Before we start talking too much about what the Platoon Leader duties, responsibilities and job description are, let me start by telling you that serving as a Platoon Leader is an awesome job.
In fact, serving as a Platoon leader is a fun, rewarding, challenging and exciting job.
Most people coming right out of college will not get the same level of responsibility or authority, as does a new Army Platoon Leader.
Where else can a 21-23 year old be in charge of nearly 50 people and several million dollars worth of equipment in their first job?
That seldom, if ever, happens in the civilian world.
As I see it, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that few people get to experience.
So, what are a Platoon Leader’s duties and responsibilities?
After serving as a Platoon Leaders twice myself, I have a pretty good idea of what is expected of a Platoon Leader.
Here are a few things that come to mind:
1. Manager: A Platoon Leader is a manager and leader.
They manage tasks and lead people.
They must get things done through other people.
Most Platoon Leaders supervise between 20-50 Soldiers.
They get assigned a task, develop their own game plan, and delegate the work to their team members.
Finally, they spot check to make sure the work gets done on time, and to standard.
The top thing to remember is that leaders are in the people business.
2. Tactician: A good Platoon Leader is worth his/her weight in gold in the field if they are technically and tactically proficient.
In fact, officers make their money in the field.
They plan and supervise tactical operations, FTXs, Battle Drills and much more.
Any officer can survive in a garrison environment, but it takes an exceptional Platoon Leader to thrive in the field or in combat.
As a Platoon Leader your job is to maneuver your Soldiers in combat to get the mission done.
Even though you definitely aren’t the most experienced person on the team, you are the senior person and you have to make the tough decisions.
3. Training: Platoon Leaders plan, resource, execute and assess training at the platoon level.
They write operation orders, request training resources, conduct mission briefs and assess training.
They also prepare risk assessments and do After-Action-Reviews (AARs) with their Soldiers and with their supervisor, the Company Commander.
The Platoon Sergeant focuses on individual training and the Platoon Leader focuses on collective training.
I like to think of the officer as future operations and the NCOs as current operations.
4. Morale: Platoon Leaders are responsible for the morale in their platoons.
They set the tone for their platoon.
Their leadership style, level of competence and attitude directly determine whether morale is good or bad.
They are supposed to recognize good Soldiers with awards and praise and to punish poor performing Soldiers.
They do this by enforcing the Army standards equally and by leading by example at all times.
A good Platoon Leader shows a genuine interest in the people that they lead.
When they show that they care, their Soldiers will go the extra mile for them.
5. Discipline: Platoon Leaders work with their Platoon Sergeant to enforce the Army standards.
They do not have command authority to administer the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), but they do make recommendations to the Company Commander.
More importantly, Platoon Leaders administer corrective actions to remedy poor performance.
This includes corrective training and formal or informal counseling.
In most cases, the NCOs handle most of the discipline issues within the platoon, unless it is something brought to the Platoon Leader’s attention.
6. Property Accountability: Most Platoon Leaders are responsible for $1 million or more worth of equipment, and sometimes much more.
This includes vehicles, sensitive items, radios and office equipment.
They typically “sign” for this equipment and must maintain accountability for it at all times.
This means they also conduct inventories, reconcile inventory reports and are held accountable for missing and damaged equipment.
7. Maintenance: Platoon Leaders are responsible for the operational readiness of their platoon’s equipment.
They must adequately maintain their equipment to ensure it is ready to deploy at moment’s notice.
This includes PMCS, scheduled maintenance, unscheduled maintenance and services.
Maintenance must be done on vehicles, radio equipment, weapons, and much more.
8. Soldier Readiness: Platoon Leaders must ensure their Soldiers are ready to deploy at moment’s notice.
This includes physical fitness, medical readiness, weapons qualification, profiles, etc.
Platoon Leaders manage their Soldiers on an individual basis and know the strengths, weaknesses and shortcomings of each Soldier.
They must ensure their Soldiers are physically and mentally prepared for combat.
9. Soldier Development: The Platoon Leader works with the Platoon Sergeant to develop their subordinate Non Commissioned Officers and Soldiers.
The Platoon Leader gives classes and oversees the NCO Professional Development (NCOPD) with their Platoon Sergeant.
They also oversee the Sergeant’s Time program, conduct one on one counseling, give classes and send their Soldiers to different military and civilian schools.
While they aren’t normally the ones mentoring their Soldiers, they make sure that it gets done.
1o. Mission Planning: One of the biggest responsibilities of the Platoon Leader is to conduct mission planning.
Whenever given a mission from their higher headquarters, it’s their job to conduct mission analysis and use the Troop Leading Procedures to come up with their own game plan.
They take their game plan and finalize it in an Operations Order, which they then disseminate to their platoon.
This is a LARGE part of their job, planning for upcoming mission.
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
- Military Police Platoon Leader in the 10th Mountain Division: My Experience
- Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader in the 116th Infantry Regiment: My Experience
- Army Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Platoon Leader: My Story
- Distribution Platoon Leader: Interviews with Real Soldiers
- My Typical Weekend as a Platoon Leader
Sample Platoon Leader Job Description
Here is a sample Platoon Leader Job Description, from one of my old OERs:
Serves as the Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Platoon Leader in a Direct Support (DS) Maintenance Company assigned to a Forward Support Battalion part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
Responsible for providing DS repair for Land Combat Systems, Electronic Maintenance Systems and Engineer Support Systems.
Responsible for the health, welfare, morale and training for 60 Soldiers.
Also responsible for MTOE equipment valued in excess of $6 million.
Additional duty areas are AER Officer and Supply Officer.
This is not a complete, ends-all list for the Platoon Leader Duties and Job Description, but this gives you a fairly good idea about what to expect as a new Army Platoon Leader.
Simply put, serving as a Platoon Leader is a great job.
You will learn so much about yourself, your strengths, your level of competence, and your own military leadership style.
It is the best company grade officer developmental job in the Army.
If you would like to read about my own Platoon Leader experience, read my post about my Ground Support Equipment Platoon Leader experience or my Supply Support Activity Platoon Leader experience.
I think you will enjoy these two posts.
I also developed an eBook that is helpful for Platoon Leaders.
What are your thoughts?
What do you think are the most important Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities?
Leave a comment below and let us know.
I look forward to hearing from you.