Military Organization > United States > ​U.S. Army Infantry Battalion (IBCT) > Rifle Company

U.S. Army Rifle Company, IBCT (Current) 

By Brendan Matsuyama, Editor

The following is the current organization of the Rifle Company of the U.S. Army as it exists within the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). These include light infantry (foot), airborne and air assault units. These units are characterized by their lack of integral motorization or mechanization for the entire brigade, and are thus less mobile, but as a result are highly deployable. The organization here has been valid since approximately 2012, although weapon systems have changed over time. Weapons listed in this article are what has been effective as of 2020.

 

The next level up is the Infantry Battalion (IBCT) which consists of a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3 Rifle Companies (this) and a Weapons Company.

Contents:

  1. Organization

    • 1 Headquarters​ Section

    • 3 Rifle Platoons

    • 1 Mortar Section

  2. Discussion

  3. Sources

 

      Organization      ​​

  • Type: Light Infantry Company

  • Origin: U.S. Army (United States)

  • Time Frame: 2012-Present

  • Personnel: 5 Officers and 129 Enlisted + 8 Attached

Headquarters Section (2 Officers, 6 Enlisted, 5 Attached)

→ 1× Oshkosh M-ATV (as of 2015)* or M1165A1 HMMVW (as of 2012)

  • 1× Commanding Officer (11A), Captain (OF-2), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine and M9/M17 Pistol

  • 1× Forward Signal Support NCO (25U), Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Senior Radiotelephone Operator (11B), Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Radiotelephone Operator (11B), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

* Tows Light Tactical Trailer (3/4 ton)

→ M1083 Standard Cargo Truck*

  • 1× Executive Officer (11A), First Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× First Sergeant (11Z), First Sergeant or Master Sergeant (OR-8), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Supply Sergeant (92Y), Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Supply Specialist (92Y), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Senior Combat Medic (68W)**, Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M9/M17 Pistol

* Tows 400-gallon water tank trailer (1-1/2 ton), 1 per company, or M1082 flat bed trailer, 2 per company.

** Combat medic is attached from the Infantry Battalion Medical Platoon.

→ HMMVW—Fire Support Team (Attached*)

  • 1× Fire Support Officer (13A), First Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Fire Support Sergeant (13F), Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Fire Support Specialist (13F), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Fire Support RTO (13F), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

Fire support personnel attached from Field Artillery Battalion

3× Rifle Platoons (1 Officer, 39 Enlisted, 3 Attached each) 

​→ 1× Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer and 3 Enlisted + 3 Attached)

  • 1× Platoon Leader (11A), Second Lieutenant or First Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Platoon Sergeant (11B), Sergeant First Class (OR-7), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Radiotelephone Operator (11B), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Combat Medic (68W)*, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M9/M17 Pistol

  • 1× Forward Observer (13F)**, Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Fire Support RTO (13F)**, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

* Combat medic is attached from the Infantry Battalion Medical Platoon.

** Forward observer and fire support RTO attached from Field Artillery Battalion

​→ 3× Rifle Squads (9 Enlisted each)

  • 1× Squad Leader (11B), Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • Alpha Team (4 men)

    • 1× Team Leader (11B), Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

    • 1× Automatic Rifleman (11B), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M249 Light Machine Gun

    • 1× Grenadier (11B), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine and 1 M320 40mm Grenade Launcher

    • 1× Rifleman (11B), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine and 1 AT4 disposable light anti-tank weapon*

  • Bravo Team (4 men)

    • 1× Team Leader (11B), Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

    • 1× Automatic Rifleman (11B), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M249 Light Machine Gun

    • 1× Grenadier (11B), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine and 1 M320 40mm Grenade Launcher

    • 1× Rifleman (11B)**, Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine and 1 AT4 disposable light anti-tank weapon*

* Each squad is authorized two disposable shoulder-fired munitions (general AT-4s) which would go to the Riflemen.

** If a rifleman receives the proper training and is skilled enough, they may be designated a squad designated marksman. They may be armed with a M4A1 Carbine with a high power optic, Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR), M110 SASS, or newer M110A1 CSASS (as of 2018-9). However, the usage of designated marksmen not too common.

