After several staff assignments and a few unanticipated turns of events, I was afforded the opportunity to command Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. On my second night of command, I received my first of many late-night phone calls — this one informing me that two of our Soldiers were involved in a vehicle accident in which one was killed and the other incarcerated for drunk driving. The wake of this tragedy rippled through the heart of the company and left me and the rest of the leadership searching for ways to bring the unit together and refocus the Soldiers on their mission.
Ranger School provides the Army with proven leaders who possess the skill, will, and drive to succeed in the harshest of conditions with physically and mentally exhausted subordinates. Operating under those conditions requires great resilience in addition to understanding how to deal with personal weaknesses and limitations. After three days of less than an hour of sleep and limited rations while walking up and down the mountains of North Georgia, even the fittest Soldiers begin to break down physically, emotionally, or mentally. Ranger graduates return to the Army with a greater understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, along with strategies to increase the overall performance of themselves and their operational units.
The Army Operating Concept directs us to “win in a complex world.” To accomplish this directive, the Army must develop leaders who can innovate and thrive in “complex and dynamic” environments that reflect conditions we will likely face. To that end, unit commanders leading a seasoned force must train in such operational environment (OE) conditions and against an uncooperative opposing force (OPFOR), making their scrimmage as hard, or even harder, than any anticipated real-world fight. By understanding the process of creating training conditions that introduce increasing levels of OE complexity, commanders will challenge the next generation of Army leaders to learn, be agile and adaptive, and figure out a way to win!
Looking for a specific topic or author?
Search the Subject/Author Index.