Tips for New Soldiers: What to Do When You Get to Your New Unit

In the paragraphs below, I want to share five tips for new Soldiers in the Army National Guard.  Whether you just enlisted and are reporting to your unit for the first time, or are fresh out of ROTC or OCS, these tips will help prepare you for success in your new unit.  The tips are listed in no particular order.

# 1 Learn Your Unit History – One important thing to do right from the start is to learn your unit’s history.  Do a quick Internet search on your unit and educate yourself.  Learn about your company, battalion, brigade and division, if applicable.  Find out the motto, learn about the unit crest, and learn about the battles they have fought it.  This will quickly separate you from your peers.

# 2 Make a Good First Impression – You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Never forget that.  Your goal is to show up on time, in the right uniform, and be squared away.  Don’t be late for your first drill.  Contact the unit to find out who your supervisor will be and then contact them first.  Seek them out.  Let them know you are excited to be on the time and in the unit.  Be squared away and have a can do attitude.

# 3 Show Your Leaders the Proper Respect – Give your leaders the respect they deserve.  Address them with the proper courtesies and stand at parade rest or the position of attention when you are talking to them.  Act like a professional soldier right from day one.  When you treat your superiors right, they will more than likely return the favor.  And even if they don’t, you should still give the respect they have earned.

# 4 Go the Extra Mile – Don’t be the person that does the bare minimum.  If you see someone needs help, help them out.  Show up a few minutes early and stay a few minutes late in case your boss needs help with anything.  Don’t be a slacker during drill weekend.  Complete your assigned tasks and help out if needed.

# 5 Be Accountable – If you say you are going to do something, do it.  Be a person of your word and accept responsibility for your actions.  If you make a mistake, don’t blame it on someone else.  Man up or woman up.

Final Thoughts

These five simple tips are for new Soldiers, NCOs and Officers in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves.  Whether you are a new Private or new Lieutenant, all of these tips apply to you.  What you really want to do is make a positive first impression, right from day one.  You want to be someone who adds value to the organization, not detracts from it.

If you have any questions, or want to share added tips for new soldiers, feel free to contact us. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “Tips for New Soldiers: What to Do When You Get to Your New Unit”

  1. Great tips, Chuck. If I may add one thing, it would be to reach out prior to arriving. For Officers, it is always good to write a letter to your receiving Commander to introduce yourself, give a brief bio and let them know that you are excited to be joining the unit. Not a bad idea for NCOs either. It shows a high level of professionalism and looks great too! This will also help create a good first impression, as they will already have a good warm and fuzzy about you before they actually meet you.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Justin.

      We were encouraged to do that on Active Duty, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing in the USAR or ARNG. I’m sure it would work very well and make a great first impression.


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