ALU Mentorship

Capt. Charlie Rowan, left, a student of the Command and General Staff Officer Course, class 15-002, discusses his command experiences with students of the Logistics Captains Career Course, class 15-003, during a mentorship chat session Tuesday at the Army Logistics University.

FORT LEE, Va. (June 25, 2015) -- Cadre members of the Army Logistics University are paying attention to the career-enhancing benefits of casual lunchtime and after-duty conversations between future leaders in training.

“A lot of mentorship is going on every day that we should be encouraging,” said one small group leader for the Command and General Staff Officer Course, which trains and develops leaders (typically Army majors) for Unified Land Operations in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational operational environment.

“We learned a couple of classes ago we had a group of probably 18 or so majors doing Q and A sessions with 30-plus lieutenants over a two-month period,” the SGL further explained. “Nobody told them to do it; they simply took the initiative to share what they know in the interest of career development.

“Our course leaders (CGSOC and the Logistics Captains Career Course, or LOG-C3) would like those sorts of mentorship opportunities to happen more often,” he said, “so they’re trying new things to establish connections between the officer courses. We’re focused on providing that conduit that gets more of these future leaders in training talking to each other.”

A result of that effort was witnessed during a June 11 chat session involving about 40 first lieutenants and captains from LOG-C3 class 15-003 and six majors from CGSOC class 15-002. The topic of the informal discussion was mission command and expectations of a logistical officer entering into a new assignment.

A majority of the LOG-C3 students have follow-on assignments to brigade combat teams across the Army. With that in mind, they’re eager to learn everything they can about senior command expectations and the challenges of deployments and other operational requirements at the battalion and brigade headquarters level.

“As logisticians, we enhance our capabilities with effective communications,” observed 1st Lt. Andrew M. Corcoran, a LOG-C3 student, during the session. “Through battlefield circulation to mission analysis, we provide solutions and present our commanders with viable options.”

Capt. (promotable) Charlie P. Rowan from the CGSOC class responded with a simple bit of advice. “Do not come to the table with ‘I can’t.’ As the logistics officer for the unit, the expectation is that you will offer solutions and options for the unit and the commander. This comes down to communicating, and the more effective you are at doing that, the more you will solidify your value on the team.”

Another takeaway was emphasized by LOG-C3 student Capt. Nathan D. King. “As logistics officers in a BCT, forecasting supply and service requirements in support of future operations is one of the most important tools for delivering support to the unit. We do not have to wait for the OPORD to begin our preparations.”

Capt. Jonathan E. Foster from the LOG-C3 class also offered an astute observation during the session. “It’s important to build relationships across the formation. Really focus on team building … it’s the best way to increase understanding between logisticians and maneuver professionals. This increases the unit’s efficiency and effectiveness with training our formations.”

The two classes collaborated in three small groups and then shared major lessons learned together. Conversations between the participating officers have continued as a result of the chat session.

“We’re using this as an example of how we could grow the ALU/CGSOC Mentorship Program, which is meant to harness the collective knowledge and operational experience of our students in training,” the CGSOC SGL said. “The long-term benefits of this will be interesting also. We hope to create longer-term relationships where senior and junior officers continue their mentorship connection after they finish their training at Fort Lee.”

CGSOC is a 14-week course that “advances the art and science of the profession of arms in support of Army operational requirements,” according to its website. Fort Lee is one of four satellite training locations, with the main function located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. About 200 CGSOC students attend classes here each year.

LOG-C3 is a 15-week course that “develops and educates adaptive sustainment leaders prepared to serve as company grade officers enabling logistics operations at the tactical level during Unified Land Operations,” according to the ALU website. About 780 students – including many foreign national military personnel – attend the six classes here each year.