​→ 1× Weapons Squad (9 Enlisted)​​

  • 1× Squad Leader (11B), Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 2× Medium Machine Gun Teams (2 men each)

    • 1× Machine Gunner (11B), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M240B/L General-Purpose Machine Gun and M9/M17 Pistol

    • 1× Assistant Machine Gunner (11B), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 2× Anti-Armor Teams (2 men each)

    • 1× Anti-Armor Specialist (11B), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 FGM-148 Javelin or M3/M3E1 MAAWS Recoilless Rifle and M4A1 Carbine

    • 1× Ammo Handler (11B), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

1× Mortar Section (6 Enlisted) 

​→ Light Mortar Squad (3 Enlisted)​​

  • 1× Section Leader/Squad Leader (11C), Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Gunner (11C), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 60mm Mortar and 1 M9/M17 Pistol

  • 1× Ammo Bearer (11C), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

​→ Light Mortar Squad (3 Enlisted)​​

  • 1× Squad Leader (11C), Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Gunner (11C), Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 60mm Mortar and 1 M9/M17 Pistol

  • 1× Ammo Bearer (11C), Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

NEW US Army Rifle Squad-01.png
 

      Discussion      ​​

The Rifle Company is the close combat element of the Infantry Battalion, with this article specifically covering the Rifle Company as it exists in the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). These are light infantry, including various light foot units, air assault, and airborne infantry. Such companies lack integral motorization or mechanization, but are all capable of air assault operations and often operate motorized, although the entire IBCT cannot motorize all at once. In deployment in current year, it would be common for a Light Rifle Company to be equipped with 4 MRAPs per platoon and 2 MRAPs per headquarters section.

 

The company consists of a Headquarters Section, 3 Rifle Platoons and a Mortar Section, as well as the option for an attached Raven UAV team of 2 men. Other habitual attachments include a company Fire Support Team and platoon Forward Observers, as well as Combat Medics. The Fire Support personnel, including company HQ FIST and platoon Forward Observers, are currently attached from the Field Artillery Battalion, although previously there had been a Fire Support Platoon in the Infantry Battalion's HHC.

The Headquarters Section consists of command and support personnel for the company. The company overall is led by a Captain infantry officer who travels with a Forward Signal Support NCO and two Radiotelephone Operators (RTOs) who operate and maintain the communications equipment in the company commander post. Following the mid-2010s, they typically ride in an Oshkosh M-ATV mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle. Prior they would have travelled in an M1165A1 HMMVW, although any mark of HMMVW that was available likely would have been used. Meanwhile the support echelon is led by the Executive Officer, a First Lieutenant who is second-in-command of the company with administrative duties. These include leading the quartering party—a forward echelon that prepares an assembly area for the company's arrival—coordinating sustainment and CASEVAC, and aiding in coordination with different echelons of command. They are accompanied by the company First Sergeant, a Supply Sergeant, and a Supply Clerk who ride in a M1083 Standard Cargo Truck that tows a 400- or 800-gallon water tank. As the job of the Supply Sergeant is to coordinate supply with higher echelons, their duty position is with the battalion trains although they may ride with the cargo truck in a company march. The Company Headquarters is also allocated one senior company Combat Medic who provides second-line, company-level tactical casualty care. They are also Emergency Care Sergeants and can maneuver with either the Company Commander or First Sergeant. 

 

This organization differs slightly from that of circa 1990 and 2006 in that it lacks dedicated nuclear, biological and chemical personnel and an armorer.

The company has a Mortar Section that serves 2 M224 60mm light mortars for indirect fire support. These mortars can be fired either from an M170 Bipod or by hand. The mortar section consists of two Mortar Squads, each with a Squad Leader, Gunner and Ammo Bearer. The senior of two Squad Leaders is also the Section Leader.

