Author Topic: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates  (Read 147038 times)

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Offline Technoviking

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Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« on: February 15, 2011, 16:23:50 »
Hello All
If you read my profile, you will note that I am an Infantry Officer, and that I am currently at the Infantry School.  I am putting creating this topic as a helpful note for you people who wish to be Infantry Officers.

Bottom Line Up Front: The infantry is one of the toughest trades you could join.  To be an infantry officer is probably one of the toughest things you could train to do.  I say this from experience, having been an Infantryman before I became an Infantry Officer.  Because of this, if you are not in top physical shape, if you are not adverse to being out of communication with your family for extended periods of time, including no Facebook, no Army.ca, no iThings, then joining as an Infantry Officer is not for you.  Don't waste my time and apply to be an Infantry Officer.

I cannot say this enough: if you are not in top physical shape, do not join as an Infantry Officer in spite of what a recruiter may tell you.  We will NOT get you into shape: you must arrive ready to conduct the training, no matter if you are a regular officer candidate or a reserve officer candidate.  To illustrate, I will outline the training system here at the Infantry School.

First, you will have to complete a course called BMOQ-L.  This is a ten-week army-level course, and one of the prerequisites is to be fit in accordance with CF standards.  This means you will have to complete what is called the Expres Test on day one.  (Please note that "Expres" is spelled correctly).  If you fail this, you will go to what is called a PRB, where the commandant of the school will determine your future.  Most likely, he will offer you coaching on the technique of the test, as well as to illuminate to you his philosophy on physical fitness training.  At this point, I would like to emphasise one example of a candidate who failed the Expres Test on day one.  He was coached, and then passed his retest two days later, gaining an exemption level (read: excellent) level.  He failed because of his technique, not because he wasn't fit.  So, during this ten-week course, which has a mix of garrison and field training, you will be challenged, but nothing like that expected of an infantry officer.  As well, you will be required to complete what we call the BFT or LFCPFS.

Once this course is done, you will have to complete the next course, which is called IODP 1.1. This is a dismounted infantry platoon commander's course.  It is 14 weeks long, and one prerequisite is to be fit in accordance with army standards.  This means that you will have to complete the LFCPFS during the first two weeks of the course (normally on day two or three).  If you fail this test, you will proceed to a PRB and most likely offered a retest.  But I must warn you: this test is an ARMY level physical fitness test, which applies to all army trades.  Naturally, as an infantry officer, we will expect you to excel at this test.

The course itself is in what I would term as three parts.  The first is a weapons stage, in which you learn the employment of the platoon weapons.  The next is what I would call the field phase, in which you learn offensive and defensive operations, patrolling and then full spectrum operations.  Finally, there is what I would call the Field Firing phase, in which you learn the ins and outs of setting up and running field ranges.

The field phase is intense.  If you think that you cannot bear to carry upwards of 60 pounds in all weather, day and night, for hours at a time, and then complete complex mental tasks with little sleep or food, then again, do not waste my time: don't join.  You will be in survival mode in the field phase, and incapable of demonstrating the ability to lead others in battle. 

The attrition rate for this course, for all reasons, is roughly 50%.  Not all fail, but some hurt themselves (which is unavoidable in some cases) but most failures I have seen are due to mental fatigue. 

If you are a reservist, completing IODP 1.1 will mean that you are done, and you can then go on to your reserve Regiment as a fully qualified infantry officer.  If you are a regular force candidate, then you have one more course to complete: IODP 1.2. 

This course is actually three courses: Turret Operator, LAV APC Crew Commander, and then IODP 1.2 Mechanised Infantry Platoon Commander.  This course is to the mental what the IODP 1.1 is to the physical.  No longer will you have to worry about your platoon moving at the pace of a walking man, but now you will be going in excess of 50 KMH, cross country, and have to consider assets external to the platoon (tanks, artillery, engineers, etc).  Fitness is vital in this course as well, but considering that IODP 1.1 weeds out the weak, those who make it this far have the requisite level of fitness.  Still, the past two courses have seen abnormally high failure rates.  Some just can't make the mental leap to having to consider several square kilometres at once, as they move about the battlespace.  You need to be an agile thinker to be successful.


So, in conclusion, if you have issues at home (spouse, significant other, family or otherwise), don't waste my time.  If you are not in top physical shape, don't waste my time.  If you cannot stand to be incommunicado for extended periods of time, don't waste my time.  If you have no issues, are in top shape, and can think on your feet and are agressive, a go-getter and are willing to accept and share risk of injury or death, then don't hesitate: join the infantry.  I cannot stress enough that this isn't a job: it's a vocation, a calling.  If you aren't willing to sacrifice personal comfort for this vocation, then again, I cannot say it enough: don't waste my time.  Our Infantrymen deserve only the best, and if you can't be the best for them, then this vocation isn't for you.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 20:55:53 by kratz »
So, there I was....

