By Daniel MaltaDecember 6, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla., Dec. 6, 2018 -- One-hundred and twenty-one field artillery students completed Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) at the conclusion of their capstone event, Red Leg War Nov. 26-30.
Held eight times a year, Red Leg War can be heard all through the night as these officers direct field artillery operations.
While the artillery training is the loudest and most noticed aspect of this training, it's the leadership principles instilled in these young officers that stand the test of time.
Maj. Gen Wilson A. Shoffner, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, visited trainees during Red Leg War and spoke with them during several events.
"What does fire support imply? It implies that someone else is the priority. I've grown up my entire career in support of someone else. That's what you sign up for as a fire supporter. So embrace that. Brag about your peers. You succeed by making them successful," said Shoffner.
Dan Cable, Harvard Business Review contributor and author of "Alive at Work," states that when leaders focus on support and servitude they energize their followers to bring their best selves to work.
Red Leg War encourages students to understand the impact of leadership as they perform tasks at various levels by filling enlisted roles all the way up to leadership roles at brigade level.
Therefore, instead of just following orders and executing individual pieces of the puzzle, these officers study the many layers of providing fire support.
"Peer leadership is much harder than leadership of someone who is respecting a difference in rank. Peers have a tendency to call you out if you're messed up. That puts them through the traps, allowing them to make some of those mistakes with the harshest critics," said Maj. Thomas Stevenson, B Battery, 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery commander.
From leadership to technical skills, this is the final time these officers use what they've learned before they move on to enter the regular Army.
According to Col. Jeffrey Buck, 428th Field Artillery Brigade commander, the main thing he wants to instill in his students is confidence in what they've been taught.
"The foundation of my leadership philosophy is to lead by example," Buck said. "For these lieutenants, that means training them to be technically and tactically competent so they can walk the walk when they get to their first unit," said Buck.