Posted on Jul 19, 2017
MAJ Executive Officer
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I'm currently assigned to an Army BN subordinate to a Joint HQ. Without this turning into a !@#$% session, the general consensus is that it's been an overall frustrating experience. Usually the friction experienced centers around cultural differences between branches , which is probably why it's so difficult to resolve. In light of this, has anyone had success in bridging these cultural gaps?
Posted in these groups: 58a67d25 Joint Service99364c1a Operations
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Responses: 3
SSgt Jerrol Olson
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I think you nailed it, Sir. Cultural (customs and courtesies) and training/pride differences is what I and my fellow Marines have experienced about 85% of the time over my 14 years of active service.
I'll keep this barney style. I formed my opinion stateside, then it became real as a team chief during OIF. Just one example of MANY, I would have to manage other branches members, for example; waking them up in the turret while performing perimeter security.. WTF. And I could go on and on. It came down to lack of professionalism and leadership.

How do we fix it? Make everyone a Marine... Of course. I had to.

Enjoy Sir.
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MAJ Executive Officer
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Edited >1 y ago
Since I ran out of room on my initial post, I'll give a few examples of what I'm talking about:

1. The USAF and USN seem excessively concerned with rank stratification. I had a SSG make the statement in reference to interactions with the USN: "It's like I'm not an NCO because I'm not an E7." The Officer side is equally problematic. If you're not an O4 or above they're not going to listen. I'm in a CJTF where submariners and surface warfare officers plan ground combat operations. Despite obviously being outside their areas of expertise these individuals still don't want to listen to the infantrymen, scouts, and tankers in the room.

2. Leadership experience within the USN and USAF Officer corps seems to be very limited. In talking to different branches, it looks like most USAF and USN Officers don't lead troops in a command capacity until the O4-O5 level. For some it's O6. The idea that our O1-O3s lead troops seems to baffle people. What's worse is that many officers and NCOs don't want to take our company commanders seriously.

3. I had an OIC of an exercise leave the training area before the exercise was complete. He didn't designate anyone to take charge, ensure the exercise was a success, nothing. As the senior person on the ground I ended up picking up the slack. This was absolutely baffling to me. I wasn't even part of the exercise at that point. I was an observer. However, if I'm in charge I'm at a minimum going to make sure all objectives were met before I leave. In most cases I'm going to be the last guy on the ground, making sure all of the troops made it home.

Again the point of this is not to be a bitch session. I want things to get better. I'm just trying to understand how at this point.
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Number 3 doesn't sound like an issue with a certain branch. More of an issue with a certain individual. There are crappy leaders everywhere.

Other than that I'm not sure why USN and USAF leaders would be planning ground operations. Especially without, at a minimum, input from actual ground commanders. This just sounds like they've wandered out of their lanes. I'd no more lean on a submariner to lead me on the ground than he would lean on me to lead him under the water. Two totally different worlds. UNLESS, you are in a training environment where the purpose of the training is to give ground combat experience to those never exposed to it. And if that's the case they still need ground combat commanders advising them.
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CW3 Assistant Special Agent In Charge (Asac)
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You know sir, I have been assigned to joint units/commands before (actually just came from one). However, I didn't really experience any of the issues I have heard other people occasionally talk about regarding this. I think maybe because the joint units I served with were all special operations units (such as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan)? In those types of units, no matter the branch it seems like everyone knew their job and it was all mandated by USSOCOM regs rather than anything branch-specific. Not really sure if that is the type of joint HQs you are referring to.
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