Leadership: August 11, 2001


One of the less appreciated reforms of the U.S. Army after the Vietnam war was the elimination of the company clerk. For many generations, each army company (a unit of 100-200 or so troops) had a clerk who assisted the 1st Sergeant in keeping records needed to run the company. In an effort to make the company's lean and mean, many of their administrative functions were taken away and consolidated at the battalion headquarters. While a good idea in theory, in practice the 1st Sergeant and company commander still needed a clerk. They may have moved the company clerk to battalion, but a lot of paperwork stayed behind at company headquarters. So unofficial clerks were found. Any troops in a company who could type and had some skill with administrative matters was assured a comfortable, if unofficial, new job. After decades of complaints from company commanders (and probably because the first such company commanders are now becoming generals), the company clerk is coming back. And will remain until some future administrative genius takes him away again. 


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