Tuesday, December 27, 2005

18X: the MOS that scared me

Currently Reading
Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Author: Stephen Jay Gould

Well, the title begs a little explanation I think.

In the Army, there are many jobs or specialties that soldiers choose upon entry or at various times. They have to qualify mentally and physically for them of course, and several have intense training that must be passed as well.

They are divided into numerical groups and call MOS; short for Mission Operation Specialty. MOS series 11 is for infantry, for instance. Within each grouping, there is another identifier that describes more specifically what a soldier's "job" is. 11A is like a rifleman, 11B is fire support, 11C could be like grenadier or something like that; I'm not sure.

Well the Special Forces MOS number is 18. Normally, you have to try out for the special forces when you've been in the Army for a few years. I believe you've got to be an E4 or E5 ranking; most people go in as an E1 or E2 to give an idea. 18A being Weapons Sergeant, 18D medic, etc. Well recently, the Army has created a NEW specific MOS for people who want to jump directly into the Special Forces group tryouts: 18X. Basically you are given a combination of Basic and AIT school together for an extended time period. Like 15 weeks for one station instead of Basic that normally lasts 9 weeks. Its called OSUT and stands for One-Station Unit Training. Its designed for infantry guys actually. After that you go into a special course specifically designed for the 18X boys. Its to get you up to speed and ready to go for the Special Forces assessments. Its very new and called SOPC. Its prepatory course to get you ready.

Well it works very well; and I was misled into thinking the dropout rate was higher; when in actuality the PASSING rate when compared to regular soldiers is MUCH higher; like double. It is that fear that kept me from considering it to be a legitamate option. Because if you fail and dropout you are put into the infantry. Not a bad MOS and not to knock those in it; but not something I wanted to do; especially after scoring a 97 on the ASVAB.

Now, after reading some good material that I've gotten for Christmas; I'm seriously considering that option over going in as an Army Ranger. Rangers are the best infantrymen in the world, period. But Green Berets are the best at Unconventional Warfare; which covers many many topics. They are given much more abstract goals and missions and then expected to carry them out however they can.

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