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Jul 23 2021

CPT Nathalie F.: I learn something new every day and become a better superior for my soldiers

Captain (OF-2) Nathalie F. of the German Army, Headquarters Platoon Leader, enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania

This is me

I am Captain Nathalie F., and I am in charge of the Headquarters Platoon of enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania. After I had graduated from school at the age of 19 in 2011, I immediately enlisted in the military and was assigned to what was then the German Armed Forces' Armour School. After my officer training, I decided to stay at the Munster garrison. Since 2018, I have been calling 93 Tank Demonstration Battalion, located in the picturesque Lüneburg Heath, my home away from home. As a member of the oldest German tank battalion, I have participated in a number of exercises abroad over the past three years. This includes NATO large-scale exercise Trident Juncture 2018 in Norway and NATO alert exercise Noble Jump 2019 in Poland. The assignment in Lithuania is my first mission abroad.
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CPT Nathalie F. inside the Boxer armoured transport vehicle, the commander's mobile command post / Photo by Maurice Fateiger

These are my tasks

It is really fortunate that here in Lithuania I am also employed as a headquarters platoon leader. This allows me to work side by side with most of my comrades from Germany. I am at the same time the disciplinary superior of the platoon. This means that here on site I am responsible for 70 servicemen and women. In the event of an alert, elements of the Security, the Signal and the Reconnaissance Platoon of the Support Company with a strength of approximately 100 soldiers will be placed under the command of the headquarters. I have also been familiarised with command and control and information systems. This knowledge helps me to support the commander in his mobile command post, the Boxer armoured transport vehicle, during major events.

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CPT Nathalie F. operates the SitaWare command and control and information system inside the commander's Boxer armoured transport vehicle./ Photo by Maurice Fateiger

This is what makes my job special

While working with a headquarters platoon may appear easy, this is not always the case. A platoon leader is sometimes referred to as a "king without a country". This is because – at the technical level – my entire staff is subordinate to the different staff division heads. Here in Lithuania – unlike in Germany – I am supported not only by a materiel management senior Non-Commissioned Officer and a company headquarters section leader but also by a full-time first sergeant. It should be noted that our team's responsibilities are not limited to our platoon. In the event of an alert, we must be able to supply the entire headquarters of Enhanced Forward Battle Group Lithuania and the subordinate elements of the Support Company.

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As a platoon leader, CPT Nathalie F. has 70 service members under her command / Photo by Maurice Fateiger
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CPT Nathalie F was awarded the Bronze Cross of Honour of the German Armed Forces during her mission in Lithuania / Photo by Maurice Fateiger

The global situation and our mission here in Lithuania have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is not easy to organise measures and events to strengthen cohesion and team spirit. Doing as much as possible for my men and women under the current COVID-19 restrictions is very important to me.

While building cohesion within a headquarters platoon may appear a complex and challenging task, the experience I gain as a platoon leader is particularly rewarding. Thanks to a diverse task spectrum, I am able to learn something new every day, which helps me become a better superior for my soldiers.

I think that a quote from John Adair hits the nail right on the head: "Perhaps one day they will add about you as their leader: 'And you made a difference.' That is the true reward of leadership."

These are my future plans

If everything works out, I will be accepted as a career officer during my assignment to Lithuania. I think this is among the highest aspirations of a military career. I am very proud that I will be able to attain this goal as part of my team and my battalion. At the end of the year, I will be assigned to Poland to serve as a liaison officer in an integrated assignment. One day, however, I hope to be able to return to 93 Tank Demonstration Battalion, my home away from home.
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CPT Nathalie F. says she tries to serve by the quote from John Adair: "Perhaps one day they will add about you as their leader: 'And you made a difference.' That is the true reward of leadership."

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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