When I was tooling around with enlisting and going through ROTC in the 80s there was a system the Army was experimenting with called COHORT. Basically it took a group of combat arms enlistees, ran the lot of them through OSUT then linked them up with a leadership and support cadre to form a battalion. This mass of people would stay together for the entire enlistment of the new guys. Here is an interesting analysis showing the good and the bad on the program:
By the time I got on active duty in 1991, the program had either ended or was about to end. I had a supply Sergeant who got assigned to a COHORT unit. He told me dealing with the COHORT junior EMs was a pain as they didn't take well to outsiders (like him) and when these guys got in the range of competitive promotions, the much vaunted cohesion fell apart when everyone proceeded to stab each other in the back to make SPC or get to PLDC.
Does anyone else have experience with this scheme? If so, input would be appreciated.
|Highly Experienced Member|
Yup, saw that experiment myself and I totally agree with what is said. Charlie Company 4-41st Infantry was COHORT. They were indeed a spoiled bunch as the Army was trying to make the experiment work but as you stated the problems were everyone hitting SPC at the same time (the Army should have seen that issue before even launching the concept), the other problem was as you stated they did not like outsiders that were not part of the original COHORT. Although as a junior EM I did not see this second issue only the first. The second issue would be NCO's attempting to transfer into the unit.
What a disaster that experiment turned out to be. I think they should have just copied the British Regimental model entirely instead of trying the piecemeal approach trying to find an American compromise.
Their goal I suspect was to copy the British Regimental model in which a Regiment stays on one post and the members train and get promoted together and it becomes something of a family legacy to serve in the same regiment as your father.
I still remember Charlie Cobras as they would call themselves they would reach their cupped hand in the air slowly wave it back and forth and go: S-s-s-s-s-s-s. like a Cobra snake about to strike.....it was a pretty cool unit mascot I must admit.
I thought of them as the spoiled children of the BN though. They had higher morale but then again BN was cutting them breaks left and right in an effort to get the experiment to work so they were granted privelges and showered with praise that the other companies in the BN were not and that bred resentment in the other companies.
|Highly Experienced Member|
Wow! Just read the report link. Well the psychiatrists were right I was prejudiced against the COHORT company being in a non-COHORT company precisely because of the favored treatment I saw trying to get the COHORT company to work properly. A bunch of my peers were prejudiced as well because it seemed to us the BN CDR was cutting them breaks and giving them additional priveleges and at one point it leaked out that he made a statement that why couldn't the rest of the companies in his BN be like Charlie Cobras......not the right thing to say to build cohesion.
He was an excellent BN Commander I think he was following orders from above to make the COHORT company look good because in mine and my peers observations they were not all that better.
I think the Officer gloating about 1-41 which was another Cohort Company that also served at the same time I did was based on it being at Ft. Hood vs overseas in Germany. 1984-1985 3-41 and 4-41 were in Germany. I think in 1986 or 1987 1-41 rotated over. The Officer comments about the COHORT unit reads like Officers kissing azz more then the truth but you can also find out if what they say is true about Combat effectiveness because....
1-41 didn't do all that great during ODS and I am not clear whose fault that was.....if it was anyones fault. I think by that time COHORT fell apart but a large chunk of 1-41 was still COHORT I am willing to bet at the time of ODS and the timing of when they pulled the COHORT plug. Would be interesting to find out.
Ask or PM MCPopcorn he was a member of that 1-41 Infantry unit during ODS (Infantry Medic). He is kind of bipolar so you have to catch him between his military dot com suspensions.
He'll probably get mad or think I am an azz for saying that but oh well, medics get picked on sometimes and his military.com rap sheet keeps growing.
If you don't want to PM him and ask then Google and read up on "TASK FORCE 1-41" during Operation Desert Storm. Talked to MCPopcorn about this and he said there were actually more casualties then in the report and there are ommissions (big surprise when a career Officer writes the report) of what was all involved in some of the wartime incidents described. It's sad what happened to them but the lessons learned in ODS I think helped the GWOT era Veterans a LOT.
|Moderator, Veteran's Education|
MSG, USA (Ret),School Certifying Official
I was in the COHORT 23rd Inf Regt Fort Lewis to Korea program 82 to 86.
While in 1/23rd Inf Regt, our Bn CSM got all the E5 and E6 regimently affiliated so we would PCS to Lewis to fill NCO slots in 2/23 and 4/23 Inf Regts. Total nightmare.
I was in Korea when the 1st 3 companies arrived (84) - well trained excellant soldiers but after 2 years at Lewis and majority had made E4, the fighting for E5 was cut throat.
