Posted on Dec 26, 2018
SSG Bradley Section Leader
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I recently earned a Bachelors degree and since it has become public knowledge I've had alot of Officers ask me if I have considered commissioning. Previously I hadn't given it much thought but now that it is a possibility and am at least going to entertain the idea.

I'm interested in personal experiences from men and women who were enlisted and decided to go officer. Information on OCS as well as Direct Commission. Any advice, guidance or personal stories would be appreciated.

Bonus info would be how going from enlisted to officer could help or hinder any goals I may have to join Special Forces if I choose to go that way as well.

Thanks ahead of time!
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Responses: 69
COL Mikel Burroughs
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SSG (Join to see) Great question and congratulations on getting your Bachelors Degree. I was actually attending college when I went through OCS as an SSG/E-6 and I had 9 years enlisted service under my belt. The OCS experience was tremendous in my opinion, but since you've got your Bachelors Degree you can always apply for direct commission to the Officer Corp. It just depends on your reason for wanting to go over the the "Dark Side" (Just kidding by the way). I wanted to, because I saw officers that weren't do the job and I wanted to get in there and make a difference and the other reason is because I had a mentor (an officer) that I respected and he really convince me that I should go for it and I did. After 37 years of total service (9 enlisted and 28 commissioned) I have no regrets and I can say that I did make a difference. Do you want to make a difference Cory?
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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
3 mo
SSG: COL Burroughs is "on-target," as usual. I was a former USMC Sergeant when I got involved in the CARNG and even though I had attended Marine OCS (PLC), I attended Army OCS at Fort Benning, GA to get my commission. I would highly recommend the commission. The direct commission would be great; however, if you want an excellent leadership and tactical training initiation into the officer corps, you may want to consider Army OCS, since you have a BA. I personally think a good NCO, once commissioned, makes a better officer. I think enlisted Soldiers respect a former enlisted man or woman a little more who transitions to the officer ranks. I got a commission before I got a BA and although I later got a BA and MJA, your education helps but it isn't everything. Being an officer means leading by example, being tactically and technically proficient, and it means a lifetime of long hours, hard work, sweat, and continuous engagement with Soldiers on and off-duty. I never regretted being an officer but you will have your ups and downs. The best jobs I ever had were platoon leader and company commander. Being an officer means striving to do your best at all times, getting the mission done, and taking care of your people. Army schooling is very good and you should get as much as you can - Never rest on your laurels. I wish you the best. Thank you for your distinguished service! COL L
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CSM Charles Hayden
CSM Charles Hayden
3 mo
MSgt Paul Connors Typical activities for ‘operators’ in general!
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MSgt J D McKee
MSgt J D McKee
1 mo
Col Mikel Burroughs--Thats impressive. Genuinely, thank you for your service, sir.
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LCDR Bruce Cooley
LCDR Bruce Cooley
1 mo
Mine was a direct commission as well.
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LCDR Vice President
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You get to salute everyone
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SPC Douglas Thompson
SPC Douglas Thompson
4 mo
**Coffee out my nose!**
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CDR Tom Davy
CDR Tom Davy
3 mo
On the day of my commissioning, I walked past the USMC 8th and I gate twice, the first time for a sharp salute and the second time because I enjoyed it so much.
The guard had a sense I was a new officer (Ensign with four rows of ribbons) and smiled during the second salute.
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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
3 mo
CDR: I must say of all the services the Marines are hard to beat when it comes to customs and courtesies. It is rare to see an 0-1 with four stacks and I'm sure he knew you were a "Mustang," whose ranks are respected by USMC warriors. Thanks for your service. COL L
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MSgt J D McKee
MSgt J D McKee
1 mo
As enlisted, I never minded saluting much. At times aggravating, but mostly genuine respect for someone who probably deserves it even if I didn't know if they did or not, if I'd never met them. For one thing, I feel most (90%) of officers actually do deserve the salute. A few times, I did look at it from their point of view---I had to salute maybe a dozen times a day, for an officer, it must have been in the hundreds.

But, what we do forms what we are to a great extent. Saluting is very important.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
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I don't know any direct commissions other than Doctors and Lawyers, so can't help you there. Pluses of commissioning. Better pay, more opportunity, more responsibility and a better chance of being involved where the rubber meets the road. Downsides. Officers are up or out, the work load can be pretty extreme at time, and you will never be that buddy close with a squad or platoon again. Doesn't sound like much, but it's a big change in cultures.
If you are really interested in SF, don't commission. The only Company Grade officer is Captain, so the opportunity at Detachment Level for Officers is pretty slim. Your profile says NC Guard and there is part of the 20th Group in North Carolina, so you could apply as without needing a release from the National Guard. As far as I am aware, all of the training, whether active or NG, is active duty, so you would need to be able to go active for the year + it takes to complete the cycle of schools.
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CPT Medical-Surgical Nurse
CPT (Join to see)
6 mo
The pluses have been discussed. The pay, and autonomy are great. But the “family” is better enlisted. It can be very cut throat as an officer. Only so many slots for the next promotion
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2LT Field Medical Assistant
2LT (Join to see)
4 mo
In addition to providers and lawyers, there are 70B direct commission officers (e.g., field medical assistant, ambulance platoon leader, Charlie Med CDR) in NG, Reserves, and AD. I know there's been a big call for direct commissions for the cyber branch as well.
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COL Jon Lopey
COL Jon Lopey
3 mo
I was a CA officer with the 20th Group and I had exposure with the 19th SFGA in various deployments. Both are top-flight outfits and active-schooling is normally required and many were former active-duty SF Warriors. In '95-'96 I was in Haiti with ODB 2060 and their officers and NCOs were great Soldiers and leaders. I wish you the very best - You are getting some great advice from many subject matter experts who know what they are talking about. Airborne! COL L
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CSM Charles Hayden
CSM Charles Hayden
3 mo
SFC Jack S Thank Heaven the mob is fickle and selective!
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