Overwatch – Army Life Lesson #4
Overwatch was one of the first tactical maneuvers I learned in my military career. It is a basic and fundamental tactic used in war, but the most effective. The idea of an overwatch is to have a military unit, soldier, team, or squad watch for enemy activity and provide cover fire on an objective as a friendly unit advances on that objective.
As a Platoon Leader, I would usually place a squad, led by my Platoon Sergeant or my second in command, as my overwatch unit while I took the remaining two squads to advance on the objective. I would normally place my overwatch element somewhere on high terrain where they could easily keep “eyes on” the objective and fire and suppress the enemy while I led the rest of my platoon onto the objective.
I would give my overwatch element the heavy “crew served” weapons such as the MK-19 Automatic Grenade Launchers, M60 Machine guns, and an M2 .50 Caliber Machine gun. These weapons could pack a punch from a distance, which would give me the advantage against the enemy.
I would use visual signals, such as smoke grenades, to signal my overwatch to “lift and shift” the covering fire away from the target so I could safely maneuver my unit onto the objective. Without my overwatch, advancing on the objective would be infinitely more difficult and would lead to more friendly causalities. I deployed this tactic often and it worked every time.
I still use this tactic today in my own life. I have people in my life with particular skills that provide “overwatch” over me as I maneuver my way through the myriad of obstacles on my way to success. Whether it’s a solid coworker that provides technical and customer support as I sign on new clients for my company, or a mentor that provides timely advice as I shift my focus on a new life goal. No matter the situation, I leverage strategic relationships to help me navigate the complexities of life.
I also provide overwatch to people that are close to me as well. I’m able to provide them perspective as I observe them tackle the obstacles of their own life. It’s always wise to have good people watching over you to make sure you stay on path and to notify you of red flags or dangerous obstacles that you may not see coming yourself.
If you are addressing your life challenges by yourself and without support from another, then you are exposing yourself and should consider strengthening your relationships with good people that have your best interests in mind.
Life is a battle and cannot be won alone. Seek out and strengthen relationships. Who is providing overwatch for you today?