Platoon sergeant

In many militaries, a platoon sergeant is the senior enlisted member of a platoon, who advises and supports the platoon's commanding officer in leading the unit.


In the Singapore Armed Forces, a platoon sergeant serves as the "bridge" between the platoon commander and the rest of the platoon, leading the platoon in many assigned tasks and assuming command in the platoon commander's absence. In some platoons, there may be more than one platoon sergeant.

Platoon sergeants exercise authority over section commanders who are only responsible for the management of a given section in the platoon. Platoon sergeants work with the Company Sergeant Major and subordinate section commanders. They are responsible for the discipline and training of the men. The platoon sergeant is responsible for preparing the men for parades and ceremonies. In exercises and operations, he is in charge of logistics, medical aid, and ensuring that the formation of the platoon is maintained during movement to a mission objective.

For NSF soldiers (conscripts), platoon sergeants are selected as third sergeants. They are usually specialists who graduated with a Silver/Gold Bayonet whilst at the Specialist Cadet School, though it may not often be the case. NSFs who are in active units and who have shown exemplary conduct on and off the field can be recommended to attend the course and take up a NSF Platoon Sergeant Role. On completion of the platoon sergeant course at the Specialist and Warrant Officer Advanced School, they will assume their appointments. Promotion to the rank of 2SG will be determined by the parent unit. NSF platoon sergeants do not normally attain the rank of First Sergeant (1SG) before their national service period has concluded, although they may go on to achieve this rank during their annual reservist cycles.

For Regulars, they are usually first sergeants. It is a must to have completed their section commander tour before assuming the appointment.

Insignia Army-SGP-OR-5a Army-SGP-OR-5b Army-SGP-OR-5c Army-SGP-OR-6a Army-SGP-OR-6b
Rank Third sergeant Second sergeant First sergeant Staff sergeant Master sergeant
Abbreviation 3SG 2SG 1SG SSG MSG

United States

Drill instructor at the Officer Candidate School
A Platoon Sergeant (correct U.S. Marine Corps term) at the Officer Candidate School aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., dedicated to training, educating, evaluating and screening the many candidates who go through the course and turning them into Marine leaders.

U.S. Army

In the United States Army, a platoon sergeant is usually a Sergeant First Class (E-7) and is the senior enlisted member of the platoon. From 1929 until 1942 (replaced by technical sergeant) and again from 1958 until 1988 (merged with sergeant first class), the separate rank title of platoon sergeant existed.

The platoon sergeant is the primary assistant and advisor to the platoon leader (and acts as the platoon leader in his or her absence). Unless the platoon leader has extensive prior experience as an enlisted member or warrant officer before being commissioned as a lieutenant, it is likely that the platoon sergeant will have a greater wealth of military experience due to the disparity in military service length between a new lieutenant and a sergeant first class (typically a platoon leader has less than three years of service, whereas a platoon sergeant has from 7 to 15 years of service).

However, service experience is not a prerequisite for commissioning and command. Rather, as has been since the beginning of professional armies, the privilege of and eligibility for command is usually predicated primarily on rank and is entrusted to those who have earned it, on the combined basis of: innate aptitude (leadership and management) and intelligence (intellectual and emotional); completed education (civil and military) and training (tactical and technical); and demonstrated skills (physical and conceptual) and competencies (practical and theoretical).

Therefore, the platoon is usually commanded by a commissioned officer (normally a second lieutenant) as his/her first real command position after commissioning. Nonetheless, the wise and successful newly commissioned officer takes full advantage of the experience of the platoon sergeant by readily seeking and accepting the advice and counsel of a more experienced soldier and leader. Therefore, the platoon sergeant functions as the crucial conduit of interface between the soldier and the officer by bringing the experience of a senior noncommissioned officer into a sort of "on-the-job training" for the junior company-grade officer, helping to enable the officer to prepare for subsequent increases in levels of command.

On occasion, when a sergeant first class is not available, either organically within the platoon or from another unit, a responsible Staff Sergeant (E-6) will probably be appointed to fill the platoon sergeant position instead. Here is an excerpt from the Army's Field Manual titled "The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide" (FM 7-22.7).

