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Communication and Respect

In the movie, Ghost Busters, Egon Spengler says, “Print is dead.” To some extent, I agree, but words on the screen are alive and well.

Sgt. Stephanie L. Peavy of Machesney Park, Ill., and Spec. John G. Matsoukas of Chicago, both members of the 244th Army Liaison Team based in Chicago, tests the capability of an operating system being tested by the U.S. military for possible fielding of new equipment during an annual training exercise called Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration. CWID 2011 spans five U.S. locations and more than 20 coalition partners worldwide. The participating technologies were approved based on how well they address capability gaps and evaluates how well they assists in the exchange of information between coalition partners, military services, government agencies, first responders and U.S. combatant commanders.

In the military, we know how to communicate and how to show respect in all forms of communication. After all, the military relies heavily on communication and it must be done the right way the first time, every time.

Social media has literally destroyed communication while creating an overabundance of it. It is just words on a screen and anyone can write anything they want and send it to anyone or even everyone. No longer, are people dealing directly with other people, it is now through a screen and many are so flippant, they spew their vile hate-filled words at its worst. I’m not talking about the idiotically-defined “hate”, which can be anything that “offends”, I’m talking about the incessant use of swear words thrown around with ease or, at the least, just the complete lack of respect shown to others regardless of who they are. I am not calling for a “sir-sandwich” with every comment, but to rip into someone online is just inexcusable.

Using a 45-year old adult named Alfred as the subject, if you, a high school student, follow of one of Alfred’s social media accounts, even though the social network says that you both are “friends”, you most certainly are not. You are not even acquaintances unless you have met in person. Even if you are in your 20s, address other adults by their last name or Sir/Ma’am. If you know Alfred by his rank, then that is how you address him- that is how you address everyone unless otherwise specified. I know many veterans, retirees, law enforcement, EMS and firefighters. Some of them I address by their rank- I have never asked nor have they said otherwise, and some of them I call by their first name. However, I always begin by using rank, last name or sir/ma’am. It is best to begin with respect and communicate that you think the other person deserves respect.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs

You must start at a mutual basis; everyone deserves respect, regardless if you are given respect or not. I see some online accounts with a statement that goes something like this: ‘Treat me well and I will treat you well.’ It does not work that way. Sure, you can treat someone else like they are just a piece of garbage just because they did not respect you first, but that is just a big cop-out. We all have a responsibility to treat others with respect, regardless of how others treat you. Do you not like that you have a responsibility to others? That is the reality of life, even though others do not live up to that responsibility. It has to start with someone, who better than you?

warrior-sitting-bull

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Military Drill Experts

Basic MarchingIn the military, we do not mass-produce experts in drill and ceremonies (we do have some experts in D&C, but relatively few). That is not a goal. We produce experts in different specialties with some of those specialties having civilian equivalents and some specialties only appropriate for a military application.  After all, civilian companies do not need a sniper or someone from Field Artillery, but those companies do need the intangible skills of leadership, attention to detail, etc.

In the Air Force (my service) aircraft maintenance crews on the flight line always have the T.O. (technical order) open when they are doing their work on an aircraft. It’s a must to get it right and those in aircraft maintenance, to name just one career field, must adhere strictly to the TO’s standard where every minute detail is outlined; lives depend on that level of adherence to the standard. It is not the same for marching in the military, you will not see the drill and ceremonies manual open to the move that the platoon or flight is currently learning. It’s just not as crucial.

Military marching is a way to move a unit from point A to point B in a timely and professional manner.

Basic Trainees Marching stackflikrcomWe know that drill instills teamwork, leadership, followership, response to commands and a host of other attributes that trainees learn when attending Basic or Boot Camp. Those trainees receive their training from a Drill Sergeant, Drill Instructor or Training Instructor, depending on the branch of service, who is well versed in the service drill and ceremonies manual, of which there are three: 1) Training Circular 3-21.5 for the Army; 2) MCO P5060.20 for the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard and; 3) AFMAN 36-2203 for the Air Force. These manuals are not meant to create drill experts in any branch of the military. Each branch of the military has a different manual for different levels of drill (i.e. honor guard manuals).

Just because one graduates their service’s Basic Training does not mean they are an expert in drill or that they know how to judge military drill. When trainees graduate their service Basic Training course, they are at a basic level of military knowledge, understanding, and application. Application, there’s the rub.

