I decided to do a blog post about Army Officer lateness to formations because I found that a lot of people were finding my website each month via that search term. Obviously, this is an important topic to a lot of people, so I would like to take a moment and address it.
I would not say this is a MAJOR problem in the Army, but it is a problem. Even in my 15 years of Army experience this is a problem I saw several times. The major problem I experienced was officers late for their own formations. In many cases, the unit commander would schedule a formation for a set time, and then get there five, ten, even twenty minutes late.
All the while, the Soldiers, NCOs and other officers were sitting around waiting for the formation to start. As I see it, this is a huge WASTE of time, money and Army resources. And it makes you look bad as a leader.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a leadership position, and have Soldiers serving under you, you owe it to them to be prompt with your unit formations. That means you should always start and end on time.
If you have a formation set for a certain time you have the responsibility to start it on time. If anything, you should get there a few minutes early, in case of the unexpected. If you know you are going to be late (because of another commitment) you have two options. They are (1) cancel the formation or (2) let someone else lead the formation.
Once again, making your Soldiers wait for YOU to get to your own formation is very UNPROFESSIONAL. I cannot stress that enough. If you are guilty of doing this yourself, stop it! Your Soldiers deserve better. Don’t make your Soldiers and NCOs pay because you are not good at managing your time!
Even if this messages gets through to just one person I think it is worth it. What do you think?
Former Army Major (resigned)
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10 thoughts on “Army Officer Lateness to Formations”
I can understand an oopsie moment once in a while. Sometimes we just cannot get up in time or circumstances prevent timeliness (no matter how hard you try) but if tardiness is chronic or some sort of power play simply because you CAN be late then there is no excuse for that. It is irresponsible and a very bad example to everyone under their command. You have stressed being a leader in the bulk of your posts, Chuck – being on time should be a given. Maybe the officer needs to do a little PT to remember where he comes from?
Being late is one thing. Wasting everyone else’s time because you are late is unacceptable in my opinion.
I am amazed that this has to even be covered. I think that as an Officer, I would be very embarrassed to be late to my own formation. Something I have always detested is tardiness. I believe it would be very difficult to counsel their soldiers if the Officer is consistently late.
I hope that any Officers who have this terrible habit read this post and start setting their alarm clocks and getting to it on time.
It is definitely a problem in the Army, Greg. Sad, but true. In fact, it happens more than most people think.
This just sounds like one of the situations where I believe that there should be reviews done of officers by the soldiers under them. I think that anonymous soldier reviews should be taken every quarter. These reviews should be inspected by someone over the Commander and the Commander should be reprimanded for offenses like this.
Just my opinion. Does anyone know if this happens much in the other branches?
I’ve never heard of anyone in the Army getting rated by their subordinates, but I don’t think that would be a bad idea.
I agree that it is embarrassing. I remember feeling like we were being blown off, when I was an enlisted Soldier standing in formation. Nothing is worse than waiting in formation and wasting time, I know none of us like doing that.
Chuck, I agree with you and cannot believe that this even needs to be a topic of discussion. Generally speaking, if the commander sets a formation time, and then finds out he will not make it, he doesn’t make the rest of us wait for him – he will usually tell the 1SG to carry on without him, unless there is some reason he needs to speak to us, in which case he will reschedule formation. I can’t recall ever having this be any other way.
I’m glad it’s not a problem in your unit, Candace. But you have to trust me here, it happens a lot.
I do trust you, 100%. I have seen it happen elsewhere. It is frustrating for me to think about because it isn’t difficult to adjust the timeline, or communicate with your Soldiers. They will be understanding, if you take the time to let them know instead of just blowing them off.