Sergeants Time Training
Some training time during the week should be devoted to the small-unit leader (such as a squad leader or a vehicle commander) to train his unit. This enhances readiness and cohesion; it also allows the junior NCO to learn and exercise the Army's training management system at the lowest level. The key is to train the trainer so that he can train his soldiers. This requires the NCO to identify essential soldier and small-unit and team tasks (drills) that support unit METL and then the NCO must-
- Assess strengths and weaknesses.
- Formulate a plan to correct deficiencies and sustain strengths.
- Execute the training to standard.
WHY IT IS
NCOs are the primary trainers of our soldiers. Sergeant's Time Training (STT) affords a prime opportunity for developing our first line leaders while they gain confidence of their soldiers. Active Component commanders should institute STT as a regular part of the units training program. This will allow NCOs to train certain tasks to their soldiers in a small group environment. Tasks must crosswalk all the way to the Battalion Mission Essential Task List (METL) and commanders must direct their focus on the Quarterly Training Guidance.
STT is an excellent tool in preparing our soldiers to fight and win our Nation's wars in combat operations. Commanders should set this time aside exclusively for the NCO leadership to train their soldiers (squads, sections, crews and teams) on METL related tasks under realistic as possible conditions. In combat, it will be the first line leaders that ensure steady and precise execution by our soldiers. NCOs and their soldiers must have the confidence that their unit can accomplish essential combat skills to standard. From STT soldiers develop greater confidence in their first line leaders and those leaders gain more confidence in themselves. Sergeant's Time Training is our best opportunity to build that leadership. Therefore, we need to use the time wisely.
WHAT IT IS
Sergeant's Time Training is hands-on, practical training for soldiers given by their NCOs. It provides our NCOs with resources and the authority to bring training publications or Technical Manuals to life and to develop the trust between leader and led to ensure success in combat. In the Active Component, the chain of command and NCO support channel support this vital training event by scheduling five uninterrupted hours of STT each week, usually conducted on Thursday mornings from 0700 - 1200 hours. In the Reserve Component, STT may be difficult to accomplish during a typical Unit Training Assembly or even during Annual Training. But even RC units should plan and conduct STT after mobilization.
WHO CONDUCTS STT
First line leaders are the primary trainers during STT and should strive for 100% of their soldier's present for training. Platoon sergeants assist in the preparation and execution of the training. Officers provide the METL and resources (time, personnel and equipment) to evaluate training and provide feedback to commanders. Senior NCOs should protect this program against distractions and provide leadership and guidance as necessary to the first line leader. They must train their soldiers to standard (not to time) oriented on specific tasks to provide the important one-on-one exchange between NCO leaders and their soldiers.
WHAT TRAINING OCCURS DURING STT
NCOs conduct a training assessment and recommend what MOS soldier task or crew and squad collective training they need to conduct during STT. Topics are based on the small unit leader's assessment of training areas that need special attention. The small unit leader recommends the subjects for Sergeant's Time Training at unit training meetings so that the training can be identified, resourced and rehearsed prior to execution. The commander puts this training on the training schedule four to six weeks prior to execution. Schedule resources for the training four weeks before the training.
Command sergeants major will monitor and provide detailed guidance for STT, provide technical expertise, check training to ensure standards are established and maintained and advise both commanders and first sergeants on their program. Preparation is the key to a successful training session and program.
First sergeants will ensure that NCOs scheduled to conduct training do a risk assessment and rehearse the class prior to training their soldiers.
Sergeant's Time Training may be used to train soldiers in a low-density MOS by consolidating soldiers across battalion / brigade and other organizations. The senior NCO in a low-density MOS conducts training for other soldiers holding that MOS even if he doesn't supervise the soldiers directly. Commanders and their NCOs decide on the frequency of low-density MOS training but it usually occurs once or twice a month. An example for low-density MOS training is that for supply clerks in a Transportation Battalion. Even for low-density MOS training, the Battalion CSM and each first sergeant is responsible for implementation of the program.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Sergeant's Time Training is not company or battery time, nor is it a "round robin" training event. Company / battery annual mandatory training, physical training, inventories, weapons and routine maintenance should not occur during this time. STT should be hands on training, involving all soldiers and that builds proficiency in essential warfighting tasks. Do not have platoon sergeants as instructors; they should be checking training and ensuring it is conducted to standard. Your unit should conduct STT regularly except during extraordinary events like post-operations maintenance or during field training exercises. You may have minimum essential phone watch, CQs and guards.
While many units have their own, unique way of conducting STT, some aspects are universal. The training will be standard oriented and not time oriented. Continue training on a task until soldiers are proficient in that task, that is, they receive a "GO" or perform the task to standard. You should use the training management cycle when developing and executing your STT. Use hands-on-training as much as possible. All first line supervisors will maintain a file with the task, conditions and standards for each task and record each soldier's proficiency in those tasks.
Supervisors maintain a Sergeant's Time Training Book with a list of collective and individual tasks their squad/section/team/crew must be proficient in to support their Battery/Company METL. Rate each task as "T" (trained), "P" (needs practice), or "U" (untrained). The full text of these tasks is in the appropriate MTP. This information is essential input for training assessments and training meetings.
Sergeant's Time Training is an NCO led program. The first line supervisor must be able to justify to the chain of command why he is training a selected task, such as it was a training weakness during the last FTX. You should not train on a "T" task before a "U" task. If a supervisor can justify his training plan, then the training is probably worthwhile and necessary. For example, units that are not Table VIII qualified must train on those tasks until qualified. This would be an example of a collective task that is a "U."
Have written task, conditions and standards prepared for each training event. Post the task, condition and standards so that any visitor that enters the training site knows what task is you are training and who the instructor is conducting the class. Additionally, designate a secondary instructor so the supervisor on site can brief any visitors.
At the end of Sergeant's Time Training, the supervisor will assess the training conducted and make recommendations for future training. If the task could not be trained to standard, then the supervisor should reschedule the same task for a future Sergeant's Time. Leaders should annotate the results of the STT in their leader books.
The Sergeant's Time Training Book should contain as a minimum:
- Unit METL with all collective tasks supporting each METL task and each individual task supporting each collective task.
- Critical individual tasks, must be accomplished in order to make the collective task work, must be identified.
- Lesson plan.
- A soldier sign-in accountability status sheet roster.
- A visitor sign-in roster.
- Risk assessment checklist, completed.
- The Sergeant's Time Training Book must be at your site location at all times during training.
Sergeant's Time Training equipment required at the training location includes:
- All soldiers are in the same uniform IAW, your unit's SOP.
- Operational equipment to train on (tank, aiming circle, Launcher/Loader, etc.)
- Required reference materials.
- Butcher board and writing instruments.
- Visual training aids required.
An Example Sergeant's Time Training Timeline:
- 0700 - 1130 instruction / hands-on test/ AAR after each task.
- 1130 - 1200 final AAR, return to unit area.
You as an NCO and a leader are responsible for conducting Sergeant's Time Training to standard and not to time. Your soldiers will rely on you to provide them with realistic training conducted in a field environment. Don't disappoint your soldiers by not being prepared and your STT won't be a waste of their time. This is your chance to teach your soldiers those important tasks. Set the example.