The application of marching determines the level of expertise.

Application
There are drill masters for each service. They are the extreme few in each service who train those who train the incoming trainees or work directly with the service honor guard drill team. Few DIs, DSs or TIs are experts specifically in drill for our needs (competitive drill). They know drill and it’s application for their service trainees and that’s all they are required to know since they have so much more information that they need to pass along. Then there are members of the service honor guard.

Installations and National Guard (NG) units have honor guards whose members perform ceremonial duties each day of their time on the team. The same goes for the Presidential Honor Guard units. While the installation and NG teams strive to achieve a certain level of ceremonial drill application, the Presidential teams maintain and even surpass the application level for each ceremonial element on a daily basis. However, there are only a certain number who could be considered experts, again, for our purposes. The general population are extremely good at the specifics of what they do, but would not be considered experts in the general sense.

It takes education, training, and practice to march. The same goes for teaching marching and that goes without saying that it is the same for judging. One does not learn how to do something and run off and become an instructor immediately. Likewise for judging. It just doesn’t happen that all the sudden you can teach or judge.

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The Medal of Honor Flag

MOH FlagAll Medal of Honor (MOH) awardees (no one “wins” this medal) are authorized a presentation, at government expense, of the MOH flag.

The following is from the US Army’s Institute of Heraldry.

Description
A light blue flag with gold fringe bearing thirteen white stars in a configuration as on the Medal of Honor ribbon.

Symbolism
The light blue color and white stars are adapted from the Medal of Honor ribbon. The flag commemorates the sacrifice and blood shed for our freedoms and gives emphasis to the Medal of Honor being the highest award for valor by an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Background
Public Law 107-248, Section 8143, legislated the creation of a Medal of Honor Flag for presentation to each person to whom a Medal of Honor is awarded after the date of the enactment, October 23, 2002. A panel of eight members made of representatives from each Service (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard), one Office of Secretary Defense staff, one historian and one representative from the Medal of Honor Society was formed to review and evaluate all designs submitted and make a final recommendation to the Principal Deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. On 15 December 2004, the design submitted by Ms. Sarah LeClerc, Illustrator at The Institute of Heraldry was approved.

Public Law 109-364, Section 555, titled “Authority for Presentation of Medal of Honor Flag to Living Medal of Honor Recipients and to Living Primary Next-of-Kin of Deceased Medal of Honor Recipients,” dated October 17, 2006, established authority to award the Medal of Honor Flag, upon written request therefor, to the primary next of kin, as determined under regulations or procedures prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, of deceased Medal of Honor Recipients.

[embedplusvideo height=”385″ width=”474″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1OqUSyT” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Xhv3GRWlYO8?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=Xhv3GRWlYO8&width=474&height=385&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep8441″ /]

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Training and the Three Styles of Leadership

Leadership taskandpurpose-comImage from taskandpurpose.com

Training Levels. Since I spent my last seven years in the Air Force as a Unit Education and Training Manager (AFSC 3S2), I will use the USAF’s levels. They are applicable to everyone, no matter what task, no matter if you are in the military or not. Our emphasis here is military drill and ceremonies.

  • A 3-Skill Level: Apprentice. This equates to first-year cadets after they have gone through their initial training in all regulation drill (RD).
  • A 5-Skill Level: Journeyman. A cadet, (first- and possibly second-year) fully trained in RD, who still needs time and experience.
  • A 7-Skill Level: Craftsman. A cadet (third-fourth-year), fully skilled and capable of leading a color guard and a platoon/flight in RD.
  • A 9-Skill Level: Superintendent. A cadet (third-fourth-year) fully skilled in RD and tasked with maintaining standards while supervising others training new cadets.

Eisenhower on Leadershipimage from gekoandfly.com

Leadership Styles: Directive, Participative & Laissez-Faire. These are the three basic types of leadership. When I first learned about them in AFJROTC in high school (79-83), I thought you picked one and stuck with it, making other people deal with your selected “style”, the style you thought fit with your personality. I soon learned that you are not supposed to do that! You use each one of these styles on a moment-by-moment basis, depending on 1) the situation and 2) the person/people.

On paper (or on screen), it can seem straightforward and even easy, but when you begin applying what you have learned on other people, it can be difficult.

Directive. Also called, Authoritarian. You, as the leader, make all of the decisions and tell your team everything they need to do. This is a punitive leadership style and many people immediately think of that as its only aspect, but there are other reasons to adopt this style.

