Thinking of going on a tour before I go regular.

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Officer Recruiting' started by Tomtom4600, Feb 19, 2011.

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  1. Evening all,
    It's been roughly a year since my last post. In that time, I've completed my BA and am now studying for an MA finishing in September.
    At the moment, I am with the TA, and have been so since the end of 2007. I plan on going down the regular Officer route to an infantry regiment (first choice being the Gurkhas, then the 2nd choice being the regular battalions of my current regiment).
    Now here's the bit I'd like a wider consensus from anyone currently serving in the regulars. I'm considering deploying for Herrick 16 (Mobilise November 2011, out in theatre for Summer 2012. Back November(?)). Would any serving personnel recommend this course of action? This would mean I would be 23/24 by the time I start Sandhurst in Jan 2013/ May 2013 respectively (depending when we demobilise). I figured this would make me a strong candidate over other recruits to get in my chosen infantry regiment, with an MA and operational experience as a Private. Can anyone see a weakness/es in this from their perspective or the perspective of the Regimental selection Officer?

    Or, is it better to go for the Jan 2012/May 2012 entry and be 22, but without operational experience?
  2. Fill your boots pal.
  3. I think going on tour as a soldier is an excellent idea. During WWII the Wehrmacht (Heer) had a system whereby officer candidates would be tested out on front-line duty, I believe in a JNCO type role. Those who performed well went on to officer training proper. A tour may well be a good thing for you and will help you make decisions on your future career, if you survive of course. Sadly, the Rifles Bn on HERRICK 11 lost around a platoon killed and two platoons maimed. Many other units have suffered similar rates.

    In regard of helping you get into the Regt of your choice at RMAS, I would say that a tour is at best neutral. I am assuming that your have passed AOSB? I am sure that the Regimental reps will judge you on your leadership qualities and potential and your ability to fit into their Regimental family. I suspect that some units may not necessarily value time served as a soldier if they suspect that it will lead to bad habits. For what it is worth, I would strongly advise you to do the tour now as a soldier but not assume that it will improve your selection chances at RMAS.
  4. The RCB aren't looking for previous military experience - they are looking for potential. It depends what you think you'll get out of a tour and whether that is relevant for future training as an Officer.
    If the Wehrmacht system mentioned by Mr Logic was thought to be superior, it would be used by forces today and across the globe. It isn't, so it isn't. My advice would be to do your time deployed as a commissioned Officer - it will count towards your development, future career and promotion far more than 6 months as a Tom.
  5. I would not advise it. I thought it was a great idea, before getting blown up. I've been dropped quicker than a hot potato. Looking at my Regular friends, they are still in and recieving a salary, treatment. I on the other hand have been failed.
  6. Are you a TA bod, NCO or Officer.

    If youre a TA Officer I wouldnt bother, Youll jsut get royally pissed off with being OIC sh!t Jobs. Toms and NCOs will get to do what they trained for. TA officers wont be taking patrols out in the same way as they might imagine, and Once youve done 8 Hours of watch keeping it all gets pretty similar.

    Sorry to hear that Baniyas, sadly I can believe it.
  7. As there seems to be a wide cross section of views on this topic, I think the only truly informed advice will come from your prospective regular regiment.

    To that end, if you haven't already, get yourself sponsored by the regiment of your choice, pass the AOSB and then ask your sponsor regiment what they would advise or wish you to do.

    There are a number of variables in all of this, including the points made above (attitudes to soldier service and value of the tour in career development terms, etc). Other points to take into consideration are the number of unallocated spaces for new officers in the years of commission you are considering (I don't know whether this is as much of a factor as it used to be) and the Op HERRICK operational time line, in terms of whether you are likely to get a tour in once you commission into the regular army (given that Op HERRICK is due to start winding down soon and your chosen Bn might not be on the Ops plot before then. Clearly you may take the view that there is bound to be something else round the corner, so missing out on HERRICK is not an issue (I will not comment further in this regard).

