« If It Ain’t Broke... | Main | Better Shooting with Oxygen and Water »

February 16, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Nut at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut.

What The Army Can Do For You

One more military blog and then I'll let it go for a while.

A friend of mine used to work for the ad agency that handled the Army's recruiting advertising, and we used to argue about it, my point being that the ads missed the main benefits of joining the service. There are three:

One: Military training is the best in the world. Whatever they teach you, you are going to know in your bones.

Two: If you have any aptitude for leadership, you'll find yourself with more real responsibility in your early 20s than you would have in your mid-30s as a civilian.

But the most important is, you will get to meet a born leader or two. I'm talking about the kind of officers or noncoms whose troops will follow them to the death - literally. This is a very, very rare type of human being, and one that you don't find in civilian life. The outstanding example in U.S. military history is Robert E. Lee.

If you are curious about what such leaders are like, I can refer you to three sources. The first is a short novel, Mr. Roberts, written by Thomas Heggen in the late 1940s. Second is a long novel, Once an Eagle, written by Anton Myrer, and published in 1968. It so successfully depicts the career of an ideal leader that it is used as a text by the Army.

Winters

But the most vivid is the HBO movie, Band of Brothers, and in particular the performance of a young British (!) actor named Damian Lewis (left), who portrays Major Dick Winters (right, in photo). Lewis is absolutely uncanny in capturing the personality of an officer who was not only a hero (he won the DSC at Normandy) but literally worshipped by his men.

The service has its share of officers and noncoms who are time-servers, incompetents, and are unworthy of their rank. But it also has men like Dick Winters, and if you have the luck to serve with one, it can illuminate the rest of your life. I had the great good luck to know two such officers: LTC (later COL) Charles Brauer, and COL (later MG) Howard Lauderback.

Thank you, sirs.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b54869e200d834e460fa53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What The Army Can Do For You :

Comments

tom

Dave,

Thank you for your words on military service.

I like the point about responsibility. At 19 I was "commanding" small boats in the Bering Sea with the fisherman. As an E-3 the Junior Officers trusted me to get them from the " Big Ship" to the Fishermans boat to conduct inspections and emergency operations.

My Commanding Officer said (when he signed my qualifications letter) "You will not find many places in this world where a 19 year old (enlisted person) will get a $200,000 boat and be responsible with 2-3 officers lives.......in the Bering Sea.

Most people don't know but in the Coast Guard, most small boats are commanded by young enlisted people in their early 20's......

I asume it is the same for the other branches of the military.

AND YES THE COAST GUARD IS PART OF THE MILITARY!!

JP

Great Blog! The country could use more leaders like Winters...It does appear that you kissing up a little bit there at the end!

SteveC

Another good read is "Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller"

ArcherWVU

Dave,
Very nice blog. I don't normally mention names but there are two outstanding leaders whom as a young Air Force Captain I had the pleasure of serving under. Seasoned veterans they were and I'd follow them anywhere: Col Kenneth Boykin and Col Hugh "Uncle Hugh" Smith. They set an example for young officers to emulate. Why? Because all of the non-coms respected them as did the officers. Now that takes quality!

Steve Remington

Winters played by Lewis in Band of Brothers really influenced me while I sat on my couch and chomped down popcorn and sipped on Coke-a-Cola. I can't imagine actually being there under his leadership.

I own the series on DVD and break it out every 6 months or so and watch it straight through in a matter of a few days.

Good post!

Charles  Benoit

Briefly, what did you like most about Brauert & Lauderback? How are they doing now? Best regards,
Charles

cmcdonough

Dave,

Truer words have never been spoken. Before entering the Medical Corps, I read Once an Eagle, having been completely naive regarding the Army. As you've stated, it is recommended reading in the Army Officer's Manual which specifically states "If you dont read any of the other recommended texts, at least read this one". Having only been out of the Service less than a year, I reflect back on the people I knew, some bad, most the best I've had the privilege to know and thank God there are good people left in this country.

Concerned_Soldier

Dave,
Outstanding Post!

I have read two of the three, Band of Brothers and Once an Eagle, I read Once an Eagle while waiting the two weeks in Kuwait to get on the plane to fly back to the states!

I would argue that almost anyone who raises their right hand to god and country is a great American.

And you are right, nowhere and I mean nowhere are you going to get the level of responsibility the Army will give you as a young person! For those who have never done it, you can not fathom it, It is like being a parent, coach, sibling, pastor, bartender, psychiatrist rolled into one. You are responsible for more souls then you will probably ever be in any civilian job.

What did you expect, people don't grow up playing maintenance guy or office executive, they play soldier, everyone deep in their hearts wonders what they would do when bad people try to do bad things to them, when all hell breaks loose, and people turned to them for direction.

