Platoon sergeants have to be jacks-of-all-trades to handle their many roles. They must balance the welfare of their troops and supervise training evolutions all while keeping up with the platoon's administrative tasks — it's a lot of work.
When you first enter the unit as a newbie boot, it's rare that you'll ever get to know much about your platoon sergeant outside of their name, rank, and how many countries they've deployed to. However, there are others who pride themselves on getting to know a few things about each one of their troops. Every platoon sergeant has their own style of leading that works best for them.
But, if you're in the infantry, you'll come in contact with at least five different types of platoon sergeants in a grunt unit.
1. The tactical, hands-on one
Some platoon sergeants take a back seat to their other NCOs when it comes training their troops. Others want to spearhead the training and break everything down themselves, "Barney style" — which isn't a bad thing.
"We see the enemy; we kill the enemy. It's just that simple." (Photo by Ms. Jennifer Mattson)
2. The organized pointer
This type of platoon sergeant has practically seen it all and done it all. He shows up prepared and ready to kick ass. They know what they need and how to get the job done.
"Station every over there and wait for my command." (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull)
3. The one who wants to get in the fight
This motivated leader helps plan out missions and even lends a hand when they aren't in battalion-level meetings.
Locked and loaded. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
4. The one who loves themselves some training
These are one of our favorite types. They're the ones who will strap on a heavy pack and go on a ruck march to prove they can lead, and that they've still "got it."
After a 12-mile hike, this platoon sergeant is still smiling — no big deal. (NCO Journal photo by Clifford Kyle Jones)
5. The seasoned badass
This is the type that when he speaks, everyone in the platoon listens like the words are spoken from scripture. He's earned the right to be heard by everyone. Other up-and-coming grunts hope they'll be like him someday.
Staff Sgt. Tom Painter, a section leader with Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon debriefs his Marines after conducting a field exercise. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)