Officers commissioning in units where their friends are ORs

#1
Due to the fact I have the grades to go officer I am hoping to go as an officer into the same regiment and battalion I wanted to join as an OR (1 Royal Anglian). However, at my Sandhurst PO visit I was talking to the C/Sgt and he said the army would not allow me to commission into a unit where I had many friends as ORs. I have had the same response from several other people in the army when I’ve been to recruitment events and the like.

Is it true that I won’t be able to be commissioned into a unit where I have lots of mates in the ranks? A large part of why I want to join this regiment is because it has so many childhood mates and people I met in the cadet force in both battalions, but I’m now worried that I will be “forced” to serve in another unit.

I of course understand that there must be a clear separation between officers and ORs. I know this and so do the guys I know who are serving. As long as while we are on duty they call me “Sir/Boss” and we act as professionals then what is the issue?
 
#2
Given that county Regiments such as the Royal Anglians like local personnel to fill their ranks I can't see why it would be a huge problem provided you and your mates remained professional at work.
One of my former OC's went to school with one of the Staffy's in my old STRE. Given that at full strength an STRE (Wks) has 4 officers, a WO1,a WO2 and 7 Staffys it is a small working environment to put it mildly. The fact that the OC and Sam had been to school together made no odds and it didn't lead to either the OC or Sam being cross posted simply because they'd known each other before they joined up.
I am a Staffy but have mates who are JNCO's who I've known for a long time. Just because I'm a Staffy it doesn't mean that all of a sudden I can't be mates with them. Indeed I was best man for my best mates wedding last year and he is a Cpl.
There have been times where guys who have known me when I was a JNCO start pushing it but I simply remind them that it isn't really on for them to be calling me by my first name in front of a load of other seniors or officers.
 
#4
Mazur,

You have been on ARRSE long enough to have probably read lots on this and I was tempted to say you should know better. Long and short you are looking to join the Infantry. As much as you and your mates seem to think that it would be easy to stay mates after work and it would not impact on you - it would. What about the point as a young officer when you tell a mate that he is to lead the platoon across the area where you know there are lots of LMC or NMC PPIED? Now at this point you and your mates would all swear that they would do as ordered without any nonsense but I don't believe that would work.

Ultimately you can do what you want but I just can't (based on nearly 20 years in the Infantry) see this one working out. Ultimately you would be compromised from the start by the fact that you would be the only officer in your unit who was in this situation and you would struggle to move on from that point. I haven't got the time to really get into this but I don't think this will work. Good luck with joining whether as a soldier or officer.

whf
 
#5
Wehappyfew, I understand where you are coming from but given the Regimental system it is quite likely nowadays that OR's will have known or have been mates with their Officers prior to them joining. Short of saying "if you come from East Anglia you can't join the Royal Anglians in case you may have known a few of the toms before you joined" what do you do?
 
#6
Friends as ORs?? Whatever next...
 
#7
plant_life said:
Wehappyfew, I understand where you are coming from but given the Regimental system it is quite likely nowadays that OR's will have known or have been mates with their Officers prior to them joining. Short of saying "if you come from East Anglia you can't join the Royal Anglians in case you may have known a few of the toms before you joined" what do you do?
I think you midd WHFs very honest point. Once in the army your childhood relationships are over. There is no way the officers mess and the NAAFI can be on equal footing.
I
 
#8
Well there's a long history of siblings where one is commissioned and the other isn't (my CO's brother was a WO1), although they are generally not posted to the same unit... Ditto marriages where one is and the other isn't.

Go ahead and try for a commission if that's what you want - if you get in then as a subbie you'll likely be in a different pl/coy and that's plenty of separation for a work environment. By the time you get more senior you (and they) will have learnt to deal with it. You should think harder about how you'll face your mates if you try for and don't get a commission - if you still have a burning desire to serve you'll then be in the ranks with them?
 
#9
western said:
plant_life said:
Wehappyfew, I understand where you are coming from but given the Regimental system it is quite likely nowadays that OR's will have known or have been mates with their Officers prior to them joining. Short of saying "if you come from East Anglia you can't join the Royal Anglians in case you may have known a few of the toms before you joined" what do you do?
I think you midd WHFs very honest point. Once in the army your childhood relationships are over. There is no way the officers mess and the NAAFI can be on equal footing.
I
Yes, you're right. What would be dismissed as high jinks in the Officers Mess would no doubt lead to disciplinary action in the NAAFI bar (sorry, that is a terribly cynical view of things but not far from the truth unfortuantly).

