Do we have now in the Armor branch, or heavy portion of the Infantry branch, the junior leaders (SGTs, SSGs, SFCs, LTs, and CPTs) who know how to train to conduct heavy combined arms maneuver?
I worry less about whether we will be able to train 18-24 year olds to be able to hit targets with an M1 or M2. I worry far more about whether or not a SSG can develop a plan to train his section to not only shoot gunnery, but also conduct mounted maneuver.
My own experience as a company commander training a company to shoot gunnery for the first time without significant training experience in my formation (1 x SFC MG and only a handful of NCOs who had ever shot gunnery) is instructive. We got through it with brute force and ignorance, but it was a lot more painful than it should have been. The results are instructive as well. We qualified everyone on Table VIII reasonably well, but the Table XIIplatoon qualifications were much more difficult, primarily because none of the NCOs, and certainly not the LTs, had learned how to train to conduct mounted maneuver. They know how to train a squad to enter and clear a building or conduct a dismounted patrol.
Overall, I agree with the authors' point that the Armor corps will ultimately survive and thrive. However, it will require the active efforts of BN CDRs and S3/XOs with significant training experience to show a lot of young CPTs, LTs, and NCOs who are long on combat experience, but short on training experience, how to go about training a tank platoon or scout platoon. Somehow we have to rebuild the training capabilities of our junior leaders, something that we were very good at before we had to quickly train up for repeat combat tours.
Friday, June 4, 2010
This week saw a minor resurgence of the "death of Armor" motif through a paper on SWJ in response to COL Gentile. I found the discussion somewhat interesting if not really a rehash of the common themes to this topic between a number of SWJ regulars and fellow Spartan Brigade alumni. There was one comment that I think really sums up the danger facing the Armor Corps, from a great officer and commander who I had the honor of serving with at Fort Stewart, Mark Battjes. Here is most of his comment:
I couldn't have put this better myself. As Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, this should probably be the number one focus of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.