Advice on Units to Join

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#1
Hi everyone,

Need some advice on who to join. I'm wanting to go as an officer, but I failed Main Board last time, and should I fail again, I will join the army as a soldier. I've talked to careers people, and I've mentioned my interest in the infantry, but they are not keen as I am a graduate and think I should do something more technical. I'm currently in training as a reservist infantryman and have got on with the guys I've met, but maybe their is a different culture in the regulars that I don't know about. A good friend of mine is int corp and suggest I try that.

I'm after a role that will let me get stuck in, and not stick me in a base somewhere. I'm a physical guy, I do a lot of MMA and running. However, the careers lot say that the infantry soldier culture is not something a graduate can fit into. No idea if this is true, so what do people think? Infantry or look elsewhere?
 
#2
Look at Ammunition Technician within the RLC.
 
#6
dingerr is fully clued up as AT.
 

Sarastro

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#7
Hi everyone,

Need some advice on who to join. I'm wanting to go as an officer, but I failed Main Board last time, and should I fail again, I will join the army as a soldier. I've talked to careers people, and I've mentioned my interest in the infantry, but they are not keen as I am a graduate and think I should do something more technical. I'm currently in training as a reservist infantryman and have got on with the guys I've met, but maybe their is a different culture in the regulars that I don't know about. A good friend of mine is int corp and suggest I try that.

I'm after a role that will let me get stuck in, and not stick me in a base somewhere. I'm a physical guy, I do a lot of MMA and running. However, the careers lot say that the infantry soldier culture is not something a graduate can fit into. No idea if this is true, so what do people think? Infantry or look elsewhere?
First, the careers people are interested in filling quotas, and they are working off generalisations. They are not interested in finding the right thing for you, and you know yourself better than they do. So if you genuinely want to do something more physical, then stick with that. Are you really willing to make a decision about 3+ years of your future from the advice of someone to whom you are a 60m appointment block, or call 13 of 30 for Tuesday? The careers office have a flowchart: If candidate is a graduate, offer these choices. If candidate is not a graduate, offer those choices. They cannot force you into any of them, you can make your choice, and if you pass the relevant tests, you will get assigned a training place.

Second, yes being a regular private in the infantry is different to both being a reservist private and to being in other arms. But it's nothing to do with being a graduate, it's an age / maturity / group culture thing. Imagine your training weekends but 24/7, with a group of 17-20 year old men with mostly GCSE / A-Levels, and no chance of opting out or getting away from it on Sunday night. If you are happy with that for 3+ years until you advance, fine. If not, beware. Only you can really answer whether that is for you, the careers people certainly can not. I'd suggest the problem is less likely to be the soldiers you are in with, and more likely to be frustration at some of the stupidity immediately above you. But again, this is all very dependent on your personality. I've known several highly intelligent and educated blokes who were Parachute Regiment toms, and loved it.

Third, if you want to do the Army stuff in the Army, it's much easier and preferable to go infantry (or combat arms) first, and other stuff later. Both from age, experience, and so on. You also very quickly become too old to do the more physical work in the infantry etc, so it's very rare to see someone transferring from, say, the Int Corps to the Infantry. It's very common to see the reverse.

Fourth, different infantry regiments have different cultures. In some places, like the Parachute Regiment, there are a significant minority of more educated and more mature blokes even as a tom. In others, like the Scots, there are not. Read around on here and elsewhere to get a feel for what is what, but there is no hard rule: things change with time and personalities.

Finally, everyone will tell you that in X non-combat arm you get to do plenty of physical, fun stuff, and in some cases it is true: but it is highly dependent on role and usually very selective for only a small minority. So if you go Int Corps, Signals, RMP, AGC, you are going to work in an office a lot. If you go Infantry, you'll do a lot of exercises in the field. If you go RA, RE, RLC you'll get a mix of base and field work with vehicles. RAC, REME, AAC, you'll work with vehicles both on base and in the field. Most importantly, while there are some different and interesting jobs out there (like AT, as dingerr said), you don't get to guarantee that choice from the start, as in the US military or the RAF / RN. You have to join that Corps, and then compete for a place on a training course or get selected from training. Be very careful that you are joining a Corps where you are happy doing the basic job, not just the fun ones. Being an RLC driver is very different to being an AT.

Joining as a reservist infantryman is a good idea, both for Main Board and answering your question above. I'd focus on passing Main Board, and passing CIC. If after that you still need to make a decision about joining as a soldier, worry about it then. You'll then have a much better idea of whether its for you than the careers office do.
 
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