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Platoon Sergeant - What is the XO?

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  • Platoon Sergeant - What is the XO?

    In ArmA 3, the Platoon Sergeant can have different responsibilities depending on the disposition of the platoon. Wait, what? What is this XO (Executive Officer)?

    Frankly, in ArmA, we couldn't care less lol. In the game reality, XO can also be read as Platoon Sergeant. This position can fulfill two distinct roles and can do either or both at the same time.

    ROLE 1 - XO
    This is the Second In Charge (2IC) and the XO is an officer as per their title, Executive Officer. Like woesterudolf is the XO of ArmA 3 at, he assists with the paperwork and the day to day behind the scenes stuff here within ArmA. He is full aware of all issues that are ongoing within the title, any and all details within the Admin team and is ready at a moments notice to fill my spot should Real Life (RL) take me away from being the Game Officer for any length of time.

    The XO in a regular platoon is tasked with the logistics of the platoon. Making sure that the platoon has what it needs in transportation assets, food, supplies and so forth to complete it's tasking. The XO is in charge of making sure everyone gets their pay! Be nice to the XO.

    The XO is also sometimes referred to as the Vice-Principal. You remember the Vice Principal....the person you had to see when you did that thing there you shouldn't have right?

    The XO is often the club or bat of the Officer In Charge (OIC). The Principal is the nice guy you just wanna have a chat with, and the VP is the one you never want to have to speak to lol. He is mean!

    In our game...this is not the case.

    The XO in game is the one who will take care of the logistics. Ensure that the appropriate vehicles are assigned and supplies delivered. This person will oversee the Join In Progress (JIPs) get attached to the right groups and transported to their appropriate location. That the ammo box gets to where it should. That the air units know not to fly over a hot Area Of Operations (AO) and alert the enemy to our impending attack.

    The Platoon Leader can worry about the big picture and consider the likely enemy actions...and develop contingency plans for possibilities. The XO is the one who takes all the details and makes the overall plan work logistically.

    This role is slightly different. In the real world the Platoon Sergeant has years of military experience and has achieved the rank through not just demonstrating the theory but having lived it.

    In a small infantry platoon (such as in-game) the PS is the Second In Charge (2IC) and the bridge between the enlisted soldiers and the, often very green, Officer In Charge (OIC). The OIC is educated in tactics, communications in service to the company, and often case as the grunts will say, doesn't know much about the life of a grunt.

    This is far to easy to have happen within our game as well. Really, it is dead easy for a platoon leader to leave some squad (8 to 14 players) sitting on some rally point somewhere, playing the military's favorite game. "Hurry up and wait". This sucks for players to do. No in-game leader wants to do this to anyone, but it will happen now and then.

    The Platoon Sergeant is the one who can keep on top of this. As an in-game counterpart of the real life PS, this person can bridge between the OIC who can concentrate on strategy and tactics, while the PS makes it happen according to the OIC's intent.

    THE 2IC
    The Second In Charge (2IC) can really help when there is a convoy of vehicles to control. When there is artillery support or close air support, the 2IC often will take those requests from the forward observers and issue any permissions required as are based on the SOP as set by the OIC. Again, taking away the paperwork, leaving the OIC to deal with the big picture.

    The in-game 2IC can have multiple roles within the simulation but can also be one other kind of counterpart to the real world PS.

    An experienced leader can take the 2IC role when there actually is no convoy, no CAS, no logistics to worry about. This is helpful when an up and coming leader takes Platoon Lead for the first few times.

    The radio coms can get very very dense. Details can get missed. Really important details!

    The experienced 2IC can assist the new leader manage the chaos and learn coping strategies. The PS can teach the budding OIC the ins and outs of how the Platoon works. This is kind of the opposite of a real PS, who usually (and I mean "usually") doesn't need to teach the officer how the platoon should be utilized. However, in-game, this is a great use of this role. The budding OIC has likely lead a few squads and may very well use his new squads as fire teams they way he is used to doing. Squads are not fire teams. It is true lol. The PS, can advise how the OIC might consider giving more discretion to the Squad leaders in how they utilize their own fire teams to complete their assigned objectives.

    This in-game leadership role of Platoon Sergeant can be considered as a mentor sometimes. or just a well appreciated helping hand at dealing with 40+ players!

    The 2IC will handle SITREPs and fill the OIC in on the relevant details. The 2IC is not going to make strategic decisions, but will make logistic choices and discuss with the OIC as those choices impact the overall strategy or situation.
    |TG-189th| Unkl
    ArmA 3 Game Officer
    Dean of Tactical Gamer University
    189th Infantry Brigade Member


  • #2
    We had this very dynamic running on our last Tactical Tuesday. Our SLs and their FTLs were absolutely capable of handling themselves on their own given they had an objective. At command level we had a PSgt running re-enforcements, supplies, re-arms and observer, an XO handling Squad communications, movement and re-enforcement awareness and myself as CO running response to OPFORs movements and objectives handed down to us from higher command(Zeus).

    Current ARMA Development Project: No Current Project

    "An infantryman needs a leader to be the standard against which he can judge all soldiers."

    Friend of |TG| Chief


    • #3
      It sounds like the XO was acting as a Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) in this case. As long as your platoon isn't top long as the communications are not hindered by the extra links in the chain...then it should work out well.

      I think this depends on a lot of factors such as is it a long distance to the AO? What types of transportation are you using? Air and motorized vehicles? Do you have CAS? Do you have a mortar team? The complexity of the objectives. The rate of players that are joining and leaving.

      If your Commanding Officer (CO) or Platoon Leader (PL), whatever you want to call this position, can concentrate on anticipating enemy actions, planning contingencies, and so forth, then the entire mission is more likely to succeed when the unexpected happens.

      For smaller missions and smaller player counts this becomes less difficult. I think we have all experienced the games where you have a squad sized force and the Platoon Commander who was really unnecessary. A squad can react much quicker...and to force a single squad into "role playing" a platoon structure creates either one of two things:
      • Pro - you can have new leaders learn in an environment that has less consequences
      • Con - players can end up playing "Hurry Up and Wait" needlessly, the good players leave and the player base begins to shift the wrong way

      |TG-189th| Unkl
      ArmA 3 Game Officer
      Dean of Tactical Gamer University
      189th Infantry Brigade Member





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