Jump to content
tanknet.org

New Company Commander


Recommended Posts

ALCON-

 

The mighty Buck-man will be getting an infantry company of his very own in the next 6 weeks. While I'm excited to be given the opportunity to help shape and mold these young men, I am taking over a troubled company. While there is nowhere to go but up, it will be a challenge. In addition to getting an account set up on the Army's "CompanyCommand.net", what other words of advise can you give. Does some former CDR out there have examples of his "command philosophy" that they can send my way.

 

The company right now is spread out in two locations and is at about 60% strength. While we are an MTOE Mech Inf Co, we will be deploying to Afghanistan in the next 8 months as motorized/light infantry as part of a SecFor Bn. We have not yet been stop lossed and most of the soldiers are anticipating the deployment, so I'm not anticipating a blood letting for retention. We do have alot of work that needs to be accomplished and little time to do it.

 

Any words of advise are greatly appreciated. If you don't want to put comments in this thread, please PM me.

 

Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have plenty of stuff, including an old command philosophy. I can send it all off to you. Command is simply knowing where your unit is, knowing where it has to go, having a plan to get there, and convincing your folks to follow you there.

 

On your trainup for Afghanistan focus mainly on the warrior tasks, and gunfighter skills (up to squad level maneuver). Work on dry fire events, MOUT training, BRM, ARM, CQB, transition to squad live fire, and possibly work in some mounted platoon live fire. Dont worry about HIC tasks with the Brads.

 

As to the takeover, its not rocket science. Tell them what your standards are up front, then ruthlessly (and I mean like a Nazi) hold them to it. You will rapidly shed some of the sorrier examples of soldiers, but the ones you want to keep will be thankful for the clarity and challenge and will stick around. These will form the core that you will build your unit around.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are in a bit of a compressed time schedule, but don't be afraid to sit back for a while and observe before you make changes. You are going to make your mark on them in the next 18+ months- see what they're about first before you introduce your vision.

 

In the units I commanded (company and detachment), I basically told the guys three things:

#1 We can lie to women, but don't ever lie to me or another member of the command.

#2 I'll underwrite honest mistakes, but won't tolerate BS or half-assed efforts.

#3 You may think you are good now, but wait to see what you're gonna become!

 

Best of luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JamesG123

Congratulations.

 

What Scott said. Study, organize, and train as light Cav. That is the closest thing to what you will probably be doing.

 

Do you know how many of your people have been to Iraq/Afghanistan before?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point on the mistakes issue. As a commander I always support "falling forward" mistakes, while punishing "falling on your ass" mistakes.

 

 

Support your NCO's, and hold them accountable for individual and crew level training.

 

PCC/PCI's and TLP's will be your bread & butter. Make sure they are done for all tactical operations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

WRT to what Scott said, make sure your plt cmdrs are taking care of the training that they are responsible for, but it's largely their training. Fire team, squad and plt stuff is where you build small unit leadership. Make sure you have the best plt cmdrs and squad leaders you can find, support them, hold them accountable for results, but it's their show when it comes down to it.

 

Make sure you take care of the company level issues, like a CP/TOC SOP, the company commo plan, the aid station mass casualty drill, the mortars, etc etc. We were setting Inf coys out on their own and so they were having to do a lot more than is customary for a traditional company command post. For example, it wasn't uncommon for one of the Coys to have a LCMR, a Coy intel cell doing HUMINT SSE and link analysis, an independant platoon patrol base 5km away, five permanents CP's, an attached CAAT Tm and then the usual patrolling as well. If you have snipers or DM's, I can give you a pretty good SOP if you get me a SIPR address or a unit snail address. S/F....Ken M

Link to post
Share on other sites

NCOs, pick their brains for ideas.

 

Now I've known you on Tanknet for a while so you arn't some punk kid but even so these guys have a repository of knowlage that can come in mighty handy.

 

As the CO it is your call period.

 

The best way to get something done is to tell your Soldiers what the mission is and get their imput on how best to pork this puppy.

 

Watch with your own eyes, get reports and check it yourself and be seen doing so.

 

Don't be afraid to fire a bad NCO nor to kick but where needed.

 

Publicly praise good work.

 

Mentor your LTs, if there is no one to replace you, ya ain't making Major.

 

Command Philosophy: "Everybody fights, Nobody quit"s, yeah it is a line from a bad movie but it includes some good stuff like the word EVERYBODY and the word NOBODY and the word FIGHT. Simple and it conveighs comaradery and agression, you could do worse than that.

 

One more thing, you don't get what you hope and pray for, you get what you inspect and pay for.

Edited by George Newbill
Link to post
Share on other sites
In the units I commanded (company and detachment), I basically told the guys three things:

#1 We can lie to women, but don't ever lie to me or another member of the command.

#2 I'll underwrite honest mistakes, but won't tolerate BS or half-assed efforts.

#3 You may think you are good now, but wait to see what you're gonna become!

 

I like those ones... *Takes notes*

 

NTM

Link to post
Share on other sites

A few “hearts & minds” suggestions?

 

Produce and ensure full raining on a rather thorough Arabic phrase-book (if necessary, simplifying some sentences for ease of use, even if the grammar becomes somewhat pidgin-like).

 

Show them one or more corny movies showing US people as resistors (like “The Patriot”, “Invasion USA” etc.); make sure you understand the people they’re fighting and part of the population see you guys as the invading SOBs and themselves as…well…Patrick Swayze)

 

Train them (role play) to treat every woman as if she were their grandma and every man as if he were a fellow soldier until proven otherwise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats, Buck. Being a Company Commander was the most rewarding job I ever had - except for when I was a Company 1SG. ;)

 

I have Company Policies I drafted and implemented as 1SG, which was OKed by the Commander. You have my email, so if you want the documents, let me know. At least they could be a start point/template for you.

 

gdavis@bhcllp.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
You are in a bit of a compressed time schedule, but don't be afraid to sit back for a while and observe before you make changes. You are going to make your mark on them in the next 18+ months- see what they're about first before you introduce your vision.

 

In the units I commanded (company and detachment), I basically told the guys three things:

#1 We can lie to women, but don't ever lie to me or another member of the command.

#2 I'll underwrite honest mistakes, but won't tolerate BS or half-assed efforts.

#3 You may think you are good now, but wait to see what you're gonna become!

 

Best of luck.

 

I'd say to make sure you don't give lip service to #2. Once it happens and the guys see you fall back and discipline someone for an honest mistake, they know you are covering your ass. Keep #2 and the guys will do A LOT for you because our a man they respect and will stand up for the men in his unit. Make sure your Lt don't undermine you by ruining #2. Good Luck on your new command, train and ask a lot from the guys and they will deliver.

Link to post
Share on other sites
A few “hearts & minds” suggestions?

 

Produce and ensure full raining on a rather thorough Arabic phrase-book (if necessary, simplifying some sentences for ease of use, even if the grammar becomes somewhat pidgin-like).

 

If he's deploying to Afghanistan, Pashto and/or Dari (persian with an accent) will be most useful depending on your location. Arabic will be as useful as chinese or croatian.

 

There are several good dari phrasebooks on the internet for free including the marine one for officers and NCO's and one by itty-bitty courses which would probably be good for enlisted men (avaliable in both in both pashto and dari.)

 

http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/caocl/OEF_Afghan...spoken_dari.pdf

 

http://www.gbarto.com/multilingua/ittybitt...on-to-dari.html

 

Also try easypersian.com

 

I would imagine being able to read even if somewhat slowly arabic scripting would go a long way to reducing alien-lands syndrome, but that might take valuable time away from more 'staying alive' trigger pulling activities.

 

Having someone who can read the signage at least in every Plt. would be a good idea.

 

Good luck!

Edited by Luke_Yaxley
Link to post
Share on other sites
The mighty Buck-man will be getting an infantry company of his very own in the next 6 weeks. Does some former CDR out there have examples of his "command philosophy" that they can send my way.

 

Ooooh. Long nights, hard work. You start before and finish after everyone else. Just as well it's such a rewarding job.

 

Hope this helps. I'm guessing that the "two locations" means that this is USNG, so eight months is no time at all.

 

- When you're a Platoon Commander, you're convinced that tactics is everything. The world is G3 (S3 for y'all?).

- When you're a Company 2ic (XO), you become convinced that logistics is everything. The world is G4 (S4).

- When you're a Company Commander, you suddenly realise that people are everything. The world is G1 (S1).

 

If you can get the right people into the right jobs, things will work. Choose carefully, and beware those who "talk a good fight". Remember that your opinion of someone may not be widely held....after all, does someone have ten years' experience, or one year's experience ten times.

 

...tell everyone everything, as soon as you can - information grows stale fast. Knowledge is only power if you're insecure.

 

Your measure of success is your manning level. You'll get a period of grace while everyone watches the new OC; if the numbers start to fall, worry, if they climb, congratulations.

 

The company right now is spread out in two locations and is at about 60% strength.

 

You have my sympathies. Our two locations were only twenty miles and forty minutes' travel apart, and instead of being at 60% we were at about 80%. Mind you, our Rifle Company had only just (two days after my handover) stopped being an HQ Company. If the "mass" of the Company and Company HQ are in one location, the other can feel left out. Make sure that it isn't. If you've got a good leader on your staff, let them run the satellite location. You'll find it difficult to be in two places at once.

