What can ‘Leroy Jenkins’ teach us about Troop Leading Procedures?

I haven’t written much since starting OCS. As would be expected, things are busy here. I’m having a lot of fun and I’m still soaking it all in. Five years out of the military is a long time. Slowly though, things are coming back to me.

One of the things that has me really excited about the Army right now is how open it is to new ideas.

Today, after hours of classes on combat orders, Troop Leading Procedures (TLPs) and developing Courses of Action (COAs), the class was closed with this famous internet meme:

Here, you have what looks like a raiding party at an Objective Rally Point (ORP) preparing to launch an attack. The leader is talking through the Execution phase of the Operations Order (OPORD). Each member of the raiding party is being tasked with different responsibilities. Survivability is even calculated (32.33%, repeating, of course).

Then, Leroy Jenkins happens.

In the military world, Leroy Jenkins is the equivalent of Murphy’s Law. That is, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. While the leader of the raiding party had not even finished his brief, it is doubtful that he could have planned for the contingency of one of the members of the raiding party going rogue and rushing the objective (OBJ) alone. After Leroy rushed in, the rest of the party immediately followed. Now, their half-baked plan was ruined, resulting in the complete annihilation of the team.

What makes this video funny, besides the nerd factor and the strange voice of Leroy Jenkins, is the fact that the team blindly rushes behind him. I’m sure it was probably out of loyalty to their friend or sheer adrenaline, but it is the thing that stands out as the prime mistake. Had the raiding team developed internal Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), they may have had a way to deal with rogue party members. In this case, a sound SOP would probably be to ignore rogue party members and let them go it alone, as rushing behind them blindly is extremely dangerous.

Now, the instructors didn’t use the Leroy Jenkins video the way I am using it here – breaking it down and analyzing it. They just played the video after soaking in hours of classroom instruction on combat orders. Putting the two together, I can’t help but make the connections.

I just think it’s cool that someone in the Army thought to pair combat orders up with Leroy Jenkins.

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