16 April 2013

Memo to Junior Officers from 2LT (Ret.) Walter Hudson, 101st Airborne
Before I was commissioned as a 2LT in the 101st Airborne from The Ohio State University, I made a promise to myself to volunteer for everything. At first this may seem counter-intuitive, but it allowed me to max out attendance at schools - Airborne, Ranger, Air Assault, Infantry Mortar Platoon Officer Course, etc.

Of course, I never told anyone that this was my strategy.  Back in the 1970’s we thought we were going up against the Soviets with their 54,000 main battle tanks plus, and that whatever training you had when deployed was what you would fight with. Everything else would be a one time learning experience.

Right away I volunteered be the Company Nuclear Chemical Biological Warfare Training Officer and Strategic Deployability Officer and went through those trainings. Then, unknown to the company Commanders, I formed a mutual support organization between all our Bn NBC officers to GI each of our Company NBC rooms at the first hint of deployment or inspection. So instead of just me and my NBC NCO responsible for inspecting and maintaining, I could count on all the LT’s and NCO’s to come at a moment’s notice to max out our readiness or any mutually supporting Company NBC team.

During a sister BN load out on a Deployability exercise, I helped my counterpart in that BN not just with my aid, but I also had the phone numbers of cadre at the Deployability school who had offered aid in a deployment. We helped that LT shine when a band of unsuspected experts showed up to aid and support the LT in charge of loading out his BN.

I made friends with Aviators via the O Club Bar and volunteered to adjust fire for night Cobra Gun qualifications by adjusting illumination. They put me in an OH 58 above the Cobra on station adjusting illumination from an 81 section as they qualified with guns and rockets, getting unmatched skill sets way beyond my peers.

When we were equipped with Dragons to replace our 90 recoilless rifles I made a deal with LTs from a Sister Brigade to share a dragon qualification range. That doubled our number of guns and testing devices. It gave us both IR sources as targets and weapon systems online. Calculating the increased efficiency of the doubled targets and guns, I volunteered to not only take over our Bn qualification, but suggested going for 150% of the required qualification of gunners above the BN target qualification, asking only for a 2LT to assist me, as I was a 1 Lt GS Mortar Platoon Leader among many other 1LT’S seeking a Company Command.

It was sort of like competing against peers who were asleep.

Just a thought. If you let people know you are volunteering for everything you might be abused. But keeping it secret it gave me unprecedented access to experiences in training.

All the Way!

Kindest regards,
Walter Hudson

Lt (Ret) Hudson is president of two corporations that train veterans for work and is founder of the nonprofit Vet to Vet of Ohio.

No comments:

Post a Comment