T O P I C R E V I E W
||First off, my sincere thanks to all that helped me get my head on straight. Couldn't have done it without you. |
So now that I've decided to do join, I need to decide whether or not to go the officer route. So far, I've seen it reccomended from all sides; from this group, my uncle, and a retired Navy guy my dad knows.
However, I do have a few reservations.
#1 on my list: A big reason for joining (for me) is the gritty, dirty, in the mud training. I want to see if I can hack 13 km ruck marches and living rough, and going days on end with too much to do and not enough sleep. What I'm really worried about is signing on for officer training or whatever, and just ending up going back to university. I do enough of that already. And when I watched the officer video at the recruiters, that's what it looked like to me. Sure, they did runs, and shot rifles sometimes. But there was a world of difference between that and what I saw in the infantry video. So, ??
I was told, however, in another post, that officer training is in 4 stages. And I'm wondering if what I saw was just one phase. So what I'm hoping all that the classroom stuff is just the officer equivalent of basic, and then after you choose your trade (proffesion?) and (if I was to go infantry officer), you then go and do all the in-the-mud, test-your-limits training.
I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has experience with doing the Infantry Officer program in the reserves, or any reserve officer training. I'd be particularly interested in two things: 1) How much actual trade (infantry) training you get to do (do you do everything the NCM's do, and more?) and 2) Once you're in a unit, what your role is. Cause to be honest, if I will be expected to work a desk job and watch feild exercises with binoculars, I'm not there.
Oh yeah, what about the commitment? Is it different for officers than for NCM's in the reserves? The training is longer, so I'd think they expect more out of you.. any thoughts?
Any info or opinions regarding Officer vs. NCM are welcomed. Experience and advice, too.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the other thread. Yes, the officer program for the reserve infantry is 3-4 phases. At the reserve level you will be doing your "phase training" over your summer time off from school. Do bear in mind that you must pass BOTC (Basic Officer Training) before you can go on further to other phases of training. For all intensive purposes, BOTC will be your Phase 1. As for the training, let's put it this way.... You will be expected to able to do what you ask of your men and women under your command. So it isn't exactly a picnic. You will be working your tail end off. Furthermore, you will be taught on your Phase 1 by Sergeants and Warrant Officers who have been on multiple UN Tours of Duty. Some of which are former Canadian Airborne Regiment members. In closing, it will make you a more disciplined, (thus helping you with your time management in school) and decisive person than you are now. May I suggest further that you go into your local Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre and talk to a counsellor. This way you can get your paperwork underway and also determine if you can still make this summer's Basic Officer Training Course.
||Further to my last post Greg,|
As for the commitment, your obligations to your unit would be just like your NCM's. "Lead by example" is best way I can put it. Soldiers crave leadership that does good by them. You must be that standard. You're right, more will be expected of you. But it is well worth it in the long run.
||Although Reserve officers go through Phase training, rumors are that it will be getting shut down for an inferior program. Find out the skinny at http://www.army.dnd.ca/cgi-bin/forum/ultraboard.pl |
Surviving a 13K ruckmarch. Bull. A soldier worth his beans shouldn't worry about a puny 13K ruckmarch.
I would go counter to the suggestions that have been offered to you. Try putting time in the ranks in the reserves. You get to be in on all the "high-speed" stuff you mentioned. You don't hold the responsibility of an officer, but it spares you from all the bureaumess that they have to manage. With a good angle on officers, you can decide when your done university if you want to seek a commission in either the reg force or the militia. (Plus...the JR Mess has way better parties)
You may decide you really like it in the ranks. After all, it is the NCM's who are the shooters. And once you reach the positon of a NCO, you have responsibilities just as vital as an officer.
Either way, your promised a rewarding career if you maintain a good additude and take on all your tasks with a kick *** and take numbers kinda outlook.
||Okay. I've just spent a few hours digging throught the QR&O; and the CFAO. What I've found is kinda worriesome, from my point of view.|
From what I found, I think I would enter through something that is called the Reserve Entry Training Program (RETP vs. ROTP). Now if I read right, I do the *exact* same training as the ROTP guys, except that I have to pay for everything (food, room, tuition, etc.). I don't get paid while attending the CMC (RMC?), but I get paid for my summer training. This sounded to me like I was there year round? Though I'm sure this can't be what you guys were talking about, it was all I could find. Anyways, I do this until my training is complete. Then at the time of graduation I have to sign something called an Agreement of Understanding. This entails various things, but the one that I didn't particularly like was that (if I didn't leave right then and there) I was in for
** 5 years of mandatory service **
** I agree not to request release in any way **
Needless to say, I kinda went Whaaaaat?
