Originally Posted by trip286
Beastie, realistically, your chances at special forces are not that great.
Here's an approximation of how the process works, and it will vary with each branch. This is very, VERY, condensed and simplified.
You join. Boot camp. Specialty training. Maybe advanced specialty training if your job calls for it. Oh, I didn't mention, you don't sign up for special forces. Like with any other highly specialized profession, first you learn, then you do your time in the trenches, then you have to apply. You don't go from community college to the operating room.
Speaking of which, college will help. Yes, the Navy SEALs, green berets, delta... They look at that.
Be in tip top shape. Anything less than perfect is not good enough. Many times, even perfect isn't good enough.
Then, tryouts. You'll go through a selection process that can take months. Then, if your selected, you may have to wait for a new training cycle to start.
In the meantime, you'll be kept busy. Very busy.
Not many people who try, are ever selected. Not all who are selected even get to start training, depending on circumstances. Very few who start training, finish.
The funny thing is, especially in the case of SEALs, once you finish training, you get even MORE training before ever gong to the teams.
For SEALs, start to finish, can sometimes take upwards of four years after selection, until you get to the teams. That's after you usually do at least 8 years, or are in your second four year term, before they'll even consider you.
You don't even know if you'll even like the military for sure. But, your gonna have a minimum of 4 years to find out.
I applaud your decision to join. I know your mind is made up in that regard. I did it at 17.
Best thing to do? Keep on the straight and narrow. Keep your chin up. Never forget your ultimate goal. Constantly work towards that goal. Maybe one day you'll get there.
There is a lot of good advice in this thread - bobsi, tacklebeerry, ...
But understand that your chances of getting into elite forces is very slim - not to discourage you - but to get you to think realistically. You must plan for yourself, first - your future. The service elite schools are populated by people that have gone through a ton of work and agony to get there - the competition is fierce. They have also had to go through the informal selection processes - who likes you. That stuff is very real and very inflexible. You make one upper person mad - for whatever reason - and your career can be immediately changed forever. That is one very bad thing about the military - your future is not much in your hands - but is "in the stars" it seems at times.
The military will take care of you - no matter what - but progression is not guaranteed.
I have a friend. He finished West Point (very difficult to get in!) College degree now, of course (West Point - very very well respected). He liked the spy and special forces stuff. He pursued that. Went to intelligence (spy) schools. Was difficult to get into - but he was then an officer (West Point graduate, remember) and he was favored - because he was in the Army - and out of West Point - It's hard to get more favored than that in the Army. Finished a bunch of intelligence schools.
Decided he wanted to get into special forces - Rangers. With his background - he made it to Ranger school. (after all, Lieutenant, West Point, intelligence,... how could you get more qualified). Made it through Ranger school - worked his butt off all these years in West Point and all the special schools - lots of mud. He's a Ranger now. Sent to Afghanistan last year. Now he sits - and sits - says it's the most boring place he's ever been - so very backward - poor - Oh - and boring. Don't know what is next for him but I'm wondering - he's too high powered - wants more out of life than what he is seeing in the Army.
You've got to watch out for your own life - plan ...
Side point - college makes a huge difference in your positions in the services. To be an officer - takes a college degree. To be an officer - you have much much greater potential jobs and responsibilities. If you want to go to college and go in the service - the services will help pay for it - you join ROTC in college - Google it.
The Air Force - very very few people fly the airplanes - you have to be an officer (college degree first) then pass huge physicals - then huge training - and don't was out along the way - many do. Then what ... You must plan for YOUR future.
Most people in the Air Force are supporting the flying in some way or another. I knew one guy that became a machine gunner on a special operations plane a couple of years ago - he did it because he wanted to... But it took a lot of competition and work. As everything does - if you're looking for the good stuff.
the services are a very fine thing. But be realistic about how it works - what your chances are - have back-up plans - for YOUR future. And remember - you will get out - and where will you be career-wise when you get out. Will you be wishing you were like some friends who pursued other paths.
My own son is this one friends cousin (the one I described). He did not go into the service. He finished business school - I started him in investing years ago (11 years old). He and I rehabbed an old house beside his college - which he lived in and now rents out. He is now (at 26 years old) with a major investment firm - promoted to a 6 figure salary already.
He has a friend (same age, as is the Ranger - they are all friends - they grew up together) who graduated Mechanical Engineering school (4 year degree) worked at Honda for a short while, worked for Apple for about a year, then went to Harvard business school for MBA - but has quit that to start his own business. Has found investors giving him a financial start - travels to China much - settling up manufacturing - He is doing all this strictly on his own so far. So The Ranger guy looks at this China guy and looks at my son and says - Hmmmm.... he's thinking. my son is looking at China guy and thinking ...
---- Oh! None of these guys comes from family money background - it's just been ideas, positive thinking, and work with them.
You've got to plan your future. Where do you want to end up??
This is your life - and YOU can do ANYTHING you want to do. You can head any direction. But try to figure out where you want to be after the years go by - because they will go by - and you will end up - a result of your planing.
And don't get shot. That wrecks your future.