I was having a discussion with an old friend about the enduring habits we picked up early in our military training. He’s retired USMC, so naturally his stories are much more dramatic than mine. But our training NCO at ROTC Summer Camp (Ft. Bragg, NC, 1968) did manage to hammer in a few lessons. Please add your own in the Comments.
- Shoes do not shine themselves; beds do not make themselves
- There is no better time than right now to get these done; second chances only exist in movies
- It follows that you do not have the time to do anything over
- First leadership lesson. You only have one simple task: Make sure that the other 39 people in the platoon get the mission accomplished. DO NOT do anything else.
These may seem elementary, but we’re talking college students in the peace-and-love 1960s. Apparently, moms made the beds for many of these guys, and when they got to college, nobody did.
About number 4: He made it VERY clear to me that grabbing the broom and finishing an area myself was not what platoon-leaders-for-a-day do. Over the years, I figured out that something like mission command was the best idea.
Learning these was not pleasant. While ROTC Summer Camp wasn’t Parris Island by any means, I still remember them, so I guess he did something right. And there are harder ways to learn lessons.
Thank you again, Sergeant …