I recently received an LOA to USMA and I am now seriously considering it. However, I have been trying to research for the past few weeks the path I want to take after USMA. I want to be "kicking down doors" and leading a team and being by their side in action, not just planning a mission and having them do it. What would be the best route for me after USMA to do something like that?
The officer role in SOF is changing. It used to be a bit of a dead end or career killer, but not anymore. as their ranks grow, so does the need for officers. I have no idea about the contrast with USNA vs USMA, but I will share what I've learned about USMA. It's fairly easy to branch combat arms, specifically infantry, even as a lower ranking cadet. That doesn't mean you will be accepted into Rangers or SF. Each summer, cadets can train with these specialties and learn what their careers are truly like. Many graduates complete Ranger school - HOWEVER, that does NOT mean they serve as a Ranger. Just like with SF or Seals, completion of training does not ensure that you will make selection, nor serve on a team. But, those summer exercises help tremendously with those groups truly learning who you are and your capabilities. For real numbers, there are only around 3,500 Rangers in the 75th; that total includes officers. In short, your'e more likely to serve as a Ranger being enlisted, not an officer. The path to get there takes a couple years, and new LT are not eligible at first. To become a Ranger officer, you must, effectively, beat out other officers. Most officers are there less than four years, most around 2 years, before moving to a desk job, or out. The Ranger Regiments are growing, and so are the officer ranks. During times of heavy combat, it's a quick way to promote up, and many top brass have come out of Ranger Regiments. For SOF, Delta, or CIA, the path most often begins with Ranger time. After that, it gets very murky, as their recruitment info isn't broadcast. They have quotas for various roles, whatever the team needs; ie. medic, com, etc... I have heard of guys serving 5-7 years with teams in SOF. Again, you have to be selected however. To summarize, it is possible to be a "door kicker" as an Army officer, but it will be short lived, and is most likely achieved through Rangers, or SOF.