  1. Time-sensitive project and you do not have time to explain all of the details to your team.
  2. Team member(s) is 3- or 5-Level and still learning.
  3. Used in initial training and then you gradually transition to another style, as appropriate.

Participative. You allow your team to have a say in how tasks are accomplished. you check on their progress occasionally. Some 3-Levels and most, if not all 5-Levels and all 7-Levels. This style is used most often and can lead to Laissez-Faire with some team members needing you to revisit the Directive style.

Laissez-Faire. This means you can allow your team to do what they need to do because you are fully confident that the task can be accomplished effectively. Some 5-Levels and most, if not all 7-Levels and all 9-Levels. Some team members will need you to revisit the Participative style at times.

a-free-people-geo-washington

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JROTC Drill Team Issues

DrillMaster,

My name is John and I was selected to be the drill commander for this year. It’s only been a few days and we are already having problems, especially between my selected leaders. The whole atmosphere changed the next day when my AI handed me the drill cord, it was like my leaders didn’t want to socialize with me anymore (Problem 1). Some of them actually fought with me about getting the position (Problem 2). Others try to take over while I’m teaching, but I need my leaders, I know I can’t do it on my own. I try talking to them in a meeting or even individually but they never listen. I don’t want to yell at them to do things or baby my drill team becuase we just started and I don’t want to scare off the LET1s by yelling at someone, but my leaders don’t want to work with me. I’ve been kicked out of the staff chats and someone showed me everything they were saying. I know as a drill commander it’s my job to just concentrate on my team and get things done but now I just feel I’m on my own here and I don’t know what to do.

Hi John,

What a dilemma! It may not help, but you are not alone, metaphorically. This is a common problem in JROTC.

Addressing Problem 1. Leadership is lonely- or can be. The social issues are part of what happens. Leaders begin to distance themselves from those they lead when selected for a position- to a certain point. For a high school cadet, this can be tough as teenagers are very social creatures.

Side note on leadership. While each member should be treated the same at the beginning of your new assignment, you will see which team members need to be treated differently to get the same results. It has to do with personality and also level of training. Here is what I mean.

Addressing Problem 2. The reason this is happening is because your cadets do not see leadership in you- or they THINK they don’t see it. Let’s change that. Come at them with a plan and, here it is.

Bad JROTC instructor? Click here to read if this may play a part.

smart goal setting conceptYou have three types of goals, short-, medium- and long-term. RD= Regulation Drill; XD= Exhibition Drill

See the article, Create  Goals Not Dreams. SMART goals are best. Image from studenysuccess.unc.edu.

Your short-term goals:

  • Assign Drill Team Trainer and Lead LET1 to ensure LET1s are fully trained in RD
    Ensure all drill team members attend practices
  • Get two/three volunteers to help you plan the team’s XD platoon/flight (and squad/element) (armed and unarmed) sequence(s)
  • Encourage all team members to practice XD at home (Check out this sample of some basic armed XD that I teach)

Your Mid-term goals:

  • Assign Commanders* for Squad and Platoon RD Armed and Unarmed sequences (must memorize sequence)
  • Assign Backup Commanders* for Squad and Platoon RD Armed and Unarmed sequences (must also memorize sequence)
  • Learn all RD sequences and perform from memory

*Armed and Unarmed Squad and Platoon Commanders and their Backups are only in charge of that specific portion of the team when in competition only. Assign these commanders as you see fit- have tryouts in three weeks, that gives team members enough time to memorize the sequence they want to command. You can break this down further if you have a male and female team.

Your long-term goals:

  • Attend and win X-number of competitions (identify all competitions coming up)
  • Assign someone to help you with planning transportation to events

Write all fo these goals on the classroom board during a team meeting. Tell the team this is what you have come up with and ask for their input about any goals you may have missed and how to achieve the goals. You must show strong leadership at all times and ignore the petty immaturity that happens outside of drill team time. During drill team time- practice and meetings- it’s you who is in charge, but you do not need to be a hammer. Be assertive and know what you are doing. The only way to know what you are doing is to learn and read.

Read all of my articles with the Drill Team Training tag and Ask DrillMaster tag . Give the tag to all of your teammates and get them to read them as well. Everyone needs to be educated.

Dear reader– what is your input? Please comment below.