Page 76 - Jackson Journal
P. 76

                    Understanding Platoon Leadership
1LT Joseph B. Obregon
  Before arriving to Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Fort Benning in 2005, I could not remember how many offificers - besides my
company commander whose name I regrettably cannot remember - I saw while in BCT. We
were exposed to our Drill Sergeants 24/7 and
they became the leaders we strove to impress because we admired their knowledge and combat experience. These professionals were the standard bearers in our eyes and anything they said was fact and worthy of our trust because they taught
us day-in and day-out; they, in a way, felt like our new parental guardians. Before arriving to the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, I remember being slightly intimidated because it had been over 14 years since the last time I seen a Drill Sergeant. I thought to myself, how I would now be their Platoon Leader (PL) and one that effectively impacts their daily mission. Although I had prior Army experience, I still felt out of place but I did not let that keep me from embedding myself within my new organization. It all boils down to working hard and being that leader that is selflfless and humble. Below are several areas that I will discuss that can provide insight to the BCT environment and tips for success.
ThThe Drill Sergeant
ThThisnon-commissionedoffifficer(NCO)isoftften
a hardened junior to senior NCO who brings a wealth of Army knowledge and experience from both garrison and combat environments. ThThis individual always has a unique type of character and can be very candid yet sincere when voicing opinions relating to how the Army conducts business. Drill Sergeants are the standard bearers and oftften demand respect in their subtle or obvious ways; not to be confused with disrespect. Any leader worthy of leading, will recognize this trait from a strong NCO and grant passage and trust their realm of inflfluence. Shortly aftfter arriving
to Fort Jackson, I realized I was surrounded by competent NCOs whom held their own and did not need offifficers to handle their assigned tasks. ThThis posed a challenge to me while I worked to assume my role within the platoon because the Drill Sergeants were used to handling everything before PLs came along. Not to my surprise, I fifigured out that I had to earn respect to be accepted as a lieutenant in a BCT environment where I was lacking experience, when it came to transforming civilians into trained Soldiers. ThThe Drill Sergeants were those whom I relied on for guidance and mentorship so that I could effffectively inflfluence
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