The Tank Platoon

The tank platoon has 16 soldiers, organized into four crews. When Humvee based, or dismounted, a medic and interpreter join the platoon. All four crews have a driver, loader, gunner and tank commander. The tank commanders have to dual-hat roles. The platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and two section sergeants command their tank while also filling vital leadership roles in the platoon.

In Iraq, the tank isn’t always the best tool and we would use Humvees. They are not as tough on roads, logistics, and are easier to perform dismounted operations from. The platoon could not operate any smaller than a full platoon though as three Humvees were considered the smallest combat capable formation. The benefit of Humvees was an additional seat per truck. When we dismounted, only the gunners, drivers, and the platoon sergeant stayed with the trucks, giving the platoon eight people plus an interpreter.

3rd “Blue” Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment

Alpha Section: The platoon leader and wingman. If using Humvees, includes an interpreter.

Bravo Section: The platoon sergeant and wingman. If using Humvees, includes the medic.


Everyone has a callsign and they have meanings. The callsigns are semi-permanent. The only thing that can change is if you get attached to another unit that would end up with a duplicate. For instance, when we attached to Blackhawk company, Steel Blue became Blackhawk Green.

In the mechanized community, platoons have colors – Red, White, and Blue because we are patriotic. When attached, platoons use Gold, Green, or Black. The numbers specify the role within the unit. Platoon leaders are “one” and platoon sergeants are “four.” Within the crew, a letter designates the position. “Delta” is driver, “lima” loader, and “golf” is gunner. The vehicle commander does not have a letter modifier. Sometimes, if another member of the crew answered the radio but the commander was needed, the request would be for “actual” to get on the radio instead. When we attached other crews or squads to the platoon, they would keep their normal callsigns within the company for simplicity.

Within the infantry squads, it is a bit different because not everyone has a radio. “Five” and “Six” were squad leaders. If the fire team leaders within the squad had a radio, they would be “Alpha” and “Bravo.” If someone else was answering the radio, the would be “Romeo.”

The company level is a bit different. The commander is “six” and the first sergeant “seven.” The executive officer “five” and the supply sergeant “four.” The fire support officer is “one-four.” The mechanics and medics change things up. The maintenance section sergeant is “eight.” Two vehicles in the company have a constant callsign no matter who is in it. The armored ambulance is “bandaid” and the M88 recovery vehicle is “wrench.” The command post crew would always use “X-Ray,” even if it was another platoon leader or the fire support officer answering the radio in the command post at the time. They would only change to their assigned callsign if the situation required more than just a message.

Team Steel

  • Steel Six – company commander
  • Steel Seven – first sergeant
  • Steel Five – executive officer
  • Steel X-ray – company command post
  • Steel One Four – fire support officer
  • Steel Eight – maintenance section sergeant
  • Red One – 1st Platoon leader
  • Red Four – 1st Platoon sergeant
  • White One – 2nd Platoon leader
  • White Four – 2nd Platoon sergeant
  • Blue One – 3rd Platoon leader
  • Blue Four – 3rd Platoon leader
  • Blue Two – 3rd Platoon leader’s wingman
  • Blue Three – 3rd Platoon sergeant’s wingman
  • Blue One Delta – 3rd Platoon leader’s driver
  • Blue One Lima – 3rd Platoon leader’s loader
  • Blue One Golf – 3rd Platoon leader’s gunner
  • Gold One – attached platoon leader
  • Gold Four – attached platoon sergeant
  • Gold Five – attached platoon 1st squad leader
  • Gold Six – attached platoon 2nd squad leader