SF and West Point

craigm4

Member
I'm highly interested in attending a service academy especially West Point, and wondered how many join/have joined SF after there time at West Point? Also what extracurricular activity would be most fit to get in shape for SF during your time at West Point?
 

MidwestDad

Member
You cant just join SF; branching infantry and then pursuing Ranger school is a good path.
Athletics are fine but relentless PT for core, upper body, and cardio is a must.
 

Full Metal Bulldog

5-Year Member
Any branch is good for Special Forces. There are things you learn in branches and units that aren't Infantry in regards to how to win a war that are important in in SF's mission.
 
If you want to go SF, West Point might not be the best route for you to take. Last summer at CFT there were some task force that was SF. One of the SF NCOs was a former West Point cadet that left when he was told it was unlikely he'd be able to go SF. Another one of the SF NCOs was a former Air Force Academy cadet that left for a similar reason. The officer accession rate for SF is lower than it is for enlisted, and even many prior enlisted SF NCOs do not make it. If your goal is SF or nothing, you are most likely better off enlisting.
 
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USMA 1994

Member
As an officer, you apply for the special forces branch once you complete your initial LT time. A combat arms branch may better prepare you for the SF Qualification course but any branch is welcome.

The chances of getting accepted and making it through the program is completely dependent on your performance. While there are fewer SF opening for officers, I have never encountered an officer who was qualified, had performed at the top of his year group, and was committed not be offered the opportunity.

I would also ask you to research the mission of the Army Special Forces. It may not be exactly what you think it is.
 

Craig

5-Year Member
Although the odds are extremely little (EXTREMELY!!!!!!!), recently there was a WP Cadet that crossed commissioned and went SEALS. Properly will be a long time before we see that again.
 

Jcleppe

5-Year Member
I'm not sure why anyone would tell a WP cadet that it was unlikely they would ever get selected to SF, they have no idea what kind of officer they will be once commissioned and what the selection rate would be at the time, or even how this cadet would do during selection. Officers are chosen for every selection class.

As it's been mentioned above, you do not branch into SF directly from WP, or ROTC. Once you become 1LT promotable you will be able to submit a packet for SF, if approved you would then attend SF Selection. As it's been said, you can apply for SF from any branch in the Army. While it's true by sheer numbers that there are more enlisted SF then officers, they are still recruiting officers for SF, the percentage of officers that apply are in line with the percentage of enlisted so in the end your chances are about the same during selection. My son is currently going through CA School and attending the language course with several officers that made it through selection, if graduating WP then down the road applying for SF is your goal then you should go for it. Dropping WP to enlist just to apply to SF doesn't by any means guarantee your selection. Just remember if you do drop to enlist and you are not selected you will still have your enlistment contract obligation while never graduating WP.

Bottom line, think about what you want to do in the Army if you're not selected.
 

SMP

Member
Although the odds are extremely little (EXTREMELY!!!!!!!), recently there was a WP Cadet that crossed commissioned and went SEALS. Properly will be a long time before we see that again.
Yes, he was in the 2017 graduating class. I believe he was going to BUDS shortly after graduation. It will be interesting to see how things work out for him. As JcLeppe indicated, it's always prudent to think about what you want to do if you aren't selected. In the case of someone cross commissioning Navy, you you might find yourself on a ship for 4 years so that better be okay with you.

If you think you might like to go the SF route once you become 1LT promotable, you should look for opportunities at WP that will be mentally and physically challenging as well as opportunities to broaden your skill sets. Consider participating in Sandhurst. Go to Airborne School and get your parachute badge. Pursue MIADs that have competitive tryouts like combat dive so you can go to combat dive school (which is run by SF) and get that badge. Combat Weapons Team is a physically and mentally competitive club. They are holding tryouts at WP this week. Sunday they put all those trying out through a 5 hour smoker. They started the day with 41 cadets and finished the day with 18. Next they interview them and then take them to the range for some shooting. Join the Modern Warfare club and go to the briefings. They are frequently conducted by SF personnel. They also hold special operational exercises run by SF operators. Stay fit at all times and look for mentors that are interested in a similar path.
 

Jcleppe

5-Year Member
All of the activities mentioned above are great, just make sure you join or participate because it's something you are interested in at the time. Don't take on these activities solely because you think it will help you in SF Selection. Selection will be based on how you perform at the time, not what your resume of activities during WP or ROTC looks like. Don't think that if you do not branch Infantry or Armor that your chances for selection are diminished, the CPT that is in my son's Russian class that was selected and is going through SF school originally branched Quartermaster.
 

craigm4

Member
I'm not sure why anyone would tell a WP cadet that it was unlikely they would ever get selected to SF, they have no idea what kind of officer they will be once commissioned and what the selection rate would be at the time, or even how this cadet would do during selection. Officers are chosen for every selection class.

