Silly Questions For Your Perusal

Discussion in 'OTC and ACF' started by Kolya, May 23, 2005.

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  1. Hi there, was directed to this site by someone I knew from another forum, when I asked him a load of (probably idiotic) questions in regards to an interest in the Forces.

    Right then, here goes... I've always had a large (read "fanatical") interest in military history, and this led to considering - on and off - some sort of Forces career. I say "on and off" because I also wanted to study the subject and then make some sort of career from that too. The result was a constant see-sawing of the idea of whether or not I wanted to join - and if yes, what would I do, what sort of tenure would I be looking at, etc. etc.

    Then, recently, with uni life fast approaching, I put more thought into it, and contacted the friend I mentioned in the beginning, and he did a good job in outlining the options available (if you're reading this, sorry, I haven't a clue who you are on here :oops: ), which were - basically - regular Army, TA, or - which seemed like the more suitable option - UOTC.

    I'm hopefully going to study IntPol & Military History at Aberystwyth (having read the forums for some time before signing up, I'm not sure if I should've said that or not ;)) and through some research I found that there was a unit there. However, I couldn't find much info on the unit itself.
    I guess I'm looking to find out about the overall goings-on in UOTC, as well as things like what goes on at the weekly (is it weekly?) meetings, and so on.

    Apologies for any dodgy spelling, or the impression that I'm a clueless arse: The former can be attributed to me being tired, but I have no excuses for the latter, I'm afraid :( Any help that can be offered, though, would be greatly appreciated.
  2. i did the same mate- interest in military history, hence my degree, and joining uOTC to get some hands on learning.

    weekly 'meetings' (Drill nights) basically consist of parade, notices, classroom learning (eg. weapons familiarisation, handling n cleaning) to prep you for weekends to apply whats been learnt, and develop further skills (how to put up a basha, do section n platoon attacks etc). thats followed by a sesh in the bar/mess.

    the UOTC offers a lot more than basic training though, with adventurous training, attatchments to regular units, visits, and social activities (which are many and pleasant, if occasionally a little blurry).

    you'll quickly learn a lot more about your career options in the forces though the UOTC, as there is a wide variety of experience and intentions to be encountered, as well as army careers presentations etc.

    i havent been reading OTC promotional literature, honest!
  3. Joint the OTC, definatly worth it, some might say dont and join a local TA unit. This i wouild not recomend, as OTC is specifically designed for students running to term times etc...

    OTC should help you decide if the forces are for you or whether you are to become leather elbow pad wearing accademic. Get stuck in and remember you only get out what you put in.
  4. Come to Aber; we are lovely people.

    And best of all we aren't Bangor.

    I have sent you a PM which may be of some help. Or maybe not. It is after all half three in the morning.

    Any questions, and I will be glad to answer them to the best of my ability.

    Mrs Beaton
  5. I'm sure it wont be long before people start saying "sod the otc, join the TA. You'll get more respect and learn more" - This is quite probably true, however OTC is a branch of the armed forces available to you only for three or four years whilst at university and should be taken advantage of as such! You've plenty of time to join the TA proper after you've completed your studies. Of-course you could do the TASO scheme and do both..

    Just my thoughts on the subject.
  6. A very good question, Kolya. Times have changed, I know, but I'll give you my geriatric take on this.

    I joined the OTC as soon as I arrived at university and was commissioned into the mainstream reserve forces 18 months later. I retired from the TA a couple of years ago after 35 years commissioned service, regular and reserve. And in all that time I never felt I knew what was going on in the heads of the soldiers, Marines and airmen under my command.

    I am sure that this is as much a reflection on my character as on my experience, but I very much wish I had spent even a year as a TA soldier before joining the OTC; and I would advise anyone thinking of staying in the reserves beyond university to do just that.

    The OTC in my day was the best club in the University, but as a military organisation it was hopeless (largely because it was a kind of paddock where the surplus officers from the local TA battalion were put out to grass). Now, I know things are different now, but if you are serious about even a reserve career, I am sure you would benefit from the experience of service in the ranks. And it would do your credibility no end of good. Just don't get too seduced into the squaddie culture you can read about in The NAAFI Bar.
  7. It is possible (if you have the time) to join both the OTC and a local TA regiment.

