Old 04-22-2004, 11:14   #1
The Reaper
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18A Description

Special Forces Detachment Commander (18A). Commands or serves on the staff of Special Forces units. Serves in positions requiring general Special Forces experience or training. Serves as a Commander, Staff Officer, Advisor, Exchange Officer, Plans and Operations Officer, and service school instructor in positions requiring Special Forces experience or training. Conducts area studies of potential operational areas, acquiring detailed knowledge of their geography, economy, political structure, armed forces, and history. Develops and maintains foreign language capability. Plans, controls and executes foreign internal defense, strike operations, strategic reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and other related special operations. Develops interpersonal and communicative skills to facilitate interaction with foreign officers, soldiers, and civilians.

Guys, that ain't the half of it.

Good luck!

TR
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Old 04-22-2004, 14:36   #2
Jack Moroney (RIP)
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Re: 18A Description

Quote:
[i]Originally posted by The Reaper
Guys, that ain't the half of it.



TR [/B]
I think that one part of what an 18A is/does that is missing from this discription is that he is(or better be) an integral part of the team. Before SF became a branch an officer assigned to SF was for the most part an outsider/guest to be tolerated by the other team members until he was vetted, accepted by his team members or expeditiously moved along to some slot where he was less of a hazard. Now an 18A is more of a stakeholder in the scheme of things and while he is still going to be tested by the team he has already validated that for the most part he is in this business for the right reasons.

I saw a lot of folks that just could not fit in and would never fit in because they just did not understand that they had a function (other than generator transport officer and turbulance tester) to fullfill as a member of a team that would work effectively without you but would work all the better with you. These were the folks that failed to realize that in SF you were a soldier first and an officer second. That the power vested in you as a team leader had less to do with the actual running of the team (which was and hopefully still is the role of the team sergeant) and more to do with enabling your team members to succeed by going to the wall for them to ensure that everything needed to accomplish the mission was available be it training time, equipment, money, valid mission statements, intelligence,etc.

There are other aspects that come to mind that vary with the capacity in which an 18A is serving and some serious shortcomings of the current expectations for 18As versus the experience level that they may or may not have before becoming branched SF. I'll leave all that alone and see what this generates.

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Old 04-22-2004, 14:43   #3
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Two excellent posts!!

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Old 04-23-2004, 03:43   #4
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My two cents -

As an SF Det CO, I found that there were three key parts to my job.

1. Interfacing with higher and providing guidance to the Team Sergeant/Team on the mission goals.

2. Staying out of the way/being part of the team in planning/executing actual missions (for those who don't get it, the Team plans the missions, not the CO... let them).

3. Betting your bar - being willing to go to bat for your troops and ensure that they didn't get in trouble with higher for unconventional ways of doing things or mischevious actions (with some good sense thrown in, and your own discipline when necessary).
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Old 04-23-2004, 04:09   #5
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Quote:
Before SF became a branch an officer assigned to SF was for the most part an outsider/guest to be tolerated by the other team members until he was vetted, accepted by his team members or expeditiously moved along to some slot where he was less of a hazard. Now an 18A is more of a stakeholder in the scheme of things and while he is still going to be tested by the team he has already validated that for the most part he is in this business for the right reasons.
From an NCO perspective Sir, I couldn't agree more. Branching SF officers is, IMO, something the Army got right.
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Old 07-17-2004, 10:36   #6
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Re: Re: 18A Description

Quote:
Originally posted by Jack Moroney
There are other aspects that come to mind that vary with the capacity in which an 18A is serving and some serious shortcomings of the current expectations for 18As versus the experience level that they may or may not have before becoming branched SF. I'll leave all that alone and see what this generates.
All,
First I wanted to say thanks for the great thread. Curious about this statement though.

In speaking of shortcomings in expectations...does this fall on the too few or too many side of the house? Is this due to the type of assignments officers are initially placed in upon completion of school? Career progression through assignments?

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Old 07-17-2004, 11:57   #7
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Re: Re: Re: 18A Description

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Originally posted by stschmidt
All,

In speaking of shortcomings in expectations...does this fall on the too few or too many side of the house? Is this due to the type of assignments officers are initially placed in upon completion of school? Career progression through assignments?

This has to do primarily with the UW mission requirements for an 18A. While I fully support the branching of officers into 18, prior to that they moved back and forth between SF and non-SF assignments which, depending on their basic branch, provided an understanding and certain experience level in conventional assignments that are no longer available once a CPT becomes an 18A. Specifically, a SFODA is supposed to be able to be a force multiplier and organize, equip, train and lead a BN size force. Now in the days before the branch an Infantry CPT in many cases would have served as a company commander, primary staff officer at BN level, and perhaps at the Brigade level. This would have provided him with a better grasp of the organization and deployment of that BN level force, the interface with conventional forces during Phase III of an insurgency, and how to organize and train a guerrilla cadre to perform the functions expected of a BN. Taking this one step further, when that 18A takes over a SF company, either as a major or a senior captain, he now has the role of organizing and deploying an Area Command where he can have several subordinate SFODAs working for him and is essentially a Brigade Cdr running operations and dealing more with operational and strategic level efforts. Once again, as a senior captain or major with conventional time under his belt he more than likely would have gained some additional experience in Bn and Bde operations which would stand him in good stead in a UW role. The same is true for FID missions and more so in that you will normally be training, advising and assisting a host nation in their role to defeat insurgencies and if you have not had any experience in dealing with conventional forces you have a little more of a challenge than those that have had such an experience. Now that is not to say that 18As cannot do all of the above without having had the benefit of conventional time, but the learning curve is steeper. This is a broad generalization, but I have found throughout my time in dealing with some of my officers that there was a shortcoming that required additional training and attention.


