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Old 01-25-2008, 23:48   #1
dennisw
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Team priorities

I had a former 3rd grouper drop by the house during the holiday which was a pleasant surprise. We had a chance to drink a few beers and discuss various topics. He mentioned a current SF soldier we both know and he said this young man had a "old school" reputation in the group. He lamented the fact that many young SF soldiers don't have this "old school" mentality.

As an example, an old schooler thinks of the team first. He doesn't expect to go to schools unless it will benefit the team and he doesn't expect to get favorable slots unless he has spent some quality team time. Another QP mentioned that there's an unwritten law that for every special school you go to you owe the team a certain amount of years, and that special schools should be handed out based upon a merit system.

For the oldtimers on the board, is this consistent with your understanding of being a member of an A team? If so, are things changing where this mentality is no longer the norm?
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Old 01-26-2008, 00:14   #2
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I know how it's supposed to be done, but in reality each Group down to the team level does things differently. Due to OPTEMPO is pretty much whose in the right place at the right time and if their administravely prepared.

It does suck to see guys with no team time going straight to a speciality team and subsquently going to those speciality schools. It does ruffle some feathers but what can you do?

I went to this one school where in 7th Group you would get an additional 2 year team time for having this school. Other Groups to include mine could care less.
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Old 01-26-2008, 06:25   #3
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For the oldtimers on the board, is this consistent with your understanding of being a member of an A team? If so, are things changing where this mentality is no longer the norm?
This sounds like a personal issue. There is an old saying in the military and that is the best unit you ever served with was the one you just left and the one that is most screwed up is the one you are currently in. Schools, slots, and assignments are handled by units for different reasons and while there are some units that use slots to special schools as a reward there are just to many folks and too few allocations to be dealing them out like candy.
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Old 01-26-2008, 18:54   #4
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I know how it's supposed to be done
I guess the above is more to the point of my question. My example is scheduling schools, but the underlying issue is: are there unwritten axioms for team behavior? Are these axioms as pervasive and well known as PACE for an 18e or weapon placement for a bravo? Or is it group/ team specific? I believe I’ve either heard or read on this board when a new member joins a team, especially an 18X, they better have a case of beer for the team sergeant or they’re breaking the accepted protocol. Are some of these unwritten rules going by the way side, and if so, is it a substantive issue?
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Old 01-26-2008, 20:27   #5
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I guess the above is more to the point of my question. My example is scheduling schools, but the underlying issue is: are there unwritten axioms for team behavior? Are these axioms as pervasive and well known as PACE for an 18e or weapon placement for a bravo? Or is it group/ team specific? I believe I’ve either heard or read on this board when a new member joins a team, especially an 18X, they better have a case of beer for the team sergeant or they’re breaking the accepted protocol. Are some of these unwritten rules going by the way side, and if so, is it a substantive issue?
IMHO there is no way to objectively answer this question. We all can speak of our times, our teams, and all the tales from the team house, but each unit is different and each team has its own characteristics. I have mentioned this before to some folks but no one can speak with any authority about any place, any time, any mission, any team, any unit unless they were there and then only about their own units and own experiences. I once had someone ask me about what I thought about our nation's strategy in Vietnam and they were surprized when I told them that as a team leader I had no clue about what was going on anywhere in country and really did not care. The only thing that I cared about was my team, my turf, my mission and supporting those who depended on me doing my job. I was fortunate in that I moved from one A-team to another and both were different as night and day. I wasn't different, but I sure had to approach each differently and while both A-teams were in the same company each were completely different in every way imagineable. So the long and the short of it is that each team will do what it needs to do, carry out whatever customs associated with their situation, and none will ever be able to repeat or completely mimic any other team. From my simple soldier perspective, I have complete faith in the team sgts to do what is right to fit the situation and work with the talent for which they are responsible and deal with whatever challenge in which they find themselves and if they stray I put my faith in the SGMs and CSMs to keep things real. Of course, we all have had to deal with personalities but the long and the short of it is that the SF soldier will get it done, he will bitch, but he will get it done and things will eventually level out. Also, remember, things do not happen in a vaccuum, there is a whole chain of command out there that has, or ought to have, some influence on what goes on. Now for some that might be a good thing and for others it might not be a good thing as a bad command climate set by the leadership can really screw up a lot of things.

