TA Commission/Private Soldier


I am intent on joining the TA after uni but am undecided if I should go for a commission or join as a private?

Some people will think this is a stupid comment but from what experience I have of regular TA units its seems in a way more enjoyable and sociable with the regular soldiers? I undertsand I have only had a small insight into the TA through the UOTC but just wandering what the thoughts are on the officer/private debate.


thought I would put it in the TA forum as I thought this would be to get the best advice, from guys in the TA. Cant hurt to get advice from different areas.
A direct entrance officer will gain less respect from his troops than one who has been on the ground, learnt about what his (future) troops have to go through and has experienced soldiering from the lowest level.

My advice would be to do a few years as a private (possibly even L/Cpl and Cpl) to gain experience.

You'll be respected more for knowing WTF you're on about when talking to the boys and girls, once you have your commission.


I was thinking that, possibly even do a tour. Then go for a commission. Have been advised that better to get it as soon as possible tho.


Getting stuck in as a private first is the better way imho. I loved the few years I spent as a pte/tpr, and I was genuinely gutted when I couldn't dodge being an officer cadet anymore! I've now got my comission, but my time without it was fantastic, and it gives you a good start. You learn the trade in a more relaxed manner, there's probably more opportunities to do patrol competitions or shooting if you're into that sort of thing, and most importantly, you'll learn what makes a good officer, from the lads, and from observing your officers and deciding who is good / useless and why. Unless time is against you, go in as a pte. If nothing else, you'll really appreciate knowing you're unlikely to get dicked for fire picket (sp?) or stagging on the gate when you finally comission.....fantastic :eek:) :eek:)


It depends what you really want to do and are passionate about,

I'm with the Australian Reserve as an Officer-Cadet, i will have my commission before I turn 20.

Its something ive always wanted to do and always would have wanted to do if I didnt try. I dont mean to be snobbish about the 'diggers', but its not something I was ever interested in.

Do what you really WANT to do, not what 'people say is best'. Nobody wants a digger/squaddie that doesnt want to be there, or an officer who wishes he was anything but!


Cheers. At tho moment I am thinkng of going in as a private for a while to gain that experience, get to see how things are done from the bottom up. Then if things go ok go for a comission.


In a way could u not class these as both the same?? or are u saying an officer in the TA has a second career while those who are not officers have a professional hobby?


War Hero
In my [basic and broad-brushed] view, being an OR in the TA means turning up to training and being a professional during training. However, being an officer means a commitment and responsibility that goes far beyond time spent at the TAC, that has a greater potential to interfere with your life and first career. Admittedly as one would progress up the 'soldier' train this out of hours work increases, but as a YO it starts immediately.


Dear Brick 26,

If you have the desire to command and your OTC is saying that you can do it or have the potential to, then fine go for it if you really want the chance to command. If you want to swan about in mess kit then don't do it, you will be unhappy and your soldiers will hate you.

It is about what you can bring to whatever post you go for. Either way you have to "do the business", so if you have leadership potential and are professional in the way you do things, it will be recognised quickly and you will be selected for PJNCO or PO training.

Personally I like PO's to pass a PJNCO cadre, however a 2Lt that joins from OTC will not have a problem as long as they lead (okay it is a bit more than that but the general point holds true), don't get arrogant, and honestly try their best.

I'm not saying go for a Commission, decide for yourself.

And by the way IMHO, the questions you've asked and the way that you have asked them (apart from the text speak) suggest that you could do it.

Yours ever,

if you want to commission - go for it

if you join as an OR - you'll get good experience, youll learn the job from the roots up

but youo'll lose seniority as an Officer

anyway - OR or Commission, you need to EARN the respect of your crew/team/peers, and if your a fukcwit - you will never do that no matter what way you travel
I spent a few years as a Rifleman/LCpl then went for a commission and it was the best decision I've ever made.

I loved being a Rfn, I will always remember what it was like to be one and sometimes miss doing a section attack but I now get so much more out of the TA and it has forced me to develop a much wider transferable skills base which can be invaluable.

I also think the lads appreciate the fact I'm not fresh out of the packet and have a bit of experience.

Personally speaking, (and contrary to many of the views expressed above) I see no advantage in spending time in the ranks prior to commissioning (although this assumes that you gained some experience during your OTC days). The soldiers you work with will know you are a PO and you will be treated differently anyway, so there goes being 'one of the boys'. In fact, attempts to do so would be likely to backfire - either immediately, or upon eventual commissioning whereupon you find yourself commanding your erstwhile 'mates' (remembering that command can, in extremis, mean send to their death).

Whilst there is a modicum of truth in the argument that you will gain a bit of respect from knowing how to do their job, the fact remains that, as a subbie, you are not employed to do the job of a private soldier. Therefore, your soldiers will respect you for doing the job of an officer properly - ie looking after them; not as a wannabe rifleman/whatever but with pips, who hangs with them when he fancies it, but nips off to the other ruperts when he gets bored.

If you do feel you need extra mil experience before commissioning, then my strong advice (and your CO may well insist) is that you transfer upon commissioning to avoid being in the same unit as the soldiers you trained with.


I'd agree with that D.

I started in the ranks back in the 80s, and after a couple of years became an Officer Cadet. It obviously did change things with my "mates", and made my subsequent job, as their boss, not impossible, but definitely more difficult.


Im 22 leaving uni this year. Its just that at OTC it seems the done thing to push everyone for a comission and they dont really talk about joining as a private, though i do know of a couple of fellas who have transfered to TA units because they have kinda got bored with the whole OTC thing.


Go for the commission, career, training and civi/military life are more flexible (I am told).
If you are going to earn your men's respect you will do it as an officer. However long you sopend in the ranks will make no difference if you cannot do it...


War Hero
What area are you in?

There are some units where you'll get your 1st stripe straight after your trade training and the opportunity for good tours.