Paras or Marines

Collieryboy

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For the retired paratroopers on here. Would you join up and do it all again as civilian now ?
Good question. I don't know about joining now as its a different time to when many joined, but Ive spoken to a lot of ex forces, more so RM, I can honestly say I've not spoken to any one who regrets joining or wished they hadn't. Even people who were injured in operations. I've met people who did their minimum time and were quite scathing in their opinions but even they said they were glad they did it and don't regret it, what they gained from the whole experience was still worth it. It's just a personal anecdote and obviously there will be people who would disagree but it's always stuck out to me.
 

Lev

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Good question. I don't know about joining now as its a different time to when many joined, but Ive spoken to a lot of ex forces, more so RM, I can honestly say I've not spoken to any one who regrets joining or wished they hadn't. Even people who were injured in operations. I've met people who did their minimum time and were quite scathing in their opinions but even they said they were glad they did it and don't regret it, what they gained from the whole experience was still worth it. It's just a personal anecdote and obviously there will be people who would disagree but it's always stuck out to me.
Thanks that’s good to here. The military isn’t just war but I’m mainly wondering if those that joined when herrick and telic were active would join as a civilian now without any operations like those going on.
 

Chelonian

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Yep. No chance of an age waiver for me although obviously I retain the good looks, wit and charm.
But seriously, it shapes the rest of your life in a constructive way. Not only the good experiences but the bad and the ugly ones too.
 

Mackers

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I’m not long in and joined after the HERRICK glory days. All my instructors had been to Afghan and when I landed into Bn most had been out there on H8 , H13 or both! So I was surrounded by the Afghan generation. I’ll not lie I was gutted to have missed that opportunity and do feel a bit inferior cutting about on ex with lads who have actually done it for real. But that’s just how the cards fell and can’t be changed.
In terms of regret, I have none at all. Of course there are days a newish Tom that you feel a bit frustrated but definitely not looking to leave. For me I just about feel ready to start applying for other things within the Bn now
 

Snows

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The allure of falling for promotional recruitment advertising is strong. Scrolling through social media feeds only to hover a fraction of a second longer over the masked up, C8 wielding, SF looking Commando or Para is inevitable. Therein lies both thrill and pitfall.
I think we all, as the target market, need to accept that recruitment is a form of advertising. My instinctive inclination is to drill deeper into the role and not fall over the airbrushed recruitment posts.

Call of duty looking posts have replaced the posters of squaddies windsurfing. That is why I enjoy mediums such as this, as you can actually have a discussion with a human and not just look at a carefully designed and staged photograph with a snappy caption. Talking with those that have done or are doing the job is key. I’m under no illusion that as a platoon commander (should I make it) I won’t be diving out of planes, kicking down doors and engaging with an enemy on a regular basis. I appreciate that I will inevitably be behind a desk dealing with administrative tasks. That confident conclusion notwithstanding I remain committed to attempting to join the Paras. For me, in all honesty, I’d much rather read battle honours than glossy recruitment posts.

My advice is to look past the advertising and continue to research the two units by talking with those in them. There absolutely are striking similarities but separated by role. You’ll know which one is the best fit once you drill deeper into them and talk with them on a one to one

This is very sensible advice for anyone looking at either arm. Always take recruiting material with a pinch of salt, and get second and third opinions. This applies to any Service or Arm. Regardless of what they say, recruiters are there to get bums on seats, not to fulfill your every wish and desire, and shockingly adverts may not reflect real experience: not every patrol stops for prayer, and not every bootneck gets his own face tarantula.

The one big difference for soldier entry is, as identified, you know for sure with Para Reg that your career path as a Tom is infantry. As RM you can't be as certain, though you'll always be infantry trained. Be aware though (@Scott R particularly), for officers that's reversed. With the Army you cannot guarantee your regiment or arm before Sandhurst, whereas if you pass AIB and PRMC, you will definitely be a RM officer if you complete the course.
 

Redders

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This is very sensible advice for anyone looking at either arm. Always take recruiting material with a pinch of salt, and get second and third opinions. This applies to any Service or Arm. Regardless of what they say, recruiters are there to get bums on seats, not to fulfill your every wish and desire, and shockingly adverts may not reflect real experience: not every patrol stops for prayer, and not every bootneck gets his own face tarantula.

The one big difference for soldier entry is, as identified, you know for sure with Para Reg that your career path as a Tom is infantry. As RM you can't be as certain, though you'll always be infantry trained. Be aware though (@Scott R particularly), for officers that's reversed. With the Army you cannot guarantee your regiment or arm before Sandhurst, whereas if you pass AIB and PRMC, you will definitely be a RM officer if you complete the course.

Excellent point. My best friend was a C Sgt at RMAS and said that some good lads have failed at the board. It’s sensible to manage your expectations ahead of Sandhurst and don’t see it as a such thing that you’ll end up Reg.
 

