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Old 04-03-2007, 07:22   #1
Jack Moroney (RIP)
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,093
Building your Own 18A

Prior to the establishment of the 18 series officers would retain their basic branch and would move in and out of SF assignments. In some cases this was much to the detriment of their careers (assuming they were career minded and looking for high rank) and in other cases much to the detriment to the SF soldier who worked well with most officers and but excelled with good officers. There were also good points because it brought in experience on how the big army and conventional units worked which is necessary in carrying out FID and UW missions. SF also had a chance back then to grow their own officers because the executive officer was a LT and either learned what the business was all about, was culled because he was not suited for SF, or knew that it was not for him which spared the SF soldier the horrors of having to deal with an idiot in later years (for the most part). You also had officers coming into SF at various stages in their career and could have Group Cdrs, Company and Battalion Cdrs without any prior SF experience. The same was true of the various staff assignments.

I was more fortunate than most. Throughout my career I commanded two conventional companies, two A-Teams, two B-Teams, and Special Mission Unit (SF Bn Cmd) and the Training Group. Scattered in there were conventional Battalion S3 and S4 assignments, SF Bn XO and Group S3 assignments and the normal "professional development" schools and special training events. Now I lay this all out for one reason and that is over my tenure in military the only real feedback that many officers ever see is what is written on their efficiency reports but remember that those are written by other officers whose values, qualifications, and mindset drive them to look to things that are important in their eyes or are important by branch or unit standard. I use the term standard loosely because when you realize who is rating whom that standard becomes very subjective. During the course of my years in the service I have only worked with very few folks from my conventional assignments more than once but have repeatedly worked with folks on subsequent assignments in SF. This is what brings me to the point of this thread. I have often heard from those with whom I have worked what it was that enabled me to be able to do what I wanted to do as a commander. But it was all a retrospective and had there been something that should have been changed it was not apparent to me at the time, which could have made the unit function better and allowed me to be more effective as I moved through my career. I think that it is important that you all take the necessary steps to inventory your own strengths and weaknesses from a soldier's perspective and not just from some manual written by officers for officers. What you do now that SF is a branch will either stand you in good stead for the remainder of your career or haunt your sorry 4th POC forever; there are rarely second chances. Now I am not talking about your career progression as reflected on your OERs-that is an officers view of what officers do what I am talking about how you are perceived by your NCOs which is the most important measure of you as an SF officer. Remember SF officers are a different breed, we for the most part do not fit the profile of what a typical officer is in the conventional sense (e.g. while we do know how to raise a pinky when drinking tea in the officers club, we more importantly know how to sip rice wine through a bamboo straw without offending the host). So what is important is for you to understand what your SF NCOs are going to expect of you as a Team Leader, Company Commander, Battalion Commander and Group Commander. I know, you all think that I have lost my azimuth here, but what you do now as a Team Leader is going to have an impact on how you function in the future and it is the building block for not only your career but the future of those that are going to have work in spite of you or excell because they will be able to work with you. Rmember, SF is a small community and step on your crank once and everyone will know about it not only in the unit in which you showed your 4th POC but in every subsequent assignment. Having laid the ground work for this, I would like to have some of the NCO QPs here to lay out what it is that they expect from SF officers at every level so that you understand what this business is really all about. There are some very finite distinctions between what is required of you as an officer and what is necessary for your team (A,B &C) to succeed just like there is a big difference in knowing when to assume command or take command. For those QP NCOs who wish to take part in this, here is your chance to build your own 18A.
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