Sergeant’s Time Training is an important time when first line supervisors (NCOs) get a chance to spend time with their Soldiers educating them about specific topics. If you’re like most NCOs you are probably trying to brainstorm some creative ideas to do during Sergeant’s Time Training. Listed below you will find my top 20 good ideas for Sergeant’s Time Training. They are listed in no particular order. Enjoy.
# 1 Call for Fire – You could sign out a radio from the Supply Sergeant and take your troops to a local training area to practice the call for fire. You could start out with a brief class on the subject, do a demonstration, and then let each Soldier get some experience doing the call for fire themselves.
# 2 Creating a Personal Budget – You could find someone who is really good at handling their money, maybe even a local CPA, and have them do a class on “how to create a budget.” Have them give your Soldiers a sample budget, recommend some books on the topic and help each Soldier come up with their own budget.
# 3 How to PMCS a Vehicle – Most people assume that all Soldiers already know how to do this correctly. I disagree. You could have a class covering how to PMCS a vehicle step-by-step, using the required technical manual. You could also evaluate each Soldier doing a PMCS and provide them constructive feedback.
# 4 Overview of the Thrift Savings Plan – You could have your unit’s finance officer or NCO visit with your Soldiers and do an overview of the Thrift Savings Plan. They could talk about how it works, what the different options are, what the pros and cons are, the tax advantages, the power of compound interest, etc.
# 5 How to Maximize Your Retirement Pay – You could help each Soldier get a print out of their retirement points. You could take that information and show each Soldier how to check out the online retirement calculator to see how much their pension will be when they retire. You could also talk about different ways to earn more retirement points (or a larger pension) by getting promoted, going to school, serving on ADOS, etc.
# 6 How to Evaluate a Casualty – This is another basic Warrior Task that many Soldiers forget how to do properly. You could have your unit medic give a class about evaluating casualties. You could do a demonstration and show each Soldier what they should do. Then you can let each Soldier practice and provide them some constructive feedback.
# 7 How to Set up a Field Tent – You could sign out some tents from supply section and have your Soldiers practice assembling and disassembling it. This is a basic skill that every Soldier should know how to do. It’s also a perishable skill.
# 8 How to Operate a Vehicle in a Convoy – You could give a class on convoys and then have your Soldiers prepare for a convoy. You could teach your Soldiers how to write a convoy order, how to stage vehicles, how to get a convoy clearance or a wide variety of other things.
# 9 How to Operate/Load/Unload a M2 50 Cal – Another great idea for Sergeant’s Time Training is to teach your Soldiers how to use the M2 50 Cal properly. Many Soldiers have no idea how to do this. You could start out with a basic class and teach them how to assemble or disassemble the weapon. Or, you could teach them how to do a functions check or load the weapon.
# 10 Land Navigation – There are tons of different things you could do with Land Navigation. You could take your Soldiers to a local land nav course. You could also teach a class on map reading. You could do mounted or dismounted land nav. The options are endless.
# 11 How to Write an OPORD – You could teach your Soldiers the basics of OPORDs. You could take a unit OPORD and discuss the key elements of it. You could also assign each Soldier a “fake” mission where they have to write an OPORD for it.
# 12 How to Conduct an Inventory – Another great idea for Sergeant’s Time Training is to teach your Soldiers how to conduct an inventory the right way. Have your Supply Sergeant give them a brief class and then do a mock inventory with each Soldier. Show them the forms and paperwork that is required with each inventory.
# 13 How to Fill Out a DA Form 638 and Submit Someone for an Award – You could teach your Soldiers how to fill out a DA Form 638 to submit someone for an award. You could have each Soldier write up an award for someone and then give them feedback on their write-up.
# 14 Unit History – One of my favorite ideas for Sergeant’s Time Training is to teach a class on the unit history. Study the battles, the famous Soldiers, and the Medal of Honor recipients from your unit. Talk about the unit crest and motto. At the end of the class give each Soldier an exam to test their knowledge.
# 15 Battlefield Visit – Depending upon where you are assigned geographically, there is a good chance there is a battlefield within a one to two hour drive. If possible, do a battlefield visit and talk about what happened, what went well, and what the key learning points were.
# 16 How to Prepare a Risk Assessment – Another idea for Sergeant’s Time Training is to teach your Soldiers how to prepare a risk assessment. You could give a class on how to prepare one the right way and then you could have each Soldier prepare a risk assessment of their own. At the end of the class you could provide feedback to each Soldier about what they did right and did wrong with their risk assessment.
# 17 Watch a Movie – You could watch a movie with your Soldiers and assign each Soldier a character in the movie. Once the movie is finished you could have each Soldier talk about what the character did right and wrong, what they would have done differently and what the key learning points were. Some great movies might include Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan or A Bridge Too Far!
# 18 React to NBC Attack – If there is one type of training that often gets neglected, it’s NBC training. You could have all of your Soldier learn how to set up the NBC alarm. You could also teach a class on how to decontaminate equipment. You could visit a local gas chamber. Or, you could have your Soldiers put on their NBC gear to make sure they know how to use it properly.
# 19 Drill and Ceremony – Another idea for Sergeant’s Time training is to train on drill and ceremony. You could give a class on drill and ceremony and give each Soldier a chance to lead drill and ceremony with their peers. This could include formations, marching orders or whatever else you deem relevant.
# 20 Operate an M249 – My last idea for Sergeant’s time Training is to teach your Soldiers how to operate the M249 machine gun. I’m sure you have Soldiers who are already proficient with it, but many of your Soldiers might not have any experience with the weapon. Teach how to assemble and disassemble it. Teach them how to do a functions check. If possible, head to the range and let each Soldier get experience firing the weapon.
This is just a short list of good ideas for Sergeant’s Time Training. You are only limited to your imagination and to the needs of your Soldiers. If in doubt, get some ideas from your supervisor. Or, you could even ask your Soldiers what areas they would like some training in.
Your key to success is to provide practical, relevant, battle focused training. Also, make sure you are prepared. Come up with a plan, do a few rehearsals and make sure you have the resources you need to succeed! Don’t wing it. Treat your Sergeant’s Time Training just as seriously as you would any other training event.
If possible get away from the armory or unit and go to a secluded training area where there are no distractions, preferably somewhere quiet. Another tip is to make sure your Sergeants and Staff Sergeants are leading the training. Let the senior NCOs supervise and give the junior NCOs a chance to teach their Soldiers. Make sure that all Soldiers participate. Try to make it a hands on event where there is a combination of instruction and application.
I’d love to hear some of your good ideas for Sergeant’s Time Training. What tips and what subjects do you recommend? To share your thoughts just leave a comment below. Thanks.