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leadership in action

refreshment for real heroes for over 70 years we have provided a little taste of happiness to troops and their families

Š2012 The Coca-Cola Company.


SUPPORTING THEM AS THEY SUPPORT US. The value of performing for a higher good is something Nor throp Grumman shares with the United Ser vice Organizations (USO). Which is why for over 40 years we’ve teamed up with the USO to help deliver on their mission to ser ve the militar y and their families. In April of 2011, the Nor throp Grumman Foundation pledged five million dollars to the USO’s Operation Enduring Care initiative. Through this contribution, the Nor throp Grumman Foundation is proud to have played a major role in the development of the For t Belvoir USO Warrior and Family Center—a 20,000 square foot facilit y where wounded troops and their families can find suppor t in rebuilding their lives.

w w w.nor thr opgr /f ounda tion

©2012 Northrop Grumman Corporation

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[ coordinates ] VIRGINIA H FALL 2012


Feature Articles 29 Two Battles. Two Victories.

By Samantha L. Quigley • The Tuskegee Airmen may have started out as an experiment, but they helped pave the way for an integrated military and—on a larger scale—an integrated American society.

32 Keeping the Trust 39

By Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin E. Dempsey • For Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin E. Dempsey, leadership is about trust and all that goes into building that trust. He sees it as a truth for all soldiers, whether they’re the chairman or a squad leader.

39  Defining Leadership: Examples From the Battlefield

By Malini Wilkes • Three soldiers and an Air Force staff sergeant share personal experiences—from evacuating troops during an attack on a base to learning to live among the villagers they protected—and how they view leadership.

46 Flourishing Amid Chaos

By Paula D. Broadwell • Retired Army General David Petraeus believes in finding a level of comfort amid uncertainty. His philosophy set the tone for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.


52  From the Battlefield to the Boardroom

By Army General Stanley McChrystal (Ret.) and Army Brigadier General Craig Nixon (Ret.) • Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal explains the importance of translating lessons learned on the battlefield to the business realm.

57 Task Force Dagger

By Army Lieutenant General John Mulholland • The September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States set in motion events to rid Afghanistan of Taliban rule. The new deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command led the charge.

62 Rangers Lead the Way on D-Day 62

By Army Major General John Raaen Jr. (Ret.) • Wars provide ample opportunities for leaders to step up and do what they do best. World War II’s D-Day invasion of Normandy proved to be one of those opportunities for the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion.


Departments + Columns


15 Command Update They’ll Take Us Forward

old Star 20 GFinding Solace on Higher Ground

17 Mail Call

uty H Honor H Country 26 DLearning Leadership in Hanoi

By Sloan Gibson

eroes 68 HLeadership Helped the Chosin Few By Stewart Portela with Gene Dixon


Photograph by Navy Petty Officer First Class Kenneth Robinson


 ission Essential M Fires Bring Communities Together By Jason B. Cutshaw

ll Volunteer Force 14 ABuilding Spouse Leadership is Key

By Suzie Schwartz

ome Front 17 HOpen Arms

By Trevor Romain

own Range 18 DMarine Mom

By Marine Corporal Timothy Lenzo


Sloan Gibson Frank Thorp, IV Marguerite Kirst Samantha L. Quigley Eric Brandner Ashley Bernardi Kathy Dorf Trevor Romain Malini Wilkes Kelli Seely Jeffrey P. Macharyas

By Lona Parten

By Leon “Lee” Ellis

18 Uniform Sierra Oscar AOR 10 RAllecon Hands On Deck


+ Salute 70 SIt’service All About the Team

By Tom Coughlin

for the Memories 72 ThTheanks Mickster

USO Archives

on the cover

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin E. Dempsey—pictured on the cover—is the highest-ranking officer in the military and the principal military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and the President. He is, most definitely, a leader. But, as we have learned, you don’t have to be an officer to be a leader. They’re men and women from every rank of every service who are focused on the mission at hand and adaptable. But, above all, they care about their troops. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin E. Dempsey, center, listens to a briefing from U.S. and Afghan special operations forces at Camp Morehead, Afghanistan, on April 23, 2012. DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen

