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Featured Officer or Marine? Experienced answers would be greatly appreciated

Discussion in 'RM Officer questions' started by Warehouse125, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Warehouse125

    Warehouse125 New Member

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    Important bits in bold if you cba reading:

    I've had my sights set on applying to be an RM Officer since I was about 14. Currently I'm training with RMR (for fitness + soldiering experience) but in 2 years time, after I graduate from university, I plan to go regular as an officer. However, these last few days I've been hearing things about officers and my experience with the corps so far has raised a few questions in my mind. I've read a number of posts on here explaining (vaguely) what RM officers do. I understand that troop admin and responsibility for training and morale is central for junior officers. However, I'm wondering...is that it?

    When first applying, the WO who interviewed me said "other ranks have more fun" and that as a YO I could look forward to 4 years of being the office b*text deleted**h, doing the paperwork that no adjutant or major wanted to do, and then by the time I'm promoted, I'd no longer be a field officer and I'd be stuck behind a desk for the rest of my career. The more time I'd spend as an officer, the further and further I'd get from the field, doing hands on soldiering. I brushed it off at the time *text deleted* I thought he was joking. Correct me if I have this wrong, but there's no way in hell I'd go through RT + 32 more weeks of training only to become a glorified office clerk, no matter how fancy and important my work was.

    Secondly, I was looking at all the specialisations available in RM and most of the ones I'd love to do (armourer, PTI, sniper) only seem to be available to other rank marines. I want to dedicate my 20s and 30s to the military while my body can still operate efficiently, so I'd want to spend as much time in the field/doing active stuff as possible. If I have the rest of my life to do a desk job, why spend my years in the marines doing the same?

    Finally, so far, I'm much closer to the other ranks at RMR than the OC. I understand recruits rarely spend time with officers, but our Cpl is a hoofing bloke, invites us on runs ashore, absolute phys ninja and someone I look up to. The Lt. on the other hand seems quiet and (when I even see him) says precious few words to us and leaves. Maybe this is because I'm in RMR and not the regulars, but when I pass out, officer or not, I'd want to have a close bond with the rest of the troop. If I can't do that as an officer then maybe it's not for me.

    So, (and I might be wrong here so correct me if I am) if officers are relatively removed from the troop, can't train in most of the decent specialisations and spend most of their career pushing pencils then what on earth is the point? I know that being a rupert is a bit of an army rep but thought it'd be different in the Marines.

    So all that being said, are there any pros to joining as an officer besides having gucci blues, telling people what to do and being called 'boss' by trained ranks? Because based on what I've seen/heard from AFCO warrant officer, my det Cpl and other trained ranks, being an officer seems honkin.

    However I have *text deleted* all experience so I'd appreciate it if someone with experience of the corps could tell me if I'm spouting s*text deleted*t or if officer life really is as bleak as I've been led to believe...
     
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    Sounds to me like you've already made your mind up for now and perhaps when you gather a wider understanding of what holding a commission involves, it may in future appeal.

    A Potential Officer's Visit (POV) booked via your AFCO is heartily recommended.

    Hopefully it's appreciated why Officers aren't snipers, armourers or PT Instructor Officers, DLs or VMs and the "big picture" element of command and control becomes more apparent.

    All you need do is ask yourself why you wanted to be an Officer originally and determine whether what you imagined the job involved turns out to be the same.

    Don't think for one moment that having a degree means the individual is automatically destined to be an officer. All it means is they are eligible to apply for Officer...together with about 40% of those other ranks also educationally qualified to apply for a commission.
     
  3. Corvo50

    Corvo50 Royal Marines Commando

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    I always look at the Officer life as a bit of a lonely one really, very much a paperwork orentated doing SJARS, MPARs etc. Runs ashore you have to be prim and proper in front of the lads.

    Pros of being a officer:

    I would say when you come to leave having the management skills and command level they achieve can be very desireable to a employer.

    You get paid more than a Marine.

    In training you have more freedom than a recruit, more big boy rules from the off.

    Your a leader not a follow from the start.

    Not going to say the Pros of being a “Other Rank” because you probably know them all already mate.

    The Corp have so many lads with degrees now that aren’t officers. You still have plenty of time in life to use your degree in another capacity, don’t be a hurry it isn’t going anywhere.
     
