A brigade in the 82nd has a new policy according to SOFREP sources. Officers, butter bar 2nd LT’s are to write enlisted NCOERs (Non-Commissioned Officer Evaluation Report). In fact, the platoon leaders, lieutenants who are glorified specialists are writing them. It comes at a strange time when enlisted personnel have greater access to education. What was once a bright line is subdued. What’s worse is that senior non-commissioned officers aren’t on the offensive. It would seem that they are sitting back and opting out of NCOER work. It’s the most essential function of an NCO, to train, evaluate and improve his soldiers. But if the NCOER is penned and reviewed by officers, where is the quality control? Where is the leadership in the “backbone” of the force, NCOs?

The distance between enlisted and officers has increasingly become lessened in today’s modern army. What was once an army of mistaken ridden and clueless privates are now less so.  The primary reason I walked over to the SF recruiting station in basic training was the other privates. There was no way I was about to get caught with them at the helm. I didn’t know then that they aren’t in charge; that people grow and learn and become proficient. The boys become men. Apparently, the 82nd hasn’t heard about that fact. NCOs know what they’re doing, and privates aren’t a large departure from LT’s in the army.

At no point in my life have I felt compelled to take anything said a new LT without a grain of salt. Often, they’re new to leadership and feel entitled as an officer in a sea of enlisted. But all good LTs understand that they must listen to their NCOs. Whether or not that’s the case in every brigade on the 82nd in unbeknownst to me. I do, know however, that right now there’s a butter bar writing a sergeant’s NCOER, and it’s wrong. To the LT – if you plan to go to selection – what’s your plan when you’re on a team?

In Special Operations new officers are best for powerpoint and presentations to get the team out the door, to remove some scrutiny from command and assuage their doubts. In fact, officers are placed on teams to get hands-on experience and understand how ODAs are deployed. What their limitations are, what they aren’t, and what is all means on the ground… they’re there to learn. However, many show up and take on a mantle of operator. When, the truth is, they’re FNG (Fucking New Guy). They can be more troublesome than a new team member. Because they have authority and rate you. However, on a team the team sergeant is supposed to have direction over it. That’s because the officer is just visiting the team. Butter bars, concentrate on shooting, moving and communicating and listen to your NCOs.

Featured image courtesy of www.quora.com.