- Molner, my radio operator was brand new to the role. It was also his first Eastwind, so he was dealing with quite a learning curve. I simply assumed that he’d know how to use the equipment and never took the time to run through it with him before the game started. Lesson learned: spin up your guys on all their equipment before the game starts.
- I called an audible in the field on our first mission. My coordinating squad was falling behind schedule and we were ahead of schedule so we balanced the workload. This is fine, but I definitely need to communicate this with my command structure before setting off. Otherwise, if we make contact they’ll have no idea where to send the QRF.
- I know how to lead and I know how to teach. However, I’ve yet to master doing both at the same time. When the pressure is on, I don’t take the time to teach, I just expect my people to perform. Most of this stems from my personality but that doesn’t mean it’s something I can’t get better at.
- Splitting up the OPORD process is amazing! In the past, I’ve written my entire Operations Orders on my own. This time I drug my whole squad into the TOC to prepare the brief. I delegated out the situation paragraph along with the logistics and
communications sections while I focused on the mission and execution. This gave me more time to focus on the mission and involved my guys in the process so they could see how it’s done. We would then brief the S3 as a group, each covering our own sections. In this way, they got to see the OPORD writing process in action and had a better understanding of what the company as a whole was trying to accomplish.
Ending on a good note, let’s go over some sustains:
- Vehicle transport is a huge asset when used correctly! On our first day out we were able to cover almost half of the 1000 acre AO in only a few hours. This would have taken us all day on foot (at least) and we would have been dog tired.
- Our squad left on time plus or minus 5 minutes for every single mission. While this may seem minuscule in the big picture, it was a personal goal for me to hit and it enabled our command staff to rely on us to be in the field when we said we’d be there.
- Last but not least, our squad adapted to adversity. From an ever changing personnel roster to a wide scope of missions (mounted route recon, mechanized point reconnaissance, route clearance/vanguard duties, listening/observation post manning and clandestine patrolling to name a few) we set out on each one with a plan in place and typically even followed that plan! That, above anything else speaks to the skill and capabilities of each member of US 3rd Squad. Mad props gentlemen.
Once again, many thanks to Arbee for the use of his photos!