Posted by lex, on September 7, 2008
James Robbins makes your correspondent feel just that little bit better about his own class standing at the Trade School on the Severn:
(There) is no clear relationship between Academy class rank and leadership qualities. For example, Jimmy Carter, the only Naval Academy graduate to serve as president to date, graduated 59th out of a class of 820, so draw your own conclusions. Seventeen class anchors have attained flag rank, and many low-ranking graduates have gone on to brilliant careers. This tracks with the thesis I developed in my book Last in Their Class; the bottom of the class tends to produce a different kind of leader than the top. Those who wind up at the foot are often there by choice. They could do better if they studied, but they would rather trade class ranking for other pursuits. They tend to be the risk takers, the innovators, usually very well liked and in their own way driven. They know how to get into trouble, and more importantly how to get out of it. They also tend to have more than their share of luck.
Also profiled is the legendary
“Hoser” “Toeser” Satrapa, F-14 jock of the “no kill like a guns kill” fame, and self-made armorer of the “blow your thumb off with a 20mm cannon and replace it with your big toe” variety.