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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/20/2005 5:01:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2005 5:02:27 PM EDT by FLAL1A]
I have read snatches here and there about the role of NCOs in the strength and efficiency of the US military (all branches). I have heard that we have suffered near-disasters by letting the NCO corps wither in peacetime. I've read of foreign militaries suffering gross lapses of efficacy and morality (armies/navies geting involved in atrocities) which historians blamed on a loss of institutional integrity and memory arising from failure to maintain a viable NCO cadre. Any serious writer who happens to mention NCOs sees them as absolutely vital to our national well-being - maybe more important than commissioned officers (the consensus seems to be that an army with brain-dead officers and competent NCOs will outperform an army whose officers are all clones of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, but whose NCOs are inexperienced). I know that the US appreciates our NCOs - the last one I represented had about 20 yrs and was pulling ~$68K/yr stateside.

So, wiser heads, tell me about NCOs. What do they do? What is their role in defending the nation and maintaining the military and moral quality of our armed forces?
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:03:08 PM EDT
NCOs make it happen.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:07:17 PM EDT
NCO's are the backbone of today's military. They are both the technical subject matter experts and the direct leadership of the enlisted force. A unit with strong officers and weak NCO's is absolute misery to be in while a unit with a strong NCO corps and weak officers, the NCO's do their job and run interfereance letting the junior enlisted do their job.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:11:08 PM EDT
NCOs typically run the show once the plan is established. We find out what needs to be done and, more often than not, deal with the troops to make it happen.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:17:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2005 5:18:03 PM EDT by DvlDog]
the above all excellent points.

an officers career is usually nomadic. they move up by moving around. an NCO spends an entire career in 1 or 2 different career fields. personally i believe that the most critical function of an NCO is to provide task oriented leadership. as an NCO i try to be very results oriented. the ends justifiy the means if you will. the Mjr doesnt care how something got done as long as it got done on time and on target. an NCO has a micro-view. his war is no bigger than the grid square he currently occupies and as such he is supremely focused on the objective at hands. the Men respect him because he was once in their shoes, the officers respect him because he has paid his dues and has hard won experience.

these are all generalities specific to combat arms more than staff and RE billets. a good NCO motivates his men and insulates them from the politics and sheer bullshit of officer country. a good officer seeks the counsel of his NCOs and gives them the freedom and support they need to get the job done.

ymmv
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:18:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By joker581:
NCOs typically run the show once the plan is established. We find out what needs to be done and, more often than not, deal with the troops to make it happen.



+1

As an NCO i had my own workshop, my own crew. I got the shit that needed to be done - and my guys got it done.

No in the Army as an E4 - well i get shit done. lol. Gotta love the SPEC-4 Army.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:18:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 5:24:33 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 7:02:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2005 7:07:18 PM EDT by napalm]

Originally Posted By B-O-A-T-S:
No in the Army as an E4 - well i get shit done. lol. Gotta love the SPEC-4 Army.





Don't fuck with the Specialist Mafia.



Ahhhh, the US Army Specialist E-4. That strange creature that occupies a grey area in the chain of command; a soldier stuck in limbo, if you will.

Often saddled with the responsibilities of a Sergeant, always without the pay and often without the respect.

Oftentimes the only stranger creature that you will see is the DA Corporal.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 7:16:39 PM EDT
The best analogy I can make is that NCOs are like floor supervisors. They keep an eye on the actual manufacturing process. They run the day to day operations of the plant.

The NCOs run the day to day hands on operations in the service.

The Officers, otoh, are very much like the white collar managers. They run the clerical and other operations.


Link Posted: 9/20/2005 7:35:46 PM EDT
What do you guys think of other armies that have what amount to NCO's running platoons? I believe the germans practice having two out of four platoons in a company being lead by NCO's and the other two by officers. If I remember right their officer corp in WWII had to be an NCO before an LT.

How does this system compare? Do we need to go back to old Royal Naval practice and put midshipmen officer cadets in line units before they get commissioned to gain expirence from NCO's and line officers? Very un-PC but has been done in the past.

Are there to many NCO ranks, or ranks in general? Given the srinking nature of the military, should we eliminate some of the redundant ranks? E-1 to E-3 enlisted, E-4 to E-6 NCOs and E-7 and upsenior NCOs, Officer Lt, Cpt, Maj, Col, General. Yea I know tradition will never allow it, but it seems like there are an aweful lot of "half" ranks at very low levels "lance corporal" "private first class" can't we find another way to show expirence/roles that doesn't always translate into a new pay grade?
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 11:41:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LonePathfinder:
can't we find another way to show expirence/roles that doesn't always translate into a new pay grade?