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  4. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    It's certainly a question that pops-up quite frequently and for many who have no prior military insight, it's not easy to understand why we have a two-tier management system of Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers. They may outwardly appear to do the same job. Truth is, I struggle to comprehend myself sometimes.

    Ultimately there's effectively a higher, accelerated entry-level for those that have the potential from the outset or indeed at later stages of their career.

    To start at the very beginning, it's probably best to look at the word 'Officer' and what it means. To 'hold office' is to take charge and indeed you need to think whereabouts a person that holds office is likely to be employed as they increasingly raise through the ranks. The clue is the title.

    An administrator needs to know the job, but once they've learned it inside out and gained respect for that achievement, they are going to be more far, far effective in their role by taking control rather than be at the sharp end doing the job they are supposed to be directing and supporting to maximum effect.

    Teamwork is very different as an Officer, you cannot always be "one of the lads". You will have to make and implement decisions that change policy and some of those decisions will be unpopular.

    Think about the females in GCC policy for a moment- how would you manage that? Would you fall on your sword knowing it's going to happen whether you like it or not? Would you resign in protest? Or would you do your level-best to manage considerately whilst knowing there's near-mutiny occurring because of it?

    Difficult decisions need someone with balls of steel and that doesn't necessarily mean being decorated for acts of gallantry on the battlefield or indeed being popular. Many people only see what's in front of them and how it affects them.

    In the panoramic view using the wide-angle lens of an Officer it certainly isn't about taking single aimed shots whilst peering down a telescopic rifle sight. It's more about delivering the holistic support after deploying the snipers, placing the snipers, training the snipers, ensuring the snipers are fed, watered, re-ammunitioned, promoted, their welfare taken care-of, their kit the best it can be, the snipers successfully supported, protected, extracted ....
     
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  5. Warehouse125

    Warehouse125 New Member

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    @Ninja_Stoker thank you for the detailed reply

    I fully understand that. Part of what attracted me to the role WAS management actually. I won't pretend it compares to managing soldiers but in many situations in life, I've taken on a pastoral role. When living with others, I naturally made sure everyone knew their role in house cleanliness, made sure everyone paid their rent, gathered money from everyone to pay bills, organised maintenance work, etc (yeah I sound like a joy to live with I know). A lot of times it was unpopular: "it's your turn to clean the kitchen or the wifi doesn't get paid, now hop to". But I worried about the running of the house because, to be honest, I didn't really trust anyone else to do it properly. But I still had a life outside of it...I had a job, lectures to go to, I went out with my flatmates for a drink and didn't have to stand around like I had a stick up my backside. In short, I could manage affairs while still feeling fulfilled.

    That side of my personality is why I felt like I'd be well suited to the officer role. I understand there's more to being an officer than ordering people around but you get the gist. The idea of being in command, the prestige of being an officer and the excellent qualities that employers would value post-service...that's what made me want to be an officer.

    However, I was sold on the idea when I was told "whatever their role, officers are marines first". I was under the impression that management or not, an officer can still be a frontline soldier like the rest of his troop. Still undertakes the same specialisations, does the same job on deployment, etc. Is this wrong then? Officers can't do the majority of what other ranks do because they're too busy being managers? Like I said before, there's no way I'd join the military (of all places) to become a soldier and have an action filled career, only to become a nanny to 30 men. Making sure that grown men are fed, watered and emotionally content is not - to me anyway - my idea of a fulfilling military career. I love the idea of management but if it's at the expense of actually having a life within the corps, no thank you.

    Also, unpopular decisions? It'll happen at any stage whenever you are in command of someone. Whether lieutenant or corporal, there will always be some decision that your subordinates dislike. I was reading army leadership articles that gave the exact same advice to YOs as they did to JNCOs.
     
  6. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

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    An honestly expressed notion but is it compatible with a service career?
    One very soon learns as an OR that "it's not all about you." Even more so for Officers.

    Some general observations:

    There is a high probability that anyone aged 21 and entering military service will experience a radical change—an evolution—in his or her interests and aspirations. This will occur as one learns what jobs are available and also as one comes to terms with one's natural talent (or lack of).

    It's worth keeping an open mind about 'office jobs' within the service. It's nice to think that we will all be charging up a hill with a massive bergen even in our thirties but after several years of doing so we might be quite happy to let someone younger and fitter do that job.

    Don't overlook the possibility that a more settled nine-to-three o'clock job might be more compatible with one's family life if that happens.
     
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  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    The role of RM Officer does indeed mean being a Commando and thinking like a Commando, but after attaining a certain rank, they no longer wear a Globe & Laurel beret badge. There's a reason.

    Being an Officer means there's a lot more outward looking rather than inward looking (altruism) involved than many perhaps realise.

    Most find at times, as an RM Officer, there will be people junior in rank but educated well above them and with far, far more first hand experience of frontline combat than they will ever experience after the first and maybe last posting as a Troop Commander.

    The talent pool of those serving beneath commissioned rank is vast. Those joining to only enhance their management experience, skills and CV, generally serve the minimum term and move on.

    Being an officer is not for everyone.

    I'd beware assuming that stuff magically happens without logistical planning and forethought.

    A few years back there was a guy sponsored through college and uni for five years prior to joining. He joined as an RMYO and left after 4 weeks. Reason? Thought someone else looked after the mundane admin aspects. Gen.
     
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  8. Zandvoort10

    Zandvoort10 New Member

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    No Globe and Laurel badge?!

    1) What do they wear then?
    2) What is the reason for not wearing it any more?
    3) At what rank is that?
     
  9. dodgyknees

    dodgyknees Active Member

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    All officers in the RM and Army stop wearing their regtl capbadge at full Col rank. This signifies joining the 'general staff' and is representative of the fact that at that rank your duties are more generalist and cover issues associated with more than one capbadge. You do not, however, stop being a RM Commando.

    At this point you wear the general staff capbadge (but still wear your CGB and RM Commando flashes - as OAMAAM). By this time you will have commanded a Unit (if selected) and be at least early-40s...trust me at that age the last thing you want to do is leap around the place like a startled gazelle carrying a mahoosive bergen (hence my log-in).

    Your capbadge changes again at general rank.
     
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  10. Warehouse125

    Warehouse125 New Member

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    @Ninja_Stoker @Chelonian you're right I am approaching this selfishly. I guess I should be thinking about what I can do for the RM, not the other way around. However I am also conscious of my ambitions. I watched my father waste 30 years of his life in the NHS (which he detested) and I want to make sure that if I apply for a commission, it's something I won't be entirely miserable in.

    Secondly, yes that something I've considered - ageing. At 21 I'm quite immature and, you're right, I'm imagining mowing down enemies of the crown spitting flames from my eyeballs, but perhaps I'm naive to think I can keep it up over 20 years. The chief instructor on my PRMC was a 38 year old Sgt and he admitted that he's nowhere near fit enough anymore to run a 9:30 BFT so that is something I'm bearing in mind in this dilemma.

    All in all it seems I have a lot more research to do. This was part 1 - asking you guys. I'll also have a sit down at my AFCO and (if he has time) ask the OC and ORs at my det if they have some time to share their career experiences. I will be more diplomatic in my wording mind you... Hopefully, 2 years while serving is enough for me to figure out which route to go when I transfer to regulars.

    Also, bump to what zand said: what's the deal with the cap badge? Thanks again all who contributed!
     
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  11. dodgyknees

    dodgyknees Active Member

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    upload_2018-9-3_15-14-14.jpeg this is the one for Cols and Brigadiers...
    upload_2018-9-3_15-14-47.jpeg and this one is for generals.
     
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  12. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    RM Warrant Officer 1's also wear a RM Officer cap/beret badge, but saluting is not recommended.
     
  13. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    Just to add to this thread, for those aspiring to become a Royal Marines Officer, with possible aspirations to be leading from the front, on the battlefield for their career...it's worth being aware that after 14 months training, you'll maybe a Troop Commander for just 12 months. Possibly, if lucky (about a one in three chance), you could get a follow-up, 2 year post as a Troop Commander in a Fire Support Group, but for most, that's your lot with regard regular tours out on the ground right up at the sharp end.
     
  14. dodgyknees

    dodgyknees Active Member

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    I know that there are always far more applications for RM Officer than places but there seems to be a fairly jaundiced view of joining as an Officer coming out of the AFCO offices.

    If this was an accurate reflection of the initial conversation with an AFCO, I would seriously consider removing him from post.

