May 25, 2009


Last night Mrs. LMC and I had an early dinner with my first battalion commander. He long since retired from active duty and he works for a defense contractor. I had spoken to him only once since he left command 22 years ago when I bumped into him at a graduation in 1995. About a week ago, he was in Europe, ran into one of my brothers, they eventually figured out the connection, and my brother gave him my contact information.

He was one of the best soldiers I have ever known and one of the toughest bosses I ever had. He saw his mission in life to get us ready for war and lived by a few simple rules: do the right thing no matter the consequences, officers should set the example, and lead from the front. He had no use for substandard officers and ruthlessly weeded them out. (I can think of five whose careers ended at the end of his pen.) As a lieutenant and a captain, he saw the Army at its worst in the closing days of Vietnam, and maxed out every dope smoker who wound up in front of his desk.

He knew his business and worked us until we mastered every operation expected of an air assault infantry battalion and then worked us until we mastered doing it at night. He believed in "tough love" and had no problems letting us know it (I still cringe at the memory of the first range for which I was the officer in charge: M16A1 qualification in the spring of 1986). As demanding as he was, if you busted your ass for him and found yourself in a tight corner and needed someone to go to bat for you, he would do it and not care who he pissed off.

Much of the success I had in the Middle East was the result of working for him so many years ago and last night I finally had the chance to tell him.

Posted by LMC at May 25, 2009 02:22 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: orange at May 25, 2009 08:48 PM