So you're saying you want to find a way to pay less to the more experienced soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines?
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 11:56:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
I know that the US appreciates our NCOs - the last one I represented had about 20 yrs and was pulling ~$68K/yr stateside.



Must be an E-9
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:16:46 AM EDT
My history prof is a retired army colonel. He's been quoted as saying "Bad officiers micromanage everything. Good officers come up with plans and policies and let the NCO's make it all happen. If you have a bad relationship with your NCO's, unit morale and performance will be even worse."
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:11:11 AM EDT
Bump for day crew input.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:18:04 AM EDT
In my career field (aircraft maint) the NCOs run everything. It's an NCO leading the crew working the jet. It's an NCO running the flight line. It's an NCO that gets the flying requirements from operations and translates that into a flying and maintenance schedule.

Our squadron has right around 100 enlisted men, and two officers.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:30:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Swindle1984:
My history prof is a retired army colonel. He's been quoted as saying "Bad officiers micromanage everything. Good officers come up with plans and policies and let the NCO's make it all happen. If you have a bad relationship with your NCO's, unit morale and performance will be even worse."



100%. I see this every day, the bad side.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:39:00 AM EDT

I was a Section Sergeant and eventually Platoon Sergeant for an Aero Scout Platoon in both Attack Battalions and CAV Squadrons.

I was lucky enough to have learned from some of the best NCO’s in the Army. I still adhere to the lessons they taught me 20+ years ago and still use those techniques to this day.

NCO’s are truly the backbone of the military.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:42:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DvlDog:
the above all excellent points.

an officers career is usually nomadic. they move up by moving around. an NCO spends an entire career in 1 or 2 different career fields. personally i believe that the most critical function of an NCO is to provide task oriented leadership. as an NCO i try to be very results oriented. the ends justifiy the means if you will. the Mjr doesnt care how something got done as long as it got done on time and on target. an NCO has a micro-view. his war is no bigger than the grid square he currently occupies and as such he is supremely focused on the objective at hands. the Men respect him because he was once in their shoes, the officers respect him because he has paid his dues and has hard won experience.

these are all generalities specific to combat arms more than staff and RE billets. a good NCO motivates his men and insulates them from the politics and sheer bullshit of officer country. a good officer seeks the counsel of his NCOs and gives them the freedom and support they need to get the job done.

ymmv





Well said.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:44:20 AM EDT
I agree with the comments above, but will add this.

When a senior NCO starts getting too close to the officers (as in proboscis inserted into rectum), he starts becoming like them, turning into a careerist, political weenie.

I had a Wing Commander who was a student of history. He talked about reading a book where a historian studeied the forces engaged in WWII to determine which army, man-for-man, was the most effective fighting force. (I wish I could remember the title!). The author determined that the Germans came in first. The next question was why?

He found that the Germans operated with what were called "mission-type orders."

That is, the officers determined the goals and objectives, then turned it over to the NCOs to make it happen. Today we call it "TQM." The best people to figure out how to get a job done are the ones tasked with doing it.

We, and the Russians, overwhelmed the German forces with numbers and a staggering flow of materiel.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:51:39 AM EDT
.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 7:03:04 AM EDT
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the NCOs favorite response to being called "Sir".

"Don't call me sir! I work for a living!"

That says a lot about the military.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 7:17:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By wolfman97:
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the NCOs favorite response to being called "Sir".

"Don't call me sir! I work for a living!"

That says a lot about the military.




A lot of truth here, but I've seen a LOT of officers putting in a lot of hours.........

(former sp/5 just trying to be fair.)
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:28:04 AM EDT
Years ago we had a former Soviet General, who commanded the troops in Afganistan, speak at our unit. He said what he envied the most about the US military wasn't the technological advances or resources we had , but instead was our NCOs. Their officers made all decisions and commands and no one could take charge in their absense.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:30:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By natedogg42:
NCOs make it happen.



+1

When I was in our unit ws so heavy on NCOs it was near impossible to find a private for a hey you detail at times.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:31:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By napalm:

Originally Posted By B-O-A-T-S:
No in the Army as an E4 - well i get shit done. lol. Gotta love the SPEC-4 Army.





