FORT LEE, VA. — After six months in the company commander seat for the headquarters and headquarters company, Capt. Jairo Milan is wondering why he doesn’t get the same respect of other captains that are in charge of line companies.
“This was supposed to be the highlight of my career. Every officer looks forward to their time as a company commander,” said Capt. Milan. “But instead, I got thrown into some dark corner with a bunch of idiots that make me wonder how they even were accepted by a recruiter, much less how they made it through basic training,” said Milan.
Command time for an officer is a vital part of their career, especially their time spent as a company commander. But command can vary: Headquarters companies are comprised of support section soldiers that are in logistics jobs, while line companies are built with combat and combat support occupations.
”I feel like the nerdy kid in school that gets to watch all the cool kids hang out during lunch,” Milan said. “I was always picked last for dodge ball in school because of my size, and now it’s happening all over again, getting stuck with all the handi-capable kids doing watercolors in the smelly classroom,” he said.
“They don’t even take me seriously at the weekly training meetings,” he added. “The brigade commander keeps putting a sign on the door that says ‘must be this tall to enter this meeting’ and then points and laughs at me when I show up,” said Milan.
Officers often view HHC command time as a burden more than an opportunity even if it counts as career key development time.
“He can’t be that mad about the position, I mean look at me, I got stuck with a sustainment unit for my brigade command time,” said Col. Nathan Wakeland, brigade commander. “We’re not all first-round draft picks, I’m still trying to get people to take me seriously since I’m a chemical officer,” said Wakeland. (Soldiers judge each other on their MOS in both the enlisted and commissioned officer world.)
“I don’t give a shit if captain Milan was a generator repair specialist, I just wish he’d get his soldiers to stop going AWOL for just a week,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Branson Sheppard. “If he could go one freakin’ week without a soldier making the police blotter or missing an appointment, then maybe I’d take him more seriously and stop giving him shit, but just rides at the carnival, he can’t do it,” said Sheppard.
Being in command of an HHC at the brigade level is a unique position due to the fact that all staff personnel fall under that company commander, to include the brigade commander and all field grade officers.
“Maybe the brigade commander and all his com-padres should realize this is my unit and I’m the one in charge, but please don’t tell them I said that,” said Milan. “I guess in the long run, I’ll just have to do what my teachers told me to do in school, ‘just shut up and color,’” Milan said.
Milan went on to encourage all his fellow headquarters commanders to not feel guilty about going to see behavioral health on a regular basis and to always remember that if you don’t know how to do something, there’s a YouTube video for it.