Offline Container

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 16:49:56 »
What an awesome post. Thanks- man that challenge would be awesome.
Posted again...thats six in six.

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 16:56:36 »
To flesh out the post a bit more, I'll repeat some stats.* These were provided by the Commandant of the Infantry School and posted here last fall.

At the time, the "if you're not up to speed, don't waste Technoviking's time" was merely implied.   ;D



* It's a public service; I've heard that some people's time is apparently way too precious to actually do their own online searching. I can't imagine such a thing, but then, I don't spend much time in the Recruiting threads.  ;)
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented, and absolutely terrifying.
~Chris Evans

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 16:58:17 »
(Yes, this topic is, well, topical to me)
I will further emphasise the kinds of people our soldiers deserve.
I have instructed many infantry officer candidates, and I will tell you the story of two of them, but I will not use their names.

The first was a young fellow, a level-headed, intelligent kind of person.  He was unassuming in that he wasn't over the top.  He was what I would call a quiet professional on course.  He did his assessed tasks well, and then graduated.  He went on and completed his jump course, and then deployed to Afghanistan in 2007.  He was well-respected, and had an amazing career ahead of him.  Then he was killed in action.  He was the kind of fellow who would run to the sounds of the fighting, level-headed, and full of confidence.  He didn't need to rant and rave to get people to react.  He was was in excellent physical shape, and as a result he was always at the front, telling his subordinates to "follow me".  He is the kind of fellow we want.


The second was another guy who not only had a good sense of humour, but was also smart, listened to advice and yet led from the front.  One day in Afghanistan, barely a year after graduating, there he was in Zharey district.  An IED had just killed two soldiers, and more importantly to this story, his company commander was incapacitated from wounds suffered.  This young fellow, surrounded by soldiers with many years experience and several tours each, all turned to him.  He calmly took over.  His reports to higher on the radio were informative, calm and relevant.  He assumed command of the company and completed clearing the objectives that were the company's responsibility: just because two soldiers were killed and many more wounded was no excuse to not complete the assigned task.  Then, due to a changing situation, he had to alter his extraction plan from on foot to a hasty extraction by helicopter, all the while facing threats from the enemy, sometimes manifested by people shooting at them.  So, this young, early-twenties man, fresh from officer training, had to fight a battle, take out enemy who were shooting at them, and manage the extraction by helicopter (which in itself, without the enemy mucking things up for you, a very complex task).  He did this all quietly, calmly, and more importantly successfully.

So, ask yourself: do you want to be him?  Can you hack it?  If your answer is yes: then the infantry may be for you.  If you hesitate in your answer, then don't bother; you'll only waste my time...and yours.

(Edited for formatting)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 17:03:41 by Technoviking »
So, there I was....

Offline NavyShooter

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 18:49:03 »
Damn.

I wish ALL officers went through this.

When you find yourself working for one of those that can calm the storm, you want them to stay, and you want to stay with them.  I've worked with/for both extremes, but I'm certain those I've worked with have never faced the extreme circumstances your colleagues have served through.

We serve in different worlds. 

For those choosing to lead, lead well. 

NS
Insert disclaimer statement here....

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 18:56:16 »
Sounds pretty intense - I don't think I'm interested....
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 19:04:08 »
Sounds pretty intense - I don't think I'm interested....
:rofl:

So, there I was....

Offline medicineman

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 19:34:52 »
So you're saying allowances wouldn't be made if I were a little older than most of the candidates, some of the staff and had some body bits a little on the wrong side of functional?

MM
MM

Remember the basics of Medicine - "Pink is GOOD, Blue is BAD, Air goes in AND out, Blood Goes Round and Round"

I may sound like a pessimist, but I am a realist.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 19:43:41 »
So you're saying allowances wouldn't be made if I were a little older than most of the candidates, some of the staff and had some body bits a little on the wrong side of functional?

MM
Some people don't get it that gender and age have no bearing on our assessment of people. 


(NOTE: This isn't directed at Medicineman: he knows what the deal is) ;D
So, there I was....

Offline medicineman

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 19:48:59 »
Just checking - I hear it on a daily basis almost about "age and gender should have some modicum of bearing on how I'm employed" stuff... ;D.