Don't fuck with the Specialist Mafia.



Ahhhh, the US Army Specialist E-4. That strange creature that occupies a grey area in the chain of command; a soldier stuck in limbo, if you will.

Often saddled with the responsibilities of a Sergeant, always without the pay and often without the respect.

Oftentimes the only stranger creature that you will see is the DA Corporal.



If you get Corporal, someone in your chain of command hates you.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:39:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By piccolo:

Originally Posted By wolfman97:
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the NCOs favorite response to being called "Sir".

"Don't call me sir! I work for a living!"

That says a lot about the military.




A lot of truth here, but I've seen a LOT of officers putting in a lot of hours.........

(former sp/5 just trying to be fair.)



My father busted his ass for 20+ years as an officer in the USMC. When he got to be an O-6, the only people in his squadron that had more time in were 2 CWO's. Those guys REALLY knew thier shit. Not every officer in the military is an incompetent boob.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:40:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By piccolo:
The best analogy I can make is that NCOs are like floor supervisors. They keep an eye on the actual manufacturing process. They run the day to day operations of the plant.

The NCOs run the day to day hands on operations in the service.

The Officers, otoh, are very much like the white collar managers. They run the clerical and other operations.





Good analogy...and DvlDog also made great points...I'll add that a good NCO will not give an order they themselves would not carry out.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:45:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/22/2005 8:47:43 AM EDT by Kharn]

Originally Posted By Beagle:
Years ago we had a former Soviet General, who commanded the troops in Afganistan, speak at our unit. He said what he envied the most about the US military wasn't the technological advances or resources we had , but instead was our NCOs. Their officers made all decisions and commands and no one could take charge in their absense.

Its very telling that on Soviet gas masks, the enlisted troops (at least the privates, maybe even the NCOs) did not have vocalizers, only the officers had them on their masks.

Originally Posted By WildBoar:
If you get Corporal, someone in your chain of command hates you.


Why's that? I've heard the statement before, but never the justification.

Kharn
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:48:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PlaymoreMinds:
...I'll add that a good NCO will not give an order they themselves would not carry out.



Absolutely!

That was one of my rules. The Airmen who worked for me knew that.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:50:51 AM EDT
Ill admit, some of the NCOs in our platoon have themselves first. Fortunately, my NCOs and my E4 team leader, *especially my e-4 team leader* - (a E-5s job) put the soldier first. My team leader is not afraid to tell our squad leader or our platoon sergeant (tactfully of course) exactly why thier plan is stupid and potentially dangerous to us soldiers. (A 18Km road march comes to mind, without any significant PT in months, working up to it? Hell no.)

I will hapilly follow my team leader into hell and back, and am proud to be able to fight alongside my driver in Afghanistan when we make it there.

John
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 8:59:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By napalm:

Originally Posted By B-O-A-T-S:
No in the Army as an E4 - well i get shit done. lol. Gotta love the SPEC-4 Army.





Don't fuck with the Specialist Mafia.



Ahhhh, the US Army Specialist E-4. That strange creature that occupies a grey area in the chain of command; a soldier stuck in limbo, if you will.

Often saddled with the responsibilities of a Sergeant, always without the pay and often without the respect.

Oftentimes the only stranger creature that you will see is the DA Corporal.



A good Squad Leader will put good SPC's in charge of tasks and let them gain experience in what it takes to be an NCO. It is good old mentorship and its the NCO's job to mentor/train the new crop of up and coming NCO's.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 9:49:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
the last one I represented had about 20 yrs and was pulling ~$68K/yr stateside.

So, wiser heads, tell me about NCOs. What do they do? What is their role in defending the nation and maintaining the military and moral quality of our armed forces?



I made like $13k my last year in as an E5 on sea duty. I got the flock out.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 9:51:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By birdbarian:
I got the flock out.




Like the good shepherd you are.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 10:49:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/22/2005 10:49:58 AM EDT by napalm]

Originally Posted By beagle:
Years ago we had a former Soviet General, who commanded the troops in Afganistan, speak at our unit. He said what he envied the most about the US military wasn't the technological advances or resources we had , but instead was our NCOs. Their officers made all decisions and commands and no one could take charge in their absense.




The NCO corps also has the effect of pushing knowledge and training down to further levels, which makes the force more flexible.

