Commando Officer Role

Discussion in 'Stickies/Frequently Asked Questions' started by jaym018, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. jaym018

    jaym018 Member

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    Hey everyone,
    I realise that nobody can say what the "daily role" of an officer is because it changes everyday, however could anybody tell me if the officers that are leading the commandos still get stuck in. for example if the troop come under enemy fire the role of the officer is to get the men to the best tactical position and either kill the enemy or retreat but if the troop attack will the officer also go on and attack with them. lead by example as it seems?

    thanks
    jay
     
  2. Sotiris

    Sotiris Member

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    I'm sure you've asked this question before.

    (In my very limited and humble experience I would say that) The Officer's task is to allocate his resources (Marines) appropriately. Once this is done then he can get "stuck in". There's no point in going trigger happy if your men don't know what you want them to do. They can probably shoot a lot better then you anyway. Of course you lead the way. That is what makes a good leader. Since we're talking about Officer's commissioned and trained by the Corps we are talking about good leaders.

    Of course, if you want the real answer you should speak to RMRO.
     
  3. RM Recruiting Officer

    RM Recruiting Officer RM Captain

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    Sotiris has got pretty much the right answer there. I have written a lot on this subject! There is so much information on this forum about the Role of an Officer and the command of troop attacks so I am not repeating myself. Consider it a test of your research abilities and initiative to find out more.
     
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  4. RM Recruiting Officer

    RM Recruiting Officer RM Captain

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    I have been thinking about this for a little while and decided that this is the best place to post this information.
    The Role of an Officer. In Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks' character is Capt John Miller. He's a particularly good example of an Officer. When they land on the beach and it is all going to hell, he takes the decision to get the men forward behind some cover and start to assault the enemy positions. That might sound obvious but notice that his men are looking to him for some sort of a decision. They were never expecting this sort of opposition and had been probably briefed that the beach defences had been destroyed. This uncertainty has caused chaos and it's Capt Miller's job to sort it.

    When he gets to the sea wall (cover)...He looks at what they have in front of them (barbed wire) and what assets he has to breach them (bangalore torpedoes). He uses them to clear the wire so they can advance forward. He then continues the assault on the objective.

    The point I am trying to make is that he is the one making the decisions. He's under fire and the original plan has gone completely out the window, he's only got a small number of his men and a few assets but he does what is required to make the plan work. The endstate is to clear the enemy positions and establish a beach-head, how he does it is up to him. This is called Mission Command. In the Royal Marines, as an Officer, you get told the endstate (what must be achieved). How you get there is up to you... that is true responsibility and something you should be looking for if you are considering applying for an RM Commission.

    Later on in the film, he takes the difficult decision to assault a fixed enemy machine gun position. His Troop want to go round it. Watch the support he recieves from his Tp Sgt (Tom Sizemore's character) and the fact that they then assault the objective. It was his decision to assault the position and he has to live with the consequences, subsequently his medic's death.
    If you watch the film again and consider what you would do in those circumstances, it would give you an insight into your abilities. Forget the tactics as you would be taught those, think honestly about how you would react and that will give you an indication of whether you should look at being an Officer or a Marine.
    Capt Miller demonstrates that he is brave, decisive and bold throughout the film. He doesn't necessarily agree with the Mission but talks about that only to his Troop Sgt. His men must believe that he fully believes in the Mission...if they don't, he won't get them to do what he asks.
    His Sgt (Tom Sizemore) is also excellent. He demonstrates his own leadership ability and rapport with the men whilst being fiercely loyal to the chain of command.

    This is an example (albeit an extreme one!) of the Role of an Officer in war. They obviously didn't make a film about the desk driving roles that Officers do because that wouldn't be very interesting!
    I don't want this thread to become a review of every war film you've seen but having re-watched the film and considered my role and experiences, I think it is worthy of analysis in helping some of you understand the role of an Officer.

    If you are a fan of Band Of Brothers, Capt Richard Winters is very similar. He's a superb Officer. He is friendly with his Soldiers but not over-familiar. He strikes the balance well and understands that being well respected is the most important aspect of the job. He understands that his professional ability (how good he is at his job) breeds the respect of the men in his charge and that is a lesson worth learning as early as possible (it is also why RM Officers do the Commando tests faster than the Marines, as it demonstrates that they can do all that their men can do, and more).
    Winters does not socialise with his men, he is not their friend. This can lead to an element of loneliness but that comes with the territory of the job. Remember as an Officer, you are not their friend, you are their Tp Commander. It is an easy thing to forget.

