Page 36 - Jackson Journal
P. 36

                   Among the lieutenant ranks the phrase “Hey LT” is often considered pejorative, associated with a lack of knowledge, and used when a lieutenant is invariably making a mistake connected to their minimal experience. Despite the negative moniker, lieutenants believe and act like they are deserving of respect. Since arriving at Fort Jackson in August of 2019, I
have had interactions with lieutenants across
the installation. Unfortunately, most of these encounters have left me believing we are deserving of the scornful phrase uttered by our NCOs and superior officers.
Early in 2019 the Army began integrating lieutenants in Basic Combat Training (BCT) as Platoon Leaders (PLs), in part to help lower the Trainee to cadre ratio and free up Drill Sergeants to train. Ultimately, lieutenants are at BCTs and OSUTs to fill a capability gap. As a result, it is challenging to find exactly what the role of a PL is at BCT compared to a PL in an Infantry or Armor Company. Thus, a gray area exists and leaves the inexperienced lieutenant mind to wander and to wonder.
I will be up front, I wanted nothing to do with Fort Jackson and being a BCT PL right out Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leader Course
2LT Alexander T. Johnson
(MIBOLC). I spent the first four years of my career as an enlisted infantryman at the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). I yearned to get back to the operational force and help shape the battlefield
so Soldiers, like my former self, would be put in
the best position to “always fight on...through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall.” Instead, the Army gave me a new task, “help transform volunteer civilians into Soldiers in ten weeks.” I
was not thrilled with this new specified task but after having been surrounded by some great leaders early in my career I knew this could be a good opportunity if I gave it my all.
I arrived at Fort Jackson and was immediately told by a longstanding permeant party member, “the quality of lieutenants here is pretty low.” This struck me as odd and maybe was coming from someone who was simply disgruntled with their situation. I decided to keep an open mind. As the months have progressed I do not have a definitive assessment for the quality of lieutenants here but I do know we can be better. I do know we, Platoon Leaders, have to do better.
PLs, we have a unique opportunity. This program of lieutenants in BCT is once again in its infancy. Right now, there is minimal guidance. We have the opportunity to make history, to pave the
36 Jackson Journal
Hey LT

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