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  #1  
Old 13 January 2009, 12:19
psyop-pop psyop-pop is offline
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Questions for new 37F

My son enlisted as a 37F last December and I have a few questions that I have not been able to find answers for either on this message board, linked sites or from his recruiter.

I had enough friends at 5th Group while I was in the 101st to know that I don't know anything. I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

1. He scored a 112 on his DLAB so he should be in Category IV. How does the language selection work? Does he have his pick of any language, do they give him a choice from X number of languages to choose from or do they pick one for him?

2. What language would you recommend he learn based upon current and
perceived future world conditions? He currently wants to learn Arabic but others have suggested Farsi or Chinese.

3. What does the job market look like after he exits the service? I've talked with a number of recruiters around MacDill and they tell me that the PSYOP community is rather small and tight knit.

4. As of right now, he states that his ultimate goal is SF. Does PSYOP give him any type of advantage if he wants to transition to SF? If so, is there anything he should focus on?

Thanks for the help and for all you guys do for our country.
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Old 13 January 2009, 23:14
Ferdie Ferdie is offline
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Pop,
He will get a language "wish list", but he will get whatever the units need at the time he goes to school. This is not based on how well he does on the DLAB or ASVAB. He still has to make it through Basic, AIT, and Jump School before he gets to language. There are many obstacles until then.

If he enlisted he can access Rosetta Stone on AKO. This is a mediocre tool, as it only teaches you how to do Rosetta Stone, not carry on a conversation. It is a good start though. There is no way to know what language he will get until he gets into language school, so, I would not venture to say what he should study prior to the course. The best would be making sure he has a good understanding of english grammar so that he will know how to transpose, etc.

PSYOP after the service is slim pickings unless he has a TS clearance. Then he could get "better" a job in a somewhat relative field, depending on him. The skills do not translate directly. . . some marketing, etc. Unless he wants to work for an Other Government Agency. . . .

Depending on him and how high speed he is, yes, it could have some advantages for transitioning to SF. He should focus on outstanding PT (crossfit.com) and being an outstanding soldier with developed skills for human interaction and making the best out of a bad situation.

However, why has he not posted these questions? I hope he has done the proper background information checks on the job into which he has enlisted. Although there are "hazy" elements surrounding this job, there is enough information out there for him to have sufficient knowledge of what he will be doing. There are too many people who come in to this MOS not knowing what they are in for, meaning you will be getting many sad phone calls. . .. He has a lot of hard work in front of him. Regardless, I hope he does make it through. Check out armybasic.org. There is a pretty good explanation of the PSYOP training as of five years ago. I am sure some things have changed, but much is still the same.
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  #3  
Old 13 January 2009, 23:56
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TPD1280 TPD1280 is offline
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Questions 1 and 2 I will leave for 37F5V, or one of the PSYOP NCO's who has recently been through the system. They will likely have the best poop.

The answer to question 3 will be determined by how long he stays in, what he does while he's in, and what he wants to do after he gets out. If he's thinking of going into Marketing, PSYOP will give him some good practical experience, but he's still going to need a degree. There are Government jobs on the civilian side that would value PSYOP experience, but they are usually lookng for Senior O's and NCO's who have experience in PSYOP doctrine and actual planning and writing of campaigns and programs.

The job market will change in the next 4-6 years. The one thing that will not is the desire of employers to hire people who understand discipline, attention to detail, and committment to getting the job done right. A 22 year old with 4 years in the Army is not the same as a 22 year old with 4 years partying with his frat brothers, and is light years better than the 22 year old who has spent 4 years hanging out on the same corner still trying to impress high school kids. Employers know this.

As for question 4: If your sons goal is SF, but he wants some time to learn how to be a Soldier first, I would recommend a hitch in the Infantry. It has also been suggested in the past that if he really wants to make himself valuable to SF, he should get an MOS that is not represented in the 18 series. Something like Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. Then in addition to the 18 MOS, he brings another skill (value added) to the table with him.

PSYOP may give a better understanding of concepts like SOF imperatives, and philosophies of unconventional warfare, but beyond that it will not particularly better prepare him for entry into Special Forces than any other MOS. PSYOP is not "entry level SOF" or a springboard MOS. It is a detailed, nuanced job that takes a very long time to master. There is much, much more to the job than dropping leaflets out of an aircraft. Until you understand what all went into crafting the message you just disseminated, and exactly why that message is being delivered by that means, with those specific words or images to that target audience, all you are is a litterbug.
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Old 14 January 2009, 02:34
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37F5V 37F5V is offline
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Pop,

Ferdie is spot on in regard to the language school question. Needs of the Group will trump test scores and his personal wishes.

I recommend contacting MY4THPOC regarding post service/retirement job opportunities.

Concerning the SF transition. I would not recommend that he show up proclaiming to his chain of command that he desires to "jump ship" and go SF. I say "jump ship" because that is how he will be perceived by some in the Group regardless of how he broaches the topic. Others will applaud his desire to excel and support his decision, it just depends who he is working for. I advise that he takes things one step at a time and strive to do his very best at every challenge. In the mean time he should keep his eyes and ears open and his mouth closed. Get all of the schools he can get that are available to him (Ranger, SERE, JM) and do his best to get to a tactical company so that he can get hands on experience working with ODAs. He will form his own opinion.

TPD made a very good point. From the outside looking in PSYOP doesn't look all that difficult and may seem deceptively one dimensional. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes many years to acquire an acceptable level of proficiency, and many more to truly get a handle on all it is you are supposed to provide. You never stop learning.
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Old 14 January 2009, 05:32
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Balls Balls is offline
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In regards to your son's physical preparation for SF:

http://www.bragg.army.mil/specialforces/prepare.htm

This program is designed this way for a reason.
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Old 15 January 2009, 09:43
MY4THPOC MY4THPOC is offline
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"If he's thinking of going into Marketing, PSYOP will give him some good practical experience, but he's still going to need a degree."

