*Ask a serving British Army Officer anything*

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ice0blue0eyes
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Hi guys, I’m a serving British Army Officer within the Infantry. I am currently a Captain and have carried out roles as a Platoon Commander, Company Second in Command, Instructor in Soldier Basic Training and Intelligence.

I am here to answer any questions you may have about the Army. Please ask away.

Disclaimer: I am not an official British Army account and wish to remain anonymous. I used this site when I was going through my A levels and I know how useful it is so I thought I could return the favour.
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becausethenight
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Why did you decide to enlist?
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Stallion2020
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Can a BAME over 30 enlist as an officer?
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AlwaysTotoro
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How intensive is the training when becoming a British Army Officer? Is it excessively mentally and physically exhausted? And what's the advantage part and the disavantage part of becoming a British Army Officer?
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Drewski
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(Original post by Stallion2020)
Can a BAME over 30 enlist as an officer?
"The standard route to a commission as a Regular officer.

You should be between 17 years, 9 months and 28 years, 11 months to apply. Older applicants need to be sponsored to join."


You can check these kinds of things yourself on the Army careers site...
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by Stallion2020)
Can a BAME over 30 enlist as an officer?
The age limit to enlist as an Officer is 29 and as long as you are a British Citizen it doesn’t matter what your ethnicity, gender, religion, orientation or background.

To join as a soldier the age limit is a little bit higher- 36 I believe so if you are set on joining the Army then the soldier route is a hugely rewarding career also!
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by becausethenight)
Why did you decide to enlist?
I grew up during the Afghanistan era and a lot of my friends from school fought in Afghanistan. I wanted to go to uni first and then join the Army as an Officer so I missed Afghanistan.

I don’t come from a military background but I liked the idea of serving my country, being given lots of experience at a young age (commanding 30 men in Iraq at the age of 23) and also the pay is decent as well. To tell you the truth it’s something I was always interested in. I was fascinated with the emergency services as a little kid, then I loved fighter jets, then I moved onto the Army so I joined. Not a fantastic or inspiring story but it’s the truth haha.
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Stallion2020
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It’s either the army of the Foreign Commonwealth Office that I’m interested in. Looks like the first option is now a non option.
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by AlwaysTotoro)
How intensive is the training when becoming a British Army Officer? Is it excessively mentally and physically exhausted? And what's the advantage part and the disavantage part of becoming a British Army Officer?
Yes the commissioning course at Sandhurst is pretty tough going but it is certainly manageable. They test you physically and mentally and you have long days of PT, going on exercise, lessons, leadership and management briefs. But you soon get used to it.

I joined the Infantry so after the 44 week course at sandhurst I then went to Brecon for my platoon commanders course. This was roughly a 3 month course in the Brecon Beacons and that was very hard both physically and mentally. Much harder than sandhurst although not intellectually challenging.

It’s important to remember though that Army training these days is incremental and progressive. You are trained in rather than kicked out. If you do not meet the standards you get more chances at extra training or repeating part of the course. Gone are the days where you fail something and you are kicked out the back gate.

If you pass the selection process, you have the ability to pass Sandhurst.


Advantages of being an Officer- better pay and more responsibility plus Sandhurst on the CV looks pretty decent. Advantages of Soldier- training is less intensive, gives people a steady and secure career, get mates for life.

There are pros and cons to both and both are hugely rewarding but challenging at times.
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by Drewski)
"The standard route to a commission as a Regular officer.

You should be between 17 years, 9 months and 28 years, 11 months to apply. Older applicants need to be sponsored to join."


You can check these kinds of things yourself on the Army careers site...
I’m here to help people who are interested. No need to knock people for asking genuine questions.
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by Stallion2020)
It’s either the army of the Foreign Commonwealth Office that I’m interested in. Looks like the first option is now a non option.
An option could be to potentially apply to the Army Reserve as an Officer as they have a higher age limit. Reserve recruitment is certainly not my area of expertise however. The army website has a live chat function- the recruiting officers and NCOs on there are great at discussing options available.
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Stallion2020
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Sounds interesting. I wanted to be in the thick of it I don’t know whether enlisting in the Reserves would give me that option.
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by Stallion2020)
Sounds interesting. I wanted to be in the thick of it I don’t know whether enlisting in the Reserves would give me that option.
There is limited war fighting at this current time if that’s what you mean by in the thick of it (however the next war is always just around the corner) but when deploying to Iraq I had several reserves attached to me for the 6 months.

