Today, I’d like to talk to you about going from Army Officer to NCO. We all know that many NCOs transition into the officer ranks each year via ROTC and OCS. But, most people do not know that some officers resign their commission and transfer to the NCO ranks. That’s right; there are many NCOs in the Army that were previously commissioned officers.
During my 15 years in the military, I’ve personally met somewhere between 10 and 20 NCOs who previously served as commissioned officers. At a few points in my own career I thought about doing the same thing myself. Sometimes I got so frustrated with being a “Staff Officer’ that I would have done just about anything to be back supervising troops and working at the unit level.
From what I’ve found, the most common reasons officers resign their commission and join the NCO ranks include:
- Passed Over for Promotion: Some officers get passed over twice for promotion and have to resign their commission. In most cases, this happens because the officer did not meet certain education requirements, such as having a Bachelor’s Degree or certain military education requirements, such as the Captain’s Career Course. Many of these officers have “no other choice” if they want to retire and collect a pension.
- Sick of the Politics: Many officers get tired of the politics within the officer ranks. They get tired of the back stabbing, the “corporate politics” and butt kissing.
- More Hands On: Some officers are naturally hands on. They’re not really big picture thinkers and “staff” oriented. Some officers just want to supervise troops and work at the small unit level.
As I’ve grown and matured during my career, I’ve learned a few things along the way. First and foremost, being an officer isn’t for everyone. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with serving as a commissioned officer, but for some folks it isn’t the best course of action for their career. Unfortunately, some officers don’t figure that out until AFTER they become an officer.
Next, there’s nothing wrong with being an NCO! It’s true the NCOs are the backbone of the Army. And without them, most officers would not have a job! Serving as an NCO is honorable and extremely important. In most cases, they are the ones that work at ‘ground zero’ and make us officers look good.
Furthermore, managing our own military career is our personal responsibility. I believe we all have a responsibility to trust our instincts and do what is best for our own career. Only YOU know what is best for YOU. If that means some officers decide to transition into the NCO ranks, so be it. Their experiences as officers will make them exceptional NCOs.
What are your thoughts on this subject? To share your thoughts just leave a comment. Also, if you have any questions, you can ask them below. Thanks.