Whose Platoon Is It Anyway?

PL and RTO

Maybe this is all just semantics, but I’m of the mind that words are born of thoughts, and they all mean something.

What does it mean when a platoon leader, a young lieutenant declares “This is my platoon.” Or, “these are my guys.”

Or when someone asks, “Hey, when are you getting your platoon?”

I never thought much of it when I was enlisted. The platoon leader really didn’t factor that much into what I did on a day-to-day basis. I was much more concerned with what my NCOs thought, and keeping my mouth shut when an officer came around.

Back in IBOLC, as the talk of going to “take” a platoon stirred, I started to feel bothered by the idea of declaring a platoon “mine.” Something just seems wrong about it. I think the idea is born from a good place, a patriarchal desire to do good for your guys, but still, something seems wrong. They aren’t and will never be mine. Platoons are made up of individuals, and if anyone owns them, it’s the Army.

The platoon leader, at best, just signs the hand receipt.

Maybe it’s because of the rank/pay/duty disparity – I don’t know.

I do know that in most cases, the platoon leader will come and go, but the soldiers of the platoon will remain long after.

So, who does the platoon really belong to?

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