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Importantly, a SNCO has amassed wisdom and experience from years of service and mentorship vice a brick and mortar school. SNCOs will use this knowledge to mentor the officer, and the SNCO must take responsibility for showing the officer the skills needed to command Marines effectively. Acknowledging that the junior officer is the leader and they oversee the section or platoon should be the priority when a new officer takes command. This issue is a crucial step because the officer must understand that while the unit’s success will mostly result from the Marines’ efforts, as the officer, the ultimate responsibility for the unit’s success or failure falls on them. As well, the officer must know that they can completely rely on their SNCO for their full support. New officers learn from their first day at Officer Candidate School to seek advice and experience from their SNCOs. SNCOs are expected to be competent and be able to guide and give recommendations to their officer counterpart. SNCOs need to do everything in their power to ensure that the junior officer quickly learns the leadership skills they may need in times of war. The SNCO can provide the expertise that will produce a “decisive effect against the enemy at the least possible cost to ourselves—a philosophy for “fighting smart.” (Warfighting, p. 4-26)
Another critical requirement that directly impacts winning battles and preserving Marine lives is keeping officers informed of their capabilities on the battlespace. The officer must be orientated and informed of the tactical situation and other issues that will affect them. They should be told of the unit’s procedures’ vice what they learn in their formal schools, or what they read in field manuals. The SNCO lets them know what they should focus on to succeed tactically. Colonel Merritt A. Edson believed that our junior officers’ actions were responsible for our successes in the island campaigns of World War II (Leading Marines, pg. 75). But the junior officers did not accomplish this alone and heavily relied on the experiences of the SNCOs like Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone.