Guidance Please -

Topic about: Hello everyone, I am a 24 year old male US citizen and I have recently come into a dilemma and I would like to receive some advice. I graduated last december with a bache

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July 7th, 2010  
Pseudo Enemy

Guidance Please info

Hello everyone,

I am a 24 year old male US citizen and I have recently come into a dilemma and I would like to receive some advice.

I graduated last december with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from a decent private college. Anyways, before I went off to college I really wanted to do Pararescue but elected to further my education, mainly because I had zero family support. Two years ago I decided that the lifestyle of a 9-5 cubicle farm wasn't for me (my business classes proved that).

So I found that there was a career field called Combat Rescue Officer which is essentially the officer version of Pararescue, so I started training for it. To cut to the chase, I hooked up with an officer recruiter, began the paper work and have been training my butt off for the physical test they give at the unit (It's an Air Guard Unit). I am close to maxing out the physical (in some areas I do) in pull ups, push ups, sit ups, and flutter kicks. My running and swimming times are always in need of improvement. Where things are absolutely horrible is on my AFOQT (Air Force Officers Qualifying Test) scores.

I just got them back and they are far from competitive and aren't good enough to get me commissioned. Unfortunately when the captain was going over my scantron he found two un-answered questions in two different sections which made my heart sink because if I did that then I potentially got every question after those two wrong throwing my whole test out the window. You can only take this test twice in a lifetime and at the soonest within 6 months from the first time the test was taken. I am getting very anxious and depressed at the thought of sitting around this city for another six months, not to mention I moved back into my dad's home and am making hardly any money at work at the moment. So I'm looking at this lifestyle for another six months, then IF I do better on the next test it's going to be around a year or so after that until my selection from the Unit (if even at all).

So as of right now, I'm feeling hopeless and just might make the plunge into the Army, assuming they except me as well. I know that the process involved is much shorter with the Army officer selection. I want to be in the field, particularly as advanced infantry. I'm confident that I'm physically and mentally prepared for the hardships of something like Rangers, but it's the unknown of even getting a selection into that. I could really use some advice and direction. Just feeling a bit down on my luck and really wanting to get out of here. It doesn't help that my girlfriend left me, my dog died, and I got a horrible test score to the most important test of my life all within 4 days of each other. I'm usually much more optimistic but it's just getting tiring feeling like a military poser. I thought about enlisting but then it defeats the purpose of going to college for a degree. I don't have a power trip agenda, but if I have good leadership skills and the degree to get me into a higher position then why not go for officer?
What do you all think I should do? Any other angle of thought is appreciated.
Also, to those of you who read this and have or are currently serving, I have to utmost respect for all that you have/do, thank you!
July 7th, 2010  
I'm confused. You wanted to be a PJ, but went to college and now you want to be a CRO.

What exactly attracted you to the Pararescue careerfield that you would want to become a PJ or CRO? If it is the mission, the fact that you do not qualify as a CRO is inconsequential because as a CRO, you would perform the mission less than you would as a PJ.

The CRO works command and control: determination of mission acceptance and termination of operations, hand-off to other forces, airflow, fire support, logistics support, movement in and out of the terminal area, recording actions on scene, coordination with HHQ or other on scene commanders, reintegration of the IP, etc. A CRO assigned to Rescue or Special Tactics, will NOT replace the PJ team leaders or members on the ground, they will serve as the incident commander. That means working incident site management while the PJ TL and TM focuses on what the PJs need to get done, and that's the blood and guts of the Pararescue mission.

Do CRO lieutenants and captains deploy as team commanders on the ground in high threat environments by parachute, ropes, boats, etc? Yeah, they do.

How often they get to do this depends much on luck and space available on operations. PJs are NOT taken off of missions to add in a CRO. Some guys get missions back to back while others do their job in the TOC or back at the FOB as required.

Also understand that as a CRO, you may not even be assigned to a RQS / STS, you could be tasked to SERE as CROs manage that career field as well. SERE as no operational role.

You said you were working with an ANG unit. If so, you should be aware that there is a two phase selection process for CRO applicants. Each phase is highly competitive, meaning applicants are competing against their peers for a set number of slots.