    Ultimately if being a regular army officer in the regiment of your choice is your main effort, then I would ask them what coarse of action would make you most attractive to them as a potential officer.
  8. Er, I didn't say it was superior, I merely mentioned they had a system of that sort. They seemingly thought it was right for them at the time, i.e. the army of a totalitarian state during a period of total war. Armies and nations do many things differently for all sorts of historical, operational and sociological reasons. Your logic is poor. If we thought Rowallan Company was superior, should all armed forces across the globe have adopted it? The Army have non-commissioned pilots, the RAF do not. Which service is at fault for not adopting the system the other thinks is superior?

    Using your logic, methods favoured by the British Army used in WWII would be what we are still training today, surely? I'm not so sure that would work in Helmand. Mr_C_Hinecap, show again logic.

    Love and hugs,

    Mr Logic
  9. In regard of my somewhat loose advice above, it was made in isolation to a stranger in the internet. He must make the final decision and live with the consequences.

    As a former TA soldier, may I express my deepest sympathies with your situation. I have spoken to many mobilised TA soldiers over the years, asking why they don't join as a Regular for exactly the reasons you highlight. As a Regular, your service is full commitment and pensionable. Mobilising with the TA means that you can do the tour you want to do, when you want to do it, and then return to normal life. The Army has sadly not demonstrated quite the same level of commitment to TA soldiers, as is well documented.

    Without prying into your personal circumstances unnecessarily, have you recovered from your injuries? I assume that you wanted to join as a Regular but could not due to this incident?
  10. Thanks for the replies.

    Mr Logic, I passed briefing a year ago and will book my MB for October/ November this year. I didn't plan on doing an MA until last July, which meant I couldn't go on the MB I planned to do for a Jan 2011 intake and since, I haven't had the time to do both a Masters, and do what is needed for MB (plus there were family matters that took priority). I still read a newspaper everyday, and my regiment will be scheduling a couple of weekends between May and October/ November -suited to my timetable- to prepare for MB, making 2-6 weeks of dedicated daily practising up to my board suitable (mainly just for planning ex).

    Baniyas, sorry to hear about what happened. Hopefully I am not overstepping my mark here, but, were you planning to go regular after?
    I've spoken to a lot of the regular staff in my battalion about this and they say that I should just go into the regular intake as quick as possible. A couple of guys in my battalion I know/ know of, have been injured out there, and more or less chucked aside. I've even seen someone I suspect of suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), who from what I know, hasn't had proper treatment (luckily he seems to be his more usual self now). Correct me if I'm wrong, but, TA don't seem to get the same post-war treatment that the regulars get.
    My regiment, who is also my sponsor, say that I should just go in as soon as a can and come back to them, potentially avoiding getting injured as a TA and cast aside, saying I'd have the rest of my career then to go on tour. This advice I received from the PSI up (apart from the new CO who I see next week). Some have said though that I'd be a great officer if i had a tour as a Private.
    I might try and contact the Gurkhas and see what they think, but at the moment, taking into account the replies from here and elsewhere, I shall aim for a 2012 intake and do a PJNCO cadre at the end of the year. I'll be taking part in the pre-ops training between now and October as well.

    Another query not regarding officer selection - Say I was successful to get into either of my chosen regiments, what do you think my would-be platoon and platoon sgt think of it, if I had a tour as a Private? What if I went back and somehow ended up in charge of the very guys I had previously stood shoulder-to-shoulder with as a bod? probably an obvious an answer, but would it make me a better infantry officer?
  11. So you haven't passed OASB yet. If you want to be commissioned you would surely have been reading the newspapers routinely from your early teens at least anyway? Out of interest, are any of those who think you'll be a great officer after a tour as a private actually commissioned? Lastly, soldiers are not normally commissioned back into Regiments where they have served as a soldier, for good reasons, although perhaps things have changed.

    That said, good luck with it all. While the opinions of others are useful, those who have not been through the process should be taken in context. The relative merits of the decisions that you make will have much bearing on your level of success.
  12. It can count against you, in as much as a tour with the TA molds you, whereas direct entry, no soldier experience, leaves you fresh as a daisy. I have heard (and know) of people who failed AOSB for this very reason (some were TA Officers though).