Snows

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Excellent point. My best friend was a C Sgt at RMAS and said that some good lads have failed at the board. It’s sensible to manage your expectations ahead of Sandhurst and don’t see it as a such thing that you’ll end up Reg.
As I can attest! PARA is always one of, if not the most, competitive Regiments, and all individual infantry Regiments have limited spaces per year that are not always evenly distributed among the Sandhurst terms. So as an OCdt you aren't just competing with the ~600 people in your term, but the other ~1200 that year. Worse, if you are in the wrong intake, the 8 places (example only, actual numbers change each year) available at the start of the year may have now only 1 remaining for your term. 1/171 (7/1200) is a far better chance than 1/600.

Competition is good, but winners also play the odds.
 

LLB

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As I can attest! PARA is always one of, if not the most, competitive Regiments, and all individual infantry Regiments have limited spaces per year that are not always evenly distributed among the Sandhurst terms. So as an OCdt you aren't just competing with the ~600 people in your term, but the other ~1200 that year. Worse, if you are in the wrong intake, the 8 places (example only, actual numbers change each year) available at the start of the year may have now only 1 remaining for your term. 1/171 (7/1200) is a far better chance than 1/600.

Competition is good, but winners also play the odds.

Out of interest at what stage does the POIC ( Officer insight course) occur?
 

Snows

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Out of interest at what stage does the POIC ( Officer insight course) occur?
Before you start at Sandhurst. It didn't exist in my time, so for specific info you'll need to look elsewhere.

But from knowing Sandhurst and several recent DS, think of the entire process of Regimental selection, for the regiments, as information gathering. They are trying to get as much information about you as possible, to be confident that they are making the best choices. Much like any serious interview process. Courses like POIC give them an uninterrupted week looking at you, without the filter of a careers officer, AOSB DS or Sandhurst DS, who may not understand exactly what PARA are looking for. The more time you commit to letting them see you, if you are what they want, the more likely they will select you. Of course, if you are not what they want, or not ready, it makes them more likely to reject you.

So what? Whether for the Marines or PARA, as a soldier you can enter not quite ready. You will be moulded during training, and afterwards, into what they want. That is expected. But as an officer, since both are highly competitive, you need to be ready at the start of the process, whether AOSB or pre-AIB. Ready means: fit, right attitude, mature. You don't need to be executing perfect platoon attacks, or have done Reserves / UOTC. Commit to every opportunity, like POIC, to get yourself seen by the regiment, but make sure you are exceeding the minimum requirements easily before you book on a course. I'd suggest that's why most successful PARA candidates used to be marginally older (mid twenties) than the theoretical lowest age (18), although Sandhurst's attitude to age varies wildly over time, so don't take this as a rule. Maturity is an absolute requirement to be a successful officer candidate for either RM or PARA.

Don't want to derail this one, so any more officer questions, make a thread in the officer forum and happy to continue.
 

Nutter

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At a glance as someone looking to join as a reserve, 4 PARA seem to have a better relationship with their regulars. From talking to a mate in 4 PARA they have ample opportunities to deploy on monthly regular battalion exercises and have plenty of FTRS posts available. RMR despite the harsh training seem to lack purpose and you only need to read some of the accounts of them on the RM page to see how frustrated they are.
For me I think if an unexpected and unpredicted crisis hits and we are deployed at short notice I have a better chance of deployment with 4 PARA.
 

MrLUFC

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Question for those that have served- what made you pick the Paras over the marines?
 

Snows

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Thanks that’s good to here. The military isn’t just war but I’m mainly wondering if those that joined when herrick and telic were active would join as a civilian now without any operations like those going on.
Fair question. Honestly, no. A couple of qualifications to that, however:

1. I doubt I was representative of your average Army recruit or PO. But in that period there were a lot like me who didn't fit the mould. Active wars have always meant you get a lot of people joining who would not have done otherwise. So it's not really a fair comparison.

2. I would be one of the guys above who is pretty scathing about the Army but still think it was worthwhile, and I did 10 years in various guises.

3. I am scathing about the Army, but have all the respect in the world for soldiers.

Remember this isn't a certain calculation. There are always bits of Defence which are operationally active. Para Reg is one of the best starting positions to get into those, but nowhere is ever a guarantee. Coming out of Sandhurst, I got combat experience within a year as a support arm while one of my infantry officer mates spent the next 5 years on non-ops rotations. Some are lucky, others are not.

Also everyone is awful at predicting when a major conflict will spark up, so you may get used sooner than you think. I was in my last year of uni when the Twin Towers were hit. Before that point, few of us who ended up in the military seriously thought we would do so, while some blokes who had been Army-barmy and joined three years earlier at 18 got out before the first major deployment in 2003.

You can study the game, but once you roll the dice all bets are off.
 

Bongo

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In my experience the Parachute Regiment tends to attract a higher standard of soldier. Paras on average tend to be more motivated than the average infantryman. The Royal Marines are Navy and during Afghan they were essentially just another light infantry unit. If you want to be a soldier then the Army makes sense
 
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