MM

MM

Remember the basics of Medicine - "Pink is GOOD, Blue is BAD, Air goes in AND out, Blood Goes Round and Round"

I may sound like a pessimist, but I am a realist.

Offline Redeye

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 20:01:16 »
Sounds pretty intense - I don't think I'm interested....

Me neither.  That sounds like it sucks!

This must have been what the "F*** it I quit" guys heard in the Commandant's address when I got my degree from the University Of Fire And Movement.

But to those reading and considering applying, this is the truth.  The process is hard.  It will probably be the hardest thing in your life, I think it probably was for me.  But nothing will replace the feeling of standing on grad parade at the end of 1.1 (which as a Reservist was the end of the line for me) knowing I'd done it.
Palma Non Sine Pulvere - Nothing Worth Having Comes Easily!

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 20:17:04 »
But nothing will replace the feeling of standing on grad parade at the end of 1.1 (which as a Reservist was the end of the line for me) knowing I'd done it.
For me it was the satisfaction on grad parade of turning to the BMOQ-L grads (then called "phase 2 grads"), and saying "Hey, fellas, well done!  Now look around.  This time next year, half of you won't be here where I am today".

The sense of accomplishment for IODP 1.1 was probably even better than 1.2 for me.  1.2 was almost anti-climatic. 
So, there I was....

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 20:24:09 »
I just recall that day we graduated and could turn in our pila and gladii one last time before heading off to our battalions.    :warstory:

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2011, 13:27:50 »
Damn.

I wish ALL officers went through this.

When you find yourself working for one of those that can calm the storm, you want them to stay, and you want to stay with them.  I've worked with/for both extremes, but I'm certain those I've worked with have never faced the extreme circumstances your colleagues have served through.

We serve in different worlds. 

For those choosing to lead, lead well. 

NS

I've always felt that being calm in the storm is an admirable trait and should be encouraged.  Unfortunately, many in the Navy don't seem to agree.  In many people's view if you're not running around screaming direction, you're not leading.  This has always driven me nuts.  I grew tired of being dumped on for NOT panicking.
Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 22:05:05 »
I've been sitting in my boss's chair for the past week or so.

The first couple of days, I felt like all I was doing was reacting.  Putting out fires whenever they came up, and putting band-aids on things.  Chicken with it's head cut-off.

Now I've caught up a bit, but the pace is still...well...almost frantic.  Part of it is having a department that's torn between training, maintenance, SWP activities, and repairs.  Part of it is being down 60% of the people due to burning off leave, training, etc.  Part of it is that the folks we do have seem very junior. 

This is the way experience is won...through doing. 

Two words that I try to remind myself of each day when things get "busy".....Relaxed Composure. 

I had a discussion with my Dad late last fall, and those two words struck me, and I'm trying to focus on them when times get...busy.  Jumping into action immediately is all too easy. 

Forcing myself to relax, gathering my thoughts on the task, and giving a well composed response is working better.

I've had discussions with friends of mine in the army, and their thoughts on the Navy's leadership are along the lines that "A decent Army Corporal has more leadership skills than most of the C&PO's mess, and all of the Wardroom combined." 

Some days, I tend to agree with them.  Most days, I try to prove them wrong.

NS

Insert disclaimer statement here....

:panzer:

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2011, 06:10:15 »
I've had discussions with friends of mine in the army, and their thoughts on the Navy's leadership are along the lines that "A decent Army Corporal has more leadership skills than most of the C&PO's mess, and all of the Wardroom combined." 

Some days, I tend to agree with them.  Most days, I try to prove them wrong.

NS

I think this may be a bit harsh. Having worked both operationally and base side with the Army and the Navy I would have to say it comes down to the person, training be damned. Not every Infantry Officer who makes it through the training TV talks about is going to turn out peaches.
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2011, 06:11:53 »
I think this may be a bit harsh. Having worked both operationally and base side with the Army and the Navy I would have to say it comes down to the person, training be damned. Not every Infantry Officer who makes it through the training TV talks about is going to turn out peaches.
I agree 100%.  From my very limited experience with working with Naval officiers (MARS officers), I have been quite impressed with them.  And you're right, just because you "survive" infantry officer training doesn't equal success in that trade.
So, there I was....

Offline ArmyRick

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2011, 07:16:10 »
I have to admit, I don't envy the infantry officers. I was doing my 3B (Inf) when their was a DP1.2 course going on. They were getting slammed with estimates on Sunday night prior to heading to the field. What a way to start a week.
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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2011, 10:01:20 »
Apologies, in looking at my response above, I think I derailed the original intent of the thread.

NS
Insert disclaimer statement here....

