I was in a pretty unique position once I deployed to Iraq for my first rotation. I had spend about a month and a half doing train-up of pre-deployment tasks, so I was not doing any real work. Once I hit the ground, there was not really a platoon or a shop to lead.
The S-4 for the Battalion was split between two locations, but they already had an officer. I did not have any training or ability to be an S-1 or an S-2 (though, that would have been unnecessary). It seemed like I came forward for almost no reason.
So, I was made to be the camp mayor. Well, that was the title anyway. The person who did all the real work was a SFC. He was awesome. He helped to teach me quite a bit. But he really did not let me lead much. We did discuss this, and he admitted to it as well. He was that hard charging NCO who had already been doing the job for a while, so I was not really adding to the ability of the shop much.
About two and a half month's in, the company XO was sent back so that he could PCS to the career course. So, the Commander brought me in as his XO for the forward unit. So I was once again without an NCOIC. But, as the XO, I was off and learning how to organize the redeployment. But that is a tale for another time
Anyways, after we re-deployed, I took over a mixed platoon (we had 4 shops/MOS's) and got to work figuring out what is what. We had just received a new SFC, and he was made my PSG. At first glance, he was a great guy. He smiled a lot, he knew his core job and the Soldiers seemed to like him. It did not take long to turn sour.
He was the type of NCO that not only did not like to share things, but actively avoided work. For him, it was whatever would keep the 1SG out of his face for the next 24 hours. No respect for planning, no troops to task, no maintenance program, nothing. No matter how hard I pushed and tried to make us work like a team and get things done, I was constantly met with resistance.
To my credit, I had started out right and was giving him constant counselings. But, I did not do it exactly right, I did not outline our roles and responsibilities. In the end it was enough that, though I could not get him replaced, I was able to easily justify a less than stellar NCOER.
During the next deployment, I once again acted as the XO, but because my Commander was doing some advising on another base, I was the commander at the base as it were.
So as soon as we got back, I got a hold of another Platoon (I should say now that my unit's deployments were very short, usually no more than 6 months). I was in charge of another mixed shop (three MOS's and shops). My new PSG was good. A bit of an A-hole, but he kept me in the loop and got the job done. We worked together, and we had the defined roles as I laid out in the video. Things worked very well for us. We did not get along very well on a personal level, but our Platoon was outstanding. I can confidently say that we had the best ran platoon in the company.
By the way, I would like to apologize for the sound quality this week. I recorded the entire thing forgetting that my microphone gain was almost all the way down. Recording is the hardest part of this whole thing, and I did not realize it until I had cut and finished the video. I will get right next week, but there is beer to drink and Schnitzel to be had today.
Til next time!