I PCSed to Lewis in 84, got put into the last COHORT unit B 2/23rd Inf Regt about 4 months after they had finished AIT. This was the 9th COHORT unit (they only did A, B and C companies - no CSC or HQs) formed (and last) and Lewis had ran out of qualify NCOs and Officers. 1SG was an alcoholic who ended up in Track 3 when he got to Korea. Many of the NCOs were pulled in from where they had been farmed out - warehouse and range control duty or freshly kicked out of the Ranger Bn. My Plt Ldr was E7 11C - worked the previous 5 years at Range Control, My Plt SGT E7 11C - worked in warehouse the previous 3 years, My Section SGT E6 11C fired from Ranger Bn. Only one of my fellow E5's was worth being called an NCO. Most mornings I was the senior NCO for my platoon at PT and the 1SG and I would argue/fight because I reported all present and accounted for (because I refused to account for the 3 NCOs that out ranked me and were not present).
I used every connection I had to get out of there - arrived in Nov 84 and PCSed back to Korea in May 85 (yes good connections - PCSed twice in one fiscal year). I was the 1st NCO to leave this company with my rank and a award, lol.
When B 2/23rd arrived in Korea in 86, they were a well trained cohesive unit that worked well in the field - most of the NCOs and officers I knew in this unit in 84 had been replaced. But the infighting/back stabbing in garrison was really bad as they all fought for the limited E5 positions.
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Proud Member Derelict
I was drug into the COHORT Program 84-87, C-2/325 AIR. It was a mixture of great & bad. Cadre- we were drug in from thru out the 82nd- Kids were very tight and it took some doing to get them out of the group mode and into Plt mode. They also were tough on fillers coming into the unit as time went by. Another draw back was towards the end- you only had so many slots to promote them into- and few wanted to leave the herd so to speak. Good kids, hard working , well trained- we cut them no slack and they cut the mustard well.
I was a COHORT member of an Armor company from Basic up until the deployment overseas ('82 to late '83), at which point my entire platoon was taken out to form a new company for the J-series MTOE (Armor Battalions went from three companies of 17 tanks to four companies of 14 tanks). I then waved goodby as my buddies deployed to Germany for the remaining two years of their lock in.
It was actually a relief not to go with them. In my experience the COHORT system was somewhat less of a stellar achievement. The biggest problem I saw was a lack of knowledge that severely hindered training. This was partly due to a lack of senior NCOs (though it was a Division-wide issue at the time - 4th Infantry). We had E-6 platoon leaders and PSGs, and in many cases, only acting-jacks as TCs. For many of the basic tasks of maintenance and gunnery classes were either glossed over or ignored. We were an entire company of 'newbies' left essentially to our own devices. Not good.
It's one thing for a newbie to be a loader or possibly a driver, but we had gunners or even in my case - a tank commander just six months after graduating basic. Like I said, it didn't work well, and our gunnery scores proved it. So did our NTC rotation, and most especially, our deadline report. In each and every area, just the addition of a few experienced SP4s and NCOs would have made a world of difference.
Later, in both my remaining time enlisted (I attended OCS in late '84) and as junior Officer, I was able to observe the 'normal' replacement system and the assimilation of newbies into established units. The transition was much better, and the newbies learned their duties much faster with older hands around them. If there were any differences in cohesion or loyalty between the COHORT system and the rest of the Army, I didn't see them.
I was in the 82d in 1983 going to Grenada when they cut the Cohort company from the 505th PIR because they were not ready. From what I can see everyone above covered the main issues with this concept. It was another of many poorly thought out ideas that was doomed to failure.
The worts of the issues was the clickish behavior that resulted in failure to obey outsiders to their COHORT. Good thing its gone.
You got a lot of bad vibes below, let me offer you something positive...
Talk to anyone from 10th Mtn from around 1987. We did things differntly than the piecemeal junk you have below. We didn't have individual units go COHORT and thrown in with non-COHORTs in a bn...the entire Division was COHORT. I was one of the original PSG in an Engineer Plt. The entire cadre of the company, Tm Leader to Company Cdr went to SAPPER LEADER COURSE, and picked up our COHORTS about a month after completion. Your study was apparantly done while the Army was working out how to do it right. They achieved that with 10th Mtn, and the 41st Engr Bn. My guys just had a mini-reunion at Ft Drum toward the end of June. 21 years after the unit was disbanded from the initial start. Great guys, great unit, still tight today.
Sergeant Major Musgrave
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