Magazines: General Excellence (100,000+ circulation)—Bronze

Editorial Offices 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1200 H Arlington, VA H 22201 (703) 908-6400 Email: H Website:

Customer Service/Subscription Inquiries To receive a subscription to OnHPatrol, or to inquire about reproduction rights for content contained herein, please call (877) 9-ON-PATROL (877-966-7287) or write to: USO, Inc. H PO Box 96860 H Washington, DC H 20077-7677

About OnHPatrol The United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) is a private, Congressionally chartered non-profit organization, which publishes OnHPatrol in furtherance of its charitable mission to provide support services to the members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. The USO is not part of the U.S. Department of Defense. The opinions expressed in OnHPatrol are the personal views of the authors, and unless otherwise noted, not the views of the USO. OnHPatrol (ISSN 1947-4997) is published quarterly (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) by the United Service Organizations, Inc. 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1200 H Arlington, VA H 22201

Postmaster Send address changes to United Service Organizations, Inc. PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677 Nonprofit postage paid at Riverdale, MD, and at additional mailing offices. © Copyright 2012 USO (Copyright is not claimed for editorial material in the public domain)


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Š 2012 Colomer USA, inc. All Rights Reserved.


For more information please visit

[ command update ] virginia H by sloan gibson

They’ll Take Us Forward


hat’s Army Staff Sergeant Douglas Ferguson shaking my hand over a sand table in Afghanistan late last year. I had just listened to him brief drivers and troops who were about to take a convoy out from Kandahar Airfield to several much smaller, and more remote, outposts in the province. He used the sand table as part of his clear, concise and focused mission brief. He covered the route they would take and the order of movement. More important, he summarized the immediate actions to be taken if the convoy was ambushed and adjustments to the chain of command in the event leaders were incapacitated. The success of this mission and the safety of dozens of troops were entrusted to this fine young leader and I could not have been more impressed—or more proud. When we decided to focus this issue of OnHPatrol on leadership, it just seemed like the natural thing to do. After all, who knows more about leadership than the men and women who serve in the U.S. military? Troops at every level—from the enlisted ranks to the most senior officers—can be counted on to deliver, even under the most difficult circumstances. As you read these stories by or about some of our military leaders, it is clear these are people who routinely put service before self, and in the process display several prominent qualities. First, there’s an unrelenting focus on the mission, as was the case years ago on the beaches of Normandy and more recently by Army Captain Mike Kelvington at Combat Outpost Senjaray in Southeast Afghanistan. We see leaders constantly adapting and innovating as Lieutenant General John Mulholland describes the earliest days of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was also on display as we read about the actions of Army veterinarian Captain Bethany Everett and one of her soldiers, Sergeant Raffique Khan, a food inspector, when a suicide truck bomb struck the dining facility at Forward Operating Base Salerno. But perhaps the most prominent trait displayed by these leaders is their genuine care and concern for their troops and others with whom and for whom they serve. Captain Kelvington risked his life to re-

trieve the remains of an honored Afghan comrade. We read about Chaplain Assistant Air Force Staff Sergeant Charles Stamper comforting wounded troops at the Bagram Airfield hospital. There’s a story about troops in Colorado helping to save communities threatened by recent wildfires. And, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey tells us about Master Sergeant Roger Sparks, a pararescueman in the Alaska Air National Guard who descended, under fire, from a hovering helicopter 12 times to rescue soldiers stranded on the side of a mountain in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. When General Dempsey asked him about it, Sparks said, “I just knew they really needed me.” And we really need these leaders. We’ve been hearing a lot about the need to support troops who will be leaving the military in the months and years ahead. Think about men and women with these great qualities—an unrelenting focus on getting the job done, often requiring on the spot adaptation and innovation and their genuine care and concern for others—all demonstrated while putting service above self, under some of the most adverse circumstances, day in and day out. What company, community organization, or government agency wouldn’t be blessed to have leaders like this? They will take us forward if we give them the chance. H

