A senior reservist's opinion of TA officers

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Bosco, Nov 14, 2012.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. On 28 Oct 2012, a senior reservist officer said:

    What is the evidence base for his assertion that 'few' TA officers regard service as a career?

    Where is the evidence to support the contention that most join with no intention of serving more than a year or two? Most? Really?

    It takes two years to commission a TA officer. Most stay for 4-7 years. What proportion of those joining as regular officers stay for that long? A third? Most?

    "Most cruise through their service on the basis of whether they derive satisfaction from their current employment?" Most? Really? What about all those at RD who think that being a TA officer is shit because it consists of around 12 days a year in the field versus around 60 days a year of barrack duty and admin? Are those officers cruising? Sounds to me more like the TA majors and lieutenant colonels in bone jobs with whom the maker of that statement has been associating for the last 15 years.

    And how many regular officers are not really interested in the Army as a long-term career when they join? Some? Most? Do their real intentions need to be weeded out of them so that the Army does not waste time and money training and educating them?

    The same officer went on to say:

    Initially the reservist will be a poor substitute for a regular? Really? The reservist officer does about 90-100 days' training to commission, which equates to about two-thirds of the time a regular officer spends at RMAS doing military training (not including drill). He is also (if you exclude OTC commissions who count as TA commissions but have no intention of, and do not, serve with the TA) older than his regular equivalent - typically 25-26 rather than 22.

    By the time the TA officer is deployable in role as a Tp Ldr or Pl Comd, he will have had a further 40-50 days' training (plus more than a hundred of bone unpaid admin) over two years.

    It is impossible to imagine a 19-year-old reservist officer leading armour in combat because it is not possible to join the TA at 15/16: it would take that long to commission and then get the necessary quals to command an armoured veh. The reality is a 24 to 26-year-old TA Lt leading soldiers in combat. Is that impossible to imagine? I don’t think so, given that that I personally know of many who have done so on TELIC and HERRICK, and I assume that there are at least some TA officers with operational and/or combat experience whom I don't know.

    Equally, there are many regular officers who spawn from regular Sandhurst and their special-to-arms course and yet are such mincemeat that their COs keep them away from troops for a year, or two, or permanently.

    The author’s comments are unsubstantiated, offensive and in my estimation totally incorrect. They ignore what the TA has been doing over the last 10 years; they ignore who has been joining the TA over the last 10 years and what their aspirations are, and they confuse use with capability (the idea that because someone has been doing x, that is all they can do).

    It seems to me that the two main challenges that the TA has in ensuring that FR2020 is implemented and achieved are:

    1) The current cohort of senior majors and above in the regular army, who remember time before TELIC/HERRICK and are threatened by the implementation or a greater Reserve integration; and

    2) The current batch of TA colonels and above, who are completely at odds with where their organisation is currently pitched and are insistent on toadying up to their senior regular counterparts spreading such an inaccurate picture.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Without naming them (I would!), out of interest, what is this officers rank and cap badge? Where was it said and to whom?
    • Like Like x 1
  3. The "Senior Reserve Officer" is obviously one of those twats who think they are the mutts because they are senior.

    It has been my experience that the case is the opposite. The difference between a shiny new one pip TA and a shiny new one pip Regular is small if existent at all. As their careers continue the difference between the the TA and Reg opens to the point that I could imagine a TA offr commanding a Reg platoon on ops but not a Maj commanding a reg company on ops. As for "senior" appointments, the gulf between many of them and their regular counterparts are obvious in their falling over themselves to be "plastic pretend regulars" instead of being proud to be our leading Reservists. Rant Over. Logging Off.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. The TA is not and in my experience has never has been a homogenous organisation. So most times a rant about "TA officers" is actually a rant about whichever ones from whatever capbadge have offended the observer. And they do vary wildly in quality. And this is also why one size fits all solutions keep dying on their arse.

    The point about not joining for a career in the way Regs do is a fair one though; it may come as a surprise but the answers 2 Lt Sproggins gives in the mess to the CO as to his plans are not necessarily what he actually believes.

