In today’s post, I want to teach you about Sergeant’s Time Training. I will discuss (1) what it is, (2) who conducts it, and (3) share 20 good topics you could cover in your next class.
What is Sergeant’s Time Training & Who Conducts It?
What exactly is Sergeant’s Time Training and what should you know about it? Here’s a good definition I found online:
Sergeant’s Time Training is hands-on, practical training for soldiers given by their NCOs. It provides our NCOs with resources and the authority to Page FM 7-22.7A-2 bring training publications or Technical Manuals to life and to develop the trust between leader and led to ensure success in combat. In the Active Component, the chain of command and NCO support channel support this vital training event by scheduling five uninterrupted hours of STT each week, usually conducted on Thursday mornings from 0700 – 1200 hours. In the Reserve Component, STT may be difficult to accomplish during a typical Unit Training Assembly or even during Annual Training. But even RC units should plan and conduct STT after mobilization. ~ Military PPT
Sergeant’s Time Training is normally conducted by first line leaders. Here’s what Army Study Guide has to say about that:
First line leaders are the primary trainers during STT and should strive for 100% of their soldier’s present for training. Platoon sergeants assist in the preparation and execution of the training. Officers provide the METL and resources (time, personnel and equipment) to evaluate training and provide feedback to commanders. Senior NCOs should protect this program against distractions and provide leadership and guidance as necessary to the first line leader. They must train their soldiers to standard (not to time) oriented on specific tasks to provide the important one-on-one exchange between NCO leaders and their soldiers.
23 Training Topic Ideas
What you will find below are 20 different topics you could teach about in your next Sergeant’s Time Training. Feel free to use any of these topics as you see fit. Just keep in mind, you know your Soldiers best and know what topics will benefit them the most.
# 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 Soldiers 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 during Sergeant’s Time Training and do an overview of the Thrift Savings Plan. They could review 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 visit 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. Do a demonstration and show each Soldier what they should do. Then you can let each Soldier practice and provide them with some constructive feedback.
# 7: How to Set up a Field Tent
You could sign out some tents from your unit’s 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 teach 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 must 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 short 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’s 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 teach 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 if they were that person, 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 in the military, it’s NBC training. You could have your Soldiers 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.
# 21: Army Values or Warrior Ethos
Teaching a class on the Army Values or Warrior Ethos is a great refresher training for Sergeant’s Time Training. Although your Soldiers have received training on these topics in Basic Training, some of this information is easy to forget.
# 22: First Aid
First Aid is an important skill every Soldier should know how to do. Even though Soldiers learn basic first aid in Basic Training, many people forget how to do it. This would be a great topic for your upcoming training.
# 23: How to Conduct an AAR
Every small unit leader (and future leader) should know how to conduct an After Action Review. You could teach a class on this topic and then have each Soldier lead their own After Action Review.
In conclusion, 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 peers. You could even ask your Soldiers what areas they would like 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 on hand 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 you get maximum participation. 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.