Army Staff Sergeant Douglas Ferguson, a 7th Sustainment Brigade Personal Security Detachment Noncommissioned Officer deployed to Kandahar Airfield, shakes USO President Sloan Gibson’s hand before leading his unit on a mission to deliver hoilday cheer to forward deployed troops at the end of 2011. USO photo by Eric Raum

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[ mail call ]

afghanistan | california | florida | nevada

From the Front Lines

I recently received a book of pictures sent to me by my wife through the USO. I wanted to thank your organization for all the time and resources spent on not only deployed service members, but those back home, too. This being my first deployment, it has been a little difficult on both me and my family. Every time I look through the pictures it brings a smile to my face and helps me feel a little closer to my family half a world away. Also, I have had to travel to several cities throughout the U.S. for various responsibilities for my job in the military, and the friendly faces and warm smiles that I’ve met at different USO locations make being away from friends and family a little bit easier. Too often you hear the cliché and almost hollow words, “Thank you for your service.” You at the USO put those words to action. So, I thank you for your service. —Lee Bartholomew Afghanistan Thank you for your current issue honoring the National Guard and the Reserves. As a chaplain, I was glad to see an article about a chaplain. As a member of the California State Military Reserve, I was also happy to see the article about the volunteer soldiers in the Military Department of Indiana Ceremonial Unit. My active duty was in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1972 as an enlisted sailor. After September 11, 2001, my older son enlisted in the California National Guard right away. Later, he transferred to the Regular Army. He is now a staff sergeant who has served three tours in Iraq and is currently in Afghanistan. About three years ago, I read an article in the American Legion’s magazine about the state military reserves. I figured maybe I could do something for the war effort myself. After I finished the doctoral program that I was then completing, I signed up in the California State Military Reserve. We are unpaid and we buy

our own uniforms and pay for our own travel. We act as the reserve of the National Guard. —Chaplain (First Lieutenant) Robert Hellam California I just want to thank you so much for the generosity of the USO for all the support you give the USA troops! The 629th [Forward Surgical Team] enjoys the Xbox on a daily basis and we have been able to help fellow soldiers on the FOB through giving to the chapel and to other soldiers. … Again, we all thank you so much. —Captain Phyllis Thieken Afghanistan

From the Home Front

Editor’s Note: On Mother’s Day, military moms, wives and fiancés received care packages designed just for them as part of an effort by the USO and Full Circle Home. The boxes were assembled by First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Congressional spouses. Below are comments from recipients. It was actually very sweet. I was on Skype with my husband when the doorbell rang. I opened the door, grabbed the box and thought it was a delivery from one of my previous orders. I continued my conversation with my husband as I opened the box and was extremely surprised. … I cried the entire time, but was deeply touched! Thank you so very much. It meant so much and I needed that in so many ways! —Roxanna E. Wilkerson Nevada It felt like you delivered a BIG hug from my husband. [It] brought tears to my eyes. (Happy tears!) —Michelle Keels Florida Editor’s Note: In the Summer 2012 issue, Father’s Day was erroneously listed in the calendar as June 21. The holiday was celebrated on June 17. H Fall 2012

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[ uniform sierra oscar AOR ] uss abraham lincoln | texas | virginia | washington, d.c.

USO Offers Caregivers New Hope During Texas Conference


Krissy and Joey Banegas attend the USO Caregivers Con­ference on May 30, in San Antonio, Texas. USO photo by Mark Matson

hen Krissy Banegas met her husband Joey, he’d already lost a leg in Afghanistan and was three years into recovery. Though she willingly stepped into the caregiver role, she sometimes finds the responsibility overwhelming. “It’s harder than what I thought it would be like in the beginning,” she said. The Banegases were among nearly 100 spouses, partners, parents and others attending the USO Caregivers Conference in San Antonio on May 30. The USO Caregivers Conferences offer advice and information on stress management, parenting, military benefits and improving communication between wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers. The couple came away from the conference pledging to work harder on communication, to listen to each other and their children, to avoid blaming each other and to be thankful for their blessings. “It’s a lot easier to notice the things that are wrong than to realize what you have,” Joey said. “It’s a lot easier to give up than push through it.” The USO is planning to host more Caregivers Conferences in 2013.

