As a small unit leader, your primary responsibility is to prepare your Soldiers for combat. Everything else you do is secondary. In order to prepare your Soldiers for combat, you really only need to do two things. You need to teach them the right skill-set and the right mind-set. We’ll cover more on each topic below.
The Right Skill-Set
The right skill-set means that your Soldiers can do their job, get the mission done, and then come home safe. Specific elements include:
- Trained at the Warrior Tasks – Every Soldier, regardless of their MOS must be proficient in the Warrior Tasks. They must know how to shoot, move and communicate, so they can survive on the battlefield.
- Trained in MOS – You need to ensure that your Soldiers are highly trained in their MOS, that they have the schools they need and the job experience to know what it takes to succeed. They should also be cross-trained in other job skills.
- Trained in Unit’s Collective Tasks – Soldiers must be proficient at their unit’s collective tasks. They must know the unit’s collective tasks and what their role is in helping accomplish those tasks.
The Right Mind-Set
- Live by the Warrior Ethos – You must instill the warrior ethos in your Soldiers. Some examples include discipline, the will to carry on, pride, honor, etc. Soldiers must think like Soldiers and be mentally tough. It also includes being mentally and physically fit.
- Live by the Army Values – The Army values are important, even in combat. You must instill the Army values in your Soldiers: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
- Disciplined – We covered this a moment ago, but discipline really is the core component on this entire list. Everything starts with discipline. Your Soldiers must respect the rank structure, their orders, their superiors, and most importantly themselves. They must be willing to carry out orders, even if it could cost them their life in combat.
- Team Focused – Their is no “I” in team. You need to make sure your Soldiers are team focused and care just as much about the team as they do themselves. This means they care about their team and understand that the team’s objectives are more important than their personal objectives.
- Mission Focused – You must instill in your Soldiers a mind-set that accomplishing the mission is the most important thing. Everything revolves around the mission.
If I had to put all these things into a single statement, it would be to ensure your Soldiers have the skill, the will and team work to get the job done.
Whenever you do a training event at your armory or in the field, make sure it is battle focused. Make sure that it incorporates one of more of the things listed above. By doing that, you will help ensure your Soldiers are prepared for combat. That way if they get deployment orders, you can be confident that they will get the mission done AND come home safely.
What are your thoughts? What do you think leaders should do to prepare their Soldiers for combat? Leave a comment and let us know.