I'm not sure about the phrase "childhood relationships". You make it sound like they are still playing tigg in the playground at 16! I would also say there are a lot of immature officers out there as well .
There is no way that I would forget where I came from or my civvy mates. Just because I joined the Army it doesn't mean that what I did before counts for jack. Fcuk your civvy mates off at your peril.

What would your opinion be if this guy had been to university and had spent a couple of years working in a civvy job before going for a commission? They are still mates, just a little bit older.
 
#11
plant_life said:
western said:
plant_life said:
Wehappyfew, I understand where you are coming from but given the Regimental system it is quite likely nowadays that OR's will have known or have been mates with their Officers prior to them joining. Short of saying "if you come from East Anglia you can't join the Royal Anglians in case you may have known a few of the toms before you joined" what do you do?
I think you midd WHFs very honest point. Once in the army your childhood relationships are over. There is no way the officers mess and the NAAFI can be on equal footing.
I
Yes, you're right. What would be dismissed as high jinks in the Officers Mess would no doubt lead to disciplinary action in the NAAFI bar (sorry, that is a terribly cynical view of things but not far from the truth unfortuantly).

I'm not sure about the phrase "childhood relationships". You make it sound like they are still playing tigg in the playground at 16! I would also say there are a lot of immature officers out there as well .
There is no way that I would forget where I came from or my civvy mates. Just because I joined the Army it doesn't mean that what I did before counts for jack. Fcuk your civvy mates off at your peril.

What would your opinion be if this guy had been to university and had spent a couple of years working in a civvy job before going for a commission? They are still mates, just a little bit older.
You make life choices, best mates at 16 are strangers at 18. If you join the Army other ranks are a lower form of life than those with a Commission, fact. Or have you spent your OR career socialising in the Officers Mess calling the CO mate and sh4gging their daughters? No mate they would rather breed from cattle. Another fact.

It is what keeps the Military wheel turning;Masters and Serfs.
 
#12
Civvi mates? Nope, you've lost me again...resend the key setting!!
 
#13
I know of several Officers in various Bns who joined units and served with people they knew from school etc. It should not preclude you from joining 1 R Anglian (who in particular are a very close knit Bn). The key importance is that you understand your obligations to the men and where to draw the line (on a Pl night out, show face, buy the beers and leave early before it all turns into a values and standards poo trap). Alternatively, go clubbing with them, but be prepared to deal with the consequences when it goes pear shaped.

The separate Messes exist because familiarity does breed contempt.

IIRC one Vikings officer a few years ago had been a schoolteacher before commissioning and had taught some of his soldiers at secondary school.
 
#14
western said:
If you join the Army other ranks are a lower form of life than those with a Commission, fact.
If this is an attempt to get a bite from the aforementioned lesser mortals, good effort. On the other hand, if you are genuinely serious in your assertations, you will have to pray that that your sheer brilliance precludes you from ever having to rely upon their collective vast experience (assuming you are actually an officer yourself, that is).

In reality, the path of an officer and that of an other rank is mostly based on choice. A young lad from good stock with a fistful of degrees may decide that a career founded from the ground upwards is a more commendable and respectable path than a commission; alternatively a young scrote dragged up in the arsehole pit of a council slum may view an army commission as a quick path to a better life. You couldn't hold either life choice against either man, so to declare one of them superior to the other is foundless.
 
#15
Range_Paste said:
western said:
If you join the Army other ranks are a lower form of life than those with a Commission, fact.
If this is an attempt to get a bite from the aforementioned lesser mortals, good effort. On the other hand, if you are genuinely serious in your assertations, you will have to pray that that your sheer brilliance precludes you from ever having to rely upon their collective vast experience (assuming you are actually an officer yourself, that is).

In reality, the path of an officer and that of an other rank is mostly based on choice. A young lad from good stock with a fistful of degrees may decide that a career founded from the ground upwards is a more commendable and respectable path than a commission; alternatively a young scrote dragged up in the arsehole pit of a council slum may view an army commission as a quick path to a better life. You couldn't hold either life choice against either man, so to declare one of them superior to the other is foundless.
What utter nonsense. You join the ranks for one of two reasons, a genuine sense of adventure or because you are a failure.

