Commissioning from the ranks.

I am currently at university about to enter the third year of my degree. I have passed AOSB and originally intended to go to RMAS after graduating. However, I’ve recently stumbled across the idea of commissioning from the ranks. Is there anyone out there who has done this, or knows someone who has and can offer me any advice?
My initial questions are:
How do the soldiers react to an ‘officer type’ joining the ranks?
How does coming from the ranks change your relationship with the soldiers once you have commissioned?
How long would you recommend serving for before going for a commission? I understand it’s best to go through Sandhurst fairly young if you want to join the infantry.
Any suggestions on which unit is best to join? Obviously, this varies from person to person. Basically what I am trying to say is are there any units you would specifically recommend as being good for just getting stuck in and learning what makes your average soldier tick.
Lastly, to anybody who has commissioned from the ranks, would you say that it was worth it, for the understanding you gain of soldiers, and the benefits this gives you in leading them as an officer?
Many thanks

This is a joke...right ? You are already doing too much thinking to be an officer so why not just carry on as normal and become one.

Edited to add.....Because Sandhurst will soon knock all of that "thinking" malarky out of you.
Let me get this straight,
You have passed AOSB yet want to join the ranks? Why? (out of interest) :?
Yes, I've passed AOSB, but I'm looking into the idea of doing some time in the ranks. Firstly, to help gain a better understanding of the soldiers I would have to lead as an officer. Secondly, to have a bit of a laugh with no responsibilty.
edited to add: sensible posts, I take back what I said!
fireman_albert said:
Yes, I've passed AOSB, but I'm looking into the idea of doing some time in the ranks. Firstly, to help gain a better understanding of the soldiers I would have to lead as an officer. Secondly, to have a bit of a laugh with no responsibilty.
Fair enough, good luck with what you decide.
If you want to be an officer from the ranks you dont want to have a laugh with no responsability. Because a lack of responsability inevitably leads to a charge which may preclude you from comisioning in the future. I would sugest you take the commision but watch your lads closely and thus you will learn what it is to be like a soldier and what you need to do to lead them properly.

Keep in mind that no matter how outstanding you shall be as a ranker, you cannot shoot up the ranks without gaining the relative experience, to gain the experience takes time and time spent at the lower end of the scale could make you feel stagnant. Secondly what’s the guarantee that you will be commissioned? No doubt some bright spark will correct me but over the entire infantry there are 40 - 50 places allocated each year for commissions from ranks, how many are chasing those places? You already have the place they all quest but are thinking of throwing it away? Get real.

- Best case scenario you join ranks, have a laugh , be a bit of a scally, do you time , get your promotions, you end up RSM of whoever and everyone loves and fears you. Then after a glittering 22 years you sign out your pink shirt and cream chinos, develop a love of sports cars and G&Ts, totter off to Sandhurst for a few weeks then come back as Capt F_A.

- Middle case scenario If you want to do a few years and get to Lcpl then go for a commission, you will be back to where you could have been going straight from Uni and come out the same rank albeit, 3 maybe 4 years older.

- Worst case scenario, you join ranks, you feel as though the guys surrounding you intellectually inferior to you yet why do they outrank you? You feel stagnant and like you aren’t using your hard earned skills to the full advantage, You do eight, ten, twelve years. Leave as a cpl or sgt thinking that perhaps its time to pursue pastures new, Your degree is now useless because of the 12 year skill fade, so its back to college for a refresher, then your starting off where you would have been twelve years ago.

Its a no- brainier. Sandhurst for you.

Last bit - at the interview when asked ' RSM F_A, you had an aosb pass X amount of years ago, why didn't you take it? '. How would you answer?

just my thoughts

Regards BeastAS
Just another quick thought, get yourself off to the TA, join as a squaddie and indulge in hi-jinks in the naffi at the weekends, perhaps this will satisfy you?
I haven't done it but know a few who have and have to say for the love of Pete go straight to Sandbags

I will explain 4 cases to you

Case 1: Had a lad turn up who was a bit hoity toity, lived in a countrty pile and hired lads to beat for him at the weekend when they had a shoot on. He got on allright with the lads but was never one of them. Got lance jack, fluffed his board/POs and he soon left.

Case 2: Had a South African lad turn up who seemed to believe that being a South African meant automatic pass to RMAS, didn't get anywhere near it/ very arrogant, transfered to the Int Corps and the last I saw of him was on the box as a copper

Case 3: Had a cracking guy who got lance jack, went POs and was gleaming, great report extra. Failed on his board as he was too squadified and not enough of an officer type. Joke was he started out as an "officer type" and we beat it out of him

Case 4: Someone who was successful and got hi commission, all was fine and dandy till he got posted to the Regt as a Capt later on in his career, this lead to two issues, one, over familiarity with some of the lads, two, he keot a black book with names of guys who gave him a hard time as a tom, and got revenge.