Under the current system there are career progression and gate clearance problems for advancement in SF as an 18A which have not disappeared just because we now have a branch. If you take some time and review the mission requirements, again falling back on the UW mission which is the bread and butter of what we do, by the time a CPT gets to be just about to the point where he is really starting to contribute to the team he is moved off to staff or school. Most do not have the ability to really do justice to the requirements expected of them because they do not spend enough time in the slot. Team Leaders are often considered as continual guests on a team because no one on the team really expects that they are going to be there that long. That was one of the reasons for the 180A. I think most of us had hoped that with the creation of the branch that we would build and retain warriors as 18As, but SF as a branch also has Army wide requirements to meet such as ROTC, recruiters, instructors, etc, etc, ad nauseum. I know many of my contemporaries, given the chance, would have been more than happy to spend their entire careers on a team but the current military personnel management systems will not let that happen and in the case of good SF team leaders success means leaving behind that which they entered SF for in the first place. In other words, this is the perfect definition of no good deed goes unpunished.

To me, an SF officer has to develop many different skill sets most of which are perishable and require constant maintenance and effort. When you are confronted with other "officer" requirements and non-specific SF tasks there are few that are willling to maintain those skill and for many that do or attempt to fall out of favor with those that simply do not understand what is required or have other personal and career agendas. With the exception of the Training Group, those officers that worked for me had specific skill set requirements that I expected them to maintain that I felt were critical for the performance of the tasks that I expected them to perform. I am sure I was not unique in this.



Hope that answers your question. We can explore it further if you wish.

Jack Moroney
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Old 07-19-2004, 08:31   #8
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Sir,

Thank you for the response. It more than answered my questions and gave a few new things to think about/focus on.

I realize that the requirements to fill other than group jobs will always be there and that an officer will never be able to stay on a team forever. Do you feel that the ability to manage other than SF requirements and still maintain proficiency in one's chosen profession is what makes an an 18A stand out from the rest and why the Army seeks those officers for other positions? IMHO It would seem like, however, with increasing optempo and the ever increasing demand for Special Forces worldwide the Army would look at keeping those officers in group longer now not only for the experience but for continued unit cohesion through deployments.

Just my .02

Steve
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:34   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by stschmidt
Sir,


Do you feel that the ability to manage other than SF requirements and still maintain proficiency in one's chosen profession is what makes an an 18A stand out from the rest and why the Army seeks those officers for other positions?
Steve
Actually what sets good 18As apart from the rest of the Army is the same thing that sets 18s in general apart from the rest of the Army. I think I can best sum it up as total commitment to each other and the mission. You see, IMHO, you can only get total commitment from someone when those values that make him who he is as a person match those values ,like a target grid overlay, that make the organization to which he belongs what it is. While many folks come into the Army seeking a job, the SF soldier comes in seeking a profession. We have a lot of folks running around the military of all ranks that, while members of a professional military, are not truly professionals themselves. You can identify them because they punch a time clock and take every chance they can to put themselves and their needs before those of their organization and the folks in the organization. Unfortunately, most of these folks are officers who view their rank as providing them rights and priveledge without responsibility and will use the folks with whom they work as stepping stones for career advancement. As to the reason why "the Army" seeks any particular group of officers for filling positions, positions are filled because folks have demonstrated the potential to fill them and in the case of 18As that potential comes as a result not only from their efforts but in large part because of the extraordinary soldiers with whom they were priviledged to serve. You see, you cannot help but become a better soldier when you serve with the likes of the soldiers that fill the various specialities in the 18 career management field. I think the difference for 18As and the rest of the Army is that the good 18As that I know were soldiers first and officers second and when you work with other soldiers as a soldier and not as part of some officer caste, things get done a whole lot better than not.
Just my opinion.

Jack Moroney
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Old 08-24-2004, 20:49   #10
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18A

Jack and Greenhat hit the nail squarely.

I just want to add that the old system while it had its drawbacks, did field some damn fine leaders. The ones that truly excelled were thsoe that had the qualities that Jack mentioned and did whT Greenhat said - let the NCOs run the show and run interference for them with higher HQ.