USO Helps Make Mother’s Day Memories at Biden Residence


irst Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined dozens of Congressional spouses on May 10 to assemble Mother’s Day gift boxes for the wives, moms and girlfriends of deployed troops. “I can only imagine the challenge that this time brings for people with loved ones deployed,” First Lady Michelle Obama said. The USO teamed up with Full Circle Home to acquire and assemble items into 2,000 packages that were delivered to women across the country. “Troops serving in harm’s way just want to know that someone back home is looking out for their loved ones,” USO President Sloan Gibson said. The First Lady and Dr. Biden spent an hour standing in an assembly line on the lawn of the vice president’s mansion in Washington, D.C., filling boxes with perfumes, lotions, gift cards, charm bracelets, and—most importantly—a handwritten note from the troops to the women in their lives. The event was part of the White Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama look on as USO House’s Joining ForcPresident Sloan Gibson speaks May 10 at the Vice President’s es initiative to support military families. residence in Washington, D.C. USO photo

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Toby Keith flashes a smile as he takes a stab at using navigation charts on the bridge of the USS Abraham Lincoln on April 23. USO photo by Dave Gatley

Toby Keith Marks a Decade of USO Tours


oby Keith celebrated a decade of USO tours this spring, taking a five-country, 12-day trip to entertain troops in the Middle East. The country star continued his longstanding tradition of visiting remote bases to deliver thanks from home. “I can’t believe it has already been a decade, it feels like just yesterday when I first started working with the USO,” Keith said. “I’ve met so many great, brave service men and women over the years and had so many wonderful experiences ... One thing is for sure, I enjoy working with the USO, I love our nation’s troops and I won’t ever stop doing my part to extend my thanks.”

A group of servicemen and women sign the final roof beam that was placed during the June 13, 2012, topping out ceremony at the USO Warrior and Family Center in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. USO photo by Neshan Naltchayan

Fort Belvoir Warrior and Family Center Construction Hits Halfway Mark


hen asked by his troops to describe what the new USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, will be like, former Garrison Commander Colonel John Strycula knows exactly what to say. “Think of your home,” he said. “Think of the most comfortable room that you have in your house. The place you go when you’re stressed, when you want to relax and just want to put your feet up and find peace and solitude. That’s what this building is going to be when it’s done.” The process of constructing that environment reached its halfway point on June 13, 2012, as Operation Enduring Care donors, project representatives, Fort Belvoir servicemen and women and USO staff attended a ceremonial topping out event. As attendees signed the final beam that was hoisted for placement on the center’s roof, members of Scott Long Construction— the project’s primary contractor—took time to discuss where the project stood and how their efforts are squarely focused on making Strycula’s description a reality. “I think the troops are going to enjoy the ability to relax,” said Chris Carder, Field Manager and Site Supervisor for Scott Long Construction. “And the video game rooms, the music rooms, the theater rooms, the art rooms—there are a couple of unique spaces that not every building has and I’m sure they’ll appreciate that.” In other words: a home, sweet home away from home.

Calendar Fall 2012 H The USO’s Congressional Caucus will host a care package assembly event on September 11 in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. H September 17 is POW/MIA Recognition Day H Happy 65th Birthday to the Air Force this September 18! H October 8 is Columbus Day H Wish the Navy a Happy 237th Birthday this October 13! H Join Team USO on October 28 at the Marine Corps Marathon H The USO Gala is November 2 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. H Happy Birthday, Marines! The Marine Corps turns 237 on November 10 H November 11 is Veterans Day H Give thanks for the troops and their families this Novemeber 22, as we celebrate Thanksgiving

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[ recon ]

louisiana H by ashley bernardi

All Hands On Deck 10 |


he Ecuadorian navy has given a whole new meaning to “Walk the plank!” Ecuadorian sailors aboard the barque BAE Guayas seemed at ease standing on the ship’s masts as the tall ship arrived in New Orleans for The War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration. Navy Petty Officer First Class Kenneth Robinson, however, stood on dry land and watched as the ship and its sailors docked in The Big Easy. “As the ship came in we could see things hanging from the sails,” he said. “I’d never seen that ship before so I thought they had tied mannequins to the sail. Come to realize, when we got closer, they were real people.”