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Offline ballz

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2011, 10:26:34 »
The field phase is intense.  If you think that you cannot bear to carry upwards of 60 pounds in all weather, day and night, for hours at a time, and then complete complex mental tasks with little sleep or food, then again, do not waste my time: don't join.

On that note, I will pass along here a tidbit of info from the OIC of DP1.1 that he told my platoon in sort of a Q&A period that was set up by our course officer. We were lucky enough to have that Q&A so for anybody, like myself, soaking all this info up in prep for DP1.1 this summer, he said you should, at a minimum, be able to ruck 75 lbs, 15km, in 2h15m, before showing up on course. Just thought I'd pass that along for anybody wanting to set quantifiable goals.

Beyond that TV, just wondering if your post was prompted by the PRBs you are now swamped with because of the defensive ex that the Ph III course just finished, or is that just a coincidence :P
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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2011, 11:02:00 »
Beyond that TV, just wondering if your post was prompted by the PRBs you are now swamped with because of the defensive ex that the Ph III course just finished, or is that just a coincidence :P
Nope, in fact, those guys from 1.1 all still had the hunger, drive and desire, but just need a "do over" with a bit more mentoring.  It was BMOQ-L's string of VW's on week one of the course.  It was refreshing to see/hear that string from 1.1 all lay bare their desire that for them, it's "Infantry or Bust" as far as they were concerned.  They have the desire, it's just that they need a bit more time is all.
So, there I was....

Offline BC Old Guy

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2011, 12:20:26 »
in prep for DP1.1 this summer, he said you should, at a minimum, be able to ruck 75 lbs, 15km, in 2h15m, before showing up on course.

Why is this load, distance and time  a minimum standard?  This is faster, with a heavier load than the BFT - which has been validated and is the army standard.  This is a 9 min km - compared to the almost 11 min km required in the BFT, without consideration of other factors.

I've talked with vets who have completed training and ops with similar loads, and they regret the damage this caused to their bodies - often evident only years later.  The article on the "Weight of War" (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,99486.0.html) should be considered.

Yes - in operations, the heavy load, and the faster speed may be needed - but should we accept that as the default for all training, all work-ups exercises and all operations?  Or should we be striving to develop equipment which is lighter, and Tactics, Technique's and Practices that, as the default, don't cause excessive injury to the soldiers we lead?

Yes - the Infantry Officer course is tough - it always has been (with variances over the years).  I've been using similar warnings to the officer applicants at my current unit - and I wouldn't want the course to be watered down.  However, I do question some of the arbitrary standards that are applied.

Offline GAP

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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2011, 12:26:27 »
I wouldn't want to be wearing all the gear you guys now wear, humping in the heat .......

I thought our ruck was heavy, but now with all the ballistic stuff on top of that, it's gotta be murder....my  :2c:
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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2011, 12:30:09 »
Why is this load, distance and time  a minimum standard?  This is faster, with a heavier load than the BFT - which has been validated and is the army standard.  This is a 9 min km - compared to the almost 11 min km required in the BFT, without consideration of other factors.

To be clear, this load, distance and time, is not a minimum standard... The minimum standard is the BFT, which as TV said you have to do right at the start of course to continue.

This load, distance, and time was given to me, because I asked for a quantifiable goal to pursue that would replicate what I would be going through on field exercises.

I've talked with vets who have completed training and ops with similar loads, and they regret the damage this caused to their bodies - often evident only years later.  The article on the "Weight of War" (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,99486.0.html) should be considered.

Yes - in operations, the heavy load, and the faster speed may be needed - but should we accept that as the default for all training, all work-ups exercises and all operations?  Or should we be striving to develop equipment which is lighter, and Tactics, Technique's and Practices that, as the default, don't cause excessive injury to the soldiers we lead?

Yes - the Infantry Officer course is tough - it always has been (with variances over the years).  I've been using similar warnings to the officer applicants at my current unit - and I wouldn't want the course to be watered down.  However, I do question some of the arbitrary standards that are applied.

While I've got an opinion, mine stinks... But TV is certainly the right person to answer your questions and I am sure he will be doing so shortly ;D

But I do like the idea of striving for lighter equipment :D
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Re: Friendly Advice for potential Infantry Officer candidates
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2011, 12:40:35 »
Why is this load, distance and time  a minimum standard?

If you read carefuly, it is not a "standard", it is a recomendation on what level you should be at to make your life a bit more bearable.


Quote
  This is faster, with a heavier load than the BFT - which has been validated and is the army standard. 

The BFT is the army's minimum standard. Combat rarely happens at minimum standards.