Tactical Briefing 01: Meet the Squad Page 2

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Each Squad Member and Their Purpose Explained

Squad LeaderUS Army soldiers work as a member of a squad. Squads are led by the Squad Leader, who has the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). Armed with the same weapons as a rifleman, he is fast and maneuverable. Additionally all SSGs are equipped with binoculars. SSGs also can use the squad radio to issue commands.His primary responsibility is leadership in combat, requiring competence, character and skill. Squad Leaders take charge by synchronizing the efforts of their fire teams. Armed with the M16A2 rifle or M4 / M4A1 carbine, the Squad / Team Leader accepts overall responsibility for the success or failure of accomplishing the mission.
Team Leader
Fire Team LeaderEach squad is divided into 1 – 4 fire teams each having their own purpose. The leaders of these fire teams are Sergeants. Their purpose is to lead their teams to execute a command given by the squad leader in order to complete a mission. Since they are also armed with a rifle, their capabilities are the same as the SSG and rifleman. SGTs also are issued binoculars.This soldier is a fighting leader, assisting the squad leader by taking charge of a 3-person fire team. Armed with the M16A2 rifle or M4 / M4A1 carbine, the team leader controls the actions, movement and placement of fire of his fire team.
Squad Leader
RiflemanThe Rifleman makes up the bulk of the infantry squad. To make the rifleman more versatile in all types of combat environments, he is equipped with a variety of rifles and grenades.The purpose of the Rifleman is to complete his mission, give covering fire and act as a maneuver element (when organized into fire teams) to execute the squad leader’s plan.

Automatic Rifleman

Armed with the M249 SAW, the automatic rifleman combines awesome firepower with quick maneuverability. He is essential in providing overwhelming volumes of suppressive fire from medium to long range. No fire team is complete without the Automatic Rifleman.

He provides a fire team with a belt-fed machine gun; the M249’s high rate of fire and large ammunition capacity gives a squad / fire team a weapon that maintains a consistent rate of fire to provide cover for the unit. However, this weapon has its drawbacks, particularly weight. Due to this, the Automatic Rifleman is the slowest among the classes available.

GrenadierThe Grenadier is a key member of the U.S. Army fire team. Armed with an M16 and M203 grenade launcher, the Grenadier can deliver explosive fire at point and area targets from medium to long distances.The Grenadier is capable of sending 40mm high explosive grenades a great distance away, providing support fire for the fire team / squad. Additionally grenadiers have a fully functional M16A2. Each fire team has one Grenadier. Since their role is support, Grenadiers also carry a larger inventory of smoke and stun grenades. However, their fragmentation grenade inventory is greatly reduced, since they already carry 40mm grenades.

If you missed any of the other articles in the series, you’ll find them here:


  • Wikipedia (what a wonderful tool)
  • Armed Assault (the computer game)
  • FM 7-8 Infantry Rifle Platoon
  • FM 22-102 Soldier Team Development


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