My advice to you if want some time with the lads is do the TA for a couple of years before joining up, then become the best officer you can, you only get one career, so don't feck it up
1) wot BAS said.

2) wot wellyhead said.
I commisioned from the ranks, in 1998, i was a full screw at the time and had to attend the 12 month CC at sandhurst (It is basic training all over again)

Being in the ranks certainly helped gain an understanding of the boys, however (being an ex infantry officer) your success or failure depends on your credibility, and your ability to do the job without being a prat about it, and stepping into the void when the boys need it etc etc.

Both direct entrants and army entrants can be good or bad.

There is on average 10 Army entrants onto the CC every intake (i.e. less than a percent of the boys recruited into the ranks can get a place on the CC at sandhurst)

my suggestion is if you wish to be an officer do not waste this opportunity (i served with a soldier who was in your position, who qualified as a direct entrant, but failed to qualify as an army entrant(there is another 3 months of selection/training that soldiers undertake which direct entrants do not)

If you wish to be a squaddie and enjoy the ranks, its a no brainer join the ranks, but dont hedge your bets, its not that straight forward, or easy.

anyway thought that might help
Task Force
do the TA thing. It will give you time to discover "who" you are.

I did and discovered that a) I never ever wanted to be an officer, it was all too political and backstabbing, from what friends told me, and b) you may decide that you don't want a full time military carreer atall

It worked for me. When they got out, all my regular pals were streets behind me in the rat race( one came to work for me), and on reflection, I probably had more fun in uniform than they did...
Out of interest; what's an 'Officer type'?

Have a laugh without responsibility? I am sure that the powers that be will look at your AOSB pass, your degree, question why you want to join as a soldier and you wont have an answer. they may tell yo u to go to Sandhurst or nothing (I don't know?).

As for learning about your soldier to get a better idea of them - horse - they will know who you are and what you want to do and may change their attitudes towards you. It is also the fun of being a young Officer making those mistakes/learning experiences.

The other points made are also relevant.

London Irish - you didn't join as an officer because someone told you it was full of back stabbing and too political? who did you speak to? Someone bitter and twisted?


All very 'democratic' but while many of the basic skills are the same, the job of an officer is different and being a good soldier doesn't necessarily mean you will be a good officer. The Army has identified that you have potential to be trained as a direct entrant officer now but they may not take the same view after you've been in the ranks a couple of years. My advice would be to join the TA as a recruit for your last year at University (and maybe for a year afterwards), if you really want to experience life in the ranks, then go on to RMAS with a clean slate. My suspicion is that if you tell your recruiter that you want to serve in the ranks first for the reasons given here, he/she will start to have doubts about your maturity.
Take Sandbags... trust me you'll get your fun and no responsibility as a 2Lt... cos let's face it, you'll be expected to cock up (just not in the same way twice)... And once upon a time you were even expected to roll in with a hangover and the clap (ahh they were the days).

Dunno about the TA idea... soldiers are who they are because they are interned.
fireman_albert said:

"...for the understanding you gain of soldiers, and the benefits this gives you in leading them as an officer?"

As has already been pointed up by other subscribers the army machine has already identified you as a person suitable for training as an officer. You have been identified as being suitable for the upper deck because you have demonstrated the necessary academic level, personality and potential to become a good officer - and that is what the army wabts you to be. People who get commissioned from the ranks do so because they also want to be on the upper deck doing the planning and the leading rather than the ‘doing’ Do you hit the town with your uni buddies or do you seek out the noisiest bar in town and moon with the lads and lassies? Doing some time as a squaddie in the TA has some merit perhaps; at the very least you’ll pick up some of the jargon and maybe get some idea of the relationship between officers, warrant officers, non commissioned officers and men and women soldiers, learn how to put your webbing together and the joy of marching up and down a strip of tarmac. . These small experiences might give you a bit of a head start and you can concentrate on the book work but you’ll learn all the basics anyway once you get to RMAS. If it was me I would get to RMAS at the earliest opportunity after graduation and not waste precious seniority years. Anyway, every success in your final uni years and good luck.
Dragstrip said:
Out of interest; what's an 'Officer type'?
Not a squaddie type :D

To explain further, the lad I mentioned wasn't a chinless wonder whos daddy owned half of Dorset, he was an intelligent lad with good grades, spoke well and hair was about half an inch too long for some WO2's. 2 years with us it was high and tight, barking orders and shagging in a military and proficent manner.

The comment came becuase he did POs and gleamed the running about stuff as he was a top soldier but when he had to do the talks he did it more as a regimented lesson as we drilled it into him and wasn't the sort of thing they were looking for at the board, he was actually told that they would rather have a blank canvas with the right mindset than a capable soldier who may be stuck in their ways.

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