    Your post above also gives the impression that after a year you will removed from your Unit and stuck behind a desk. Surely most YOs continue to serve in a Cdo Unit until they complete a senior capts appointment (Adjt / Ops Offr) before going off for their first staff job which could include posts within 3 Cdo Bde (hardly rear echelon). After that they will return as Sqn Commanders (leading over a hundred marines as a relatively junior Major) and ultimately serve as a Unit Commander (should they prove worthy).

    I would absolutely agree that if all you want to do is vittle up some bad guys then joining as a marine is the way ahead, but this gets very boring very quickly (as retention stats may back up).

    Just trying to give some balance to the debate.
     
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  15. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    Totally agree it may give that impression however, I'm reliably advised that some young RMYO aspirants have unrealistic expectations on what the job actually entails beyond the initial post as a Troop Commander.

    It is absolutely correct that Officers will still continue serving in fighting units in various capacities in the main, but equally, not usually in the Troop Commander capacity beyond a year. Similarly, as with any job, it is important to have balanced views rather than suggesting everything is awesome or everything is dire.

    With regard the Warrant Officer's comments, I cannot vouch for the manner in which the information was articulated to the OP, but that's how it came across then it would outwardly appear to reflect negatively. It would be interesting to hear whether he was an RM or RN WO @Warehouse125 .

    In my personal experience there are always two sides to any perspective and it would not be particularly professional of me to go on record and commenting in a negative manner about a colleague without first knowing the fuller context.

    One thing we try to be is completely honest and unbiased, sometimes we fail in that capacity but there's a lot of information to impart. Enquirers get saturated with information. The average Royal Marine aspirant may well only hear the things they want to hear: "Commando Trained, yadda, yadda, 29 Palms, SBS, Sniper, yadda, yadda, Glock, Arctic or Jungle warfare, PTI, handgrenades, yadda, yadda..." what they may not hear are "Lots of ironing, little sleep, administrative tasks, divisional responsibilities, logistics" etc. I've lost count of the number of times a persons says "They never told me about this at the AFCO".

    It would therefore be misleading to suggest to a Young Officer aspirant that the administrative elements of the job, together with the responsibilities towards the people under their charge were not pertinent or significant - equally, totally agree that there needs to be a completely honest balance. Most first-time enquirers don't know the difference between Officer and Other Rank but are under the impression the Officer role simply sounds far more glamorous, they have a degree and therefore must logically apply for Officer.

    But yes, the OP was requesting positive aspects of being an Officer, rather than negatives. Fair call.
     
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  16. Warehouse125

    Warehouse125 New Member

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    I'm sure the WO said it as a tongue in cheek comment but I wouldn't want to get him in trouble so he'll remain anonymous. All I'll say is that he was RM not RN. I didn't actually take his comments seriously at the time. I was too obsessed with the idea of becoming an officer to care.

    To be honest, I'm more interested in hearing a realistic representation of an officer's life, not just the positives. If what @Ninja_Stoker said about officers is true - that they only spent a year as a front line soldier - then it is 1000% not for me. It's completely sealed it for me. Spend more time in training as an officer than as a front line soldier? Absolutely not my cup of tea.

    I understand that sprinting after Al Qaeda and chopping them up gets tiring but I don't intend to serve until I'm 55. By the time I'm sick of soldiering I'll likely want to retire anyway. I have a career lined up for after military service so if I'm *text deleted* have a desk job, I'd like to earn a hell of a lot more than the average officer. Therefore once I'm old and sick of running around, I'll probably leave.

    @Ninja_Stoker you're right, at first, Officer seemed more glamorous. Initially, my mother (incorrectly) made it sound like other ranks were dumb grunts and yes, officers seemed more Gucci. Their number 1 full dress looks outrageous, they sound smarter and saying "I'm a captain in RM" to a lass will guarantee panty droppage.

    But when you drop the superficial aspects (which is what I'm trying to do now) it seems that ORs really DO have more fun. At the end of the day, everyone in the military will have mind numbing admin and cleaning. I'd be disappointed if I didn't. But from what I'm gathering so far, ORs can apply for the best specialisations, they still have leadership aspects (Cpl, Sgt, etc) while still remaining tip-of-the-spear hoofing ninjas.