Let me answer this another way. I know what I had on the two A-teams I was fortunate to command. I also commanded two B-Teams. When I looked at my subordinate A-teams during those times I knew what I would have done with them as the individual commander and knew what I would like to have seen each of the teams do as individual teams were concerned but each man on those teams were not the mirror image of the teams I had commanded, nor were the missions, nor were the personalities and strenghts and weakness, skills or flaws, talents or shortcomings. How they intereacted, as long they were within the normal customs of the service, common sense, and were not injuring each other, was up to them because leadership and the exercise of it is personality dependent and what worked for me may or may not work for anyone else. Consequently each team did their own thing as far as personal dynamics were concerned and it was up to me to harness those dynamics to fit the mission profiles and keep things on track. The same thing happened when I took over my battalion. Teams, and team interactions are as different as the people on them and just like there is not cookie cutter that produces a "typical" SF soldier a team of SF soldiers is not a box of identical corn flakes. Hope that puts things more in perspective.
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Old 01-26-2008, 21:08   #6
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We went to schools as they were availalble, between deployments. We were encouraged to go to any school that was available. This included cross training in other MOS's. Having a certain school under your belt didn't qualify you for any special duty, it just meant you were SCUBA qualified or HALO qualified. The most important thing to getting assigned somewhere was your reputation and actions on your last assignment.
If a HALO or SCUBA team wanted you and you weren't qualified, they would get you qualified. I served in the early '70's. It sounds like there is some jealousy or competition about getting school assignments? Get over it. I would rather have someone I know and trust or someone who has been given an OK by someone I trust than someone whose only qualification is a certain school. When I was first assigned to group, I had to prove myself. Best day of my life was when an oldtimer asked me to help him.

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Old 01-26-2008, 21:39   #7
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Originally Posted by dennisw View Post
I guess the above is more to the point of my question. My example is scheduling schools, but the underlying issue is: are there unwritten axioms for team behavior? Are these axioms as pervasive and well known as PACE for an 18e or weapon placement for a bravo? Or is it group/ team specific? I believe I’ve either heard or read on this board when a new member joins a team, especially an 18X, they better have a case of beer for the team sergeant or they’re breaking the accepted protocol. Are some of these unwritten rules going by the way side, and if so, is it a substantive issue?
Yes, there is. As the Colonel Sir said, there are differences, but there are also things that to me are universal. In no particular order and very incomplete:
1. If one is working we are all working.
2. If one is hurt we are all hurt.
3. If one is fighting we are all fighting.
4. You do what has to be done without having to be told.
5. We are all leaders.
6. None of us are too good for any task.
7. Quiet professionalism is the way.
8. Stay out of it until you've earned the right to get into it.
9. Actions drown out the whisper of words.
10. We may fight like cats and dogs with each other, but we will turn like a rapid pack on an outsider.
11. When you walk into that team room, you better be able to do your job to the level to which you were trained.
12. The maximum effective range of an excuse is exactly zero meters.
13. If the team calls, you go. It doesn't matter the hour or the mission.
14. Be the Teammate you want to have.
15. If you take, you owe. Back in the day, it wasn't just schools, bonuses were the same way.
16. Everything you do is a reflection on your team.
17. You never refuse a teammate in need.
18. Being accepted should be hard.
19. You are responsible for maintaining your skillsets. All our lives depend on it.
20. Selection is a continuous and ongoing process that ends the day we die.
21. No sniveling.
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Old 01-26-2008, 22:11   #8
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We see this here every month or so, when some wannabe starts asking how long before he can go to Ranger School, or if he can go to SCUBA or MFF school on the way to his team.

To me, that says a lot about the individual.

Guys who are looking out for their teammates, or the Army, or who we should select to be SF, if the system was working properly, do not care about collecting schools, or badges, they want to get to their teams ASAP, to get themselves (and their team) ready, and to be the best teammates that they can.

And as a HALO guy through and through, truth be told, it ain't nothing but an infiltration technique, along with SWUFO, that has not been highly utilized in our current war on terror.

