Category Archives: Leadership

Class Act

Posted by Lex, on July 28, 2010

 

General McChrystal’s retirement speech, for those of you who missed it:

 

This is frustrating. I spent a career waiting to give a retirement speech and lie about what a great soldier I was. Then people show up who were actually there. It proves what Doug Brown taught me long ago; nothing ruins a good war story like an eyewitness.

 To show you how bad it is, I can’t even tell you I was the best player in my little league because the kid who was the best player is here tonight. In case you’re looking around, he’s not a kid anymore.

 But to those here tonight who feel the need to contradict my memories with the truth, remember I was there too. I have stories on all of you, photos on many, and I know a Rolling Stone reporter. (Laughter.) (Applause.)

 

To paraphrase the Bard, nothing in his service became him as his leaving it.

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A tired trope

Posted by lex, on August 20, 2008

 

The Prof points us to this dissection of Barack Obama’s claim that America’s greatest moral failure in his lifetime has been our collective lack of charity:

Whatever the case is with his own selfishness, the evidence of an internationally superior American generosity is impressive, beginning with the numbers on our charitable giving. We give twice as much as the British per capita, and according to The American magazine, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians.

Even in inflation-adjusted dollars, the amount given each year just keeps getting larger, and meanwhile, we do far more volunteer work than in other industrialized countries.

This old canard has so often been trotted out – and so ritually debunked – that one wonders why anyone bothers anymore. It is only barely possible that otherwise intelligent, “reality based” people can continue to believe something that’s patently untrue. Do they just like the way it sounds? Or do they really believe that they can fool the rest of us?

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1LT Elliot Ackerman

By Lex, Posted on February 11, 2007

 

Awarded the Silver Star for service in the assault on Fallujah in 2004.

“We had a mission to get a foothold for the battalion,” said Ackerman, who returned last month from his second deployment, the latest as a member of Battalion Landing Team 1/8, the ground combat element of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We saw that the original building we intended to go in to just wouldn’t work to get that mission done. We pushed a little bit deeper than it probably would have been prudent to do.”

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Pretty Much the Coolest Thing Ever

By lex, on January 24th, 2012

When Son Number One got his wings in Pensacola these last months past, I took the opportunity to go down with hizzoner and his sainted ma, for to see the Naval Aviation Museum there. That being one of my cultural touchstones, for ours is a proud history with many fine and honorable heroes who preceded us, to serve as examples.

Eugene Ely it was who first put an airplane down upon a carrier deck, just a little over a hundred years ago. Butch O’Hare shot down three Betty bombers – and damaged two others – who were targeting USS Lexington on the unopposed side, saving the ship and thousands of his shipmates, while earning our first ever Medal of Honor. He was trained by Jimmy Thach, who turned a performance disadvantage into a winning tactic, setting the example for generations of innovators. His soul has gone on to meet its reward, but his spirit is with us still.

Pappy Boyington taught the young kids how to fight in the Solomons, and later paid his rent as a guest of Imperial Japan. Joe Foss got his kills at Guadalcanal, and helped protect the grunts from adding to the butcher’s bill.

Jessie Brown broke the color line to serve a country that didn’t yet deserve him in the Korean War, and paid for it with his life. Thomas Hudner crashed his airplane alongside him, behind enemy lines, trying to save his life. He also earned the MoH.  John Koelsch gave his life so that another might live. Clyde Lassen learned his example a decade or so later.

Jim Stockdale earned his ribbon refusing to submit to the North Vietnamese. Mike Estocin understood the concept of being on “government time” over Haiphong. He went missing because of it, his fate known to God alone.

It’s a lot to live up to.

But they all came from somewhere. Ely came from Davenport, Iowa. O’Hare from Saint Louis. Thach from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Pappy from Coeur D’Alene. Foss from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jessie Brown from the hard hate of Hattiesburg, MS. Hudner from Fall River, Mass. Jack Koelsch from London, England. Lassen from Fort Myers, FL. Admiral Stockdale from Abingdon, IL. Estocin from Turtle Creek, PA.

Flyover country, mostly.  Not the kinds of places that send kids to Harvard or Yale. Apart from Koelsch. Who came from the old country for reasons of his own, and gave his life for one of his adopted brothers.

Where do we grow the next crop? How do we reach them?

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A Fair Cop

By lex, on January 8th, 2011

Diana West has an interesting take on the issue of Enterprise‘s CO:

As one retired vice admiral put it to the Post, “What bothers me is that Capt. Honors’ behavior set a standard that allowed for sexual innuendo.”

Funny. What bothers me is that Capt. Honors’ behavior didn’t set any standard at all.

This should come as little surprise. Perhaps the greatest triumph of the Left in the last 25 years has been the junking of military standards regarding the sexes, a set of traditional attitudes that was slow to dismantle itself in the wake of the 1960s sexual revolution. Indeed, the military could be, and was, seen as a bulwark against the social changes wrought by a metastasizing feminism in the civilian world that would go on to kill, among other things, such concepts as “mixed company” and its prohibitions on “bad language” and other social shields. These had allowed for the existence of now-lost refuges such as reticence and discretion, which, in turn, provided shelter for a kind of privacy and intimacy that is all but unimaginable in our over-exposed world of TMI (too much information).

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Small Talk

By lex, on May 10th, 2009

SNO brought two of his old school chums over last night, both Marine 2LTs, the first just back from a 7-month tour in Iraq as an LAV platoon commander and recently reunited with his bride, the other an infantry officer leaving for Afghanistan in two weeks, and himself off to flight school this fall. His friends have been household guests for the last four years off and on, and greeted me as “captain” at the door, a formality I’d never requested of them as midshipmen. To my lifted eyebrow, the former explained that he had gained a new found respect for seniority, in the Corps.

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The Sailor’s Creed – a Controversy

By lex, on Thu – May 5, 2005

This may well sound like inside-Hollywood to those outside the service, but there’s a bit of a tempest in a teapot brewing in the naval ranks these days.

Turns out that a certain relatively senior officer (more senior than me, so I’m being a bit circumspect here) thought it would be a splendid idea if each and every day folks under his (distributed) command spoke the Sailor’s Creed aloud.

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