    Broadly speaking though cap badges get the TA they deserve. In the 90s as a soldier I had a ringside seat as a certain CO of the (V) element gave his mess a damn good clean out. Since then the Regs have noticeably upped their game in terms of training and support and funnily enough the quality of the officers mess reflects that. Turn to other units where "good enough for the TA" is still a passing grade and things don't look as good.
    • Like Like x 7
  5. The guy who wrote the comments in my original posts was Royal Signals, I believe, but has since moved on.
  6. LCpl Bloggs, RLC, in the NAAFI, to his mates.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. When I was fighting the Cold War one of my Coy OCs was TA on an S-type engagement. He was a gentleman farmer who took a break from turnips and carrots for three years. He was probably the best OC we had, as he felt no obligation to toady the senior leadership. He spent his time razzing around Germany and the UK in his Landrover on exercise, organising decent AT and protecting the troops from general "bone activity". Even though he was a farmer by trade it seemed that he was the only officer in the unit who didn't own both a Barbour jacket and a spaniel.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. In all honesty I suspected as much.

    "Sir, the 1990s have sent a fax and would like their mindset back."

    IME the Officers with whom I deal are pretty sound and dedicated.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Hmm, there's a huge range of officers in the TA. Many in recent years have seemingly joined as a primer to the reg. CC. Others have joined, toured, left. Others stick it, and for me, a criterion of any civvi job I apply for is "Is it compatible with my reserves CAREER". Ref. the points about seniority and skills gap between reg. and reserve, I see what you're saying but there is certainly a noticeable skills gap even at PC level. TA formed units will see the light of day again, but on lower-tempo work.

    However, I think that the views of this aforementioned senior officer are selective at best.
  10. On my TACC, I'll add, there were 3 platoon commanders. 2 were regular captains, one was TA (LANCS). Guess which was the best? Or, at least, the one that cared about the TA subbies-to-be the most?
  11. My experience with the TA has been very mixed. I had in my Tp, on HERICK a number of TA Tprs and in the Sqn we had a selection of Tpr to Sgt. We found the Tprs and LCpls were excellent value, brought new skills to the table and were every bit as good as their regular counterparts. Unfortunately the Cpls and above were less so and their professional ability was not up to the task of leading soldiers on operations. Please before i get slagged off remember that this was just our experience and is no way meant to be a general comment on the state of the TA.

    We wondered later why this was and the answer we came up with was this: We all accept that soldiering is no longer the preserve of the keen amateur, that system died with purchase thankfully. As war has changed so much needs to be learned and understood from how to work a bowman radio and fix stoppages in a GMG to doctrine and strategy. The lower down the ladder you are the less detail or less of these you need to know. Not meant to be an insult, a Tprs job is very difficult, but it does take less time to learn than a Tp Sgts. So in the six months MST the juniors leant all the skills required to be an effective soldier/LCpl and were employed as such. Unfortunately years of poor funding and training meant that Cpls and above did not have the in depth knowledge required and could not learn it in time. They were therefore sent to the SQMS dept.

    This could transfer over to the Officer corps of the TA too. I've never had to work closely with TA officers but the general impression i get is that 2Lts/Lts are keen fit and dedicate much of their time to the TA. Those more senior (Maj and above) appear to be hugely out of touch with the modern amy and the modern way of fighting.

    Just some thoughts, I think I may attract some abuse now.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Anyone want to take odds on his service dress having something like this pinned to it, albeit with lots more bars?

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  13. You've missed the Third Battle of Jubilee and the centre medal looks like the OR version but your point is nontheless valid..
  14. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Might have squeezed an OBE or CBE in there too, perhaps?

    Edited to add: I was on a course at Shriv a couple of years ago and he came to give a talk. After he'd gone, as we spilled out onto the terrace clutching our 'free' glasses of wine, the (regular) course director, an infantry Colonel, came out and announced: 'what a ****!'
  15. This is probably a fair point in the combat arms where there is no direct lift from civilian employment to the military. However the capability within CS and CSS, where skill areas between civilian and military cross more freely, SNCO/WOs are more closely matched to Regular counterparts. I think there will always be some reluctance to employ a DE TA officer of Major and above in a critical command or staff role on operations. An LE TA officer of the same grade would probably have more utility, due primarily to experience, albeit not in a command role.
    • Like Like x 4