1-51: Squad Leader

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1-51. The squad leader directs team leaders and leads by personal example. He has authority over his subordinates and overall responsibility of those subordinates’ actions. Centralized authority enables him to act decisively while maintaining troop discipline and unity. Under the fluid conditions of close combat, the squad leader accomplishes assigned missions without constant guidance from higher headquarters.

1-52. The squad leader is the senior Infantry Soldier in the squad and is responsible for everything the squad does or fails to do. He is responsible for the care of the squad’s Soldiers, weapons, and equipment, and leads the squad through two team leaders. During operations, the squad leader—

  • Is the subject matter expert on all battle and individual drills.
  • Is the subject matter expert for the squad’s organic weapons employment, and employment of supporting assets.
  • Knows weapon effects, surface danger zones, and risk estimate distances for all munitions.
  • Uses control measures for direct fire, indirect fire, and tactical movement effectively.
  • Controls the movement of the squad and its rate and distribution of fire (including call for and adjust fire).
  • Fights the close fight by fire and movement with two fire teams and available supporting weapons.
  • Selects the fire team’s general location and temporary sector of fires in the defense.
  • Communicates timely and accurate situation reports (SITREPs) and status reports including—
    • Size, activity, location, unit, time, and equipment (SALUTE) spot reports (SPOTREPs).
    • Status to the platoon leader (including squad location and progress, enemy situation, enemy killed in action [KIA], and security posture).
    • Status of ammunition, casualties, and equipment to the platoon sergeant.
  • Employs digital mission command systems available to the squad and platoon.
  • Operates in all environments to include the urban environment.
  • Conducts troop leading procedures.
  • Assumes duties as the platoon sergeant or platoon leader as required.
  • Understands the mission and commander’s intent two levels up (platoon and company).

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Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad