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WOCS Senior TAC Essay


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To be clear, too, I understand your point about WOCS and how it appears fairly ridiculous at times. I mainly had a contention with the idea that the 7 week course should maintain it's "basic-training-style atmosphere" while the 5 week should be more of a gentleman's course. The 7 week course could certainly maintain it's length due to the extra classes us non-priors require to get us up to speed in Army leadership lingo, but let's be honest, really. WOCS was not that bad. BCT is clearly not equivalent to years of NCO experience, but coming straight from BCT made WOCS feel like a joke in terms of punishment, lack of freedoms, etc. It was much more lax, which makes sense--the focus is on producing Warrant Officers, not Privates. In my experience, non-priors struggled or didn't struggle with time management, lack of caffeine rights, etc equally to the priors. So, if it should be a gentleman's course, make it so for both. Or don't. My opinion, of course, from the other side of the fence. Obviously I've no ball in the court since that's history now. I suppose we can agree to disagree.

 

What airframe did you end up in, by the way?

I'll be honest, I believe much of the resentment towards WOCS by prior NCO's, myself included, stems from a bit of an "entitlement" attitude that we gained by having leadership roles in the military. As an NCO you tend to get exempt from much of the "Army" stuff like mass punishments and private treatment and whatnot. It's almost like a slap in the face. You mean to tell me I am a prior E-6 and you are making me dress up in goofy bright colored PT outfits and sing songs and earn my right to drink coffee? Are you serious? I have to arrange my silverware a certain way and stand at parade rest in the chow line? Are you kidding? I used to be an NCO Im not a private...

 

That was the attitude held by almost everyone in my 5 week class, myself included. We even had our class leader at the time get into a pissing contest with a TAC officer during PT one morning. "How about you have your guys show up to formation on time class leader". "How about you give people enough time to get out of bed and into formation? Who the hell only has 5 mins to get in formation? I was a QRF Platoon Sgt in Iraq 4 times and even when it actually mattered we had 15 mins to get ready".

 

It was a lot of tension, although I did honestly feel the same way I was able to sit back and be quiet and just suck it up. I never got written up in WOCS for anything. Many of the others just couldn't handle what they felt was just ridiculous and disrespectful to them as prior NCOs. For me I just knew it would end one day and I would never have to deal with it again so I kept my mouth shut and played the game.

 

I do completely understand what you are saying about the prior service members having the most trouble. But from my own experience with my class I honestly believe much of it is due to them just not caring enough to try that hard. For example my class lost every single WOCS olympics to the 7 week class. We never even won a single event for the entire time we were there, not because the 7 week class was necessarily better than us but because nobody in my class would even volunteer to do any of the events. When they were volun"told" they would walk up and do one pull up and walk away or something. Or jog at a nice leisurely pace during the sprints because "Im not hurting myself for this..."

 

I guess at the end of the day what Im trying to say is the reason some are saying the 7 week course should keep the BCT atmosphere and the 5 week course should be relaxed is because those in the 5 week course are prior NCOs and have earned the right not get treated like that anymore. The 7 week course are street to seat people who haven't been in the Army yet and haven't earned that right yet. Sort of like how in the real Army you usually don't see an E-7 yelling at an E-6 but an E-7, E-6, E-5 etc will yell at a Private. NCO's have earned the right to get "talked to" when they make mistakes, Privates get yelled at and dropped.

 

I am by no means saying that is an appropriate way of thinking about this matter nor am I trying to put anyone down, but that is how many people feel.

 

Im a 64 pilot btw.

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Look, I'm not saying street to seat shouldn't exist. It absolutely should. I've known some awesome pilots who took that route. And as diligent as you are Lindsey, I'm sure you'll be an awesome Army Aviator.

 

What I'm saying is that a lot of WOCS is demeaning to candidates who have been in for years and have led troops in combat. By the way, NCO's ARE NOT mindless drones who recite creeds and supervise details. NCO's win wars. They are central to the ground maneuver. Don't demean them like that.

