Today, I want to share four valuable lessons I learned as an Army Major. Before I share the lessons, you should know upfront that I spent a little over a year as an Army Major in the ARNG before I resigned my commission. In my last duty assignment I served as the Regimental S3.
I should also be quite frank with you and tell you that I did not enjoy being a Major all that much. I didn’t HATE it, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as serving at the company level. Of course, I was excited about getting promoted to MAJOR, and I had plenty of experience, but had I known what I know now, I never would have taken the promotion.
That being said, here are four valuable lessons I learned as an Army Major. Hopefully, you can learn a few things from this post and be a better Major yourself.
# 1 Your Days of Working with Soldiers Are OVER, Forever!
Admit it or not, but once you enter the field grade ranks, your days of working closely with Soldiers are pretty much done. Yes, you will still have a NCO, and perhaps a small staff working for you, but you will never again have the same close interaction with Soldiers as you did at the company/unit level. Even when you become a BN Commander or BDE Commander, you won’t get to work all that closely with Soldiers. This is something I had a hard time accepting and is one of the reasons I resigned.
# 2 Good Leaders Aren’t Always Good Staff Officers and Good Staff Officers Aren’t Always Good Leaders
Some people are naturally good leaders and others are naturally good administrators (staff officers). Few people are good at both. I am a decent administrator, but I am naturally a leader. I knew that most of my career would be in a staff position and that I would never get the fulfillment that I would if I was in a leadership position. This was a tough pill for me to swallow.
# 3 Working on Operational and Strategic Level Tasks Isn’t the Same as Tactical Level Tasks
As a Company Grade Officer, you get tons of exposure at the tactical level. To me, this is what the Army is all about. It’s where the rubber meets the road. As you enter the field grade ranks you get your first exposure to the operational and strategic levels. This is the “big picture” Army that most enlisted Soldiers never get to experience. While I did well in my job, I never enjoyed writing policies, working on PowerPoint, and doing endless meetings that felt like a waste of time.
# 4 A Good Officer is Worth Their Weight in Gold
NCOs are the backbone of the Army. Everyone says that and knows that. I agree. I would like to add in to that and tell you that a good officer is worth their weight in gold, ESPECIALLY in a combat environment. Good officers can make the life of the NCO a lot easier. A good officer can create a good game plan, get the required resources, and provide vision and guidance to an organization. A good officer can take the Bad News Bears and turn them into a winning team.
In summary, I learned several valuable lessons while I served as a Major in the ARNG. I hope you have enjoyed the lessons I shared today. In addition, I would love to hear from you. If you’ve served as a Major (currently, or in the past) please leave a comment below and share some of the lessons that you learned while you were a Major.