Phase I is a board selection. CRO applicants must submit a packet to a board for review. Members of the Pararescue and SERE communities will review each packet and make recommendations on behalf of the two communities. Applicants are rated by their PAST scores, presentation of the application packet itself (ie, attention to detail,) leadership (resume, letters of recommendation, etc,) and academics (this is where your college GPA and AFQT score comes into play.) There are three categories of determination for this phase: Selected, alternate and non-select.

Phase II is a 6 day physical and psychological evaluation that is again, highly competitive. There is also no guarantee that one will be selected during this process, even if he does meet all of the qualifying standards.

Only after these two phases will the AF (active or reserve) send a CRO candidate to Pararescue Indoc, which is where the rubber meets the road.

Reading your post, I get the impression that you want to be an officer and if you can't become an officer in one service you'll turn to another to accomplish this goal. If this is true, then you should absolutely look towards the Army and attempt a commission there.

If Pararescue is what your heart is set on, enlist with a GTEP and try out. There is no reason for you to feel sorry for yourself regarding the AF commission since the heart and soul of the Pararescue mission resides in the hands of the PJs.
July 7th, 2010  
Pseudo Enemy
Thanks for the information PJ24.
The whole reason I am attracted to the PJ field is because of their complete selfless dedication to rescuing others. It has to take that special kind of person to go through hell just to save a stranger. It reminds me of an old school mentality. I read a book called "None Braver," and it's about the actions taken in Afghanistan and it depicts the personality of the PJ's and I felt like I could really relate to their mentality.

So anyways, I have a lot to think about. I'm at a pivotal point in my life and if I make the wrong choice I could be living with a lifetime of regret or at least "what if?" I'll get in touch with an enlisted recruiter at the unit and talk it out with him. Thanks again PJ24.

If anyone else has an opinion please feel free to chime in, I'm all ears.
July 7th, 2010  
Well, again, it sounds like to me you want to be an officer more than anything else and there's nothing wrong with that. However, inthat case, I don't recommend Pararescue at all. It is a difficult process to get accepted into the training pipeline and if you don't have the mental drive to push through, knowing there's nothing else you'd rather be doing, quite simply, you'll fail. Given what you've said regarding your AFQT, you will unlikely be competitive for CRO as well.

What "unit" are you working with?
July 7th, 2010  
Pseudo Enemy
The officer recruiter who was going to help me with finding a CRO availability was through both reserve and guard in Florida at the Officer Accessions in
Pensacola, FL.

The original recruiter I started speaking with was the enlisted recruiter over at Patrick's AFB with the 920 RQW/RS. Super nice guy but when I told him I was interested in CRO he said he couldn't help me any further and put me in touch with the recruiter I previously mentioned.

As far as me having to become an officer, that's not necessarily the case. If I did go enlisted I could eventually put my officer's packet together and probably have a better chance of being sent to OTS through the squadron, since they would know me prior. But, like i said, I'm not dead set on having to be an officer. I've just wanted to be a part of the PJ field ever since I heard about them when I was little from my uncle who was a c-130 loadmaster and would drop them out of the back during missions.

My brother is a firefighter and one of the guys at his station was a PJ and he is has been the guy who has helped me with my "underwaters" and other stuff. He said basically what you said, he said if even your 99 percent sure you want to be a PJ that's still not enough to get you through indoc. I feel like once I pick my path that it's go time and I'll be cemented in my dedication (which is how I've always been with things). I think I just need to go for it and not look back.
July 7th, 2010  
Did you speak to the PJ recruiter? He's a MSgt. If not, PM me and I will give you a POC.

While you are thinking about your next move, ensure you are continuing to train. Do not prepare yourself based on the PAST, the PAST will be the easiest thing you do so you need to prepare far beyond what its requirements are. It's there to provide us with a basic measure of your physical fitness (very basic.) If you are training with a prior PJ, then he should be able to get you to the level you need to be.

I can tell you that I have never once regretted becoming a PJ, even when it sucked it's always been great. It's not always easy, but it's well worth it if it's what you truly want to do.
July 7th, 2010  
Pseudo Enemy
Yea he is a MSgt, I appreciate the information and advice. I'll keep you posted on my final decision and what happens. Thanks again!
July 7th, 2010  
No problem. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
July 7th, 2010  
Originally Posted by Pseudo Enemy

If anyone else has an opinion please feel free to chime in, I'm all ears.

Nope. This is PJ's rice bowl and he is the most qualified here to answer your questions. Anyone else who chimes in with guesstimates does so at their own peril.

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