Lesson 2 - Squad Leader

  "Infantry platoon and squad leaders must be tacticians. They cannot rely on a book to solve tactical problems. They must understand and use initiative in accomplishing the mission. This means that they must know how to analyze the situation quickly and make decisions rapidly in light of the commander's intent. They must be prepared to take independent action if necessary. The art of making sound decisions quickly lies in the knowledge of tactics, the estimate process, and platoon and squad techniques and procedures. The skills required of infantry leaders include physical toughness, technical knowledge, mental agility, and a firm grasp of how to motivate soldiers to fight on in the face of adversity." FM 7-8, Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad

   I am a retired United States Infantry Major and I firmly believe that Squad Leader is the most difficult job in the military. As Squad Leader you are responsible for the health, morale, welfare, administration, logistics and tactical employment of your squad. Christian Chastain, Squad Leader for the Wolverines out of Maryland said it best, "there is nothing like the leadership pressure of 10 sets of eyes staring at you to get them out of the situation you got them into."

  Operation Blacksheep is a squad based game and I put a lot of responsibility on Squad Leaders to do their job. I give a Mission/Safety Briefing on Friday night prior to the game to the chain of command - Squad Leaders and above. I expect Squad Leaders to brief their squads and ensure they are combat ready. There are no individuals at Operation Blacksheep. If something happens on the field I expect Squad Leaders to work it out and if that doesn't work it goes up the chain of command directly to me. When it gets to me, I only talk to the Squad Leader. Everything you do reflects on your squad and your team.

Here's a short list of Squad Leader responsibilities:

  - Leadership

  - Administration; monitoring squad registration for the event, establishing packing lists, unit SOPs

  - Logistics; monitoring LACE (liquids, ammunition, casualties and equipment) and reporting REDCON levels

  - Tactics; ensuring your squad is proficient in squad level tactics and employing the squad effectively during the fight

  - Work/rest plans; a plan to keep the squad in the fight for 24 hours - Operation Blacksheep is not a sprint, it's a marathon

  -Followership; listening to and supporting the chain of command, demonstrating initiative when required, holding to the plan when needed

  - and more . . .

 

 The fact that civilians step forward to fill Squad Leader positions at Operation Blacksheep is the most impressive thing for me personally. For this reason Squad Leaders receive a special TAB in recognition of their willingness to step forward into leadership under the most adverse conditions possible - short of real combat.

 

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