And there were a few other things that made me frown, like that I wouldn't be able to parade with my unit unless express permision was given by some high-and-mighty acronym that I can't remember. In terms of training, Patriot was absolutely right. You are expected to know and do everything your troops do, and do it in such a manner as to leave no doubt as to why you are leading and not someone else. While I must say that the training in both leadership and trade interests me, 5 years of compulsary service does not. Especially when I may get out of University and get offered a million dollar job in Australia, or something.
So, can someone please clear me up on commitments? I go back to the recruiters next week, so I can ask then... But forewarned is forearmed.
||COG, the RETP program is the one mentioned above by patriot. For reserve officers, it involves the same courses as Regular force officers, taken during the summer. In the fall/spring you go to school (UofC I take it) and parade with your unit. Like I mentioned above, rumors are that the RETP is going to to be replaced by a MITCP program which offers inferior training for reserve officers compared to the Regular Force.|
The ROTP program involves full time attendance to the Royal Military Collage (RMC)and summer training in the summer months. After completion of a degree program at the RMC, the candidate is responsible to give 5 years service in the Regular Force.
||Grunt031, RETP is a program which allows reserve officers to pay for the RMC experience. RESO is the program you are thinking of. The primary difference is that with RESO you attend a civilian university and parade with a reserve unit during the winter, and with RETP you attend RMC during the winter. RESO is possibly the most common reserve officer entry program, and RETP the least common.|
Cog, if you are truly considering going officer, go now. As was mentioned there are considerations to replace both the RESO and the current MITCP with something new (and certainly inferior to RESO). As it stands now, you will find the RESO courses to be more of a physical and mental challenge than the courses offered to NCMs in the reserves. This is due to the fact that the RESO program is built around a university schedual and has more time than the QL2/3 program which is built around a highschool schedual.
||Cog, it may not look like this right now, but you're actually in a pretty sweet spot. You can take some time to get a feel for the army before you make any sort of final, irrevocable commitment. There are a couple of caveats to that, which I'll get into below.|
I think the big thing that comes across from your other posts is that you want to keep your options open until you see whether this really is what you want to do for the rest of your life. That's probably smart, because I doubt there's anyone posting here who would say that what they found in the army is exactly what they thought it would be going in. Which being said, I think you can pretty much rule out joining the regs to begin with. This reduces the choice to NCM vs. Officer in the reserves.
On that score, while it is possible to be an excellent officer without being an NCM first, I've never heard of anyone who made a worse officer for starting out in the ranks. There are lots of folks who argue that you can't really get into the individual troops head without having been one. Obviously a pretty broad generalization, but think it over. Your troops will certainly look at you differently if they know you've been one of them. There are a couple of other plusses. Learning your basic skills as an NCM can give you a big leg up if you do decide to go officer later - that's a whole series of lessons you won't have to learn at the same time as all the leadership stuff. Finally, it will let you try the army on for size without having to commit time to all the stupid administrivia and mess games that are such drag for reserve officers.
Now here's the caveats. First, as has been mentioned elsewhere, the RESO program is the most challenging and rewarding course open to a reservist. It's also very useful to have under your belt if you decide to do a component transfer to the Reg Force after graduating, since it qualifies you to the same standard as the regs. But it's probably going away. The new focus seems to be on training Militia officers to do only those tasks they need in the Militia context, which is not the same thing. The net result is sure to be that the course will be watered down. So in other words it may be a 'buy now or face disappointment' kind of thing. Next, I have seen young guys who had all the requirements on paper to be officers choose to start as NCMs, not make much of an impression as soldiers, and have their regiment refuse to give them a try as officers because they didn't appear to have the right stuff. Probably a fair call, but at least one person I knew had to quit and join another regiment to get the chance. Something to bear in mind. One last point. It may be tough to go from being one of the guys to being a Sir. Some people have more difficulty with that than others.
So, to sum up. If you join as a NCM you will learn lots of good stuff without burning any bridges. You may well find it's the right thing for you. If not, you always have the option of applying for officer later, although you may have to jump through some extra hoops to do it. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me.
||McG, thanks for the heads up...so many damn letters...I wish it was just "Officer School."|
Bloggins, good post. Being in the ranks is not a prerequisite for being a good officer. I've seen many testements of good officers who never were in the ranks and of ****ty officers who were former NCO's.
