Three Meter 

Zone: Common Sense Leadership for NCOs. Welcome to the world of the noncommissioned officer, 

the ultimate in hands-on, front-line leadership: the three meter zone where the work of the 

soldier occurs. ... a full fledged study of leadership for NCOs, by an NCO.
Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal | Back to NCO Duties



Staff Sergeant

Staff Sergeants, Sergeants and Corporals are normally section, squad and team leaders, and are a critical link in the NCO chain. These NCOs live and work with their soldiers every day and are responsible for their health, welfare and safety. These section, squad, and team leaders ensure that their soldiers meet standards in personal appearance, and teach them to maintain and account for their individual and unit equipment and property. The NCO enforces standards, and develops and trains soldiers daily in military occupational specialty (MOS) skills and unit missions.

The NCO teaches individual and collective training, develops unit cohesion, fosters values of loyalty and commitment, and builds spirit and confidence. The NCO evaluates performance oriented training, and through coaching and counseling grooms young soldiers for future positions of increased responsibility. Section, squad, and team leaders are responsible for their soldiers' minds, bodies, and spirits. These NCOs teach everything from the making of sound and timely decisions to physical training to ethics and values. They are the basic trainers of today's soldiers.

Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops
of the United States

Instructions for the Sergeants and Corporals

It being on the non-commissioned officers that the discipline and order of a company in a great measure depend, the cannot be too circumspect in their behaviour towards the men, by treating them with mildness, and at the same time obliging every one to do his duty. By avoiding too great familiarity with the men, they will not only gain their love and confidence, but be treated with a proper respect; whereas by a contrary conduct they forfeit all regard, and their authority becomes despised.

Each sergeant and corporal will be in a particular manner answerable for the squad committed to his care. He must pay particular attention to their conduct in every respect; that they keep themselves and their arms always clean; that they have their effects always ready, and even in the dark, without confusion; and on every fine day he must oblige them to air their effects.

When a man of his squad is warned for duty, he must examine him before he carries him to the parade, obliging him to take all his effects with him, unless when specifically ordered to the contrary.

In teaching the recruits, they must exercise all their patience, by no means abusing them, but treating them with mildness, and not expect too much precision in the first lessons, punishing those only who are willfully negligent.

They must suppress all quarrels and disputes in the company; and where other means fail must use their authority in confining the offender.

They should teach the soldiers of their squads how to dress with a soldier-like air, how to clean their arms, accoutrements, &c. and how to mount and dismount their firelocks; for which purpose each non-commissioned officer should always be provided with a turnscrew, and suffer no soldier to take his arms to pieces without his permission.

On a march the non-commissioned officers must preserve order and regularity, and suffer no man to leave the ranks without permission of the officer commanding the platoon.

A corporal must teach the sentinels to challenge briskly, and every thing else they are to do in their different situations; and when he relieves them, must make them deliver the orders distinctly.

When a guard is relieved, the non-commissioned officers take the orders from those whom the relieve; when sent to visit the sentries, they should instruct them in their duty. They should reconnoiter the roads they are to patrol in the night, that they may not lose themselves. They must make their patrol with the greatest silence and attention, where necessary, send a faithful soldier a-head to look out. If they meet a detachment of enemy stronger than their own, they must retreat in order to their own post. In the night they must stop all strangers that approach. They must not suffer their men to make the least noise with their arms or accoutrements, and every now and then stop and listen. On their return from patrolling they must report to the officer what they have seen or heard.

When a non-commissioned officer is a file-closer in action , he must take care to keep the ranks and files properly closed, and when too much crowded, make them incline from the centre. When the files of his platoon are disordered by the loss of men, he must exert himself to dress and complete them afresh, with the utmost expedition. He must keep the greatest silence in the ranks, see that the men load well and quick, and take good aim. He will do all in his power to encourage the soldiers and use the most vigorous means to prevent any from leaving the ranks, unless wounded.