You want to be a good SF guy, get your ass to a team ASAP and start pulling your weight. I guarantee that you will be deployed into combat with them sooner than you think, and they need your help. There will be plenty of time for schools and badges after the team decides that you are qualified and ready to go.

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Old 01-26-2008, 22:18   #9
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dennisw being cadre who is about to leave swc i have seen alot of young guys who have came through who think it's all hollywood to be sf reminds me of the squils....oooppsss seals
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Old 01-26-2008, 22:21   #10
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dennisw,
I bet you wish you had picked a different example now, don't you?
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:29   #11
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I bet you wish you had picked a different example now, don't you?
Respectfully, no. As an outsider, but an interested observer, it seems the desire for special schools and badges is a lightening rod providing a glimpse into the priorities of the individual. As both TR and PBF discuss, the correct priority should be at all times, “what is best for the team”. Your list of axioms is exactly what the QP I referenced earlier was talking about, and although I may be swerving out of my lane, I believe your list should be memorized by all new QP’s and inculcated as a part of their modus operandi.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:53   #12
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my .02 cents

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Originally Posted by dennisw View Post
...As both TR and PBF discuss, the correct priority should be at all times, “what is best for the team”. ...I believe your list should be memorized by all new QP’s and inculcated as a part of their modus operandi.
The items listed by NDD, in part, were listed to me by my Stu Co TAC. We were told what to expect from being on a team, what we could expect, and what the team would expect of us. There are some really good instructors in SWTG(A) who take their job seriously and try to instill some of the values listed here in their Candidates; it is unfortunate mare arent taking what they have to say seriously. And despite this, there are still those who are looking for badges, tabs, and wanting the cool schools/assignments as soon as they get to Group.

A couple of us here know of a young SGT who showed up in the Gp SGM's office and proceeded to tell him he wanted to either go to a Scuba team or the Advanced CQB team and had no desire to serve anywhere else. He got neither and is now a SF Tabbed team leader in the 82nd.

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Old 01-27-2008, 10:21   #13
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I guess the above is more to the point of my question. My example is scheduling schools, but the underlying issue is: are there unwritten axioms for team behavior? Are these axioms as pervasive and well known as PACE for an 18e or weapon placement for a bravo? Or is it group/ team specific? I believe I’ve either heard or read on this board when a new member joins a team, especially an 18X, they better have a case of beer for the team sergeant or they’re breaking the accepted protocol. Are some of these unwritten rules going by the way side, and if so, is it a substantive issue?

There's a list of schools that USAFAC requires each ODA member to have: The team should fill those as slots come available.

For NET, that should be MOS specific, instead of "hey who can go to FBCB2 for one week?" yeah....lets send the Bravo.....you know the bravo who can't turn a computer on. Don't laugh, I was in that class with a bravo who had no idea why his team sgt sent him except that he was free for that week.

For the cool guy schools, there should be an OML instead of " hey you got a govt pass port?" "you got a GTC?", and "are you an 18C?" good pack your shit, you're going in England in a week. This happened to a buddy of mine in 5th Group.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:35   #14
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There's a reason it's called an A-"Team".

We are not an "Army of One" we operate as a team. We don't take kindly to "free agents". In Special Forces there is nothing "old school" about putting the "Team" first.

As far as schools go that's what we do, we train to fight. If a soldier wants a combat school IMO it should not be treated as a carrot to be dangled. I sent soldiers to schools, all I could, to prepare them for war. Given the opportunity I would train all SF'ers in MFF and SCUBA as it would add to their mental toughness.

Make no mistake, those "old school" individuals and ideas are why terrorists run away when Special Forces soldiers enter the AOR.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:34   #15
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It cracks me up to hear these comments about schools - OML? Based on what on an All-Star team? It's not "your turn" - it's "your mission". Of course we all made the same or similar comments when we first got there too.

Don't worry about it. If you do your job and be the Go To Guy instead of That Guy, it all works out. Those old Company SGMs know what they're doing, they see everything and they talk to the Team Sergeants daily.

You don't need another school or badge to do your job - unless it is something really weird, somebody has already been.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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