How Can I Keep My Unit Trained to Do Their Combat Mission?

keep unit trained
How Can I Keep My Unit Trained for their Combat Mission?

Here’s a question I got asked the other day from one of our subscribers: “How can I keep my unit trained to do their combat mission?”  After putting some thought into this for a couple of days here is what I recommend.

1)      Realize Your Primary Purpose as a Leader – You must realize that your primary (and some could argue only purpose) is to ensure your Soldiers are prepared for their wartime mission.  You must adopt this mindset and teach it to your subordinate leaders and Soldiers.

2)     Teach Every Soldier to Shoot, Move and Communicate – All Soldiers MUST know how to shoot, move and communicate.  This is what will keep them alive on the battlefield.  You must spend lots of time with weapons training, basic tactics, how to do a call for fire, first aid training, and other Warrior Tasks.  Do this type of training every single drill weekend.

3)      Instill the Warrior Mindset in Your Soldiers – Part of staying alive in combat situations is having the right attitude and mindset.  As a leader, you should live the warrior ethos yourself and you should teach your Soldiers the same mindset.  You should teach your Soldiers confidence, self-respect and teach them the will to win and never give up.

4)      Master the Basics Before You Try Anything ElseFocus on the basics.  Don’t try to do many things.  Keep your training simple and focus on the shoot, move and communicate, along with the MOS skills.  Until you get your unit proficient with that, doing a bunch of collective training won’t help very much.

5)      Make all Training Battle Focused – Whenever you schedule any type of training, make it battle focused, tough and realistic.  Get out of the armory.  Do training in the field.  Have Soldiers wear full battle rattle and gear.  Get sweaty.  Make your training as realistic as possible.

I’m sure there are some other things you could do to keep your unit trained to do their combat mission, but I believe these are the five most critical tasks to focus on first.

What are your thoughts? If you have some added tips, or if you have any questions, just post them below. We do our best to answer all on a timely basis.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes

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2 thoughts on “How Can I Keep My Unit Trained to Do Their Combat Mission?”

  1. A technique I used set up a Mission Essential Task List (METL) Crosswalk. This Crosswalk identified how each METL related to collective and individual tasks. Then I would the individual and collective tasks that gave me the biggest bang for my training time. For Example: Let’s say my METL task was “Preserve the Force”. This task directly relates to 12 Collective tasks like: Perform Field Sanitation, Conduct NBC Operations, Establish and Perform TOC operations, etc. This allows you to focus your training time in a manner that best maximizes your training time. Then you can save other training days for those tasks that are a high priority but require in bdepth training or sustainment training. If you are interested how to develop your unit training program and how to motivate your Soldiers during training I would recommend you read “The Trainer- A training Guide for All Ranks”. It is available on at:

    1. During my time in the military, I never personally heard of the METL Crosswalk, but I pretty much followed the same routine. It’s all about getting the biggest bang for your buck, especially in the Guard and Reserves where this is limited training time, resources, and funds available.

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