An Army Officer

[May 22, 2023]   A few years ago, I wrote a very popular article on what it takes to be an Army Officer as measured by “The Army Officer’s Guide (1983 edition).  Not only was it well liked, and one of those that many emailed to say thanks.  Here is that article in full.

Twice, I’ve written about the importance of my 1983 Army Officer’s Guide and how it helped me on my journey of military service (see links here and here).  First, a disclaimer.  I don’t recall ever reading it once I made Colonel.  That was a mistake because it could have helped me in those senior leadership positions, especially as a Commander.

The most significant responsibility any officer (or leader) can hold is that of Commander.  Command of an Army unit of any size is rewarding and satisfying, providing rich experiences of personal contact where they know their troops.  Teamwork flows from working together, and with healthy teamwork comes confidence in the personnel who form the unit.  Any officer assigned in any capacity to duty with troops is privileged and should enter upon responsibilities with determination to succeed.

There is much to know if an officer is to be successful in command.  For example, one must know about Army command policy, supply, maintenance, provision for mess, and more.  But there is a distinct difference between a thorough “knowing about,” in the academic sense, and the “knowing how,” which is gained by on-the-job experience – the capacity to know how is the goal to seek.

As I flipped through Chapter 16 on “Responsibilities of Command,” I came across one sentence that stood out from rest and was a paragraph on its own:

“Every commander has two basic responsibilities in the following priority: accomplishment of the mission, and the care of personnel and property (emphasis in the original).” – The Army Officer’s Guide (1983), 42nd Edition, page 246

Perhaps I had read this chapter a decade earlier, and it was in the back of my memory.  As a General Officer, I had two priorities, and they were clear; 1) get the mission done and 2) take care of Soldiers.  Our mission in peacetime was quality training, and in wartime, it was going after the enemy.  How close these two statements/priorities were, are uncanny.  If only … if only I had studied my Army Officer’s Guide more closely, I would have evolved faster and had a better time of it.

It matters little the specific military service or job as a leader we are assigned.  Being a leader means finishing the mission and caring for those that work for you.  Commanders who fail at either task are not leaders.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “An Army Officer

    1. Purse

      Kenny, if you can, search and find yourself a copy of the US Army Officers Guidebook. Get an older copy because the new copy is probably WOKE and is more focused on transgender officers than real officers.

  1. Dead Pool Guy

    A truly great guide. I ordered a recent copy of the latest officers guide. I hope it helps me.

    1. Eye Cat

      Great to see you back in the leadership forums, Army Vet. Please write another article soon. Thank you for your service.

      1. Unwoke Dude

        We are all Army Vet fans. Why? Simple, he is a real leader and not a crazy lunatic like we have in the White House.

  2. Tom Bushmaster

    Hey folks, made sure you read about his Daily Favorites. Its about PowerLineBlog’s look at how real people are rebelling against the woke ideology that denies reality.

  3. Doc Blackshear

    Gen. Satterfield, this is a knock them down article that I enjoyed years and a loved re-reading it again now that we are in the alphabet mafia’s time.

  4. Army Captain

    I remember it and I’m a fan, so I’m still here. Great article.

    1. Aussie

      Too bad we don’t have “men” like this any more. Today’s Army Officer’s Guide probably tells them how to wear pink underwear and salute left handed. Our Army is already lost. Cheers.

        1. Yusaf from Texas

          Yep, and folks are too scared to say this. The tyrants are on the lose and we pander to them. LEt them come to regular Texas towns and watch the ass whoppin being. 👀


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