    Again, look at Band of Brothers. If you see yourself as one of the lads then you should look at joining as a Marine. If you see yourself more along the lines of a Winters role, look at the Officer career path.
    Apologies for the long post, I hope it goes some way to helping people decide which route to take. Ultimately, the POC and AIB will help but this post is designed to help you make the decision before then.
    Happy Christmas,
    RMRO
     
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  5. Death-Oar-Glory

    Death-Oar-Glory Member

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    Epic post RMRO! Brilliant one too, gives me a good excuse to re-watch Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.

    Personally, I think they should make a film about an admin officer in an undeployed unit. I'm sure it would be a massive hit.
     
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Careers Adviser

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    I've made it a sticky because it's most definitely a recurring theme.
     
  7. Lloydy101

    Lloydy101 New Member

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    another good example is Lt "Buck" Compton in Band of Brothers..

    He was extrememly friendly with his troops and a strong officer who saw himself as one of the lads..he hanged around with them, shared the jokes and made some very close friends.

    Unfortunatly he witnessed his closest friends get hit in Bastonge...because he had a very close friendship he was unable to come to terms with their loss, breaking down mentally therefore being unfit to lead. I thought this was a good example of why as officers you should not get to close to your men...but still have that element of friendship.

    Unfortunatly "Buck" got to close to his friends.
     
  8. RM Recruiting Officer

    RM Recruiting Officer RM Captain

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    Lt Compton was a good tactical leader and well respected by the men. However, he did get too close to his soldiers. That's not something you can afford to do as an Officer.

    You may have to give orders that could lead to the deaths of some of your Marines, it is unlikely but it is possible. Those are the difficult decisions that you are paid to make and it is easier to do that if you are slightly seperated from the men you lead.

    The line is to be friendly with them but not their mate. It's an easy thing to mess up. I chose not to say anything about Lt Compton because I think Capt Winters is a far better example to follow.
     
  9. Lloydy101

    Lloydy101 New Member

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    Thanks RMRO! your post has really helped with my decision to go through the officer route.

    Capt Winters is definetly a better example for an officer as a whole.

    But Lt Compton is an example of what happens when you get to close to your friends and become incapable of leading.

    Cheers
     
  10. RM Recruiting Officer

    RM Recruiting Officer RM Captain

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    The point is that his soldiers should not have been his friends. They are his men and he is their boss. He does not share his doubts and discuss personal things with them. That is the whole reason for having an Officers' Mess. It is a place for Officers to discuss issues pertinent to them in an area away from the men under their command.
    In the field, this is more difficult but if he wanted to be friendly with someone, it should have been a fellow Officer or a Senior NCO.
     
  11. Jimmy

    Jimmy New Member

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    yeah thanks alot RMRO,
    thats some informative stuff you said. cleared up alotta stuff that needed knowin, it also explains a few previous situations. think i know what i want now, and that i need to stop watchin these war classics *text deleted*
    thanks again
     
  12. Trainhard-playhard

    Trainhard-playhard New Member

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    This is a very interesting thread and there is some good stuff in here that puts into perspective the role and responsibilities of being an officer.

    A while ago I read a book called "The 48 Laws of Power", and I thought it was quite a good read. It was pretty clear a lot of the laws can apply to becoming a good leader, particuarly, ways of gaining respect. Not all apply though, of course, I'm sure some would turn you into a mini Hitler.

    Here's a link to a narrowed down version of the laws. See what you think.

    The 48 Laws of Power
     
  13. THAll

    THAll New Member

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    I'm sorry but I completely disagree. The rules of power are meant for gaining power and if anything they show a complete lack of leadership. They seem to suggest that to gain power you must use manipulation. They just don't fit into the RM ethos.
     
  14. Derek_Crystal

    Derek_Crystal New Member

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    Second that. My impression is that an RM Officer should provide clarity, control, decisiveness and enthusiasm.
     
  15. TTT

    TTT New Member

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    If anyone has read the book 'Junior Officers Reading Club' (about an army officer on training at Sandhurst and his first tour), the author talks about the training staff using Band of Brothers' Winters as an example of the perfect officer. Definitely worth a look as others have mentioned.
     
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