 

Finally, and most importantly, training has to be FUN. Do the things that really got you going when you were a young private soldier or officer. You know, exciting stuff. Lots of blank ammunition.

 

PS "fail to plan, plan to fail"...

Edited by FirstOfFoot
Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations! Commanding a company is the pinnacle of military work (in my opinion). Since our command structures are so different I have little advice that would be compeltely useful but there are 2 rules I belive you should remember.

 

1. Pay attention to detail, it's always the thing you forget that comes back and bites you on the ass.

 

most important

 

2. Lead! In ever thing and every way, you must be an example to your men. Particularly important is to share their experiences during training, because you won't always be able to do so in theatre. Remember that the best and simplest command of all is , "Follow me."

Link to post
Share on other sites
If he's deploying to Afghanistan, Pashto and/or Dari (persian with an accent) will be most useful depending on your location. Arabic will be as useful as chinese or croatian.

 

My “Doh!!” (full Homer Simpson mode….)

 

I would imagine being able to read even if somewhat slowly arabic scripting would go a long way to reducing alien-lands syndrome, but that might take valuable time away from more 'staying alive' trigger pulling activities.

 

Knowing where you a re, what people are saying (somewhat) if the chap yelling is warning or threatening is as life-saving as shaving a micro-second off target acquisition with an M4, I should think. I would strive to give all some basic understanding/phrasebook-ology and one per SQUAD more intensive training. If you do 1 hr of instruction per day, in a few weeks you should be able to read fairly well and carry on simple conversations in just about any language.

 

I think ‘Merkuns underestimate the sheer goodwill generated by people (‘occupiers’) speaking a bit of the local language. I’ve experienced this directly, albeit not in a civil war context.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some simple thoughts:

 

1. Train as you fight. See what kind of training has been done with SECFOR Companies in the Stan, and what the current CFLCC requirements are. If I wasn't on convalescent leave, I'd could send you them. They are available at the CALL website.

 

2. Logistics will bite you in the ass if you don't pay attention to it. The XO is your log expert, but you need to make sure that he is squared away. I've seen more companies go into the shitter because of poor log planning and execution.

 

3. Do not be afraid to fire anyone.

 

4. Listen to everyone in the company, regardless of rank. Sometimes the most profound information comes from the PFC's and PVT's. Do not dismiss them before listening to what they have to say. It also helps build cohesion when the CO is listening to the troops.

 

5. Don't sweat the lack of personnel or equipment. There's little you can do about the personnel with the timeframes you mentioned and nothing you can do about the equipment. Just train as hard and as smart as you can with what you have.

 

6. Be truthful when it comes to USR reporting. That's the only way the system can be fixed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoy. You will always cherish the memories of your time as a company commander. As to cmd philosophy...you can't be too demanding and you can't be too fair. Your people will do much more than they think possible if you demand it and check on them. Your people will stand by you stand by them. Don't blame higher HQs for unpleasant assignments. Issue the order and demand compliance. If one of your troopers has a problem, don't see it as your problem---consider it an opportunity to earn the guy's respect and trust.

 

Golden rules: The mission comes first, your troops second, you last. The carrot is in the open, the stick is in private. Respect work and honest mistakes, crush BS.

 

Good luck and God bless. I envy you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn Tom, you've completely sold your soul now. :P

 

All of the ideas posted have been good, but remember some simple shit. Don't do what you hated your commanders doing, and whenever you can, do the things you liked about former commanders. .

Link to post
Share on other sites
4. Listen to everyone in the company, regardless of rank. Sometimes the most profound information comes from the PFC's and PVT's. Do not dismiss them before listening to what they have to say. It also helps build cohesion when the CO is listening to the troops.

 

Word. Never dismiss the intel capabilities of the Lance Corporal Underground....

Link to post
Share on other sites
Word. Never dismiss the intel capabilities of the Lance Corporal Underground....

 

One of my creeds was this:

 

"The highest of General's can always learn something from the lowest of Privates."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sort of reminds me of the saying "The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional looks and listen to the amateur if he/she has something to teach while the amateur knows he/she knows everything"

 

Congrats.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sort of reminds me of the saying "The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional looks and listen to the amateur if he/she has something to teach while the amateur knows he/she knows everything"

 

I always liked "A professional is someone who produces good work on a day (s)he doesn't really feel like it." Take it from a lifelong amateur... and that may be a joke, but it's not funny. :(

 

Congratulations, and I hope you know afterwards that you did well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Damn Tom, you've completely sold your soul now. :P

 

All of the ideas posted have been good, but remember some simple shit. Don't do what you hated your commanders doing, and whenever you can, do the things you liked about former commanders. .

 

Yeah, I guess I have, but I can't think of a better way for me to help my soldiers come home un-hurt.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...