    But @Ninja_Stoker , @dodgyknees change my mind. Specifically, what do officers do on a day to day basis? Like I said I'll ask my OC to get an idea, but for now can you help? Like someone on here mentioned their OC spent a whole month checking that their troop had fully updated visas and passports for Ex Black Alligator. Stuff like that...what else do officers do? Do they do weapons training? Phys? Any actual soldiering? Like getting out in the field. Or is it all just admin, paperwork, planex, repeat?
     
  17. JWJ

    JWJ Member

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    It sounds to me that your idea of a Royal Marines Officer was that they're like whats found in the Commando comics - Majors doing behind the lines raids of daring and do, firing tommy guns from the hip at waves of unrelenting hun and escaping in the nick of time to head back to blighty and do it all again.

    The way I approach the idea of being an officer, is that you are in charge of, but also charged with, x amount of men under your command. In the field, this relates to being able to command them effectively and accomplish the mission, whilst keeping them alive and not getting them killed, but also managing the entire aspect of your unit - but with your head in the tactical and strategic. This means you'll be delegating your micromanagement; i.e thinking about the tactical situation whilst keeping your men on top of their individual skills and the basics from good harbour routine to effective patrolling, whilst taking care of yourself, and creating orders and communicating to command.

    This is surely a huge task, not only do you, as a 2Lt, have to conduct yourself to a extremely high level of soldiering, you have to make sure 30 odd men are, make tactical decisions, delegate, constantly be considering different factors and thoughts, thinking about logistics and the more mundane stuff etc.

    You may think "Why do you only get 12 months of being a frontline troop commander?", from my understanding is that now you've got this experience of the realities of being a troop commander, and the knowledge of how to do it, you're either given a new area to work in and gain experience, or placed higher in the chain to manage multiple troops and more new officers - giving them this knowledge and experience, whilst knowing all the side things that need to happen to sustain operations.

    Being moved around gives you more experience of the wider picture of what goes on in ops and sustaining them, for example if when you were a Lt, you spent time as a troop commander, a role in the logistics chain, a role in the amphibious operations etc, when you are promoted to Cpt and Major, you have a more rounded view and the experience to be able to make strategic decisions and best implement the assets you have, and understand problems or obstacles; which then goes on to path the way for your move into the general staff with this understanding which is augmented by the Corps giving you extra training.

    With regard the difference in specialisations - officers are there to become part of the chain of command, providing command and control - not providing niche skillsets that an OR Marine with a spec provides to a unit (i.e AE or Sniper).

    I could be completely off the mark with all my observations and understandings, please do correct me - I'm only about to start RT so I have no first hand experience of anything that I just splattered on about so feel free to call me out if its total rubbish!
     
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  18. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

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    It sounds like you have a fairly good insight and realistic expectation of what lies ahead.

    As stated, it's a thoroughly demanding job whereby the individual is expected to do everything those in their troop can do, but quicker, for longer and to a higher standard whilst leading by example and being an admin ninja. Not easy, but the respect and high regard in which Royal Marines officers are held are well deserved and anyone that achieves it has not only earned it, but well deserving of their high regard.
     
  19. dodgyknees

    dodgyknees Active Member

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    For a guy entering RT, you have a pretty solid understanding of what officers do, well done for your research, it can only stand you in good stead.

    I really suggest you go on a Look at Life course and make up your own mind. Do you really think it would take a month to check the visas of 30 blokes? This is usually a job that would fall to an NCO rather than Officer and should take no longer than a couple of hours at most! You are taking too much at face value without thinking through what people are saying and applying a bit of common sense to their ramblings.

    Day to day, officers do everything that the ORs do, be that weapons training, PT, exercises etc. the key difference is that officers have additional responsibilities for the management of their men and planning of Tp activities. The reason they complete the Cdo tests in a quicker time than the ORs is not to show how awesome they are, but so that once they have completed a particular activity with the lads, they have the time and capacity to think about and plan the next task.

    Ninja is correct, you need to get a balanced view. The only way you will get this is by visiting a unit and talking to officers about what they do.
     
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  20. JWJ

    JWJ Member

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    If you get the chance, attend a unit look at life. I attended one with 40 Cdo and essentially one troop was tasked with hosting us for the day - the troop boss took aside all those going for officer and gave them a hour to talk to him about the realities, officer selection and training and any questions they may have about it. Having the chance to talk to a young officer only a few months into his tenure as a troop commander can only be a invaluable experience - and being able to contrast this with the troop NCOs and ORs.