1 April 2013

After writing about the enlisted side of the house, you know I had to write about the officer side!

Officers plan missions and command units. They develop unit policies and take overall responsibility for everything that happens. Enlisted are the enforcers of policy and execute the plans that officers develop.
O1 – Second Lieutenant (2LT) – Addressed as “Lieutenant”

Ideal: Enters the Army as this rank. The 2LT is normally assigned as a Platoon Leader right away if slots are available. If no platoons are open, they are normally assigned to a plans shop. As a Platoon Leader they are responsible for everything both failure and success.

Reality: Pretty close to the ideal but spend most of their first year of being a Platoon Leader in over their head. The 2LT relies heavily on their Platoon Sergeant for guidance and direction while getting their ass ripped by the Company Commander on a daily basis. Hates the First Sergeant.

Most often heard from a 2LT: “Platoon Sergeant, you got a sec? Where are we on this map?”
O2 – First Lieutenant (1LT) – Addressed as “Lieutenant”

Ideal: Squared away Lieutenant that has learned the ropes by now. Top 10% of the 1LTs are given a specialty platoon or are made Executive Officers (2nd in Charge) at the Company level.

Reality: 99.999999999% of 2LTs are promoted to 1LT. They are the grumpiest batch of Officers in the Army. XOs are charged with doing everything in the Company that the Commander doesn’t want to do. The 1LT takes his frustrations out on 2LTs.

Most often heard from a 1LT: (to a Platoon Leader) “Back when I was a Platoon Leader, I was much more squared away!”
What you never want to hear from a 1LT: “Well, from my experience…”
O3 – Captain (CPT) – Addressed as “Captain”

Ideal: Captains work on Battalion or higher level staff. This is also the rank of Company level Commanders. Captains are usually in around 5 years before they take Company Command.

Reality: Company Commanders are my Battle Buddy…. How could I possibly say anything bad about them? Holds command authority over up to 200 Soldiers. Has power to remove one rank from a Soldier that is in the rank of E1 to E4, place Soldier in custody for 7 days, take ½ month pay, and place on extra duty for 14 days if they are busted under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Commanders command and this level is usually the last time that they spend with the Soldiers. Anything higher than this and they are stuck in an office.

What you never want to hear from a Captain: “You know, Top, I’ve been thinking…”
Most often heard from a Captain: “Top, you got this? I will see you in the morning!”
O4 – Major (MAJ) – Addressed as “Major”

Ideal: First rank that is considered a “Field Grade Officer”. Works on Battalion and higher level staff or is the S3 (Battalion / Squadron Operations Officer) or the Executive Officer at the Battalion / Squadron or Brigade level.

Reality: I didn’t even know that the position of Battalion XO and S3 existed until I was a Staff Sergeant. They are tucked away slaving behind their computers. S3 is in charge of all operations while the XO deals primarily with the maintenance program of the Battalion/Squadron’s vehicles (over 100).

Most often heard from an S3: No living NCO on the line has ever heard him speak.
Most often heard from an XO: “Your maintenance program SUCKS! Nobody leaves the motor-pool until all your vehicles are like new!”
O5 – Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) – Addressed as “Colonel” or “Lieutenant Colonel”

Ideal: Battalion / Squadron level commander of up to 1,200 Soldiers. The Big Dog!

Reality: The Big Dog! What the Boss wants, the Boss gets! Has the authority to take one rank from an E5 or E6, or take all rank from an E4 or below. Can place a Soldier in custody for one month, extra duty for 1 month, and take 1 month’s pay. Can leap a building with a running start.

Most often heard from the LTC: “XO, I want…”
O6 – Colonel (COL) – Addressed as “Colonel”

Ideal: Brigade level commander of around 4,000 Soldiers. Each Brigade has multiple Battalions that fall under it.

Reality: If the LTC is the Big Dog, the Brigade Commander is the Kennel Master. Soldiers rarely see him unless he stops by to observe a Company or Battalion level training event. Can leap a building in a single bound.
ranks_insignia_bg ranks_insignia_mg ranks_insignia_ltg ranks_insignia_gen
O7 – Brigadier General (BG)
O8 – Major General (MG)
O9 – Lieutenant General (LTG)
O10 – General (GEN)

Ideal / Reality: They are only a few echelons short of God. Generals are Division level and higher commanders of Tens of THOUSANDS of Soldiers. Soldiers see them when they conduct battlefield circulation and hand out coins.

Oh yeah…. And something awesome happened today. As of today, I can now officially say that “I will be leaving this FOB and starting my trip home….. NEXT MONTH!”

2 thoughts on “Officers!

  1. Thanks so much for enlightening us re: Army rank. Great fun reading. Especially liked: “Most often heard from an S3: No living NCO on the line has ever heard him speak”. Headed home soon, uh? Be safe.

  2. Have enjoyed reading your blogs immensely, nothing changes in the Army from when I served so many years ago, you have a great way of writing. Make sure the book is writen. I wish you a safe and happy reunion back State side with your family, you deserve the best. Thanks for your continuing service and all the troops with you. would be interested in a blog of your returning home to round off your Afghan journey. Peace and Blessings from an old dog.

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