2 Years of Lessons from Battalion Command

by Scott Shaw - "Cottonbaler 6"

Good leaders are always learning. But legacy only happens when good leaders also take the time to share those lessons with the profession. Lieutenant Colonel Scott Shaw is a great leader, and has selflessly compiled this substantial collection of tips, templates, warnings, and insights to help other leaders succeed in their own leadership opportunities, command or otherwise. He deserves much credit for authoring this incredibly helpful post, but (as he states) the Cottonbaler leaders and Soldiers deserve the real acclaim for creating the experience that led to it.


LTC Scott Shaw and the “Cottonbalers” of 3-7 Infantry at Fort Stewart, Georgia in January 2015, following his assumption of command.

4,567 Words of Advice for Crushing ROTC Advanced Camp

by Dylan DiIulio

This post is not just for cadets. Newly commissioned Infantry Second Lieutenant Dylan DiIulio presents a sizable list of tips on fieldcraft, teamwork, and leadership that apply to any training event. New Soldiers should read this. Sergeants taking over a fire team should read it. Hikers and backpackers can draw some insight from his advice. Take a look and share it widely, especially with those heading to Advanced Camp this summer.

Advanced Camp

5 Things Commanders Should Know About Communications

by John Geracitano

Let’s face it, even the most humble and open-minded person hates to be wrong or seem ignorant in public. While it will always be fun for leaders to scream “SIGO!” when anything with electrons running through it fails, a deeper understanding of the S6 shop’s capabilities will improve decision-making and calm tempers. Below are five tips to help frame an improved perspective of the S6 shop.


U.S. Army 2nd Lt. James Cleary, with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, talks on the radio during a combined cordon and search with the Iraqi police in the West Rashid district of Baghdad, Iraq, June 26, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tierney Nowland)

11 Tips for Succeeding as Aide-de-Camp

by Andy Brokhoff

Congratulations on being selected as an aide-de-camp. This assignment is like no other assignment you have had. You were selected because of the successful career you’ve had thus far, but also for your potential to continue service for years to come. Being an aide is an amazing broadening assignment where you will get a glimpse into senior level military leadership. But it’s also difficult to prepare for.

Before you do anything else, read the Army’s guidance on serving as aide-de-camp:  Officer/Enlisted Aide Handbook. Next, I encourage you to consider the following advice.


U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walks with Vietnamese Chief of Defense Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty at the Ministry of Defense in Hanoi, Vietnam, Aug. 14, 2014. Link to photo.

Professional Etiquette in the Digital Age

by James Welch

Perhaps more than any other professional culture, the military demands that Soldiers perform their duties with a particularly high level of decorum and professionalism.  This is manifested in our hierarchical rank structure and our daily interactions with superiors, peers, and subordinates.  While the rise of digital technology has the potential to make these relationships stronger and improve the overall performance of individuals and organizations, it also has the potential to significantly damage one’s image.


Photo Credit: Army Sergeant Christopher M. Gaylord, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

14 Simple Ways to Connect with Your People

Leaders who find ways to connect with their people are the ones who build great teams, inspire the best performance, and rise to positions of influence when others wane. If you look back on your career, you’ll likely observe that the most impactful leaders were the ones who made a personal connection with you.

Maybe it was keen professional mentorship, or timely advice during adversity, or a personality trait that invited trust. Sometimes there’s no pinpointing it…just an intangible feeling that makes it easy to follow a person.

In the culture of busyness that we face today, it’s distressingly easy to ignore the personal side of leadership. But trust will never develop without a personal connection between leader and follower. And without trust, an organization will be confined to a transactional environment of mediocre results and melancholy people.


Sgt. Donald M. Khun, San Gabriel Valley Recruiting Company, right, presents Brooke Willis, spouse of the new company commander Capt. William G. Willis, with yellow roses to signify a bright new beginning at the change of command ceremony Mar. 15. Capt. William G. Willis, the new company commander is sitting to the left of Mrs. Willis, and their son Blake is sitting to her right.
Photo by Mr. Fernando Sanjurjo, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Los Angeles.

The “Phil-Osophy” of Life

by Phil Walter

On December 17, 2014 I read a post by The Military Leader that outlined General Colin Powell’s Rules. I am no General Colin Powell. However, I do have my own list. I developed this list of principles based upon experiences as an Infantryman, Infantry Officer, and more specifically during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as an Intelligence Officer.

Once complete, I hung this list in my office and jokingly titled it “The Phil-Osophy.” Visitors would read the list, like what they saw, and ask for a copy. Though they may seem overly aggressive, or excessively pragmatic, they work for me and I do my best to hold myself to them during times of weakness.


U.S. Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Battalion Landing Team transmit messages during an embassy reinforcement exercise at the Arta Range training area near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Oct. 26, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erik Cardenas.
Link to photo.

10 Microsoft Excel Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier

by Dan Hudalla

Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used software tools in the military.  We use it more than we fire our weapons.  Many a staff officer and commander have spent countless hours creating that perfect spreadsheet to accomplish the mission.  And if you’ve ever frustratingly uttered, “there has got to be a more efficient way to do this,” check out these Excel tips.


Thanks to Army Captain Dan Hudalla for contributing this post!
If you found it useful, also check out “11 Keyboard Shortcuts You Must Learn.”