"While the 'Platoon Sergeant' is a duty position, not a rank, the platoon sergeant is the primary assistant and advisor to the platoon leader, with the responsibility of training and caring for soldiers. The platoon sergeant helps the commander to train the platoon leader and in that regard has an enormous effect on how that young officer perceives NCOs for the rest of his career. The platoon sergeant takes charge of the platoon in the absence of the platoon leader. As the lowest level senior NCO involved in the company METL [Mission Essential Task List], and individual tasks to soldiers in their squads, crews or equivalent small units."[1]

U.S. Marine Corps

In the United States Marine Corps, the billet of platoon sergeant in a rifle platoon is usually held by a staff sergeant (E-6). In scout sniper, reconnaissance, weapons (i.e., crew-served weapons), armored vehicle (e.g., tank, assault amphibian, light armored reconnaissance), field artillery (both headquarters and firing platoons), and air defense (viz., LAAD) platoons, a gunnery sergeant (E-7) is usually the platoon sergeant.

In 1929 the rank of platoon sergeant was officially authorized.[2] During World War II the rank of platoon sergeant was a "line" grade while staff sergeant with a bar instead of an inverted arc, or "rocker," was a staff grade. The separate rank title of platoon sergeant was eliminated in 1946, with all NCOs at this grade converting to staff sergeant. As in the past, the platoon sergeant is in charge of taking care of the Marines and the platoon's operational control while advising the platoon commander.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Cover 1 CRC.PDF" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
  2. ^ "USMC Rank Chevrons through the ages..since 1917". Retrieved 2012-10-23.
  3. ^ "World War II era Marine Corps enlisted ranks". Retrieved 2012-10-23.
AIT Platoon Sergeant

An Advanced Individual Training (AIT) Platoon Sergeant is a United States Army Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) responsible for the health, welfare, mentoring, disciplining, physical fitness and Warrior-Task training of AIT Soldiers. NCOs in the enlisted grade of E6 or E7 are assigned as AIT Platoon Sergeants and incur a minimum 24-month tour of duty. The size of the AIT Platoon varies by installation and can range from 20 to 120 Soldiers, though TRADOC Regulation 350-37 states the desired ratio is one Platoon Sergeant to 40 Soldiers. An average AIT Company has between two and five Platoons. "The Army’s Human Resources Command may involuntarily select NCOs or NCOs may volunteer for AIT Platoon Sergeant Duty". AIT Platoon Sergeants are typically assigned to TRADOC locations that reflect their present Career Management Field (CMF), but can be sent to other installations if needed.

Bienvenido Fajemolin

Bienvenido Fajemolin is a retired Philippine Army enlisted trooper and a recipient the Philippines' highest military award for courage, the Medal of Valor.Fajemolin was serving as platoon sergeant in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines on 18 October 1977 when his company headquarters came under attack by approximately 500 rebels.[1] With the unit's officers out on official business, Fajemolin assumed command. Although wounded, he managed to hold off the attack for five hours, after which the rebels withdrew, leaving sixteen of their number dead. Fajemolin was conferred the Medal of Valor three years later.

Ernest Ivy Thomas Jr.

Ernest Ivy "Boots" Thomas Jr. (March 10, 1924 – March 3, 1945) was a United States Marine Corps platoon sergeant who was killed in action on March 3, 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism at the base of Mount Suribachi on February 21. Thomas is best known for being one of the Marines who helped raise the first of two American flags atop Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945.

Guard Battalion (Estonia)

The Guard Battalion (Estonian: Vahipataljon) is specialized battalion directly of the Estonian Defense Forces for ceremonial duties and military police tasks. It is based in Tallinn and specialized in urban warfare. This unit was previously known as the Infantry Training Centre Independent Guard Battalion and was part of the Estonian Ground Forces.

The Guard Battalion is also the place for training of the Paramedic Course (applicants get the rank of Junior Sergeant and position of platoon or company paramedic upon completion) and the NAK (Junior Non-Commissioned Officers' Course – rank of Corporal or Junior Sergeant and position of squad leader or platoon sergeant aid upon completion). With NAK completed, it is possible to continue to the Platoon Commander Aid Course, after completion of which the applicants get the corresponding position and the title of aspirant. In case the platoon commander becomes MIA or receives an injury not compatible with his duties, it is the aspirant who takes over the unit.

Being the capital's largest military formation, the Guard Battalion also has the duty of carrying the watch over the presidential palace and welcoming foreign diplomats and political guests.

