Mission accomplishment comes with knowing your Soldiers and their welfare

| July 16, 2013 | 1 Comment


Command Sgt. Maj. Randy Harr
303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
9th Mission Support Command

According to the Noncommissioned Officers Creed, the two basic responsibilities of NCOs are mission accomplishment and the welfare of Soldiers.

These two responsibilities are both mutually reinforcing and dependent on each other.

You cannot accomplish the mission yourself — you need your Soldiers. If your Soldiers are untrained, unready and unwilling, you will not accomplish the mission.

Senior NCOs must understand that mission accomplishment is critical. However, many do not understand the importance of knowing their Soldiers and how this knowledge supports mission accomplishment.

For Soldiers with the right attitude, aptitude and motivation, the Army provides leadership training: Warrior Leaders Course, Advanced Leadership Course and the Senior Leadership Course. These training opportunities lead to mission accomplishment and improve the welfare of Soldiers.

The NCO Creed states the second basic responsibility of the NCO is the welfare of Soldiers. “My Soldiers” implies that the NCO takes ownership and responsibility for those people under his charge. Therefore, the NCO is personally involved in taking care of her Soldiers. So, what does this mean?

Good training is the key. Training is the NCO’s primary role in the U.S. Army. Train the troops.

Good training will keep Soldiers alive in combat and keep them in the Army in peacetime. Soldiers enlist for many reasons, but they stay in the Army if they are being well trained.

As senior NCOs, we must be creative and innovative. In the current environment of diminishing resources, the Army will be asked to complete our mission with less.

Leverage your unit’s assets to overcome shortfalls. Give your junior NCOs and Soldiers opportunities to plan, develop and execute training. Inform your Soldiers of your unit mission, commander’s intent, mission essential tasks and training priorities. However, do not sacrifice the long term for the immediate.

Keep in mind that the overall goal of training and mission readiness is long term, not just for an event or battle assembly weekend.

Be willing to take the risk to develop younger NCOs. Senior NCOs must allow junior NCOs to conduct squad, platoon and company training, even if it means making mistakes.

Use the civilian skills of your Soldiers. In my unit, I have computer programmers, firefighters, police officers, state civil defense, teachers, students, lifeguards, doctors, nurses, lawyers, carpenters, machinists, pilots and dock workers. Every unit, active or reserve, has a great pool of talent and experience.

If you know your Soldiers, and their capabilities, you have a tremendous resource of knowledge and experience from which you can tap.

Training time will always be at a premium. Mandatory training, pop-up requirements and shifting command priorities will continuously arise. All are distracters to training your unit’s mission essential task list. Soldiers in the Army Reserve know this fact well. Reservists must complete all of the same mandatory training requirements as their active duty counterparts and on a condensed schedule.

Finally, get to know your Soldiers. We may not be able to remember every Soldier’s name, especially in large units. Senior NCOs and squad leaders need to know and mentor their Soldiers. The standard for knowing and caring for subordinates spreads down throughout the formation.

Treat your Soldiers like they are family. Care for each other, look out for each other and help each other. Tell the truth. Praise Soldiers when they exceed expectations, and be honest when they perform below standard.

Remember the NCO Creed and the basic responsibilities of the NCO: “the accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers.”


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  1. Gregg Jenkinson says:

    I can attest that CSM Harr is genuinely concerned with Soldiers welfare. He has been a very knowledgeable and fair leader. His advice is very valuable.

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