How to Break An Officer

Young officers are like moldable clay; they take lessons to heart fast.  Some of them will be amazing, most will be good, and then you will have a lot of bad.  It is easy for them to become enraptured by their own image when they’re doing well; it is even easier for them to fall flat on their face.  How do I know this?  I’ve been there.  When a new officer comes into the FORCE/FLEET he needs to be embraced by the battalion and company level organizations he is a part of.  In the Army we tend to have a […]

Rest in Peace, A10 the “Hog”

There are two articles I recommend every ground pounder, Army and Marine Corps read.  The first at the Washington Post is about opposition to the retirement of the A10 “Hog” and the second over at Harper’s touching on the same subject, where the author Andrew Cockburn, who concludes: As I explain in my Harper’s feature, the Air Force’s decision to junk the A-10 while retaining the B-1 and the even more unwieldy B-52 bombers for close air support may seem inexplicable, but it is in reality quite logical. The service owes its independence from the army to its success in […]

Hold up the mirror

Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.     – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe   Op-for presented a series of posts featuring toxicity in leadership, corruption in acquisitions, and servicemembers who cheated on their competency examinations. From each of these posts, of which Townie’s is the latest lagniappe, one has to wonder who holds the mirror up for introspection? For an examination of self and a determination of one’s own boundary?   No one put a gun to the head of those servicemembers and told them to lie, to cheat, to steal, and to tolerate the putrefaction of […]

Why VMI Matters, Part 300

The core of VMI are its graduates living honorably, succeeding and failing as their own merits, demerits and as luck permits. The mechanism that raised the bar and distinguishes VMI from the service academies and near-peer educational organizations is VMI’s Honor Code.    Yesterday, 1/3 of America’s Strategic Defense force was exposed as non-combat capable. USAF officials, including senior members of its officer corps approved a blatant lie meant to undermine concerns. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the primary mechanism for maintaining peace was the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Apparently the new philosophy is “By Any Means […]

More on the Demise of the “Early Bird”

So, I heard from a few alumni about the Early Bird, and its untimely demise. The first was from COL Steve Warren ’89 himself– yes, that’s him in the article! LOL (89! 89! 89!) Then this, from an active duty Marine Colonel and VMI alumnus: I remember as a 1st Lt, newly assigned to JTF-5, one of my duties was get the Early Bird off the fax machine, a 45 minute affair, photo copy and distro to all the key billet holders before they got to work. (You can do this when you are in Pacific time zones!). I still […]

Interesting Perspective

Colonel (Retired) Pat Lang who publishes Sic Semper Tyrannis and who is a retired Army Special Forces and Intelligences office, he is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.  This article, which was published on Foreign Affairs about four years ago resonates even today.  I will comment more later on this tendency.

Gun-Day Sunday: “Missing is Triply Disastrous”

Go read this post at Farnam’s Quips about accuracy versus speed. He makes several very good points, not least of which is this one: 3) When one of my rounds fails to hit something I wanted it to hit, by definition, it will hit something I didn’t want it to hit! “Sloppy shooting,” as manifested by missed shots, missed shots that went on downrange to cause unintended injury and property damage, are never dealt with kindly by investigators, nor prosecutors, nor juries. When one of your bullets ends up in an “unhappy place,” you’re the one who will have to […]

Leadership at its Best

From SWJ an article in Stars and Stripes regarding General Mattis’ leadership.

"Till Death Us Part"

A good piece by Matthew Bogdanos in today’s Washington Post. I had the pleasure of working with Colonel Bogdanos USMCR in Iraq. He is a very impressive individual, a true renaissance man. “Being effectively ruthless and genuinely caring are each manifestations of courage. The ability to effect their integration and foster the bond between leader and led can spell the difference between defeat and victory, because wars — fought with weapons — are won by people. Your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers. We are honored to lead them.”

Warrior Wisdom

Cononel Eddie S. Ray, USMC, is a Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom veteran, recipient of the Navy Cross and a leader among leaders. “The best leadership is done by walking around.” — Colonel Eddie S. Ray