After returning from my first combat deployment in Iraq, I was assigned the duties and responsibilities of the Company Training Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). I was a Lance Corporal (E-3) at the time, not yet a NCO, and was assigned this position, which is billeted for a Sergeant (E-5, Senior NCO/Technical Management). This would be my second job position which is meant for personnel at least two ranks my senior.
I was assigned additional duties during this time, including Fire Team Leader, Company Level Information Collector (Or Company Level Intelligence Cell), and Dragon Eye operator. While performing my duties as the Company Training NCO, I assisted the Company Executive Officer (XO) and the Company Gunnery Sergeant (Gunny) in maintaining the Training records for the 150 to 200 Marines in the company. Additional responsibilities included:
- Assisting the Company XO in the development of Training schedules for the company over a 6 month period.
- Coordinating with Platoon Commanders and Platoon Sergeants in sending Marines to various Marine Corps Formal Schools and other specialty training, ensuring Marines met the requirements for the multiple courses they were to attend, briefing each Marine on what they needed, and keeping the Company XO appraised of their training status.
- Maintaining training records for all personnel in the company, including special skills, annual training requirements, unit training requirement, and other specialty training requirements such as sexual harassment training and other training.
- Assisting the company Gunny in planning for the supplies and logistical needs of the Company for upcoming training operations.
- Assisting the company Gunny in maintaining the company’s supply inventory and distribution of supplies to the platoons.
- Placed as the NCO in charge of the Headquarters Platoon enlisted personnel under the command of the Company Police Sergeant.
As the Company Training NCO, I assisted the Company Police Sergeant in a leadership role, ensuring accountability and mentorship of the Headquarters Platoon Marines who were assigned to the various positions in the HQ platoon for the Company. I learned a variety of Professional skills during this time and gained a great deal of experience in the following:
- Administrative management of personnel
- Training administration and management
- Performance Management
- Development of Rosters and methods for analyzing Training and performance against set standards.
- Inventory management and accountability
- Distribution and Logistics
- Job Identification, Description, and Organization
- Coordination of multiple Units and Departments
- Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in the development of rosters, data organization, reporting, and presentation of information from collected data.
This duty was difficult for me to adjust to, as I had been in the field as an infantryman, and preferred being in the field as opposed to the “desk job” that I was assigned. However, I was able to adapt to the new environment, and humble myself to take on this added responsibility. The work environment was very demanding, and I gained a variety of personal skills, and was tested in my ability to multi-task and handle very stressful and demanding deadlines. The personal skills I was able to improve upon included the following:
- Effective communication skills
- Task management
- Time management
- Working in a highly stressful and demanding environment
- Initiative and Dependability
- Tact and Professional edict while working with senior officers
- Organizational skills and judgement
This particular job was what I performed while “in garrison,” meaning while back in the barracks and not while conducting training. When our company went out to the field, I would be utilized by the 3 rifle platoons as a Fire Team Leader, depending on which platoon needed the extra Team Leader. I was eventually set to a fixed Team leader position in one of the platoons, but I do not remember which one. This duty significantly impacted me and tested my ability to work under stress. Though I started out rough, experiencing a great deal of difficulty adjusting the work environment, I was able to adapt and develop a work habit that led to my ability to meet the expectations of my command, and to begin to exceed those expectations leading up to to our eventual deployment in January of 2006 to Afghanistan, where my role as Training NCO would change.