Company-sized units are normally commanded by Captains. They consist of two or more platoons, usually of the same type, a headquarters, and, in some cases, a limited self-support capability. Companies are the basic elements of all battalions. They are also assigned as separate units of brigades and larger organizations (for example, the brigade or division Headquarters Company). All close combat companies can fight massed or by separate platoons.
Similarly to battalions, companies are able to cross-attach platoons on a regular basis. As such, a mechanized team (as opposed to a pure company) will have two mech platoons and one tank platoon while a tank team will have two tank and one mechanized platoon. Balanced teams can have a combination of two and two though this occurence is rare, but does exist for special missions purposes like serving as a covering force for a battalion/Task Force. In such instances, battalions and companies need to tailor some CSS (mainly maintenance) pieces to go along with the cross attached company.
In infantry, armor, and attack helicopter battalions, companies normally fight as integral units. Attack helicopter companies more frequently fight with their platoons in separate zones, sectors, or areas. Company-sized close combat units are capable of fighting without additional reinforcements but they are normally augmented with such units as short-range air defense (or SHORAD) teams. They may also be reinforced with maneuver platoons of the same or different types and with engineer squads or platoons to form company teams. The formation of company teams allows tailoring forces for a particular mission.
Combat engineer companies control three or four engineer platoons. They may be employed by their own battalion in a variety of tasks or they may support maneuver brigades or battalions. Separate brigades and regiments usually have an assigned combat engineer company. Most other combat support and combat service support units are formed as companies.
The Assault Helicopter Company (AHC) is a unit of the Aviation Brigade which is common to all heavy and light active divisions throughout the Army. The primary organic air mover of the division with 18 UH-60s, it consists of a HQs section, an aviation maintenance platoon, a flight operations section and three UH-60 flight platoons. The Command Aviation Company(CAC) provides C2, special electronic mission aircraft (SEMA) and field artillery observers for the division.
Separate Engineer Companies -- Separate engineer companies in the force structure are designed to provide additional specialized support in areas such as bridging, equipment support, port construction, pipeline construction, mapping and terrain analysis.
Many people are confused with the designation "company." That does not imply a business, but means an organization of approximately 100 soldiers. The purpose of a tank company is to close with the enemy through fire and maneuver, and defeat him with firepower and shock action. Tank crewmen are direct descendants of the horse-soldiers. The branch insignia still bears the crossed sabres of the cavalry, and the branch color is cavalry gold. The aggressiveness, esprit, and elan of the cavalry are traits still inspired in the modern trooper, although his mount is no longer horse-flesh, but 70 tons of metal. He still carries a pistol or a carbine, but he has a 120mm main gun to replace his sabre. The spirit of Hampton, Stuart, Sheridan, and Patton still are taught as examples of initiative, offensive spirit, tempered patience, and loyalty to their men.
The tank company crews fourteen tanks. In addition to the jobs of tank crewmen, there are many other important jobs that can be found within the company. A unit maintenance section keeps the tracked and wheeled vehicles running. A transportation section provides needed truck transport for the unit. A supply section provides needed supplies and services, and fixes weapons on site. A medical section provides emergency medical services, and monitors the health and hygiene of the company. A mess section provides food services and hot rations when tactically available. Communications specialists keep the radios going, and a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defense specialist provides experience and advice on keeping the troopers protected from this devastating type of warfare.
In addition to those jobs, there is a full-time staff who does the basic administrative functions. Unit readiness, training, and supply sergeants see to the operations of these basic functions that have to be accomplished daily. A recruiting sergeant is also in each armory, to help those with questions about enlisting, and to offer advice for troopers with the progression of their career.
Soldiers form the heart, soul, and muscle of the company. These are the guys who are the "doers." They are the tank crewmen, the mechanics, the drivers, the cooks, the technicians. They are what makes the company work. Without soldiers, the unit is worthless. Over time, capable soldiers are promoted to the NCO corps, or volunteer for Officer Candidate School (OCS). These junior ranks go from Private to Specialist.
Non-commissioned officers, or sergeants, are the backbone of the Army. They oversee the daily operations of the unit, lead by example, and possess experience and wisdom. The NCO corps builds soldiers, and teaches soldier skills. The NCO ranks found in a tank company go from Corporal to First Sergeant. The First Sergeant, the senior NCO in the unit, is also referred to as the "father of the company." There are about 30 NCO`s in a company. These men are the mentors and guides of soldiers.
Officers implement and direct Army policy and regulations, and unit missions. They focus on training organizations. There are 5 officers in a tank company. There are three platoon leaders who are are Second Lieutenants (the most junior commissioned rank) who leads a tank platoon, and is responsible for all that his platoon does or fails to do. There is an Executive Officer (First Lieutenant), who oversees logistics, operates the company command post (CP), and is second-in-command. There is one Captain, who commands the company and is responsible for all that the unit does or fails to do.
The type of training that the troopers do may involve tactics, either force-on-force against other people, computer simulators not unlike flight simulators, and walk-through training. Gunnery training may involve live fire of the tank main gun and machine-guns, live-fire using subcalibre devices, or computer simulations. Small arms firing is also conducted for the entire company, not just those in the tank crews. It is a requirement that each man qualify yearly with his assigned weapon for record, and that each tank crew qualify on Tank Gunnery Table VIII.
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