View Full Version : What I Wish I Knew: From Cadet to Lieutenant

04-07-2014, 08:39
From the article:

17. Your Soldiers will do amazing things Far more often than your Soldiers doing stupid things, you will be blown away at how talented they are. I have the following Soldiers in my platoon: a former blacksmith and rodeo clown, a NASCAR pit crewman, two carpenters, a private who is a multi-millionaire and drives and Audi R8, a Sugar Bowl-winning, University of West Virginia offensive lineman and a SSG who graduated college at 17 years old and taught physics at Tulane before the age of 26.

More: http://www.warcouncil.org/blog/2014/4/5/what-i-wish-i-knew-from-cadet-to-lieutenant-in-afghanistan?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report&utm_campaign=SITREP%20APRIL%207%202014

04-07-2014, 10:12
Good post.

Liked 17. too. We never had that much professional talent in any of the platoons I was in. What impressed me most though was where some of the people came from. Communist Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, South Africa, various Middle-Eastern countries, etc.

Generally speaking Westpoint does produce some pretty impressive officers but they were not always the best ones that I remember serving under.

04-07-2014, 11:04
19. NCO’s will help you not do stupid things – Everyday I am completely blown away by how hardworking, and professional this brassy, prideful group can be. Sergeants indeed run the Army. Your platoon can function without you, but it cannot function without NCOs. For the umpteenth time, trust your NCOs. You do not know more than they do, this is their Army not yours, officers just get to drive it for awhile.

As a Co. SGM, used to tell incoming TLs that they were just visiting, the NCOs live here. Some took offense. Others understood.

I actually took offense to this one

2. You may not be the greatest, but you’re the most responsible – Again, this is another facet that is hard to come to terms with. You may not be the most experienced in terms of tactics, time or doctrine, but you’re the only one that has been formally trained on leading. Your job is to take responsibility. You are the best qualified member of your platoon to pull your Soldiers together collectively and make things happen. You control your own consequences.

however, he is talking about a regular Army platoon.

04-21-2014, 08:26
The one thing that comes up again and again in many of those tips is....

ME ME ME ME ME :eek:

Its that same self promoting stance that is eating away at the military and is pretty damn disgusting to see it as the biggest learning points.

The only thing you need to focus on is to LEAD YOUR MEN, NOT YOUR OWN CAREER. They need to get over themselves and realize that they are part of something much bigger than themselves, and noone gives a damn they are a West Pointer.

05-10-2014, 09:15
When my nephew went from ROTC college grad on to active duty, I told him the first thing he should do when he gets to his platoon was to find the NCO's who had been there the longest and ask them how to handle his soldiers. He can make decisions from there but the more he trusts his NCO's, the more they will help him...

Tango three
05-27-2014, 10:21
When my nephew went from ROTC college grad on to active duty, I told him the first thing he should do when ... The advice I got was:
After the first run, don't look tired.
On the first road movement (I started as Mech Infantry) don't get lost.
The first time anyone talks to you, listen.
First time, last time, always -- take responsibility for everything, and hold subordinates accountable for thier performance.

Except for the misconception that only Officers are trained in leadership he has quite a few things correct. We should consider the source and his audiance -- he's a newbie writing to newbier-ers.

05-27-2014, 23:39
Even in a regular unit I was taught the basics of leadership starting in Basic and AIT. Later it was formally taught in PLDC. Notice the L it stands for leadership. I used the lessons learned about leadership when I became a medic and was leading several people in a rescue operation to save people lives on a daily basis.

Perhaps the LT should have been more precise in his article and stated the new PL has likely had more formal leadership training than most of the soldiers in his platoon. I offer for consideration the following viewpoint.

Most soldiers will receive a good deal of informal leadership training shortly after taking the oath and joining the Army. Formal, centralized enlisted leadership training (i.e., TRADOC run) occurs at Warrior Leader Course (formally PLDC), which typically comes after 2-4 years of service when a soldier attains the rank of E-4 and assumes the role of a fire team leader (speaking from an Infantry perspective). This training runs just over 1 month. The next formal NCOES course is the Advanced Leader Course (formally BNCOC), attended by E-5s and E-6s with anywhere from 5-7 years of service, and runs 4-6 weeks (for 11Bs and 11Cs, respectively) and is a combination of leadership and MOS advanced skills training. The Senior Leader Course (formally ANCOC) runs around 7 weeks for E-6s and E-7s.

Before a new LT ever receives his commission , he has received formal leadership training for several hours a week for nearly 4 years. In other words, as an entry-level leader, he has received 400+ hours of formal leadership training in operations from fire team to platoon level. Time-wise, that's longer than WLC and ALC combined, and incorporates the same command level of operations as SLC (maneuvering multiple squads, IPB, MDMP, writing orders, incorporation of the platoon in company-level combined arms operations, etc.).

Again, speaking from an Infantry-perspective, the new LT then attends 17 weeks of IBOLC, which like ALC and SLC is a combination of leadership and MOS skills training. All this training occurs before he ever reports to his initial unit assignment. He'll likely then attend two months of Ranger School for even more demanding leadership training.

So, in truth the brand new rifle platoon leader has a great deal of formal leadership training, more even (time-wise) than any of his NCOs, individually. What the new PL actually lacks is the hard-earned, combined years of invaluable experience held by his NCOs, which can never be adequately replaced by some training course. These combined decades of experience are critical to successfully leading a platoon, and why a PL absolutely depends on his NCOs to advise and guide him in the finer points of platoon leadership. This is the sentiment 1LT Ginther alluded to in the first point of his article, but fell a bit short in clearly expressing in his second point.