But I personally think that the challenge of command that comes from being an officer is alot to throw on someone with no prior experience or military socialization. To me, being in the ranks allows both the potential officer and his superiors (both O's and NCO's) to evaluate his or her potential for a leadership position.
||Okay, I've still gotta find something solid on the post-training commitment attatched to the RESO program, but what I've read so far said no commitment. That's good. RESO sounds like the exact thing I was looking for. Thanks for the heads up!|
I thank you for the [excellent] posts above. I'll explain a little more about my reasoning, regarding NCM an O.
Deep, Zen-Like reasons for going NCM:
First off, one can't lead without first knowing how to follow. Simple as that. Shouldn't give an order unless you know how to take one, so I've heard. Second, I've always been told respect is earned, not given. If I would be a leader, those I lead *must* know that I've been where they are, that I know exactly how they feel, and that I'm looking out for them because of that. Otherwise, they will not give me the trust and loyalty needed for me to be a good leader.
And lastly: I hate desk jobs.
Reasons for wanting to be nothing but a Zero:
Two words: Leadership training. Huge perk. Plus it would allow me to think more freely. Gives me responsibilities. Plus the in-mud training. All in all, it just seems like an all round better deal.
So, from what I gather, for a limited time only, I can get some real kick *** training on both sides of the fence. Sounds good to me. So good, I have a feeling it's going to come up in a big way when I see the recruiter next. So, as ever, thanks for your advice. It's invaluable. Before I sign off here, there's something I'm starting to mull over a bit here, and I'd thought I'd see what you guys have to say:
When I first seriously looked into joining the military, it was for two reasons. 1) Something deep down calling for it, and 2), To test myself and to find out if I was worthy of the uniform.
My concern is that right now I have a mind trained to be very analytical and creative, which is a good thing. I'm wondering what kind of effects the military environment would have on me. University teaches one to question everything, not to accept unconditionally. The military teaches you not to question, and to accept orders unconditionally. These two mindsets, military and university, would no doubt conflict a little teensy bit... Any thoughts on this? Do you think I'm going to end up butting heads all the time? Would it be different as a NCM or an O? I can't imagine modern training/indoc would be anything like FMJ, but better to go in knowing what to expect. Less trouble that way.
Again, I'm just making sure I know what I'm getting into before I jump, and I'm throwing concerns at you guys as they arise. I greatly appreciate the patience you've shown so far. I'm discovering that joining the military is a much more serious affair than I once thought, and is requiring much more consideration than I had expected...
Anyways, thanks again. Someday, I'll stop being such a PITA. I promise.
||OK, promising not to go into verbal diarrhea mode here again...|
University teaches one to question everything, not to accept unconditionally. The military teaches you not to question, and to accept orders unconditionally.
It's not as big a difference as you might think. Being a robot is not a requirement for the job.
There's a time to speak, a time to listen, and a time to stop arseing around and get the hell on with what you're doing. Isn't that true of school as well?
You might also remember that the only distinction on paper between a new troop and a new officer is that officers pretty much MUST have a university education, and NCM only MAY have a university education. That should say something about relative compatibility. The army wants you to have higher education because it indicates a capacity to learn, and to think creatively under pressure.
And oh yes, if you do wind up as an officer, you will rapidly come to terms with all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways your troops have of telling you just what they think of your latest clever scheme without ever hinting at insubordination!
||The debate whether to be an officer or in the ranks I feel is moot. Leadership is a function of personality. If you are an ******* as a pers you will be a an ******* as an officer or SNCO.|
I agree that some CFR make good officiers but flipping the coin thay also want to be buddies with the "lower" ranks. Doesn't work that way.
An officer plans, NCOs impliment that plan. Figure which side you want to be on and do it. (yes it come down to that)An officer gets as much trg as he needs to perform his function. And he gets *** in the grass time also . However being desk bound is also part of the job, if you want to look after your men properly (the same as an NCO). (also think secondary duties)
The basic thing to remember is common sence. It is true that respect is earned. Earning that respect is no different for a NCO than an officer. The common tread is treat your soldiers as you want to be treated, making fair and honest decisions, and being a professional by doing the best job you know how and the rest will fall into place.
I guess that I see you as offiicer material. However the decision is yours. And another truism of military life is making decisions is a way of life for us if you want to get ahead.
The ball is in your court.
PS dont forget to consider the artillery as a calling (we blow up things too)
||An important part of leadership is not letting anyone else **** on your fighting men....