Posted on Oct 20, 2021
Cadet CPT (Pre-Commission)
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I’m a CDT and I will be commissioning this June. We just received our branch preference results back, and my top two choices (FA and AR) both put me as “most-preferred.” I’m completely torn between the two, and I only have a couple days to make a decision on my #1 choice. Does anyone have any insight on the branches (positives and negatives) that might help me decide? Thank you!
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Responses: 21
MSG Thomas Currie
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Edited 7 mo ago
It seems to me that at this point the choice needs to be all about your goals and your expectations for what you want to do and accomplish by serving in the Army. Are you envisioning an Army career or is the Army a brief detour on your way to other life goals? How do your see yourself interacting with peers, subordinates, and superiors? And what ideas do you have about what life as a 2LT will be (to be blunt many cadets considering IN, AR or FA, view themselves as some sort of action hero figure and are subsequently disappointed to learn that it is mostly tedious paperwork and administrivia.)

If your military service is primarily a detour between college and your real life, I would agree totally with SFC Michael Hasbun. If you are looking towards a military career, these branches offer both opportunities and challenges.

I will acknowledge that I have nearly zero knowledge about what life would be in FA. My career was as an Armor NCO. I can't comment on what a 2LT does in FA -- I don't think I ever saw one.

I did spend a few months as an tank Platoon Leader - not as a Platoon Sergeant inheriting a platoon briefly in the absence of an officer, but actually arriving in a unit to take over a platoon as Platoon Leader. I hated that job, but probably for reasons that wouldn't be relevant to you.

I shouldn't need to tell you that both AR and FA are branches that only recently opened to women and are still overwhelmingly male. I do mention it because the Army is very different from the college ROTC environment - even the summer ROTC training is carefully orchestrated. In either branch, you will be quite visible and noticed. And, yes, in both branches there will be people who doubt your ability just based on being female. We are still years away from the point where you would be Just-Another-Officer in either branch. If that kind of visibility and scrutiny bothers you, these branches may not be a good fit.

Both are also branches where physical strength is expected - and occasionally essential. Although officers don't routinely do much physical work in any branch, there are occasions when an Armor officer needs to actually perform as part of the tank crew - your life and the lives of three other tankers may well depend on it.
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Cadet CPT (Pre-Commission)
Cadet CPT (Join to see)
4 mo
MSG Currie, I know it has been a while since you responded, but I just regained access to my account and wanted to thank you for taking the time to provide your insight and advice. I appreciate your acknowledgment of some of the challenges I may face, especially as a female in combat arms. Recently I've been fortunate enough to gain a few female FA mentors who have given me a look into their experiences and it has helped me prepare for that aspect
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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Edited 7 mo ago
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1LT Rich Voss
1LT Rich Voss
7 mo
MAJ (Join to see) - Sir, please re-read my post. I couldn't say "thank you" for something that was no longer visible, at least to me. I certainly did appreciate your other post and I thank you for that.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
MAJ (Join to see)
7 mo
1LT Rich Voss - I was addressing the cadet. In my world when someone does something 2 help another, a simple thank u is warranted. Would u like me 2 post more considering you are polite and inquisitive. Which post did u get a chance to read?
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1LT Rich Voss
1LT Rich Voss
7 mo
MAJ (Join to see) - Ah. Understood. Now I'm really confused. The post you made 23 hours ago and edited 3 hours ago has now disappeared from my feed. That was an excellent summary of your feelings about armored warfare and your main battle tank. I'm going to contact the Admins to see why I keep losing your posts. I did take the opportunity to look at your profile here on RallyPoint and learned we had a similar path. I got drafted in '66 and spent the better part of a year as an EM (became RA to qualify for OCS), graduated OCS at Fort Knox August of 1967. My old tank unit from Germany has a Facebook page, so I've made many new friends, and most are much younger than me. My "ride" was the plain-jane M60 and I've learned much (from those guys) about all the newer models. Quite a few of the guys served during the Gulf wars and had high praise for the Abrams. I'm looking forward to our reunion next Spring. Perhaps will finally get to crawl around on one ! Pleasure to make your acquaintance , Sir.
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Cadet CPT (Pre-Commission)
Cadet CPT (Join to see)
4 mo
MAJ (Join to see) - Sir, I apologize for not being able to respond when you commented. I experienced some unforeseen technical difficulties with my account shortly after making the original post, so despite being able to see some of the responses I received, I was prevented from replying to anyone. I just regained access this morning, and wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond. I unfortunately never got the chance to see your post, but I still appreciate you taking the time to help me. I apologize for the technical difficulties and miscommunication.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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