As it's been mentioned above, you do not branch into SF directly from WP, or ROTC. Once you become 1LT promotable you will be able to submit a packet for SF, if approved you would then attend SF Selection. As it's been said, you can apply for SF from any branch in the Army. While it's true by sheer numbers that there are more enlisted SF then officers, they are still recruiting officers for SF, the percentage of officers that apply are in line with the percentage of enlisted so in the end your chances are about the same during selection. My son is currently going through CA School and attending the language course with several officers that made it through selection, if graduating WP then down the road applying for SF is your goal then you should go for it. Dropping WP to enlist just to apply to SF doesn't by any means guarantee your selection. Just remember if you do drop to enlist and you are not selected you will still have your enlistment contract obligation while never graduating WP.

Bottom line, think about what you want to do in the Army if you're not selected.
Would you have any idea what extra curricular activity would be best fits to train because at West Point I heard you must be aprat of a team or club.
 

SMP

Member
All of the activities mentioned above are great, just make sure you join or participate because it's something you are interested in at the time. Don't take on these activities solely because you think it will help you in SF Selection. Selection will be based on how you perform at the time, not what your resume of activities during WP or ROTC looks like. Don't think that if you do not branch Infantry or Armor that your chances for selection are diminished, the CPT that is in my son's Russian class that was selected and is going through SF school originally branched Quartermaster.
Absolutely. It's not about resume building. It's about preparing yourself to be the best that you can be and preparing yourself to do what SF personnel may be required to do.
 

MFREEFALL

New Member
In general, for an officer, combat arms, specifically Infantry is the best path to US Army Special Forces. You cannot replicate the infantry experience in any of the other branches. Although there are officers representing other branches that will make it through the Special Forces Officer Qualification Course, the learning curve is steeper and the transition more challenging. The core Special Forces mission is Unconventional Warfare, basically teaching, leading and executing infantry tactics with indigenous forces. If you have never served in the Infantry, you will have a hard time envisioning the whole spectrum of what you are doing. Of course there are exceptions. I don't think most experienced Green Beret Officers would argue with any of this. That all being said, if you have the desire, drive and will power, you can do just about anything you put your mind to even if it is harder for you than the guy next to you. Practice doing more than you think you can do, being in awkward situations and pushing yourself is the best guidance. Be physically fit and comfortable with a 50 lbs ruck for up to 25 miles. Finally, a comment about SEALs, SEALs are not Green Berets. Although they are cut from a similar cloth as Green Berets, their missions are different and they are selected differently. There is a reason you cannot commission directly into US Army Special Forces, the spectrum of missions are generally more complex for Green Berets than for SEALs. These generalizations don't apply to Special Mission Units. Good luck!
 
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MFREEFALL

New Member
I'm not sure why anyone would tell a WP cadet that it was unlikely they would ever get selected to SF, they have no idea what kind of officer they will be once commissioned and what the selection rate would be at the time, or even how this cadet would do during selection. Officers are chosen for every selection class.

As it's been mentioned above, you do not branch into SF directly from WP, or ROTC. Once you become 1LT promotable you will be able to submit a packet for SF, if approved you would then attend SF Selection. As it's been said, you can apply for SF from any branch in the Army. While it's true by sheer numbers that there are more enlisted SF then officers, they are still recruiting officers for SF, the percentage of officers that apply are in line with the percentage of enlisted so in the end your chances are about the same during selection. My son is currently going through CA School and attending the language course with several officers that made it through selection, if graduating WP then down the road applying for SF is your goal then you should go for it. Dropping WP to enlist just to apply to SF doesn't by any means guarantee your selection. Just remember if you do drop to enlist and you are not selected you will still have your enlistment contract obligation while never graduating WP.

Bottom line, think about what you want to do in the Army if you're not selected.
To clarify - There are far fewer officers than enlisted inside of SF (after the Q Course). That being said, SF is rarely fully manned with officers. The biggest challenge for SF is for officer candidates to successfully get through selection. Although selection is difficult for all, the NCO evaluators are extra critical about the officer candidates, only allowing officers who appear to be able to handle/lead an A team of experienced SF NCOs. So, going through selection as an officer generally is and should be different/more difficult than for enlisted. This is one way that SF NCOs have the opportunity to police their own ranks.
 

MFREEFALL

New Member
As AROTC-dad mentioned, an NCO can apply to USMA, hopefully get commissioned and become an O-1. After that, a commissioned officer serves about 3-4 years to get experience at which time he/she can apply to attend Special Forces selection. It IS the purpose of the Academy to commission officers that will eventually pursue the Special Forces Officer track. West Point has several SF Officers/NCOs on the faculty. There are also several clubs that are SF oriented, connected, or related such as the Combat Weapons Team (CWT), The Irregular Warfare Club (IWG), and the USMA Parachute Team.
 
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