Herminigildo Yurong

Herminigildo J. Yurong was an enlisted Marine of the Philippine Marine Corps and a posthumous recipient of the Philippines' highest military award for courage, the Medal of Valor. Staff Sergeant Yurong served as a platoon sergeant with Marine Battalion Landing Team-2's Special operations-capable unit during the 2000 Philippine campaign against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In a military operation in Matanog, Maguindanao, Yurong led his unit against approximately 200 Moro Islamic Liberation Front secessionists. Concluding that the numerically superior enemy would eventually pin down his unit, Yurong assaulted the entrenched MILF positions, emboldening his fellow Marines to follow his lead. As the MILF fighters counter-attacked, an RPG round impacted near his position, killing him.

Ian McKay

Ian John McKay, VC (7 May 1953 – 12 June 1982) was a British Army soldier and a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Born in Wortley, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, McKay was platoon sergeant of 4 Platoon, B Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, during the Falklands War. He was killed during the Battle of Mount Longdon, when the deed described below took place, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Joseph R. Julian

Platoon Sergeant Joseph Rudolph Julian (April 3, 1918 – March 9, 1945) was a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the United States' highest military honor — the Medal of Honor — for his heroism and sacrifice of life in 1945 in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Merrit Cecil Walton

Merrit Cecil Walton (December 18, 1915 – August 7, 1942) was an American Marine Corps platoon sergeant who died a hero in battle at Gavutu in the Solomon Islands.

Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge

The designation Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, usually abbreviated to NCOIC (or NCO I/C), signifies an individual in the enlisted ranks of a military unit who has limited command authority over others in the unit.

An example would be something small like a squad leader who may have 6-12 people under his or her command. Another might be a platoon sergeant who can have 45-70 people under his or her command.

Generally, an NCOIC is both an administrative leader as well as a combat leader.

Only NCOs and SNCOs may serve as NCOICs. In the United States Air Force enlisted members in the grades of E-1 through E-4 cannot hold the position or title of NCOIC until promoted to the grade of E-5 and above.


Obertruppführer ([ˈoːbɐ.tʀʊp.fyːʀɐ], "senior troop leader") was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party that was used between the years of 1932 and 1945. The rank is most closely associated with the Sturmabteilung (SA), but also was an early rank of the Schutzstaffel (SS) in that group’s formative years.

Translated as “Senior Troop Leader”, Obertruppführer traces its origins to the rank of Truppführer which was a title used by Stormtrooper Companies (Shock Troops) during the First World War. As an SA rank, Obertruppführer was created in 1932 due to the SA’s expansion and growing membership. The rank of Obertruppführer was junior to Haupttruppführer and typically served as a senior non-commissioned officer rank equivalent to a Platoon Sergeant in other military organizations.As an SS rank, Obertruppführer was used by the SS between the years of 1932 and 1934. An SS-Obertruppführer carried similar duties to their SA counterparts and the rank was also used in the very early days of the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT).

Obertruppführer was abolished as an SS rank after the Night of the Long Knives (1934), when the rank was renamed as SS-Hauptscharführer. Obertruppführer survived as a rank of the SA until the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. The insignia for Obertruppführer consisted of two button pips and a silver stripe centered on a collar patch.


A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two or more squads/sections/patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the branch, but typically, per the official tables of organization as published in U.S. military documents; a full-strength U.S. infantry rifle platoon consists of 39 Soldiers or 43 Marines (U.S. Army [USA] or U.S. Marine Corps [USMC], respectively). There are other types of infantry platoons (e.g., antiarmor, heavy machinegun, light armored reconnaissance, mortar, reconnaissance, scout, scout sniper, and weapons), depending upon service and type of infantry company/battalion to which the platoon is assigned, and these platoons may range from as few as 18 (USMC scout sniper platoon) to 69 (USMC mortar platoon). Non-infantry platoons may range from as small as a nine-man communications platoon (USA headquarters and headquarters company [HHC], airborne, air Assault, and light infantry battalions) to a 102-man maintenance platoon (USA HHC mechanized infantry/combined arms battalion). A platoon leader or commander is the officer in command of a platoon. This person is usually a junior officer—a second or first lieutenant or an equivalent rank. The officer is usually assisted by a platoon sergeant. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer.

Rifle platoons normally consist of a small platoon headquarters and three or four sections (Commonwealth) or squads (US). In some armies, platoon is used throughout the branches of the army. In a few armies, such as the French Army, a platoon is specifically a cavalry unit, and the infantry use "section" as the equivalent unit. A unit consisting of several platoons is called a company/battery/troop.