A Navy photographer for two decades, Robinson immediately did what he does best—snap this photo. As the ship got closer, he noticed the sailors were secured to the yardarms with lanyards. “I was very impressed,” he said, “I’ve never seen ships pulled in like that before, not for 20 years in the Navy.” A native of Colorado, Robinson always knew he wanted to be a Navy photographer. He enlisted in 1984, set on working with the military’s most elite group of photographers. “From the day I joined the Navy, my goal was to be in the Combat Camera group,” he said.

Two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan have provided Robinson and his keen eye with plenty of opportunities to tell others’ stories as he sees them through his lens. “Photography has always fascinated me,” he said. “It’s capturing the moment and being able to share it with others.” Robinson has achieved his goal. He’s now serving with Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific based out of Coronado, California. “You’ll find no better photographers in the country [or] in the U.S. military,” he said. H —Ashley Bernardi is a Virginia-based freelance writer.

Ecuadorian sailors aboard their country’s steel-hulled barque BAE Guayas man the yardarms as they arrive in New Orleans on Robinson April 17, 2012, for The War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration in New Orleans.The events in New Orleans are part of ongoing city visits by the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Operation Sail—a series of Congressionally approved sailing events that commemorate special occasions—that began in April and conclude in 2015.

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[ mission essential ] alabama H By jason b. cutshaw

Fires Bring


uring the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, mem­bers of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ ARSTRAT) pull­ed together to support each other, as well as their communities. During the fires, which began early in the 2012 wildfire season, more than 30,000 people were evacuated in the High Park and Waldo Canyon communities near Colorado Springs, Colorado. While the federal government provided firefighters, fire engines and aircraft to assist in fighting the fires in Colorado and other Western states, members of USASMDC/ARSTRAT geared up to support their community as well as three SMDC families who have lost their homes. “This tragedy touched us both personally and professionally,” Brigadier General Timothy R. Coffin, SMDC deputy commander for operations, said. “It is difficult to express the feeling of devastation we all felt … as we realized this fire had moved into the populated areas of our community. Many of us were uncertain about our own safety as well as those of our friends, co-workers and neighbors. “We were heartbroken to discover several members of the command lost homes and properties,” he added. “The majority of our command family … was touched by the disaster [but responded by] helping others. Everywhere you went, not just in this command, but throughout the military and civilian community here, you heard people telling of their experiences either volunteering in the community or opening their doors to displaced friends and neighbors.” The general reiterated that these are the neighborhoods our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Canadian forces partners are a part of, and they are impacted by this event. “It makes me tremendously proud [that], in the midst of this personal uncertainty, the command teamed to provide necessary support to the community,” Coffin said. “In addition to the Friendly

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Communities Together Force Tracking capability from our Mission Management Center to U.S. Northern Command/ NORAD, we continued to stand ready to provide whatever additional resources are necessary to our civilian and military partners. “We are … relieved that more and more of the evacuees are returning to their homes,” he added. “We know that it will take weeks and months to recover as best they can from the losses, and we want them to know that we are here to assist.” As the military community supported the thousands of people impacted, they have pledged to support the National Interagency Firefighting Center, the primary federal agency, efforts to protect neighbors, local installations and critical assets, equipment and people.


