Posted on Feb 2, 2014
MSG Student
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This has been a topic on my mind a lot lately. To me it seems a lot of our young Soldiers and Leaders are not being provided the development they need to be successful. There are many reasons we can use to make us feel better from, we don't have the time we used to, to they should take it upon themselves to learn. I just want to make a few observations and possible fixes for those that are interested.

Soldier development starts the very first day they enter Basic Training and NEVER stops. That being said there is a limited amount of time and influence you can make as a Drill Sergeant as you only have these young Soldiers 10 to 14 weeks. The majority of this development begins when the Soldier arrives to his first unit. His first line supervisor (usually a Sergeant) should be providing development for this Soldier on everything from customs and courtesies to Skill Level 1 tasks. We owe this to our Soldiers, without this base set of knowledge we are setting them behind the power curve on their peers. Soldier development is a very broad topic and includes many different faucets of our profession. We must take a personal interest in the development of our Soldiers as they will one day replace us and have other Soldiers lives in their hands. We must provide them with the tools to fight on and accomplish all assigned missions.

We cannot forget that all Soldiers need to continue to hone their skills in their profession. This includes everything, one of the most annoying sayings I hear is "Well, He's a good field Soldier". There are no field Soldiers, there are only Soldiers and when it comes to being an NCO this includes all aspects of your job. If you cannot provide sound guidance and counsel to your subordinates you need to evaluate your weakness' and fix them. I am not saying that everyone is going to be a professional writer, but you should be able to at least articulate your counsel in writing. There are too many options to improve writing skills for it to go unchecked. This being said it is that young NCO's supervisors job to ensure that he understands his shortcomings and provide him with the mentorship and tools he/she needs to be successful.

I am going to to end this rambling with a simple question/charge.

What are you doing to ensure that all level of leaders/Soldiers in your scope are being mentored and provided the tools they need to take your place?
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Responses: 3
SFC James Baber
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You pretty much mentioned the issue and mentality, with the return from over 10+ years of dual wars, we have two many young E5/6s that have no experience and/or knowledge for the basic Army skills and standards, but the only way to ensure or fix it is the senior NCOs to include some senior E6/7s will need to start the process and ensure the back to basics is empowered to this young generation of accelerated NCOs ahead of their time and learning curve for the rest of Army necessities, while they are all good field Soldiers, most do lack the garrison skills that are now needed.
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SSG Richard Stevens
SSG Richard Stevens
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i have to agree with that they need more training.
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CH (CPT) Heather Davis
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SFC Evans:


I concur, and this is across the board; it is for the E1's, WO1's, and O1's. I will share with you; it takes dedication, commitment, and a deep conviction to mentor and develop.


I have personally witnessed Leaders, who have checked the block on the NCOER and OER and did not provide the proper counseling.


This is why I am supportive of additional mentoring concepts. I have taken the initiative in my own career by taking those additional classes and seeking the guidance for those that have served before me.

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SGT Information Technology Specialist
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SFC Evans,


First off, great topic for discussion. I agree with everything that you stated above! I have been in almost 5 years now, and I have witnessed lots of junior NCOs(some seniors as well), who have all the combat experience, but slim to no experience in being the "whole Soldier" concept. I believe that we as NCOs often pull out the "checklist" when we receive new Soldiers (Personal Data Sheet, ERB, LES, Initial Counseling, etc), but after the checklist is "rounds complete", we forget to mentor and train the Soldier. Personally, I make it a point to "go back to basic" when I receive new Soldiers. I make every effort to teach everything that would be taught at WLC. D&C before PT, how to conduct inspections, lots of focus on Army writing for Specialists, etc. When we go to the range, I try to mentor that Soldier by first making them feel comfortable, then instructing from there. Using positive reinforcement, etc. I also give them "cheat sheets" on anything I have done (printed off my list of completed correspondence courses for them to complete in order to max out on points, etc). I make every effort to teach my Soldiers everything that I know. In the field, I lead from the front by completing the task FIRST while they take notes, then I am there to supervise and make any corrections while they do it. I make it a point to show my Soldiers than just because I am an NCO does NOT mean that I am "too cool for school" or short of getting my hands dirty. I get in the dirt first, then make them get in.

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