Refrigerator Gap (ABCT CO TM)

The Company Leader TDG 18-12

You are the Company Commander of A Co/ 1-64 AR. Your unit is in a TAA VIC NV 585215 at REDCON 2. You are waiting to receive orders to conduct an FPOL with B Co and continue the attack to OBJ Chicago. Your current combat power is 1x Armor PLT with 3 operational tanks, 2x BFV platoons with 1 PLT of 3x BFVs and the other of 4 BFVs. Each Platoon has 14x dismounts divided into 2x squads each and all Javelins are operational.  Additionally, you have an engineer platoon attached with 3x operational engineer BFVs, a MCLIC, and a sapper squad of 6x Soldiers. Your Company HQs is 100% and you are fully resupplied.

U.S. Army Armor Basic Officer Course Class 18-006 conducts STX at the Good Hope Maneuver Training Area. Photo Retrieved from the U.S. Army Armor Basic Officer Course Facebook Page.

Thanks for the Privilege

A Practical Guide to Gratitude Year-Round

Thanksgiving is over. The one time of year where we, as a nation, get disciplined about our intentional gratitude for one day. Well, not quite one FULL day. We quickly moved from Thanksgiving Dinner to Black Friday. But now it’s Saturday and with it comes two full-days before Cyber-Monday. Let’s take some time today and tomorrow to reflect on how we, as leaders, can build a practice of intentional thankfulness.

2018 In Books

A Review of 80 Books for Leaders

A move from coast-to-coast and a now long daily commute have combined to help in my 2018 book consumption. Audible has certainly been a game-changer too, making drives and PT hours double as “reading” time. Below is a list of the books I read this year, a top 10 list, and a focus on the books I highly recommend. In the interest of doing my part to further commercialism this holiday season, I’ve decided to cut-off my list and publish this post a little before the year is over. So whether you are looking to broaden your reading or put a book in the stocking of someone special this year, here is a post for you!

Remembrance Day

Guest Post by Master Sgt. Beau Barker

“We are the Dead. Short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Loved and we loved, and now we lie in Flanders Fields.” Remembrance Day is observed in the Commonwealth of Nations member states to remember and give thanks to those in uniform who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Similar to our U.S. Memorial Day, but observed on our Veterans Day – known globally as Armistice Day. This, like many other traditions of our cousins across the pond, holds a special place in my heart because of my time serving at the British Army Gunnery School. It was an experience that taught me to appreciate the importance of tradition and ceremony.

‘On November 11th each year, Canadians gather at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, standing in collective Remembrance of all who have fallen in the military service of their country. 

Coming to a Company Near You

A TDG for Administering the ACFT, by Col. Michael Shekleton

Much has been said about the Army’s new fitness test. The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is the replacement for the Army Physical Fitness Test, and there are no shortage of opinions on it. Just take a look here, here, or here. Even Business Insider is getting in on the fun. But, barring slight changes from the ongoing field testing, it looks like the ACFT will be coming to a company near you in the near future. So let’s prepare for it. You’ve read the ACFT handbook (TRADOC 18-37); consulted the dietician, physical therapist, and strength & conditioning (S&C) coach assigned to your battalion; and integrated exercises and recommendations into your unit’s health and fitness program. With all that preparation complete, how would you plan a company-level execution of the new ACFT? What does that day look like?

A Soldier with the Washington National Guard positions a 10-pound medicine ball as part of the standing power throw test event during a pilot Army Combat Readiness Test Aug. 4, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. (Stephanie Slater/Army). Retrieved from Army Times.

Route Canada (IBCT PLT MTC)

The Company Leader TDG 18-11

This TDG is set in the war in Afghanistan. It has its roots in COIN operations, but is relevant to any current DATE scenario. While approaching this TDG, familiarize yourself with the MTOE of a platoon in an IBCT, within the constraints provided below. Be creative, consider what you know about the enemy, and the relevant information about your friendly forces’ operations the day prior. Spend some time understanding the enemy, the terrain, and yourself. Think critically and creatively. Good luck and enjoy!

Tanks in the Hedgerows (ABCT Co Attack)

The Company Leader TDG 18-10

You are the company commander of B Co, 2-7 IN. You have been operating in the Sherka Province of Urzustan, a military state under dictator rule with ties to other terrorist and near-peer adversaries of the United States. Over the past 24 hours, your BN TAA has been receiving indirect fire from the north. Your sister FA BN and BN FiST determined the point of origin (POO) to be a hill approximately 1000 meters outside of the town of Jurju. Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicate that mortar teams use that hill and quickly displace to Jurju where a local militia tied to the current regime gives them safe haven. You report to the Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC) at 2300hrs to receive a FRAGORD.

Students of ABOLC and IBOLC execute the Combined Competitive Maneuver Exercise. Photo of D Troop, 2-16 CAV, ABOLC, U.S. Army Armor School. Photo retrieved from U.S. Army Armor Officer Basic Course Facebook Page.

Regard Your Soldiers

Sun Tzu’s Take on Family or Team

Family or team? It is becoming the organizational culture version of the born or made question in leadership. 3×5 Leadership recently ran a great piece that broke down two competing theories on the topic. I recommend you read “Are We a Family or a Team?” and the books he references (Dan Coyle’s The Culture Code and Todd Henry’s Herding Tigers). This post will focus more on a personal view with the only expert invoked being Sun Tzu.

Soldiers with 1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry Regiment, conduct live-fire exercises late into the evening during their annual training at Orchard Combat Training Center near Boise, Idaho, July 25, 2018. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Holden, Oregon National Guard – Oregon Military Department

Story Time

An Alternative to Safety Briefs

A Google Search of “Safety Brief Memes” renders more hits than a former Company Commander cares to admit. Safety Briefs, usually delivered by a Commander or senior NCO at the end of the week, are a running joke. So much so, that the Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark Esper, announced earlier this month that they were no longer mandatory. Safety Briefs were often a regurgitation of platitudes that sound more like an attempt to cover your behind than genuinely impart a worthwhile message. “Don’t drink and drive, no means no, don’t do drugs, don’t…., no…., etc. etc.” But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s save the baby before we throw out the bathwater.

Letter To Me (On Day 1 as XO)

Guest Post by 1st Lt. Cameron Cause

Five years. Five years is the average amount of time you spend from the moment you arrive on campus, enrolled in ROTC or at USMA, to the time you become a Platoon Leader (PL). You invested five years of work, effort, and striving toward that one goal. You’ve heard it is “the best job you’ll ever have.” And when the old timers say, “I would go back in a heartbeat if I could,” you return a half-embarrassed chuckle and a rueful smile. Then it is gone. Suddenly, you wake up and your platoon is no longer “yours.” You’re no longer a “PL” or “The Sir/Ma’am.” Now they call you “XO.” What now?

XO can be a lonely job – but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing where you fit in, how you can best impact and serve the Soldiers by serving the command, and feeling comfortable in your spot at the back of the formation will make all the difference.