We spend a lot of time hearing about why officers need their NCOs. I am the FIRST person to say this! I believe that if an officer doesn’t think they need their NCOs, they are due for a mutiny. I do think that NCOs need their officers, too. Why is this? I have three very important reasons that overshadow just about everything else.
1. Stuff Rolls Downhill – Don’t you have a job to do? Wouldn’t dealing with politics and higher echelon drama impede your execution of orders and training of Soldiers? Yes, I think so too. If you are a PSG, your PL can and should protect you as much as they can from the stuff coming down from higher, if necessary. Some things can be filtered to where the PL takes the brunt of it and the Soldiers barely feel the effects. THIS is the officer’s job, to protect their Soldiers from unnecessary burdens. Why should a PSG have to take a butt chewing from a higher ranking officer? One example I can think of is during a colleague’s deployment – he was a 2LT, but a scrolled out Ranger tabbed stud from his enlisted days. His NCOs were running a PSD detail, and a MAJ was giving them some kind of hell. Instead of taking it, they excused themselves, went and got their LT, who came back and handled the situation. It was much more appropriate for the LT to talk to the MAJ, since that officer was not listening to the NCO (even though the LT and NCO were saying the same exact things).
2. Planning – That kind of goes without saying. However, NCOs are used to always being around, and doing everything – we all know you can do what needs to be done so the mission can get completed successfully. You know what it is like when your PL is gone to school, or if they aren’t upholding their duties. As my husband put it, “It’s just so much better when the officer can do their job and I can do mine, it is how the Army is supposed to function.” Nobody is disputing that you can handle everything, but isn’t it better when your officers are there and engaged in what is happening? Who really wants to sit in planning meetings, write OPORDs and the like? I don’t know any NCO that wants to be engaged with those tasks more than what they are supposed to be doing. Otherwise, they would become officers.
3. The Commander’s Authority is What Upholds UCMJ – Hear me out. Corrective training is a big favorite of mine. I think that NCOs have a great task to mold and mentor their Soldiers, and corrective training is one way to help them. However, if things get serious, and you need to enforce discipline onto a Soldier beyond informal corrective training (I’m talking UCMJ), you need the commander’s support, or it goes nowhere. You can make recommendations, but if you don’t have a commander that supports your objectives, it doesn’t matter. If you have big training goals for your platoon, and it involves Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP), and your commander doesn’t support that – your plan will go nowhere. It is best to sit down and make sure your commander is on the same page as you with any kind of corrective training or punishment for not upholding standards (failed APFT, for example). If you have a strict plan, but no follow through, your Soldiers will see that. With your commander’s support, you will have bite behind your bark, so to speak.
Final Thoughts: I think it is easy to see that NCOs need officers, just like officers need NCOs. We need each other, nobody can really do it alone. We need to support each other, and ensure we are on the same page. Soldiers should see unity, that is the bottom line.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let us know.