I don't have any firsthand experience in what I'm about to say, so chalk it up to hearsay if you must. I've heard people that have served in the military tell stories about joint training with other countries and those militaries without NCOs have a serious knowledge gap, so to speak. One guy was telling me that there was one military where the enlisted men couldn't use a map/compass and navigate in any meaningful way. Only the officers were issued a compass and knew how to use it. I learned the rudimentary basics of land navigation in basic training, and as soon as I got to my unit they started pushing more land nav on the new guys until we were proficient with it.

I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard that in the old Soviet army officers were in charge of all the command and control and radio usage, and enlisted men didn't even really know how to use the equipment. Consequently if you took out a few of the officers the rest of the unit would be basically blind and deaf. Anyone with more knowledge on that care to confirm or deny?


Originally Posted By WildBoar:

If you get Corporal, someone in your chain of command hates you.





Not necessarily. I had the pleasure of serving with two guys who were DA Corporals. These were guys that were Specialists that were just 'frocked' to Corporal because they were in a fire team leader slot. These promotions were actual DA "here's your orders" promotions. These guys got the promotions because there were no E-5 slots available at the time, and the CoC figured that if these guys were eligible for E-5 and working a fire team leader slot then they were damn well going to push for their promotion to Corporal so they could at least be 'official' NCOs.

They didn't get Corporal because the chain of command hated them; just the opposite.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 12:37:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:

Originally Posted By napalm:

Originally Posted By B-O-A-T-S:
No in the Army as an E4 - well i get shit done. lol. Gotta love the SPEC-4 Army.





Don't fuck with the Specialist Mafia.



Ahhhh, the US Army Specialist E-4. That strange creature that occupies a grey area in the chain of command; a soldier stuck in limbo, if you will.

Often saddled with the responsibilities of a Sergeant, always without the pay and often without the respect.

Oftentimes the only stranger creature that you will see is the DA Corporal.



A good Squad Leader will put good SPC's in charge of tasks and let them gain experience in what it takes to be an NCO. It is good old mentorship and its the NCO's job to mentor/train the new crop of up and coming NCO's.



I was an NCO in the Navy (E4 - PO3), but the army wouldn't give me Corporal. Said you had to earn the right to ba an NCO. lol. Already did that, fuck you very much.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 12:52:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/22/2005 12:53:06 PM EDT by PlaymoreMinds]

Originally Posted By B-O-A-T-S:


I was an NCO in the Navy (E4 - PO3), but the army wouldn't give me Corporal. Said you had to earn the right to ba an NCO. lol. Already did that, fuck you very much.



Yeah but in the Army it's more entailed than swimming laps in a heated pool.

Just kidding...For a minute I channelled the Jarheads of the board I think...

I'm suprised you were unable to do the lateral-move rank thing...coulda been your MOS: Mine relegated me to an E-5 for the next 8 years had I re-upped: my unit already had an E-6 in the 91P slot and there was only one slot for an E-6 in my MOS (91P) and that chick wasn't leaving until she retired in 8 yrs.

Bitch
Anyway...just wanted to tell you it may have been for other reasons.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:53:16 PM EDT
One thing I just love about the USMC is that corporals , unlike Sp/4s in the army, are TREATED like honest to Gosh NCOs.

Sgt Major Lee pushed for that.

Not a Sp/4 bash, I was one myself for a while. It may be different now, but when I served(Army) Sp/4s were just basically treated as glorified privates and pulled a lot of the slop details. You were SUPPOSIDLY an NCO, but treated as a private. It sucked.

OTOH, when I made Sp/5 I necame a real NCO.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 4:22:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/23/2005 4:23:14 AM EDT by B-O-A-T-S]
Yea well my guard unit has something like a 10yr waiting list for E5. lol.

spelling
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 5:25:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 5:36:35 AM EDT



I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard that in the old Soviet army officers were in charge of all the command and control and radio usage, and enlisted men didn't even really know how to use the equipment. Consequently if you took out a few of the officers the rest of the unit would be basically blind and deaf. Anyone with more knowledge on that care to confirm or deny?




I knew a guy who was Army back in the 70s. He was stationed in Germany where the main threat was acres of Soviet tanks rolling through the Fulda. He said he was taught that when you see a tank or APC with a LOT of antennas on it, that's the one to take out. Like cutting the head off a snake.

The Soviet Union didn't really encourage initiative.
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