    As to whether it will make you a better Officer, it may help with your low level skills, that may help you to do certain things at RMAS, but will it make you a "hardened" vet with an obvious advantage over others? Probably not - a mix of things contribute here - you may think that what you did, on a particular tour with a particular unit, is gospel and you will find that is not the case. SOPs change from tour to tour and unit to unit. Your experiences may change you outlook and cause you to drag up a sandbag at every opportunity and try to shape future problems into those scenarios. And as pointed out, AOSB and the lead in processes, aim to assess potential to commission - if you have that already, then why risk something that may hamper your chances (and I don't mean just from the risk of injury - although that is a very real factor).

    As pointed out by others - speak to the Gurkhas - if you aim to join them, will they sponsor you or even offer advice on whether this is sensible. Being a bit older, with an MA and op experience as a TA Pte may not factor in as much as getting you in soonest.

    Finally, the talk of HERRICK winding down, so rush into service now or miss the party - pish - we may start to draw down combat forces from 2015, but a complete pull out WILL NOT happen then. It will have to be gradual, we will have to continue to support the Afghan Security Forces and also as pointed out, there may well be other scrapes to get involved in by then.

    Bottom line - do what you want to do (which it reads as if you are), having sought advice from your potential employer. If they say it wont factor in their decision, then you may still want to do it, to scratch that itch. Balance the risks - the delay to commissioning, the potential risk of injury, the risk of being shaped by your experiences and not for the better and think about what you wish to gain from your commissioned service.
  13. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Well I served under a former Rfn who had a year on ops under his belt. He was mature and really did his utmost to ensure we got as much out of our time as we could. He was last I saw OC Junior Wing at Brecon in the late 80's and thats not a bad place to be career wise if you are a soldier!
    In his case he tried and got into Sandhurst but dropped out after a year, he realised that civvy life wasnt what he wanted and reapplied. They made him enlist under an SE and serve a year as a buckshee before resitting the boards again. he did and was successful. it did mean that he was 23 years old with one pip but a man I would follow anywhere!
  14. Off Thread:

    Not a question of superior, more questions of:

    Does it fulfill an actual need?

    Does it train / select to the required level (and no more)?

    Should it be applied to a selected group or all?

    Clearly in the case of RoCo we went from Yes / Yes / Selected group to No / No / N/A and hence RoCo was binned. RoCo was relevant to the UK model of officer selection and training in its time, our model is quite different to many nations. In any case, even if another nation looked at RoCo (which I doubt, RMAS seemed quite keen to keep it in the shadows!) its unlikely that they would have sufficient sense of irony to have seen the point :)

    Tom Tom:

    Difficult choice, but as others have said, I would speak to the Gurkhas or other potential sponsors first. My take is that, although a tour will be another dimension to your profile, if you want to be commissioned, you are delaying that happening by a year. If you really have an ambition to do a tour as a Tom, then do so, but if your ambition is really to be a regular infantry officer, get on with it.

    Good luck with whatever route you choose.

    (Edited to add relevant comment!)
  15. I did exactly what your planning to do. I joined the TA in 2007 and when i finished my 3rd year exams i was mobilised on Herrick 9. Negatives first, you will be setting your career back buy probably over a year. If you think you will pass MB now or have already passed i'd advice getting yourself to sandhurst. Also most of TA infantry i met had some pretty bone jobs while i was out there most kicking round bastion only met afew outside the wire. However if you don't think your ready yet to start sandhurst due to maturity etc. then going on tour will strighten you out and give you the confidence to tackle whatever is put infront of you.

    Even though i believe i could have gone stright into sandhurst post uni i would still have gone on tour. Going was a brilliant experience and will let you know if the army is truly for you if you go out and still want to join then you know plus the added bonuses of previous experience making the things they teach at sandhurst familiar, and if you go out hate it and decide to go down a different route in life you can do so with your head held high for having been there and done it for real.

    Hope that helps