Friday, December 21, 2012

Staff Infection

This (very abridged) story neatly sums up my experience working in staff. When I was in ROTC, I assumed you commissioned and immediately began leading a platoon. In IBOLC I learned that officers waiting for leadership slots would work in staff, helping run their battalion behind the scenes. But I had absolutely no idea what that actually entailed. And with good reason. A battalion's staff is basically a lot of sad captains running around dealing with an endless stream of challenges that the average line soldier (or CDT Schlep) literally could not imagine exist: Corrections of corrections of Risk Assessments (see previous post), Generals' visits, elaborate treasure hunts to determine the location and ownership of property, slideshow/spreadsheet beautification projects, briefings about briefings, surprise deconflictions (get the S6, Alpha's UAVs are operating on the same frequency as Korean electric toothbrushes!), and many more planning, personnel, and supply issues that I still don't even know about.

Unless you are supremely lucky (which, if you've learned anything from this blog, you know is the most important skill to have in the Army), you will find yourself on staff at some point. It may not be while you're an LT, but the siren's call of staff will draw you in eventually (oh yeah - don't think that just because you're an Armor/Infantry officer or a 2LT/1LT/CPT you won't become your battalion S1 or S4!)

However,  I'm fortunate enough to be working under a group of capable, friendly captains with an interest in teaching (which is called "developing" in the Army) us ambient lieutenants. I only hope they all find their way to company command before staff work completely devours their souls. More importantly, I myself may be getting out of here and into a platoon sooner than I thought. All of my training* on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle will finally pay off!

*I definitely have been inside a Bradley before and am totally familiarized with all the guns and cannons and lasers it probably has. 


  1. The second row second picture of the captain is awesome. It looks like every captain who looks at a LT and says "maybe you should rethink this" (do you have any idea what you just planned).

  2. The looks from the captains are the exact same looks I got today when I went around the office asking the different shops for their reports to brigade. Apparently I'm supposed to put them in a task tracker...but I don't have computer access...oh well

  3. +1 on the look of the CPTs, plus the awkward "just standing there" of 'ol LT SCHLEP. Perfectly captured.