Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Top 10 Things a Platoon Leader Must Do

Often we talk about the principles and theory of leadership but rarely do we specifically discuss the practical how to side of leadership. As an Officer Candidate approaching graduation and assignment to my first platoon, I remember searching for those nuggets of practical advice on how to be a Platoon Leader. So I have created my top 10 list of actions you can do as PL or small unit level leader that are specific, measurable, and observable signs of a leader doing their job. This will be the first post in this series and I will talk about each item in more detail in future posts coming soon.

1) Proactively take care of Soldiers (promotions, schools, awards)

2) Use the DA 4856 Development Counseling form and counsel ( click here to download the form in MS format)

3) Set goals on your OER Support Form and log you significant contributions

4) Create a Leader's Book aka Battle Book (with Battle Roster, SOP's, AAR's)

5) Write Platoon level OPORD's, Training Schedules, and Time lines ahead of time.

6) Start up a Unit Newsletter, Website, and Bulletin Board

7) Conduct Leader's Recons and Platoon-level collective Rehearsals

8) Conduct AAR's and Platoon Climate Surverys

9) Do Risk Assessments and give Safety Briefings

10) Build the team with Platoon Motto, Name, Guidon Design, PT Shirts

Troop Leading Procedures Cheatsheet and Checklist

The TLP's are an art and science not appreciated and respected my most junior officers and small unit leaders in the military. I have learned to love them. The nature of the work we do in this business can be very complex and overwhelming but these 8 steps have always kept me focused during preparation for missions. I have noticed among fellow officers and now in training officer candidates that most do not understand what the TLPs are, why they are important, when and how to use each step, who to delegate to, and where it all fits in to build your 5 paragraph operations order throughout this process. I have decided to publish and share my master troop leading procedures cheat sheet and checklist. Click on the "download pdf" link below the preview screen so you can print out and employ or click here

Vets for Freedom

A good buddy of mine asked to pass this along:

On behalf of Vets for Freedom, thank you for your service! Veterans for Freedom is organizing the country around a pro-mission, pro-victory message: We support our troops and their mission. We are looking for veterans to help get the word out about our message. We need leadership on the ground in your state as a State Captain. Here’s how you can help:

We are asking our State Captains to commit to the following “Six Action Items”

1) Sign-up pro-mission OIF/OEF vets at

2) Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper (we can help you with this)

3) Recruit pro-mission Vets to attend a Senator’s or Congressman’s Local town-hall meeting (We will provide you with dates, times and locations)

4) Conduct radio and television interviews with local media (we will coordinate these for you)

5) Call your Senators and Representatives: tell them to support Gen. Petraeus and our troops' mission

Need contact information for your elected officials? Click here:


Commit to attend "Vets Take the Hill" day in D.C. Over the course of two days Vets from around the country will converge on Capitol Hill, telling Congress to stand strong with our troops and their mission.

Vets Take the Hill will take place September 17 and 18. VFF will pre-pay all expenses making the trip completely free to the vet traveler up front.

Feel free to call me at 605-254-2624 with any questions.

Joel Arends

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Clock Max PT

A classic timed workout specifically designed for the military physical fitness test. Do as many repetitions as you can in the alloted time. This will get you to the pace you need to reach in order to be in the 80-100 rep range for the test to get that perfect score. If you are Army you can skip the pullups since we don't test on that part but I wouldn't and don't forget to run.

Max pullups
40- 50 sit-ups in 1:00
max pushups in 1:00
20-25 sit-ups in 30 seconds
max pushups in 30 seconds
10-13 sit-ups in 15 seconds
max pushups in 15 seconds