I love being a Platoon Leader. I think it is one of the most rewarding jobs that anyone could have. Platoon and Company leadership are the best days of an officer’s career, in my opinion. I am thankful for Team and Squad Leaders and my Platoon Sergeant. I think they are where the rubber meets the road, especially the Team Leaders. In a line unit, the Team Leader is the one who makes everything happen. Being a PL, I have gotten to enjoy the opportunity to facilitate training with other units and work closely with other unit leadership to meet the commander’s intent and to meet my training goals. Here is a typical drill weekend for me.
This year has been very busy. A and B Troop don’t need as much support from me during the year, because they are mounted Troops that need more mechanic support than anything else when they go to the field. My platoon has all the truck drivers and fuelers, so we are utilized most by C Troop. The Troop Commander has been instrumental at taking his unit to the field every drill since the dining-in. His vision was a five phase OPORD taking the Troop from January to May, in order to get ready for our Annual Training this year, as it is xCTC and they are being evaluated.
Typically, I will attend his leader meeting and receive the OPORD/FRAGO for the month. My platoon will travel down (about a 3-4 hour drive), where we would then coordinate what needed to happen during the weekend. There will generally be an early morning insertion in whatever training area we happen to be using, and then we have time to reset while the Troop is infiltrating and setting up their OPs. The commander then utilizes us as OPFOR, combining our training needs. This is mostly driver training for us, which was especially good in the winter. We always have a recovery asset and contact team, which means we can practice getting stuck and having the wrecker pull us out. Sunday morning, my platoon would eat chow and then hit the road back to the unit to do maintenance and turn in the vehicles.
My first year in the unit, it wasn’t like this. We didn’t go down to support that Troop as a platoon, because it wasn’t requested by the commander. This goes to show that every commander has a vision for their unit and that the possibility to combine training is there, if they decide to use it. I have learned a valuable lesson about this as I prepare for my command time in the future. C Troop has now adopted us as their 3rd Platoon, and we have done PT with them at drill and consider ourselves a part of their team as well as D Co.
Final Thoughts: Drill weekends have been busy and fun for my entire platoon this year. I have learned a lot from my experiences helping another Troop complete their mission.