 

My original words were :

 

"That said, I feel that it should be mandatory in it's current state for all street to seaters/prior E4 and below;) Haha".

 

I was basically joking. I truly don't care if WOCS turns into a 100% gentleman's course for all candidates. I have as much respect for street to seaters as I do prior service guys, it really doesn't make that much of a difference, at least not to the point where I would give any street to seaters any sort of rude, discriminatory treatment.

 

Sorry if I came off as overly abrasive, but I took the Lindsey's words

"It's funny; in our WOCS class the few people who struggled were prior service and they were discipline issues. Interesting."

as a bit insulting.

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I have as much respect for street to seaters as I do prior service guys, it really doesn't make that much of a difference, at least not to the point where I would give any street to seaters any sort of rude, discriminatory treatment.

 

Not my fault you spend all of GWOT pursuing your own personal goals and not learning about the military. Make no mistake, your 9 weeks of basic in no way equate to years of combat and garrison experience as a Noncommissioned Officer.

 

This meshes well.

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I'll be honest, I believe much of the resentment towards WOCS by prior NCO's, myself included, stems from a bit of an "entitlement" attitude that we gained by having leadership roles in the military. As an NCO you tend to get exempt from much of the "Army" stuff like mass punishments and private treatment and whatnot. It's almost like a slap in the face. You mean to tell me I am a prior E-6 and you are making me dress up in goofy bright colored PT outfits and sing songs and earn my right to drink coffee? Are you serious? I have to arrange my silverware a certain way and stand at parade rest in the chow line? Are you kidding? I used to be an NCO Im not a private...

 

-edited down for brevity-

 

I guess at the end of the day what Im trying to say is the reason some are saying the 7 week course should keep the BCT atmosphere and the 5 week course should be relaxed is because those in the 5 week course are prior NCOs and have earned the right not get treated like that anymore. The 7 week course are street to seat people who haven't been in the Army yet and haven't earned that right yet. Sort of like how in the real Army you usually don't see an E-7 yelling at an E-6 but an E-7, E-6, E-5 etc will yell at a Private. NCO's have earned the right to get "talked to" when they make mistakes, Privates get yelled at and dropped.

 

I do understand your viewpoint, and why prior NCOs tend to struggle more with the atmosphere. Like you said, it makes sense. You are used to a higher quality of treatment that yes, you've earned. That doesn't mean it needs to be needlessly worse for someone else. It rubbed me the wrong way initially because it sounded like you guys were saying it should suck for non-priors "just because" while you were making all sorts of valid arguments for exactly why it shouldn't be that way, for anyone.

 

Your prior military experience helps you as a Warrant, just as other street-to-seaters bring other, different types of experience to the table. Many are financial experts, rated civilian aviators, meteorologists, police officers, etc. WOCS, in my mind, is meant to assimilate our experience and guide us as leaders and technical experts. Thus, at HHC, we drop our rank from our ACUs and throw on the same "W.O.C." rank. We are all working toward the same dot.

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I do understand your viewpoint, and why prior NCOs tend to struggle more with the atmosphere. Like you said, it makes sense. You are used to a higher quality of treatment that yes, you've earned. That doesn't mean it needs to be needlessly worse for someone else. It rubbed me the wrong way initially because it sounded like you guys were saying it should suck for non-priors "just because" while you were making all sorts of valid arguments for exactly why it shouldn't be that way, for anyone.

 

Your prior military experience helps you as a Warrant, just as other street-to-seaters bring other, different types of experience to the table. Many are financial experts, rated civilian aviators, meteorologists, police officers, etc. WOCS, in my mind, is meant to assimilate our experience and guide us as leaders and technical experts. Thus, at HHC, we drop our rank from our ACUs and throw on the same "W.O.C." rank. We are all working toward the same dot.

 

Yeah I understand, I honestly meant no disrespect in my original post. I actually contemplated even writing it due to the controversial nature of it but literally as I was typing it a buddy of mine called me complaining about his unit, then he said "Well at least it's not WOCS, NOTHING is as bad as WOCS lol". That triggered me start reflecting on it and post what I did. It was mainly just me complaining outloud which I shouldn't have done.

