.
There was a Supe at USNA, who while walking back through Gate 1 in its former configuration, at night, in company with a group of friends, in civilian clothes, refused to show his ID card to the enlisted Marine at the Gate, energetically expressing himself the Marine should know who he was. The Marine, quite rightly, stood firm. There was some kind of physical contact, if I recall correctly. That Supe was gone within a day or so, his career as a flag officer permanently marred.
I noticed throughout the years that numerous Marines generals come from non-academy sources.
A few notables such as:
Gen Joseph Dunford-St. Michaels College
Gen Robert Neller CMC-UVA
Retired Gen John Kelly-UMass Boston
Sec. Jim Mattis-Central Washington University
LtGen Eric Smith III MEF-Texas A&M
LtGen Joseph Osterman I MEF-Colorado
LtGen Robert Hudelund II MEF-Florida Atlantic University
MGen Robert Castellvi 1stMarDiv-Illinois
MGen David Furness 2nd MarDiv-VMI
BGen William Jurney 3rd MarDiv-UNC Charlotte
LtGen Carl Mundy MARFORCENT Auburn
Retired Gen Carl Mundy Former CMC-Auburn
Retired Gen Al Gray Former CMC-SUNY
Retired Gen James Amos Former CMC-Idaho
Retired Gen James Conway Former CMC-SE Missouri State
Retired Gen James Jones Former CMC and NSA-Georgetown
Retired Gen Paul X. Kelly Former CMC-Villanova
Retired Gen Robert Barrow Former CMC-LSU
Retired Gen Lewis Burwell Puller Marine Legend-VMI but did not graduate
BGen Julien Dale Alford CG Camp Lejeune-West Georgia College
Some notable USNA grads of course such as both Krulaks, Peter Pace, and John Allen.
Col Smitherman is the current Marine Detachment senior officer at USNA but graduated from Texas A&M.
One thing to consider as well is that the 07's and above serving now started their careers at least 26 years ago, a lot has changed since then. ROTC grads are no longer required to apply for Regular status as they were before, speaking just about the Army, ROTC graduates and commissions nearly 3 times the number of 2LT's then WP. I think as time goes forward you'll see the commissioning sources of O7's and above balance out.
All good comments here... I vaguely recall researching and writing a paper on a similar question back in High School (late 1970's--before the age of the internet and instant answer to questions), and the conclusion was there was some type of "Ring Knocker's club" with an enhanced path to Flag, but even back then it was clear the trend was towards a more eqalitarian military. Keep in mind, prior to World War II the military officer corps was pretty small and elitist, and the Service Academies were probably a more prominent source of officers. Nowadays, I would expect that FOGO's are pretty well represented by all commissioning sources, not necessarily by design but because as others have pointed out the Commissioning Source gets less relevant the higher up the food chain you go. Performance , not pedigree , is what counts.
Here is one more input . . . not about a Service Academy, but an interesting article about General George Marshall and VMI . . .
Colonel Aytes got relieved? Must have been recently.
Ironically, the CO of OCS, Colonel Williamson, is also a USNA grad.
He did not get relieved. He retired this summer after a great career in the USMC.
Is that irony or being assigned to an open billet?
My apologies, I used the wrong verbiage. I forgot relieve==fire in military jargon. Disregard my post.
Not trying to stir anyone's pot, I just think it's moderately humorous that the Senior Marine at USNA is a ROTC/OCS grad while the CO of OCS is a USNA grad. I'm not trying to make any point of substance out of that fact. It's definitely good for the Corps that the different commissioning sources get exposure and input on how the other trains.
I suppose I thought that the Senior Marine was a position like the Superintendent/Commandant that was always going to be filled by a grad, but you learn something new everyday.
@BDHuff09 my pot isn't stirred. My post sounded like it was I guess. Like I wrote above though, a small number of Marine generals are academy grads which may be due to the small number of academy grads in the Corps. I suppose it is ironic an academy grad is CO at Brown Field in the context of this conversation, but filling a billet regardless of pedigree was probably the priority when the colonel was assigned.
I also thought academy grads would be assigned to all billets in Annapolis but that is not so. I was once in the personnel numbers game and saw either a billet filled or a billet empty. The Fleet is always more upset about an empty billet. Anyway, I didn't mean to sound all snippy.
USNA cherry-picks staff officers and instructors for USNA, all commissioning sources. Supe and Dant to date have been grads, as far as I know. I had no idea I could go there for duty until I was nominated to go for multiple interviews there, as part of a “package,” so this OCS grad found herself a BattO after making it through the vetting process.
I had three company officers while at USNA and none were USNA grads. One was a music major from Florida State (eventual three star).
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