I want to start by saying this article is NOT a reflection of the United States, the United States Army, the United States Military, the United States Department of Defense, or any United States Government Entities. This essay is solely a personal opinion piece. And so it begins:
For some of us, the military wasn’t always a desire, as it was more a destiny. I didn’t feel the military as a dream of mine when I was a little girl playing with Barbies or Makeup, but I felt a gentle, albeit slow burning tug to make it happen.
I looked at my father and the men I admired as military officers and something in me knew my personality might take a liking to that lifestyle. I thought to myself “I could do that.”
And then one day, 10+ years later, you wake up after four years of ROTC, a commission, five years of Active Duty service, and somehow you’re passing the guidon after two years of Reserve Company Command.
Company Command is the “best job in the army,” as the kool aid drinkers of the military like to say.
I will say the truth:
It is one of the most thankless roles in the military. The extension of responsibility is substantial, but the differential between this role and a subsequent, is the impact. A Company Commander devises the plan based off the larger unit’s mission, but then is directly involved in the execution of these tasks.
A Company Commander is the decision maker and approval authority for approximately 50-250 military personnel (in my case, 125).
I’ll put an education blurb at the bottom for what a Company Commander is for all those reading this who are unfamiliar with the role, but I’d like to cover my experience.
I faced many personal tribulations, family/relationship/career related, during my initial tenure in Command. I had to be so comfortable with being uncomfortable. So much so that I needed the professional help of a therapist. I had cried tears of frustration so many times. I knelt on my knees looking up at God begging Him to explain how I could possibly be strong enough to handle all coming my way.
As time went on, I chipped away at it, just trying to get a little better & more proficient everyday.
I said in my Change of Command speech that as the great American hero, Miss Dolly Parton once quoted “Storms make trees take deeper roots.”
I spoke of how inspired I was by my individual Soldiers and went on to say
“I wish I could have done as much for you, as you’ve done for me. I want to thank my Command for the lessons and the roots I’ve taken as not only a leader, but also as a person. As the Chaplain addressed in our opening prayer, that I brought blessings through my tenure. What I hope and believe is that through the storms, through the roots, and through the blessings, I will continue to blossom.”
Joining the military changes a person. You become confident and determined in a way I never realized I had the capacity for.
The next level in this game of life showed me that Company Command changes a person again. I am now more resilient & detailed than I had been before, but I also have a significantly increased mental capacity.
The mental gymnastics it requires to be a successful commander, while also having an entirely separate career, is not for the faint of heart.
I had conflict within my unit, and one peer went to my Commander saying he didn’t agree with how I handled the unit. My Command Team’s instruction was “If you believe that, let her fail,” and the peer pulled back on what he was doing for me.
I was told my last day in Command “You ended up not failing. You rose to the challenge and did great.”
To be completely transparent, I cried in the bathroom after I received this feedback. Not because I was upset, but because I was relieved. I’d spent the last two years swimming upstream. Imposter syndrome, but also the reality that I was, in fact, failing, So many times I wondered if I was even capable.
I’m here to tell you that I am.
I am also here to tell you that Company Command is not the greatest job in the Army, but it is a significant privilege that I will keep near and dear to my heart. To be exposed to this amount of responsibility is a major opportunity I can’t deny. I’m a better person because of this command.
Thank you God, thank you to my military Soldiers and Leaders, and thank you to the U S of A.
For those who want more information, a Company Command, in my own words, is responsible for the following:
–Medical readiness (ensuring all 125’s yearly dental and physical status is updated & at 100% at all times)
–Administrative actions (all promotions, evaluations, paperwork must be reviewed and signed by the Commander. etc)
-Property and supply management. A commander “owns” all of the unit’s weapons, vehicles, computers, which requires monthly inventories, maintenance / supply management, etc.
-A Company Commander creates and executes the training plans for our Battle Assemblies which are held one weekend a month at various locations. The planning of this & product creation sometimes takes upwards of 6-7 hours.
-A Company Commander must know the status of these at all times and spend approximately 3-5 meetings a month outside of Battle Assembly briefing the Battalion Commander. These meetings are usually held from 7-9pm on weeknights after the Civilian work day.
If anything happens to any of the 125 personnel (DUI, family emergencies, etc), you are not only informed at all hours of the day, but also have to initiate all official paperwork, most of which involve several forms.