Posted on Feb 4, 2016
SPC Welder/Fabricator
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I'm asking because I want to make sure I have as much knowledge as possible and to be a great NCO before commissioning, that way I can see both sides of the spectrum. What enlisted rank did you all get to before commissioning ?
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Responses: 36
CPT Mark Gonzalez
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Honest to god truth is become an officer as soon as possible if that is your true goal. I was a PFC upon acceptance to OCS, but a SGT by the time I got a class date. With six years between promotions you'll have plenty of time to mature as an officer. Every individual is different and it is impossible to prove that a prior service e-6 is any better than an e-5. However, with that said statistically so many leave at or around 20 years it doesn't matter what you say now, but you career is limited in duration. Don't spin your wheels!
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SPC Welder/Fabricator
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I didn't know the wait was that long I should probably go ahead and get this in motion. Thank you sir !
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CPT Mark Gonzalez
CPT Mark Gonzalez
4 y
The wait may have changed. Try to find a 2LT that has gone within the last year. You don't have to be a SPC for very long though to have enough to TIG to go to the board so push hard to become an NCO and maybe you can get some team leader experience in. Good luck.
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LT Louis McKellar
LT Louis McKellar
4 y
I attended OCS after reaching TSgt and 9 years. Being prior enlisted helped me, but really only counts for TIS.
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SPC Officer Candidate
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4 y
I spent five years as an E4 in the Navy (the Navy doesn't have an equivalent to specialist in rank, only pay grade) and if I could go back and do it all over again I would put in my officer packet the day after I finished my bachelor's instead of waiting till after my deployment in hopes of making E5, that's two and a half years of potential career advancement I will never get back, assuming I make it through OCS of course.
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LTC Psychological Operations Officer
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Edited 4 y ago
You should become an officer as soon as possible and begin your development as an officer rather than continue to develop as a SGT. Think of it this way. The way you develop as an officer leader, in addition to your own job as a platoon leader, is by observing, learning and being developed and mentored by the CPTs and other senior officers you will work for. Also, who do you think will actually have more access to the 1SG to get his advice and guidance as to what makes a good officer--an LT in the company or a SGT? As an LT you will be involved in everything at the officer level, whether it's planning, training development, disciplinary matters, etc. and you will also be guided and developed by senior NCOs.

So you will learn a great deal more that will contribute to your goal of having longevity as an officer by being an LT rather than a SGT. Because to have longevity as an officer you have to make CPT, MAJ and LTC. And the truth is you need to learn how to do that from successful CPT, MAJ and LTCs. You won't learn it from SGTs and SSGs. It's not a matter of intelligence or competency, but rather it's a matter of experience at certain levels of responsibility and perspective. A year as an LT will benefit you much more than an additional year as an NCO.
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SPC Welder/Fabricator
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4 y
Thank you for advice sir. Much appreciate!
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CDR Terry Boles
CDR Terry Boles
4 y
SPC Conrad Blohm
I agree with the comment by LTC Michael Mathews. If the opportunity exists for a commission you need to take it rather than wait to become a NCO. On the flip side, I spent 17-years enlisted prior to my commission and as a senior PO I did bring a lot to the table, but what you need to learn as an officer is very different and the promotion competition is very different. Prior experience helped, no doubt, but as a JO you have mentors for a different career path.

Good luck!!
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SFC Government Civilian
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I posted a response before reading this response by LTC Michael Mathews. My statement pretty much echoes this statement. Of course my response was more in the vernacular NCO speak, lol.
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CAPT Kevin B.
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I'm a Mustang who had E-5 and O-1 promotion paperwork in my hands with the choice to sign one of them. I wanted the O Side as I completed my engineering degree. I've known a number of Stangs as well. It's a 2-edged sword. For as much as you learn drinking from the NCO fire hose, you'll have to unlearn about half of it. Lot of it has to do with different duties and different ways to get things done and more importantly getting others to get it done to meet the mission. If I read between the lines, you're trying to figure out the sweet spot in shifting over. My experience tells me you're pushing diminishing returns at E-5 and above. You likely are max on the O-1E opportunity at E-4. The real thing is the designator you're chasing, what the short program is for getting into it and then doing the long program of climbing the O ranks. Also consider staying around to E-6/7 can limit you to only LDO commissions when the time in service hits certain marks and you're capped at O-4/5. This is all Navy stuff but I presume there are potential similar hitches in the giddyup in the Army.

Bottom line, do you choose the Blue Pill or the Red Pill?
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