Officers join for a number of similar reasons including failure.
 
#16
Thanks for the replies so far and apologies for not replying before. I was at the homecoming parade in Cambridge.

WHF, you are right, I should know better but with an issue as important to me as this I really want to be 100% sure that when I join that I have made the best choice I can. After all, I can only join once.

box-of-frogs said:
Why not try for the 2nd battalion?
I have mates in both battalions. The majority are 1st Btn so I will explore the 2nd Btn route.
 
#17
You can't be an officer and a "mate", sorry, but you just can't.

Back in the "old days" (sweaty cnut head on) we used to be assigned to a new 2Lt / recently qualified pilot Lt to "look after him" as JNCO's. A lot of the time during things like post tour R&R after things like NI, Granby, Bos or the more jolly MedMans, we'd even get on first name terms when out of uniform.

BUT, you could never, ever become "mates" and we never did. An officers job is to lead regardless of personal involvement. A couple of times I very slightly overstepped the mark with an officer that I had been assigned to "look after" when he was a sprog once he had hit Captain. I was, without fail, put back in my place as an NCO and reminded of the actual way of things as opposed to reminiscing about when I had to pull him out of a shower in Calgary covered in his own puke.

If we would have been proper "mates" prior to his commission, that friendship would have ended. As we weren't and the relationship was purely a military one, no harm was done and mutual respect continued.

There's also the scenario where a fellow ex AAC member on here ran into an ex AAC OR that had been commissioned (but stayed cap badged) on a shoot. Ex OR now officer got a bit arsey, ex AAC NCO rips him to pieces to his men with tales of naughtiness. No rules broke but newly gazetted officer now has the same level of respect as a soiled nappy.

There's a reason that commissioned OR's are posted out of parent units and in my humble opinion, it's a damn good one.
 
#18
I was commissioned into the same regiment, but a different battalion. As such, I was generally not working with my mates.

However, as is the way of the Army, over time some mates did get posted to the same battalion as me - a couple of them were very good friends indeed, and one was in the same company as me on my last tour of NI as a multiple commander when I was the Coy Ops Offr. It was not pleasant for either of us in that we both knew that we were mates, but could not have done our jobs professionally had we been so for that tour. I'm sorry to say that we drifted apart because all the social interaction that is normal between friends was absent (and after that tour I left the Army and worked in various shiteholes on different continents).

Bottom line is that, in my experience (there are other examples, but the one above was the most pertinent), you have to decide where you make the sacrifices: your professionalism or your friendships. FWIW though, after leaving the Army I have met up with many people both senior and junior to me in the regiment I wa in and former rank makes not a blind bit of difference to the friendships.
 
#19
The other side of this argument would seem to be your logic for wanting to join a regiment as an officer because loads of your mates are soldiers there. Do you think you can still be mates? Do you think you'll be popping round to their block for a brew in your spare time, or they'll be in the officers mess tv room with you and the other subbies?

Your ties to your old mates will be at best constricted, but at worst severed, so choosing a regiment where you know loads of the the blokes is a bit pointless - you could still have them as mates if you choose a different Bn or Regt (as lots of ex-rankers who commission do), but you wont be seeing them every night like you might of as a civvi. Also, presumably they are in now and you are not. Such is the way of integration that they may resent you slightly for being an officer (hatred of officers is not uncommon - obviously respect for officers and being mates is massively different) and give you a harder time, or think you are trying to play the fact you know them. They may also expect different behaviour from you due to your past ties together - can you unequivocally say that doing your job, ordering your mates to do shit things (it will have to happen somewhen) will be easy, or that you could in fact do it?

No, I think it best not to seek a commission into a regiment for this reason - because it's your local regiment, fine, but because you'll know loads of mates, who are now soldiers? It WILL get messy...(I know of a couple of officers who's careers have stuttered and even ended because of not being able to draw the line between Chain of Command and being mates).
 
#20
Art thou Officer? Or base, common and popular? - Capt Blackey RMAS 1987.

You can never have friends who are ORs. For one, they are illiterate, uncouth and ignorant.

They also have fat wives who swear, smoke and wear flip flops.

They spend all their free time glued to the television watching SKY Sports.

Disown any former friends who are ORs by telling them all of the above before retiring to the Mess for a G&T.
 

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