The U.S. Army's Infantry Rifle Platoon consists of a platoon headquarters, 3 rifle squads, and 1 weapons squads. This amounts to 1 officer and 38 permanent enlisted personnel, as well as 3 usually attached enlisted personnel. The different types of light infantry organizations were all consolidated into the one "Infantry" organization in 2007. These included air assault, light infantry, infantry, mountain infantry, airborne, and the Rangers. This coincided with the U.S. Army's reorganization and implementation of the Brigade Combat Teams (BCT). The current infantry rifle platoon organization is identical to the infantry, air assault, and airborne rifle platoon organizations listed in the Change 1 of FM 7-8 published in 2001. However, it differed from the light infantry platoons, which lacked a weapons squad and had 2 M240 teams in the platoon headquarters, and the ranger rifle platoon, which lacked Javelins in its weapons squad.

The Platoon Headquarters consists of a Platoon Leader (Second or First Lieutenant), Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant First Class) and Radiotelephone Operator/RTO (Specialist). Additionally, a Combat Medic (Specialist), Forward Observer (Sergeant), and Fire Support RTO (Specialist) are also typically attached, but are not integral to the unit. The Combat Medic is attached from the Combat Medic Section of the Battalion's Medic Platoon while the Forward Observer and their RTO are attached from the Field Artillery Battalion. The Forward Observer and Fire Fupport RTO work as a team to direct fire support, including but not limited to company mortars, battalion mortars, and field artillery. Generally, the RTO sticks with the Platoon Leader to keep them in constant communication with their squads and company headquarters. The Combat Medic and Platoon Sergeant are generally paired as the Platoon Sergeant is responsible for coordinating CASEVAC.

The Weapons Squad consists of a Squad Leader (Staff Sergeant), 2 Medium Machine Gun Teams and 2 Anti-Armor Teams. Each gun team has 1 Machine Gunner and 1 Assistant Gunner, serving an M240L general-purpose machine gun (a lightened and shortened variant of the M240B). The Assistant Gunner is the junior member of the team on paper, although in practice a Weapons Squad Leader may designate the junior member as the machine gunner with the assistant being the senior member. The Assistant Gunner aids in loading the weapon, carrying ammo, changing barrels, and spotting targets with binoculars. The Assistant Gunner also carries a spare barrel for the gun. Some manuals stipulate 2 spare barrels, but this is rarely done in practice. Meanwhile, each Anti-Armor team serves an FGM-148 Javelin top-attack fire-and-forget ATGM, typically with 2-3 missiles per team. In recent years, the M3 and M3E1 MAAWS, the M4 Carl Gustaf 84mm recoilless rifle in U.S. service, has been proliferated to the light infantry with one or more available to some platoons. In a low armor threat environment, the MAAWS is now often used as an alternative to the Javelin. However, depending on the situation and preferences of the Platoon Leader and Weapons Squad Leader, this TO&E may be altered in practice. Variations observed include the cannibalization of a Javelin team to form a 3rd gun team or to give each gun team an ammunition bearer.

Each Rifle Squad consists of 9 enlisted personnel. The squad is led by a Squad Leader (Staff Sergeant) and further subdivided into two homogenous fire teams designated Alpha Team and Bravo Team and each led by a Fire Team Leader (Sergeant). Each fire team consists of the Fire Team Leader, an Automatic Rifleman (Specialist) serving an M249 light machine gun, Grenadier (Specialist) serving an M4A1 carbine and M320 grenade launcher, and Rifleman (Private First Class). This set up allows the squad to fire and maneuver at the same time, with one team able to act as a "support" element and the other as an "assault" element. This can either be decided before hand by the squad, or when contact is made the team that makes contact first becomes the supporting element.

 

It should be noted that in practice, Fire Team Leaders will often be senior Specialists due to manpower shortages, especially for NCOs. Additionally, billets designated as Specialists or Private First Classes can be filled by either or a Private (PV2) depending on the manpower of the unit. As with all units in most militaries, the exact composition of units in practice varies depending on manning. Generally speaking, although manning an important weapon system, the Automatic Riflemen will often be the least experienced soldier in the squad due to the M249's weight and poor reliability. Meanwhile, the Grenadier is usually always more experienced as the M320 grenade launcher is relatively difficult to use.

 

      Sources      ​​

"The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious."

      - Marcus Aurelius

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