Oh if that were true. It is if he accepts entry level wages. Trust me from Conagra to Anheuser Busch (sp? The Bud Guys) loved my background, loved my cheesy MBA, loved my knowledge of other cultures etc.

But each company I applied at, interviewed with etc said the same thing, "You have never done this for profit."
Bottom line PSYOPers are not about ROI. Each company told me that entry level wages in the 30s to 40s would be what they could offer. If I showed the ability to make them some cash then wages would increase.

Can't feed the kids chicken on those wages and the boys are not into ramen and hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Now if one stays in does his time there are companies that will hire 4 year wonders for around 50k a year to do PSYOP stuff with a Masters. Not many but they are out there. Do your full time 20+, TS SCI, have the ability to spell PSYOP then there are contract, civil servant PSYOP jobs out there. Not many and former enlisted have to fight hard against the vast officer retiree rolls for the same jobs. No offense to the PSYOP Officers but if someone is hiring a person to do PSYOP they need to look for a former enlisted guy. My 2 cents.

If they are looking for a planner, face, politician then an officer is fine.

Problem I have seen the past few years is that that is not the case and they hire Retired Officers to do PSYOP and most do not even know the process very well, skip TAAP, and so on and so forth and oh my gettting off my soap box now.
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Yes that was a drive by Rant
SF? Why? PSYOP goes more places, does more cool stuff, gets promoted faster and basically have a hoot of a time.

R
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  #7  
Old 15 January 2009, 09:53
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Tracy Tracy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MY4THPOC View Post
...SF? Why? PSYOP goes more places, does more cool stuff, gets promoted faster and basically have a hoot of a time.

R
Oh, yeah... "Arrogant in Victory, Sullen in Defeat"

What I find hilarious is other organizations that can't field PSYOP units decide to create "Human Terrain Teams" and "Tactical Information Operations Teams".
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Old 15 January 2009, 23:33
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TPD1280 TPD1280 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MY4THPOC View Post
"If he's thinking of going into Marketing, PSYOP will give him some good practical experience, but he's still going to need a degree."

Oh if that were true. It is if he accepts entry level wages. Trust me from Conagra to Anheuser Busch (sp? The Bud Guys) loved my background, loved my cheesy MBA, loved my knowledge of other cultures etc.

R
Never said it would be marketable experience. I have run into that same wall myself. But I have still applied the TAA/PAWS principles in work that I have done since. No matter what we have done in the military, unless it comes with a credential recognized by the outside world, you aint done shit. The civilian world has no concept of, nor recognition for, what we do in the military.

But that's a whole other thread.
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Old 16 January 2009, 22:28
ilots ilots is offline
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Originally Posted by TPD1280 View Post
Never said it would be marketable experience. I have run into that same wall myself. But I have still applied the TAA/PAWS principles in work that I have done since. No matter what we have done in the military, unless it comes with a credential recognized by the outside world, you aint done shit. The civilian world has no concept of, nor recognition for, what we do in the military.

But that's a whole other thread.
I would offer that unless you were PDD, or the like, your value to the average marketing firm is largely going to be viewed as nil. From the TAC perspective you have a much more direct correlation to the intel world, albeit from a behavioral & cultural perspective. That said, I know several NCO's & O's that made an excellent transition to the PR, as well as the political/lobbyist world - with great results.
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Old 18 January 2009, 13:36
Evil Snowman Evil Snowman is offline
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I made my transition from active duty to the civilian world in the late '90s. I had my BA, and decided to go into federal law enforcement ... coming up with marketing campaigns for a new line of diapers wasn’t something that interested me.

I applied with and received consideration from several government agencies, all based on my language and international experience. My BA got me in the door, but it was my vet status, language and int'l experience as a PSYOPer that eventually sealed the deal.

I was a Thai speaker, so I spent most of my time in Asia covering deployments in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, with a few detours into the Horn of Africa and the "sandbox," the "not so fun" side of 8th BN
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Old 18 January 2009, 13:53
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Olive Drab Olive Drab is offline
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Originally Posted by Evil Snowman View Post
The civilian world has no concept of, nor recognition for, what we do in the military.
They have no concept of officer vs enlisted either but do have preconceived notions on why one is more valuable than the other. I can't stereotype the State Dept specialist interviews though. They were smart enough to understand USACAPOC service and knew the difference between what an O vs E does. Then again the relationship is better with that agency than with a lot of others and the corp world.
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Old 18 January 2009, 13:59
Evil Snowman Evil Snowman is offline
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"The civilian world has no concept of, nor recognition for, what we do in the military."

That statement is true, but flawed in perspective. The civilian world isn't required to recognize what service members do in the military, it's up to the service member that wants to break into the civilian workforce to sell their experience ... to make sure "the civs" do know and care, and even more, why those skills and experience make you the best candidate.

I use my PSYOP experience in my career every day, whether it's "perception management" for my supervisors, or "information Ops" on my subordinates

Now, it the Army spent the same amount of money as they did on the "Army of One" marketing campaign on post-military career recruitment ... we'd all be hip-deep in "headhunting" calls and signing bonuses!
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Old 18 January 2009, 14:15
Evil Snowman Evil Snowman is offline
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Originally Posted by Olive Drab View Post
They have no concept of officer vs enlisted either but do have preconceived notions on why one is more valuable than the other.
I was applying for a Regional Security and Safety Officer position with the Peace Corps (believe it or not), and they specifically interviewed me due to my NCO/enlisted status. I questioned the interview panel on this and they explained that they wanted candidates with actual field experience and first line supervisory experience, not academic, senior leadership or staff experience ... I was pretty surprised at that answer.
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