Showing that you have TRUST in their abilities is the first sign of a Team that is coalessing and becoming a true working unit in every facet. The Team in turn reciprocates.
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Old 12-27-2004, 15:27   #11
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Re:

Ok, I'll admit, I'm a noob when it comes to knowledge involving the military, but I know for a fact I'm joining and for a fact that I wanna be an SF.
So please go easy on me!
I am currently 16, soon to be eagle scout, black belt, learning foreign languages.
What else can I be doing to ensure SF status?
I work out, and run, so I don't think I need to worry about the physical part.
What do any of you think that I could be doing or doing more of to help get to be an SF?
I will have my bachelors before I go into the Army, and I won't join unless it's going in as an officer, I understand that all too clearly with the 18A prereq's.
Again, I see any question that can help me get my green beret is not a stupid question, and if you see anything I said as stupid, please ignore the post and move on, I'm looking for advice not insults.
Insults being all I EVER get on here.
Thanks,
Nick West

Last edited by snip3r; 12-27-2004 at 15:34. Reason: Forgot to add that I WILL be going in as an officer.
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Old 12-27-2004, 15:33   #12
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Something you could do and help is to post in the correct forum... Insults are all you get eh? Maybe if you didn't post stupid questions you wouldn't be getting insults. Refer to what Team Sergeant said

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Sergeant
This is what is refered to as a stupid question. Yeah kid, don't let anyone tell you there's no such thing as a stupid question.

This post is strike two, next stupid post and I'll personally IP Ban you. This is not a forum for children.

No one here is discussing sniping with a kid, or with anyone for that matter.

Have a nice day kid.

The Team Sergeant
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Old 12-27-2004, 15:36   #13
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Re:

I'm asking what I can do for the 18A MOS.
What other forum should I be posting in?!?!

Ok,
one,
I am no child, nor do I act, speak, or look like one.
two,
How is wanting to be an SF stupid? if you say my question is stuipd then you are saying that being an SF is stupid. Is that what you're trying to say?
three,
When recruiters do not respond to letters, goarmy.com is sketchy on what to do before joining, and I don't know any SF's in which I can ask these questions, WHO CAN I GO TO?!?! Tell me! Cause I really wanna know. Everyone who joined the military in any branch has been at my level and was in the need to know about what they were about to join, and the commitment they were making.
four,
I take great offense in being called a child, as I am only 2-4 years younger than most SF's in the field.
five,
when I am in the position that everyone currently in the armed forces has been in at one time, I think they should be understanding and have a little respect.
six,
nowhere in my comment did I mention sniping. I sure didn't see it. And even if I did, snipers are an integral role in the Army, wars are not fought with CQB alone.

If my questions are so stupid, tell me how they are stupid. I have heard no reasoning behind this. All I hear is that I'm stupid, my questions are stupid, I'm a child and no one wants to talk to me.
The Army isn't some secret society in which it's a closely guarded secret in joining. Why can't you people stop avoiding the question and answer me?
I'm growing sick and tired of this. I asked a fair, and relevant question about the 18A MOS. We're on the same side people! Why can't you just answer a few simple questions?
There's nothing hard nor childish about it, I'm sure you all were asking the same questions when it came to signing on.

THANKS,
Nick

Last edited by snip3r; 12-27-2004 at 16:06. Reason: Rebuddle to gits
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Old 12-27-2004, 15:53   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snip3r
I'm asking what I can do for the 18A MOS.
What other forum should I be posting in?!?!
OK, Mr. friend of Nick West !! You would best be advised to not post, but just read. If you wish to communicate with anyone, PM myself.

Thanks
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Old 12-27-2004, 16:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snip3r
Ok, I'll admit, I'm a noob when it comes to knowledge involving the military, but I know for a fact I'm joining and for a fact that I wanna be an SF.
What do any of you think that I could be doing or doing more of to help get to be an SF?
I will have my bachelors before I go into the Army, and I won't join unless it's going in as an officerNick West
The ball is really in your court. You have a pretty straight trail to follow. The physical fitness training will stand you in good stead and you need to shoot for exceeding all the physical fitness standards required for the 18-21 year age group. You will also need to be able to cover a great deal of distance with a 60 pound rucksack in a measured amount of time and this means that you need to get your body and feet accoustomed to doing that. You need to be able to swim. Get into college, get a commission, and get branched into the infantry. Complete airborne and ranger school and do well as an infantry officer seeking positions as a platoon leader and company commander at a minimum. After you are considered branch qualified apply for Special Forces Selection and Assessement. Now, having said all that go back and read through the begining of this thread and you will get a pretty good idea of the type of individual that we are looking for as an SF officer. I am curious, however, as to why you want to be an SF officer and not one of the NCO MOSs. If you are really into the nuts and bolts of being an SF soldier there are no better soldiers in anyone's military. There are very few SF officers that can really hold a candle to the skills and level of professionalism of the soldiers they are charged to lead. If I had a better understanding of what SF was all about and had the opportunity when I was a young troop I would have wanted to be either a SF medic or commo sergeant with the goal of becoming a team sergeant. You will find that as an SF officer you spend way to little time on a team and very few of us ever really get the opportunity to work at the team level for very long and that's what it is all about.

Jack Moroney
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