I will leave you with this quote, "The gates of manhood are guarded by the demons of men’s souls, and those demons differ for each man. That is the test of manhood; to find what those demons are, and then to slay them. That is the only way the gates can be made to open."

What are your demons?

V/R

C_S

Ralph the Rifleman

Nice article Dave. Never forget the sacrifice the true heros made for this country, for they were left on the field of battle.

Ralph the Rifleman

Nice article Dave. Never forget the sacrifice the true heros made for this country, for they were left on the field of battle.

Mark

There’s certainly a number of ways of looking at the military life and “rank”. I think too many of these bloggers are missing something here.

1. What the military teaches a person is how to work within a group and become part of a group. A person gives up tremendous personal freedom to do this. Most people having problems adjusting to the military can’t work within a group or become part of a group.

2. Rank doesn’t mean much if a person hasn’t a position to use it.

3. Rank [commission or non-commission] has a certain amount of institutional power, but a leader must develop personal credibility. That is earned, not bestowed. This is the quality of a leader that keeps a unit functioning under high drama and stress 3,000 miles from home.

4. Troops aren’t managed to their deaths, nor will they die for someone’s career.

5. I knew of some real blackguards in the military. I also saw very gifted folks that made me thank God they were on our side.

O Garcia

I didn't know Damian Lewis is British. I thought his accent in "Colditz" was awkwardly fake. Anyway, turns out he was born in London and traces his roots to Wales.

I also watch BoB every now and then. Never gets old. Just to be clear, though, the second episode "Day of Days" where they take out the [field] guns at Brecourt Manor (also reenacted in the video game "Call of Duty"), it actually took them three hours to do that, but it takes place very quickly in the DVD, for cinematic reasons.

Never gets old. Nothing like the sound of an MG-42 to wake you up. Even though it's just a movie.

Bob - US Army Ret.

I couldn't agree more, Dave. In my 21 years of service, I ran into several officers and NCOs that influenced my career. They were men of compassion, but they always remembered that the mission had to be accomplished. They were the men I tried to pattern myself after.

Bob - US Army Ret.

I couldn't agree more, Dave. In my 21 years of service, I ran into several officers and NCOs that influenced my career. They were men of compassion, but they always remembered that the mission had to be accomplished. They were the men I tried to pattern myself after.

randy allen

Nice Blog! I comend you for it. But you also have a writer, Tom McIntyre who is antigun and assualt rifle on the F&S payroll. He is also supporting Zumbo on his pompous anti-assualt rifle attack. The above article and war would not have been won had it not been for so called assualt rifles, M-1 garand, M-1 Carbine, Thompson submachine gun. It is not the time to be attacking fellow gun owners as these two have.

Randy Allen

randy allen

Nice Blog! I comend you for it. But you also have a writer, Tom McIntyre who is antigun and assualt rifle on the F&S payroll. He is also supporting Zumbo on his pompous anti-assualt rifle attack. The above article and war would not have been won had it not been for so called assualt rifles, M-1 garand, M-1 Carbine, Thompson submachine gun. It is not the time to be attacking fellow gun owners as these two have.

Randy Allen

Ps, I dropped my subscription to this magazine due mcintyre!

Chad Love

Dave, I don't want to get off-topic on your fine post on military service, but I for one would really like you in a future post to give your thoughts on the Jim Zumbo controversy.
I read Zumbo's original post and the comments (before OL pulled the entire blog) and though I disagreed with what and how he said it (my well-documented disdain for the tactical junk notwithstanding) some of the ensuing reaction and comment has quite frankly left me feeling ashamed to be a member of the hunting and shooting community.
When and how did we get so savage in our reaction to a contrarian viewpoint? I'm simply floored by how vicious and rabid this has made us look. It's not Zumbo's throwaway comments on an obscure blog that the non-shooting public is going to take from this but the frothy-mouthed knee-jerk reaction that will only serve to reinforce the public's perception of us as "gun nuts" in the pejorative rather than the good-natured sense of this blog's title.
When honest and spirited debate is replaced by calls for violence and suggestions of suicide, there's something fundamentally wrong.

And Randy, Thomas McIntyre is one of the finest, if not THE finest hunting writer of the last quarter-century. Your assertions, while hewing to the doctrinaire conspiracy theories of the obviously far-out, are patently ridiculous.
I'll tell you what. I'll buy another subscription to make up for your righteous cancellation. Unless, of course, F&S is stupid enough to take your advice. Which they aren't. But if they are, I'll cancel MY subscription(s).
Hear that F&S? Lose McIntyre and you lose a loyal subscriber. Gee, what an easy game this is to play...

Matt

Yeah, and its people like those you mentioned that Rummy and his ilk aren't fit to shine the shoes of.

Matt

Yeah, and its people like those you mentioned whom Rummy and his ilk aren't fit to shine the combat boots of.




Our Blogs

Categories



Syndicate