From the time you join, or even before you go to boot camp, your recruiter should constantly be emphasizing the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is one of the most important parts of any branch of military, any unit, or any MOS, especially combat arms MOS.
When you arrive at boot camp, the cadre immediately start yelling, “you better start working together as a team or you will all fail.” You then realize how true this is because many people can’t handle the constant yelling and screaming and they pretty much freeze up and freak out.
I have literally seen people who knew what to do and how to do it; however, when they’re being yelled at they just stand there, usually shaking, and they can’t even complete a simple task such as folding their shirt right. This is where being a team can help those struggling individuals.
What Leadership Does for Teamwork
The common denominator in a great team is a great leader. This should be someone who doesn’t just bark out orders and dictate all the time to their team. A great leader is able to perform any task that the team is assigned, and they’re always willing and able to do it better.
I’ve always tried to achieve my best in weapons qual, the PT test, and more. If a leader can do this, too, it helps set an example and develop trust within their team. It gives the team a challenge without even asking. They all want to do better than you so they can earn your trust and respect.
As the old saying goes, “There is no ‘i’ in team.” The sooner you realize this, the easier and more fun it will be.
That’s why in Army special operations training Rangers and Green Berets have peer-outs. This is used to get rid of the people who are focused on being individuals and not being part of a team. These are the ones we call rambos.
Rambos are the ones who think they can take on the enemy all by themselves. They’re the same ones that brag about every so called firefight they’ve been in, most of which are a lie. The ones who don’t talk about their actual combat experiences are the ones that are telling the truth.
Teamwork at Its Best
When I look at which units in the United States military are the best in regards to teamwork, the one I think that stands out, head and shoulders above the rest, are the Rangers. And I am not just saying this because I am one. I am saying this because of my hands-on experience.
On the first day of Ranger school, soldiers learn the importance of what a team is all about. And, once again, this is why they’ll have peer-outs after each mission.
I have had the opportunity, since I am EOD as well, to deploy and work with many different units throughout the military, including the Navy.
I won’t go into specifics, but I started my career in the Navy EOD on a boat unit (or swick team) working with SEALs. The Navy special operations units are some of the best combat teams that employ teamwork so I would rank them just below the Rangers.
What Does Teamwork Mean?
Teamwork isn’t just about helping carry somebody’s ruck during a ruck march, or about bringing somebody chow on bed rest. It’s about coming together and making decisions based on knowledge and experience. Teamwork is about standing weapon to weapon and being ready to take on the enemy and always staying online.
To be a great team, just like in sports, it takes cohesiveness, and that can take years. But in the military, we don’t have years. We’ll only have months, or sometimes days, to be ready for a mission. You have to learn about how each person moves and more. You’ll always have to be thinking together as one. This is why the military trains as they fight.
In regards to teamwork, the military will always set the standards that civilian companies try to emulate. That’s one reason why civilian companies like to hire military leaders. They can bring them aboard for leadership positions within their organization.
Teamwork will always be a large part our military. If it wasn’t, we’d just have a bunch of rambos running around trying to earn a medal. If you ever want to see what it takes to be a great team, you don’t have to watch USC or San Diego State, you just have to watch a Ranger team because they, by far, are the best in the world.