career length if join at 29

Discussion in 'Officers' started by labayu, Aug 22, 2007.

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  1. Realistically how long would I be able to stay for? I've heard that the later you join the less likely it is that you will be able to stay in the Army untill retirement? Does it depend on which branch?

    Also how good does your level of swimming have to be at Sandhurst?
  2. Well yes, the older you are, the closer you are to retirement age.

    And yes, 'non swimmers' need not apply.
  3. The risk associated with starting your career at 29 is not specifically to do with reaching retirement age, but there is an aspect, of course. Before I go any further, please note that I am all for people joining the Army at 29 if they bring the right qualities and characteristics but must offer some advice to lower your expectations.

    Some considerations:

    Start 29, commission at 30, Capt (as a grad) 32/33, promotion to Maj (as a grad) not before 38/39 (i.e., 11 yrs commissioned service including 3 yrs seniority for degree), sub-unit command at 39/40 at the earliest and promotion to Lt Col not before 45/46 (6 yrs as a Major, minimum). Promotion to Col not before 49/50 (2 yrs CO and 1 yr SO1 or vice versa following 1 yr at ACSC), 5 years left to achieve Brig (not likely unless E1 - i.e., arm or service appointment) at that stage before retirement at 55.

    So what?

    COs *at the moment* are being employed at around 40-42 (whilst you will only be a sub-unit commander) so command of a unit may not be possible. Thereafter promotion is very difficult if you haven't been a CO...

    Arguments relating to age/experience/attitude/maturity/fitness/robustness/endurance all pale in the light of these stark facts. However, these facts are changeable, and may change by the time you come to be looking at command.

    You will have to attempt the Military Swimming Test whilst you are at RMAS. You do not have to pass it but a large amount of PT is conducted in the pool so you may wish to get some practice in. If you are genuinely a non-swimmer, this may not be a problem; I am sure the PTIs can make you sweat in different ways.
  4. If you are commissioned you may be able to serve to age 55, but this will depend on your demonstrated ability, vacancies in your cap-badge and perhaps a degree of luck. The Army is reasonably meritocratic but the key deciding factor will be your performance and how well you are regarded by your superiors. As a full officer pension is gained by serving the 34 years from 21 to 55, commissioning on your 30th birthday would allow you to earn 25/34ths of a full pension of whatever rank you reach.

    As to swimming, as long as you can stay afloat, make progress through the water and not make too much of a cnut of yourself, then you will survive Sandhurst. Foreign students, traditionally from muslim, African or Caribbean nations are often referred to as non-swimmers (or floppies). If you are British and normal, not being able to swim would be unusual.

    If you are committed, take some lessons and improve your stroke.

    Disclaimer: I've been drinking so some of the above may be bo11ocks.
  5. Got a bloke in my mess who is a 3o something it isn't a show stopper, it just depends on what you want from it. Reach your immediate pension at the 16 year point (assuming you are awarded an IRC following your SSC as granted from Sandhurst) and that might be enough for a 46 year old...the points about being older than your peers in equivalent jobs shouldn't be too difficult to overcome, but you will undoubtedly be expected to bring a bit more to the party...
  6. Not part of the original question, but worth noting that your age will ( unofficially ) affect your choice of arm.

    I've encountered a couple of prospective OCdts in their late 20s wanting to join teeth arms. All I can say from my experience is that this is unlikely. In my intake there were a fair handful of capable, but relatively old, guys who wanted to join the Infantry / Cavalry and were unlucky.

    I'm not saying its impossible ( we had an excellent late 20s subaltern in our Inf Bn ) but it is difficult. You may technically qualify, but a regiment will look at you thinking "Is this man clearly physically capable of passing PCBC and potentially charging around Helmand?"

    If you're not an fit, outdoor type then I would reccomend you investigate a strong second choice. To my mind ( inevitable Gunner-baiting banter aside ) I think that the RA offer a good warry CS career to the older applicant.