FAM visits: post briefing or post main board?

Good evening/morning Gentlemen,

First post, shouldn't be too controversial (one hopes)...

I've recently attended AOSB Briefing, where I gained a Cat 2 (12 months, due to a poor physical performance and insufficient "life experience"). I remember somewhere in the mists of time asking my ACA when it might be a good idea to write to regiments to arrange familiarisation visits, and he said that it was best to wait until (and this is where my memory gets hazy) after either having completed Briefing or Main Board. I can't for the life of me remember which it was.

I would write to him, but I've now changed catchment area due to moving to go to university, and come under the responsibility of the ACA for LONDIST, a post I understand is currently vacant. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I'm keen to stay active on the application front (aside from the obvious fitness work I need to do), so if I were to get some fam visits under my belt that would be great, but if I'm best off waiting, then so be it.

Time isn't a huge issue; I'm 18 and am in my first year at University. The time restriction placed on me at Briefing means I can't attempt Main Board until September at the earliest, and my degree means I won't be entering RMAS until 2015 (assuming plain sailing with all of the admin).

I'd really appreciate any and all advice you can give.



P.S. The Regiments I'm most interested in at the moment are the Coldstream Guards, the King's Royal Hussars, The Rifles, or the Mercian Regiment. The Welsh angle isn't hugely important (best username I could think of), although I suppose it'll make things easier when the Six Nations is on.


I would suggest that you take the hint from your briefing and put your officer application to one side for the moment. As you say, as an 18 year old you have plenty of time to develop. My recommendation would be to join the TA or UOTC in order to gain some military experience, earn some money and try to gauge whether you're suited to a military career in the long term.
You should probably start thinking about going on PO visits either now or at least pretty soon. For the regiments you mention, the process is likely to be an interview at HHQ/RHQ with the Colonel of the regiment, followed (if successful) by PO visits to the regiments/battalions.

A piece of advice though: make sure you are fit before you go along on any PO visits.

If you are intent on joining the regular army as an officer, I would also strongly recommend the OTC, if you are not already a member. OTC is likely to be a better option than the rest of the TA as it is more geared towards preparing people for Sandhurst (that is to say the full/regular course).

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If you were looking at some of the larger corps I'd say go now, but for single batallion units wait until you can make a really good first impression. As BC mentioned, go when you are fit - I know of infantry batallions taking POs out on standard unit phys sessions and chopping people who can't keep up.
Thank you for the advice gents- based on your advice I'll hold off for a few months. UOTC is something I've been looking into, but unfortunately I failed the medical this time around (nothing a routine trivial op won't fix, but I have unfortunately been waiting around on the NHS list for a while, being young and otherwise fit and healthy).

Based on this thread, I'll definitely join the OTC, although I had had doubts about its usefulness- I remember reading something in The Junior Officers' Reading Club about a serving officer observing that, when one is sitting midway though inters at the bottom of a piss-wet trench in Brecon in January waiting for one's turn at stag, at least it will have novelty value if one hadn't already done it whilst at university (or something like that at least).

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