Posted on May 24, 2018
SGT Luis Guzman
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Any critiques for my essay as to "why I want to be an officer" would be greatly appreciated. I am currently working on my packet for OCS. I am prior enlisted Army SGT (13B), with a degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


I have always had a desire to serve and be a part of something bigger than myself. This was true when I first enlisted in the Army, with my current civilian job working for the Department of Energy on a Special Response Team, and my desire to become an officer now. An officer in the Army must not only be able to command and lead those below him/her, but develop policies and procedures that would make it easier for others to command those below them.
As an enlisted soldier I made the rank of SGT in under 2 and a half years. I have no doubt that I would have had a successful career as an enlisted soldier, if I continued down that path. The biggest thing that was holding me back is that I knew that I could do so much more for the Army as an officer versus enlisted. I will always cherish my time as an NCO though, and would not change that experience for anything. After graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the path to an officer commission started to form.
I know as an Army officer I will be an exemplary model for the NCOs, junior enlisted, and peer officers that I work with. I will show them that they can always strive to do more and be better than they were yesterday. There is no such thing as perfection, but with the right motivation I will show my fellow soldiers that they can achieve even more than they imagined. There will be different opportunities and challenges along the way, but I have never shied away from difficult situations. With the example I set as an officer, and the leadership that I bring to the unit, I will ensure mission readiness and troop welfare are at the forefront. In doing so, I will also help the overall mission of the Army.
With my prior enlisted experience, degree in emergency management, and over 11 years with a special response team, I know I will excel as an Army officer. No matter what branch that I may end up in I will bring with me, a strong work ethic, a strive to make those around me and myself better, honor and integrity. In the end, I am not looking to become an officer for what it can do for me, but what I can do for the Army. When the unit and people under my command succeed at their mission and raise the bar for the next soldiers that come along, that will be my reward.
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Responses: 44
CPT Gurinder (Gene) Rana
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1. You earn rank, but you don't make rank.

2. Any numbers under 10 are spelled out, like two vs. 2 and a half years....

3. Change versus to than a non-commissioned officer.

4. It should be "...my journey to becoming a commissioned officers began to take shape."

5. "I will become the success to emulate as a commissioned officers; I will challenge my subordinates and peers to aim higher, achieve more and strive for the best in all". Make it sound like you are ahead charting your course as a commissioned officer, even ahead of your selection.

These are my initial thoughts and screening of your draft letter. Hope it is helpful.
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SGT Luis Guzman
SGT Luis Guzman
>1 y
Thank you for the help.
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CPT Gurinder (Gene) Rana
CPT Gurinder (Gene) Rana
>1 y
I read an OER in which the SR wrote, "Solid performance by a junior officer. His zeal for success and his commitment to duty is at par with colonels and GOs. Must promote now and groom for Brigade Command with intent to position him ahead of peers". I always wondered what does this OER write-up mean for that 1LT whose file it would garnish. Will the 1LT become a COL ahead of peers or can such a vague and overrated OER become his Achilles Heel in the Army? COL Mikel J. Burroughs,Col (Join to see),Lt Col Charlie Brown,Maj Marty Hogan,SFC Stephen Atchley
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SGT Edward Thomas
SGT Edward Thomas
>1 y
Things must have changed since my ETS. 2LT to 1LT is automatic. 1LT to CPT is automatic. First real promotion for an officer is CPT to MAJ. The normal for enlisted was up to PFC could be an entered directly. SPC required a bachelors degree to enter at that grade. PFC to SPC was automatic with TIG/TIS. First real promotion for enlisted is SPC/CPL to SGT but is it really earning just because you meet the cutoff scores? It could be considered earning. SGT to SSG is the same way. Once you send your records in to the SFC board to me is the first real promotion for enlisted.
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CW3 Kevin Storm
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I agree with CPT Gurinder, & Honestly, I felt like this was an exercise in writing 101, rather something of passion and from the heart.

You wrote: With my prior enlisted experience, degree in emergency management, and over 11 years with a special response team, I know I will excel as an Army officer.
Rather than something along the lines of " Regardless of the field, my combination of education and leadership skills obtained as a non-commissioned officer, will aid in me striving to become an Officer that both superiors and subordinates look to leadership and advice." It is boiled down, direct, and covers what you want to convey.
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SGT Luis Guzman
SGT Luis Guzman
>1 y
Thank you for the input.
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CW3 Kevin Storm
CW3 Kevin Storm
>1 y
No problem, concentrate on reducing the extra "fat" in your wording, keep in mind the person on the other end is having to read this. If you are applying for a Gov position, pay attention to the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities section (also known as KSA's) answer the questions they ask, and use some of the terminology they use in the question in your response. Why, because many hiring authorities have a first tier system of having it scanned by a computer, what will the computer look for...the KSA related responses. More people lose out on Gov positions, because they didn't put enough emphasis on the KSA's.
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MAJ Operations Officer
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The first sentence is perfect. The rest, follow the advice of CPT Rana below.

A bit of advice: Many prior enlisted (myself included) really have no idea what they are getting into as a commissioned officer. USMA grads probably have the best idea of what it will be like because of the experience of West Point but that environment doesn't exist anywhere else in the Army so their perspective is a bit off for their first couple of years. However, there's a reason officers make more money and in a word it is: Sacrifice. You will have to be the grown-up. You're the one who plans everything, fixes the plans, plan some more, then fix everything that goes wrong when the plans fail. All those porta-johns, water points, food supplies, training areas, transportation, Class III & V, doesn't get there by itself. Officers make sure those things happen. You won't always have someone making sure you're doing the right thing because that'll be YOUR job. You will have to self-motivating and driven to make sure all your bases are covered, and you will usually miss one or two. You will spend countless hours doing mind-numbing staff work, planning, writing orders, emails, meetings, and then trying to run your organization if you're in command. You'll miss holidays, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and other important family events, even more than you did as an enlisted man. Your career is basically starting over and unless you managed to get a badge or tab while enlisted, no one will care what you did then. You will have to aggressively manage your career yourself in what little spare time you have because no one will do it for you. You'll have to serve in specific positions and go to several schools along the way to earn the next rank. Most of all, you will put your Soldier's needs ahead of your own ALWAYS.

As for OCS: PT your butt off before you get there and don't quit. It isn't a training event, it's a hazing. The only real lesson I learned in OCS was how much quit was in me. Turns out, not very much. Good luck, Troop.

-MAJ Jones
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SGT Luis Guzman
SGT Luis Guzman
>1 y
Great advice, thank you.
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SPC Detention Supervisor
SPC (Join to see)
3 y
MAJ (Join to see) This is some excellent real world advice. This posting actually stirred something up inside of me. The price paid for success is sacrifice! Your word resonated with me and I'll keep them in my as I prepare and go through my own OCS journey. Thank Maj for taking the time to type such a spirited response. You made an impact today.
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