 

A lot of us veterans have still hold on to the same ol cliche of "back in MY day it was....". Many of us feel that since we got dragged through the dirt growing up in the Army then everyone should. Which is exactly the same attitude that breeds courses like WOCS, which makes me a hypocrite, which I openly admit.

 

Many of us do it in one way or another. The grunts who went through Ft Benning BCT talk trash about those who went to Ft. Jackson because BCT there is easier than at the Infantry school. The Armor guys who went through Hard Knox talk trash about the newer guys who go through Ft. Benning because "its not as hard as what we went through". Those of us who lived in tiny outposts without running water during deployment talk trash about those who lived on big bases like Camp Victory or Kandahar Airfield. "Those aren't deployments you people had a TGI Fridays on the base for Christs sake." etc.

 

But again I honestly meant no disrespect in my original post. It was merely me complaining outloud which I shouldn't have done. I apologize.

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Same here. As Lindsey pointed out, I was quite hypocritical and I apologize. Everything nightmare said rings extremely true. What I've realized is that though my experience is absolutely a strength, ie. experiencing ground war from the ground, it may not necessarily make me any better than any other Aviator in terms of overall potential.

 

 

Yeah I understand, I honestly meant no disrespect in my original post. I actually contemplated even writing it due to the controversial nature of it but literally as I was typing it a buddy of mine called me complaining about his unit, then he said "Well at least it's not WOCS, NOTHING is as bad as WOCS lol". That triggered me start reflecting on it and post what I did. It was mainly just me complaining outloud which I shouldn't have done.

 

A lot of us veterans have still hold on to the same ol cliche of "back in MY day it was....". Many of us feel that since we got dragged through the dirt growing up in the Army then everyone should. Which is exactly the same attitude that breeds courses like WOCS, which makes me a hypocrite, which I openly admit.

 

Many of us do it in one way or another. The grunts who went through Ft Benning BCT talk trash about those who went to Ft. Jackson because BCT there is easier than at the Infantry school. The Armor guys who went through Hard Knox talk trash about the newer guys who go through Ft. Benning because "its not as hard as what we went through". Those of us who lived in tiny outposts without running water during deployment talk trash about those who lived on big bases like Camp Victory or Kandahar Airfield. "Those aren't deployments you people had a TGI Fridays on the base for Christs sake." etc.

 

But again I honestly meant no disrespect in my original post. It was merely me complaining outloud which I shouldn't have done. I apologize.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I see so many people who try to get ahead of the game when it comes to flight school in general. I get it, everyone wants a leg up or to get a head start. But plenty of members have said this before and I will say it again.

 

Here is the best way to get ready for WOCS:

 

Head to Rucker early, go to Panama City Beach or Destin. Rent a hotel, and relax. It's winter time now so no beach for you, so go grab a hotel for cheap (its offseason) grab a few beers and watch TV with your feet up.

 

BCT, WOCS, Flight school etc are all designed for you to arrive there knowing absolutely nothing at all and having done no prep work. They are schools designed to TEACH you what you need to know. If they expected you to know the WOCSOP before you got there then they would send you one once you were selected and tell you to read it before arriving.

 

You have plenty of time to get your stencils made, stencil your stuff, learn the WOCSOP, etc. If you know NOTHING about the Army at all when you arrive at Basic then you will learn everything you need to know when you get there. Don't go start trying to read field manuals and battle drills before you arrive it's a waste of time and energy.

 

I even met a guy who was systematically starving himself on purpose to "prepare for SERE".

 

Relax guys you will be fine. I guarantee you that if you spend all of your time trying to prepare for these courses before you get there then you will be kicking yourself for wasting your time when you arrive and realize you could have been watching the ball game instead because you actually have time to learn what you need to know when you arrive.

 

Just make sure you are in decent shape when you arrive so you don't start dying on the runs they do (if you get a class that likes to run a lot, some do some don't).

