As the old saying goes It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure. As we celebrate Veterans Day, let’s remember those who take on the responsibility of taking your sons and daughters, husbands and wifes off to war and bring them back. Leadership in war is one of the greatest honors a Soldier can have. It is also one of the loneliest. We charge our leaders with the health and welfare of those under their command and often times they aren’t even older than those they lead. We tell them to look their charges in the eye and send them off knowing that they may not come back. If they are lucky they have the opportunity to accompany them. As you rise in rank though, the further and further away from direct leadership you get and you learn to lead by radio. Truth be told, leadership from a distance can be harder on them than being there. You watch each and every one as they file out the door and head to the aircraft not knowing if they will all come back. And when they don’t come back you mourn them, raise drinks to them then lock their memory away.
Leadership isn’t about pinning medals on somebody and it isn’t about Article 15 or Captain’s Mast. Leadership is being there when everything goes wrong. When a decision has to be made that will send a young man or woman, somebodies dad or mom, to what may be their death. When a final solemn duty needs to be done. It’s the Leader that stands tall and makes that walk. The burden rests with him or her to do their duty. When your time comes to be a leader, think upon those who came before you. You have a duty to them and to those you you lead. It is a duty that you should not take lightly but neither should you take it with trepidation. The words The Army has “reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism. valor, fidelity, and abilities of..YOU” should have a special and terrifying meaning when you hear them.
Do your duty. Do it well. Lives depend on it.