Platoon guide

A platoon guide is a position, but not a rank, in the United States Army and Marine Corps. The guide sets the direction and cadence of the march.In an infantry platoon the platoon guide is a non commissioned officer (by Table of Organization [TO] a sergeant in the US Marine Corps) who acts as an assistant platoon sergeant. The platoon guide is responsible for ensuring the platoon is supplied with ammunition and rations and, in combat operations, may be tasked by the platoon commander to take temporary charge of casualties or enemy prisoners of war/detainees until they are evacuated to the rear. The Army changed the platoon guide title to assistant platoon sergeant after World War II and eliminated the position after the Korean War.

In a basic training unit, the platoon guide is the senior recruit in the platoon chosen by his or her Drill Instructor as a liaison between the Drill Instructor and the platoon and the recruit leadership of the platoon.In Marine Corps training units the platoon guide also carries the platoon guidon (Army training platoons do not have guidons.). This is derived from 19th-century guide sergeants, who carried marker flags to denote the flanks of an infantry regiment, and was applied to smaller units as tactics changed.

Platoon leader

A platoon leader (NATO) or platoon commander (more common in Commonwealth militaries and the US Marine Corps) is the officer in charge of a platoon. This person is usually a junior officer — a second or first lieutenant or an equivalent rank. The officer is usually assisted by a platoon sergeant. Some special units, such as specific aviation platoons and special forces, require a captain as platoon leader, due to the nature and increased responsibility of such assignments. Platoons normally consist of three or four sections (Commonwealth) or squads (US).

Platoon sergeant major

Platoon sergeant major (PSM) was an appointment in the British Army in the short-lived rank of warrant officer class III (WOIII), created in 1938. The platoon sergeant major, and his cavalry counterpart, the troop sergeant major, were part of a project giving experienced non-commissioned officers command of units formerly reserved for commissioned officers (platoons and troops). With the outbreak of World War II, National Service filled the Army with enough young men suitable for commissioning, so the project was stood down; no promotions were made to the rank after 1940 and most existing WOIIIs were commissioned as lieutenants.

Second sergeant

Second Sergeant is a specialist rank in the Singapore Armed Forces. Second sergeants are rank above third sergeants, but below first sergeants. The rank insignia for a second sergeant features the three chevrons pointing down shared by all specialists, and one chevron pointing up.In combat units, second sergeants usually hold the appointment of platoon sergeant. They are often given instructional billets as well. Third sergeants may be promoted to the rank of 'local second sergeant', holding this local rank only for the conscript period of their active national service, i.e. more responsibilities but without any extra NS allowance compensation. After ORD, the local promotion will not carry over to conscripts' reservist cycle.

Sergeant Wilson

The Honourable Arthur Wilson, also known as Sergeant Wilson, is a fictional Home Guard platoon sergeant and bank chief clerk. He was portrayed in the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army by John Le Mesurier.

Staff sergeant

Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in the armed forces of several countries. It is also a police rank in some police services.

Third sergeant

Third sergeant is a specialist rank in the Singapore Armed Forces. Third sergeants are the most junior of specialists (Non-commissioned officer). The 3SG rank insignia is three chevrons pointing down, common by all specialists, without any chevrons pointing up.

In combat units, third sergeants are usually section commanders working directly under the supervision of a commissioned officer holding the appointment of platoon commander, and with the assistance of a senior specialist holding the appointment of platoon sergeant. Roles in administrative duties hold highest appointments closer to that of a commissioned officer.

Third sergeants in the SAF also hold equivalent junior commander appointments, supervising a platoon section of enlisted men. For example, transport supervisors, commonly known as the MT (motor transport) section commanders, and such as battalion company quartermaster sergeant. In other armies, this position is usually held by staff sergeants and above, while in Singapore, conscript soldiers holding these appointments are of the rank of third sergeant due to competency.

The rank of third sergeant is also utilized by the armed forces of Brazil.

USS Chester T. O'Brien

USS Chester T. O’Brien (DE-421) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket.

Chester T. O'Brien was named in honor of Platoon Sergeant Chester Thomas O'Brien who was awarded the Silver Star medal for heroic service at Guadalcanal. Chester T. O'Brien was launched on 29 February 1944 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. J. Edington, sister of Platoon Sergeant O'Brien, commissioned on 3 July 1944, Lieutenant Commander R. D. White, USNR, in command; and reported to the Atlantic fleet.

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