My Regimental S3 Operations Officer Experience

Today, I want to talk about my experience as a Regimental S3 Operations Officer.  I’ll do this in interview style, since I think that will be the most beneficial thing for you.  Please know that I served as a Regimental S3 in the Maryland Army National Guard as my final duty assignment.  I only spent five months in the job before I resigned my commission in April 2011.  Let’s get started.

What Is The Official Job Title?

Regimental S3 Operations Officer for a Training Regiment.

What is the Regimental S3 Operations Officer Job Description?

Served as the Regimental S3 Operations Officer for the 70th Regiment (LDR).  Plans, controls, and executes mission operations for the Regiment.  Prepares all operation orders, warning orders and fragmentary orders.  Prepares detailed plans which support execution of policies and strategy.  Determines training needs for the Regiment and prepares and supervises training to support those needs.  Establishes policies and standards for unit readiness and supervises unit efforts to meet readiness standards.  Establishes the composition of forces required to support plans, from the fiscally constrained force to the resourced force level.  Supervise 4 NCOs.  Addition duties include Unit Movement Officer and Logistics Readiness Officer.

***** This was off my OER

What Type of Unit Were You In?

Our unit was a Training Regiment (Leader) with an OCS/WOCS Battalion and General Studies Battalion.

What Are the Primary Duties and Responsibilities of the Regimental S3 Operations Officer?

  • Lead the Military Decision Making Process for the Regiment
  • Task subordinate units with mission orders
  • Lead all training meetings
  • Write all WARNOs, FRAGOs, and OPORDs
  • Establish policies and procedures
  • Plan, schedule, resource and evaluate all training

What Did You Like Most About Your Job?

I enjoyed running the training meetings and writing OPORDs.  It was also enjoyable to interact with the Brigade Commander, Battalion Commanders and other staff officers to learn their thought processes and leadership styles.  The unit had great leaders, Officers, NCOs and Soldiers.  I also enjoyed our mission of training future Army Officers, Warrant Officers, and Army Leaders.  Also, I had a great boss who invested a lot of time with me, teaching me the ropes and showing me what right looked like.

What Did You Dislike About Your Job?

By nature, I am naturally a doer.  Although I consider myself a decent planner, I am really the guy you want to be in charge of the folks executing the plan.  While I learned a lot in the job, I truly did not enjoy it.  This was the first TDA/non-deployable unit I ever worked in and I would have been much happier as a Brigade S3 or Battalion S3 in a MTOE unit.  I also didn’t enjoy spending all my time in a cubicle doing PowerPoint Slides and writing OPORDs the entire drill weekend.

What Were Your Biggest Accomplishments in the Job?

  • Worked as Regimental S4 and S3 at the same time
  • Worked as Project Officer for Vigilant Guard Exercise
  • Conducted MDMP and prepared four major OPORDs
  • Drafted plan for unit relocation

*** The above achievements were off my OER.  I only spent five months in the job (before I resigned), so I was just getting into a good battle rhythm when I left.  This job did challenge me and taught me a lot about MDMP and Operations Orders.

What Are the Best Tips You Can Share for Someone About to Be a Regimental S3 Operations Officer?

  • Familiarize yourself with Army Operations before you take the job.
  • Make sure you get some time as a primary staff officer at the battalion level and time as an assistant on the brigade staff before you take this job.  If possible, be a Battalion S3 Operations Officer first.
  • If possible, you want to be real familiar with the unit you will be the S3 in.  You should know the commanders, what they bring to the table, what their leadership style is like, etc.
  • Complete your ILE before you take this job.
  • Be prepared to put in some SERIOUS hours outside of drill weekend.

What Jobs Do You Recommend After the Regimental S3 Operations Officer Job?

I would recommend being a Battalion XO (1st choice), Brigade XO (2nd choice) or another primary Staff Officer on a Brigade Staff (3rd choice).  These options will vary by your time in grade, previous jobs and officer branch.

Soldier Biography

Charles Holmes is a former Army Major (Logistics).  He spent five months as the Regimental S3 Operations Officer with the 70th Regiment (LDR) before resigning his commission in April 2011.  He is now a civilian.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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3 thoughts on “My Regimental S3 Operations Officer Experience”

  1. I had to laugh, Chuck, because the "I would rather be doing than planning" vibe is clear in a number of your posts. I cannot see you happy in a cubicle at all. Having said that, you were quite busy, even being in cubicle land, and you obviously have some top notch time management skills to accomplish everything for which you were responsible. Good job on your accomplishments, and thank you for your service! I know it wasn't your favorite assignment, but it is clear that you carried out all duties assigned with honor. Thank you for your service!

    1. We can all learn something from every job we have. All jobs have good and bad things about them. I just found myself happier in leadership position than staff positions. And my favorite jobs were when I was the # 2 man with the responsibility of making things happen.

      1. Candace Ginestar

        Even though we as officers must be good at planning, you can tell who used to be an NCO because we also are ‘doers’. I can tell you are one of those who is meant to be a field leader, and with the troops all the time.

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