    They both take one evening a week (although usually different ones) and average 1 or 2 weekends a month (each). So with clever planning, it is possible to do both. Talk to the units when you turn up. Both will want you, and will be keen to find a way for you to fit them both in. Either way, it's better than working in Tescos for a part-time job.

    The UOTC's are drinking clubs full of students. The first year teaches you basic military skills. The second year, you start leadership. The third, you practise it. There are loads of oppurtunities to visit other reg and ta units of all the armed forces. The aim is to convince you to join some kind of forces when you leave university.

    The TA is more proffesional and once you have worked through your basic training, (or officer training if you want to go in as an officer) which shouldn't take a year, you will be in your unit for the longterm, unless you can transfer. So when making your choice, think carefully about it. The TA is, however, for real, and not the toy soldiers that the OTC's are.

    So...visit the units in question before making any decisions...
  8. Of course not forgetting that you are at university! Like Burgers says, the above is only possible if you have time. I find that with all the extra social and military activities that are available in the OTC I am busy most of the time, even if it is just playing "toy soldiers".
  9. Thanks for the suggestions, lads and lasses. I think, between OTC and TA (based on your opinions), OTC would be better suited for me, as it allows for more study-time - something I'd always like a lot of, considering my inability to get work done quickly :roll: :wink:

    What's the easing-in - if any - of new recruits to drill? I have to admit I'm absolutely bloody awful at it, and don't seem to have any clue what I'm doing half the time (enthusiasm's there, but seeing the sight of yourself f**k up is a bit of a morale-sap :(). Odd question, perhaps, but it's the only thing I've ever had serious apprehensions about, in relation to the Forces.... sounds like quite a poor reason, really.
  10. Drill... if thats the only thing you're worrying about, don't. The OTC (certainly my unit) doesn't spend too much time worrying about drill. You'll do a few sessions in MTQ1, but don't worry, everyone is as bad as each other. Except perhaps the die hard ex ACF bods.
    Seriously tho, OTC, probably the best thing I ever did at uni.
  11. Sorry if that came across as a bit arrogant - I meant to say that drill was the main 'worry', but I couldn't think of any other questions to add at the time.

    I have now though :) What's the general state of fitness you need to be at? Bit of a difficult issue, because while I don't play much sport (lack of PE at school past GCSE + nowhere to play locally) and don't have a rigid exercise schedule, I do do some organised exercise occasionally, and I walk fairly long distances throughout the week (I walk pretty much everywhere)

    Speaking of which, I don't know what it counts for here, but I've so far complete the Expedition stage of my DofE Gold Award - which, oddly enough, was also in Wales :D - and I was wondering where, using that as a comparison, the level of ability needed for field activites stood.
  12. The official level of fitness in the military is something like:

    Run 2.4 km in about 10 and 1/2 minutes
    40 odd pressups in 2 minutes
    50 or 60 odd situps in 2 minutes
    March 4 miles with 15 (?) kgs on your back in 1 hour

    To be in the OTC you need none of these things (you just need to attempt each of these) and a large number of OCDTs cannot achieve at least 1 (if not all) of these challenges.

    Now I think that if you can't do this, then you are clinically dead, but I have been proved wrong too many times.

    So long as you are not a fat knacker who sweats when they're eating, you should be fine...
  13. I would agree with most of the posts so far here. Aber Coy was far and away the single best thing I ever did at uni, both in terms of going into the regs afterwards (something I knew that I was going to do before I went) and also in terms of my degree. Aber Coy is (or was) largely stocked with Interpol & Strat students so it can also act as facility to get to know other people on your course and as a research tool for your uni work.

    Our seminars always contained a number of OTC people who could band together to repel attempted assaults for the myriad of Viet Taff, LGB shirtlifters and commies who have decided that they don't like us!
  14. Your Gold Exped indicates a level of fitness that'll be fine for basic OTC.

    Having said that, it is my experience that to get on adventurous training or other 'extra' activities a higher level of fitness may be required, along with the right mindset, to ensure you get a place.
  15. i think the main purpose of any fitness assessment in the OTC is to see if you put the effort in over the year to improve (but even so - that isn't that important). people who dropped out of the bleep test at abuot level 5 or 6 still got in so no worries there.

    with reference to OTC and TA you can always do the TA commision when at uni and then you will prob just get attached back to the OTC to get training with them with the added perks of getting more pay and getting a different uniform.

    dunno if you have seen this site . btw - which yr will you be coming to aber (if you come that is)?