Reserves are a crucial part of the Armed forces and can backfill gaps or provide expertise.
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Stallion2020
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What’s the usual working schedule of an Officer/Soldier when employed by the Army or the different branches of HM Services. Is it similar to a 9 to 5, clock in clock out?
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becausethenight
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(Original post by ice0blue0eyes)
I grew up during the Afghanistan era and a lot of my friends from school fought in Afghanistan. I wanted to go to uni first and then join the Army as an Officer so I missed Afghanistan.

I don’t come from a military background but I liked the idea of serving my country, being given lots of experience at a young age (commanding 30 men in Iraq at the age of 23) and also the pay is decent as well. To tell you the truth it’s something I was always interested in. I was fascinated with the emergency services as a little kid, then I loved fighter jets, then I moved onto the Army so I joined. Not a fantastic or inspiring story but it’s the truth haha.
Interesting, thank you
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by Stallion2020)
What’s the usual working schedule of an Officer/Soldier when employed by the Army or the different branches of HM Services. Is it similar to a 9 to 5, clock in clock out?
My typical day, I live on the Camp in my own room with en-suite bathroom. I will get up around 0700 head to the Officers mess for breakfast then start work for 0800. I will usually do PT at 0900 until 1000. Lunch is at 1200 In the officers mess Until 1330 (although this has been know to stretch to 1400 if our bosses aren’t around). Back in to work for a few hours until around 1630-1700 although there have been days I have left at 1500, days I have left at 1900- really depends on what is going on at that time. In the evening I will probably go to the gym for an hour before dinner which is again in the mess typically at 1900 until 2030 and occasionally we will sit downstairs and have a few beers until later on but most nights we will head back our room and just stick the TV on or call my missus, play PlayStation etc etc.


Monday’s we start at 1100 wednesdays we finish at 1200 as you have a sports afternoon, fridays you finish at 1200. Of course this is all at the Commanding Officers discretion and occasionally changes.
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Liam23454
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Having watched certain documentaries, there seems to be a negative divide sometimes between the soldiers and the “Rupert” - do you find there is difficulty in having that bond like you would as a soldier since you an officer and in a leadership role?
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Stallion2020
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Sounds interesting.

Do you stay in 1 barracks or do you rotate?

Is it nationwide rotation or regional?

Can you leave your Officers mess and go out etc?
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CoolCavy
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Feel free to not answer this if it's too personal but what regiment?
Do you think this era is a positive or negative time to be a solider? I've heard people say they miss the action of herrick but that people were getting burned out and left early after one tour because they had had their fill.

Wonderful AMA :lockstock:
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ice0blue0eyes
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(Original post by Liam23454)
Having watched certain documentaries, there seems to be a negative divide sometimes between the soldiers and the “Rupert” - do you find there is difficulty in having that bond like you would as a soldier since you an officer and in a leadership role?
I wouldn’t go as far as saying there is an “us and them” mentality but you shouldn’t be friends with your soldiers, certainly not within work. A good officer finds a professional balance. It varies depending on the rank of the soldier and the rank of the officer also. As a captain would I go for a quiet pint out of hours with my platoon sergeant or my sergeant major... probably. As a captain would I be going to a nightclub with 30 of my blokes and buying them all shots... probably not.

That is not to say I don’t care for my soldiers. My soldiers are the most important thing to me and I would die for them, as I believe the majority would for me. I am also aware however that I have to make difficult and unpopular decisions that probably means they occasionally **** me off behind my back.

Any officer who believes that he is more important than those he commands and has the right to exploit his/her soldiers is a poor leader and does not deserve to hold the queens commission. Gone are the days where officers are from the upper echelons of society and soldiers are given the choice between jail or the army. We are a professional army and we all work as a team. Anyone who doesn’t very quickly learns their lesson the hard way.
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