The Top about-faced and stood at attention in front the company formation. I could see the grunts from where I was. Here and there, you’d see a soldier’s expression go from bored, to puzzled, to Holy shit!, to suppressed laughter. I was watching them pop off one by one.
And one by one, they were met by the cold, hard stare of a First Sergeant demonstrating, without a word or a motion, the finest example of military command and control I have ever seen. It was magnificent. One by one, as grunts in formation twigged on to what was happening, the Top stared them back into silence and back into military bearing. No sniggering. No laughter. Nothing.
Some things don’t change, even if you add helicopters and radios. Command and control is a personal thing. It doesn’t automatically come with rank. It isn’t always augmented by technology. A Roman Legionnaire would have recognized the First Sergeant’s look. And obeyed.
About now I should give a lecture on command and control, how it isn’t just yelling orders, how it’s a personal trait that cannot be instilled but can be trained... Nuh uh. I know it when I see it. That’s all I got.