 

Don't start cramming 5 and 9's, don't hunt the internet for a WOCSOP, don't ask people to help you write your letter, don't go to Home Depot and try to get stencils made, and for the love of God don't start starving yourself thinking it will give you a leg up at SERE (that was the most ridiculous one I heard).

 

Enjoy your freedom while you can and relax. I 100% promise you that you WILL NOT be the dumbest person there when you arrive. You will certainly meet some people there who you will wonder how the hell they even passed middle school let alone made it to WOCS.

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my $.01 (You're not getting both, and this is likely to be an amalgamation of thoughts, instead of a well thought out essay).

 

WOCS used to be hard. Not when I went through, don't get me wrong. In fact, in my critique with my Senior TAC (some mid course counseling, as I recall), I told him I had been expecting much more, and a part of me was disappointed.

 

But, in my 11 years, that's been ALL of it. You'll make it through everything, if you keep pushing, regardless of your suitability. I think that's an absolutely terrible mentality for the Army to have, especially in aviation. Performance failures should be dropped. Not given, chances over and over and over again. (True story: when I was an IP, a kid in my section was a three-peat failure in the 60 course, and amongst his other screw ups, showed up to class inebriated. Last I heard was he was appealing the BC finally kicking him out....). We don't need to be passing people by the skin of their teeth to become the next career PI, we need to graduate people with the potential to be PCs.

 

Anyway, to the point. WOCS is supposed to teach you attention to detail (You know, those silly things like "can you arrange your silverware and place settings properly?"), practice memorizing things (silly songs, dining rites which I don't think exist anymore), time management (If you're an NCO and having trouble being ready in time, but the street to seaters are handling it, maybe that's exactly why you NEED to be doing it?). There's also the whole "it doesn't matter if you were an E-8 in the infantry yesterday. Today, you're a WOC, and tomorrow you'll be a W-1. JUST LIKE that guy that just graduated high school." I think where this is important is when you start looking at those guys "later" in their career. I get it, you used to be hot sh*t in the infantry, but soon you're going to be working for a W2, or W3 who came from finance, or God forbid, a dirty civilian, and any attitude of "I'm better than you because ____"or "why should I listen to you" has no place. Don't get me wrong, your experience is valuable, but any mindset that it makes you better than someone in the cockpit because they DON'T have it, should get beaten out of you in WOCS.

 

I'm not so certain that's happening, anymore, especially given some of the comments in this thread.

 

I don't know if it's a common theme in the 5 week course, but in my class, we referred to everything prior to our report date as "in my old life", because it didn't matter.

 

Sorry for the random string of thoughts. Hopefully you can get the gist of what I'm trying to say, here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not everyone in 7 week course are street to seat. We had e8 prior service, I was e6 prior air force, and our class had more prior service than street to seat. Just didn't have WLC. WHICH IN those 2 extra weeks, I didn't learn anything to make me a better leader. I just learned the Army's perspective of a leader and basic structure. In essence I guess I did learn a thing or 2.

 

Yes our class did clean sweep wocs Olympics. That was pretty cool.

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The best I have seen my unit performing was when we all used our strengths to help each other out. I may have been a civilian but I have a passion and aptitude for this flying thing that surpasses many of my prior service brethren. They came to me when they needed help in the cockpit. Likewise, I could always trust them to help me when I couldn't figure out the Army thing. And they always helped. Not with an eye roll, not with a jab at me spending time as a civilian, not with an attitude, but with an eager willingness to make me better. We all knew where we came from and embraced it.

 

As for WOCS, it's a tiny price to pay to get to fly helicopters. I would do it all over again starting today if they told me I would get another 8 years flying out of it.

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Not everyone in 7 week course are street to seat. We had e8 prior service, I was e6 prior air force, and our class had more prior service than street to seat. Just didn't have WLC. WHICH IN those 2 extra weeks, I didn't learn anything to make me a better leader. I just learned the Army's perspective of a leader and basic structure. In essence I guess I did learn a thing or 2.

 

Yes our class did clean sweep wocs Olympics. That was pretty cool.

 

My class too!!! :o

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