There is a level of frustration that every Leader deals with. For the Military, particularly Combat Arms, this frustration changes over time and position. This post is from a Senior Leader who has the credentials to speak on this and hopefully many more subjects. Enjoy-Ash Hess
As I see it, here is the main problem with our Army today. No one wants to do their job. Sorry, but it’s true, everyone just wants to sit around, talk shit and still say that they’re “the best Team/Squad Leader” or even they’re “the best Platoon Sergeant”.
So, you’re telling me you’re the best Team Leader that has ever graced the unit’s ranks, but when you do a live fire the 320 never shoots, the SAW is just blazing ammo, and you’re calling “black” (which is entirely wrong because that means you have less than 50% of your combat load) when you should be calling something like “Winchester”. Ok, let’s think about this, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU CALLING WINCHESTER!? Ever thought about controlling your rate of fire? You know, YOUR JOB! Why are all the rifles changing magazines at the same time? Why does that SAW have no direction?
So, what are you actually SUPPOSED to do? Maybe create an SOP and don’t just say a catch phrase. You should be getting with your fire team and telling them what your SOP actually is, you know having a shared understanding of the STANDARD operating procedure. First, let’s set up the fire team from the left to right in this case will the SAW, Team Leader, Grenadier (attach the fucking 320 to the rifle and teach your boys to use it), and then your rifleman. Next, we’re going to tell everyone what to do. SAW you do a 5-7 round burst, I’ll (the Team Leader) will shoot one round, Grenadier you’re going to alternate a 40mm HEDP and a 5.56mm, Rifleman, you’ll shoot two rounds. SAW, once you hear two rounds, then you know it’s your turn again. Guess what!? Now we have an SOP for how we’re going to shoot.
Our next step is defining the actual rate and how we’re going to use it. My way is “left to right rapid!” Now for rapid, we do one firer right after another. It’ll sound like “SAAAAAW, Bang, Thunk, Bang Bang (that’s the two rounds right?) SAWWWW, Bang, Bang, Bang Bang.” Holy shit, guess what’ we’re in sync. Ok, we’ve now suppressed the enemy enough and we need to conserve our ammo while the other team conducts their movement. “LEFT TO RIGHT SUSTAINED!!! LEFT TO RIGHT SUSTAINED!!!” (Another note, train your boys to ECHO the commands!) Uh oh! We don’t have an SOP now! Well, let’s use four seconds unless you state otherwise, for example “SUSTAINED 7! SUSTAINED 7!” With this four (naturally) or other time (based on your instructions) count, we’re going to increase the life of our ammo BUT we force our guys to count! Now you’ve called out “LEFT TO RIGHT SUSTAINED” and our Team now sounds like SAAAAAWWWWW, (1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand) BANG, (1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand) THUNK, (1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand) BANG BANG!
Damn, look at us, we sound like a fucking symphony now. We have fixed the “Winchester” problem. Unfortunately, we still have a huge problem. You haven’t told the guys anything to specifically shoot at, they’re likely all just blazing one target. First, you need a knowledge of what type of target you should be shooting at with a specific weapon. For the SAW, give them an SOP. Tell him a gathering of 3-5 troops, if there are no troops shoot at that tent that bullets can go through (aka a soft target). For the 320, it controls the dead space, a vehicle, or a hardened structure. We’ve given these young men under our control an idea of what to light up before they have instructions. The original wave of fire has occurred and you as the Team Leader have separated yourself from the immediate situation and given yourself the ability to scan the objective. Give them instructions, “SAW, on my burst” or “SAW on my laser” and you rope the target. “Grenadier, 320 on my burst”, “Rifleman, watch my burst for your left and right limits”.
Now, we have controlled the objective and controlled our rates of fire so no one is changing their magazine at the same time, fires are going all over the objective, and we’re not going to run out of ammunition. You’re amazing, you’ve finally done your job and I am proud of you.
To end this, I’m going to tell you my “Tom Brady” principle. Analysts will say he is the best ever because he does his progressions and throws to the open receiver. You know what that is? It’s his job. Literally what he gets paid to do. The Army is breeding laziness and it is fucking horrible. We’re at a sad state of knowledge and effort which is only hurting us. Everyone talks shit on the National Guard, but do you really train more than they do? I’m going to bet you don’t. Right now, in the Army, and it is horrible to say but, if you do your job just 70% of the time, you’re probably doing it more than 90% of the Leaders in your formation.
Generally speaking there is a new war every 20 years. We’ve been in Iraq and Afghanistan for 16 years and looking at the state of the world, well, things are heating up. You are leading men, you are responsible for their lives and you need to take that seriously. One day, some event will occur that will send you to combat and you need to make sure that you, and the men who count on you, are ready for that combat.