odular Airborne FireFighting System aircraft operations contributed significantly to containing and extinguishing the Waldo Canyon fire with at least 50 air drops of about 133,000 gallons of retardant. “Personnel in my immediate office were not directly affected by the fire, but many people that I know personally within this command were evacuated as a result of the fire. Unfortunately at least one member of this command actually lost their home,” said Kevin R. Janes, a force development analyst with SMDC’s Colorado Springs G-37 Force Management Office and a volunteer firefighter. “Those whose homes are in close proximity to the burn area may have been spared total destruction, but many have heat damage, smoke damage, water damage or a combination of all three. “I have not personally seen a wild land fire this big. Ever,” he added. Janes, who worked nearly two regular work weeks in the space of four days in order to free up personnel and equipment to actively fight the fire, said being able to support his fellow co-workers, as well as his community by being a volunteer firefighter, was very gratifying. “Being a soldier and being an Army civilian is all about service. The fire service is that way also, in that we take care of each other,” he said. “It’ s very rewarding and satisfying to know that, despite differences in personal preferences or beliefs, when the need arises,

we are there for each other. For me personally, I loved my career as a soldier and I saw that as direct service to my country. Now, as a volunteer firefighter, I am fortunate to provide direct service to my community.” Janes said the ongoing challenges the firefighters faced were tempered. “First of all, every firefighter that I have talked to has considered it an honor to serve, regardless of their capacity (front lines, incident command and incident support),” he said. “We as a fire service are grateful for the outpouring of support... That allowed us to focus on the tasks at hand.” Though the fires are now extinguished, those who suffered losses will require continued support for a considerable period of time, he said. H —Jason B. Cutshaw writes for U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

Vandenberg Air Force Base Hot Shot firefighter Brad Mabery cuts a tree with his chainsaw while clearing a fire line on June 28, 2012, in the Mount Saint Francois area of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Above: Fires burn in the Mount Saint Francois area of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on June 28, 2012, while firefighters continue to battle several fires in Waldo Canyon. Air Force photos by Master Sergeant Jeremy Lock

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[ all volunteer force ] washington, d.c. H By suzie schwartz

Building Spouse Leadership is Key

I Colonel Linda Lawrence, left, the 31st Medical Group commander at Aviano Air Base, Italy, briefs Suzie Schwartz, wife of the Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz, on medical services at Aviano on July 11, 2011. Air Force photo by Airman Briana N. Jones

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n the summer of 2008, Norty and I were at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, getting ready for retirement. The paperwork was in and we thought U.S. Transportation Command would be the last stop in a wonderful military career. But as is often the case for military families, our plans were suddenly changed when we received new orders—this time to Washington, D.C. Being asked to serve the Air Force—and the nation—for four more years was a joyous surprise. I was excited about the prospect of using all the things I had learned along the way to help shape the lives and experiences of Air Force families. This was an opportunity I never dreamed would present itself to me. I married my husband [recently retired Air Force General Norton Schwartz] when he was a captain and moved soon after to Hurlburt Field, Florida. I left my job, my apartment and my family, and

moved into his house and his life. It was there that I reluctantly attended my first Officers’ Wives’ Club event. I never would have thought that attending this function would shape my Air Force life forever, but the wives I met took me in and immediately accepted me as one of their own. Norty calls the Air Force a “team sport” and it certainly is that—uniformed members, government civilians and their families supporting one another in service to the nation. This was evident from that first club event. Military spouses take care of each other and make friends quickly, creating friendships that last a lifetime. There are also, of course, challenges inherent in the military lifestyle. Two of the most important issues for spouses across all the military services are employment opportunities and children’s education. Constant moves are difficult on spouses’ career aspirations, as well as on the children who must reg-

ularly switch school districts. Luckily, initiatives like the Military Spouse Employment Partnership and the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children are helping to make military family moves easier for both spouses and children. Many spouses might not realize it, but as they work through such challenges and experience the esprit de corps that is a part of military service, they are strengthening their own leadership abilities along the way. I admit that as a young military spouse, I never saw myself as a leader. But as Norty and I moved from one base to another, I was honing my own leadership skills by watching other spouses. Even though this was not formal training, I now understand I was mentored by fabulously strong and resilient spouses at every step of this journey.


uch experiences help prepare military spouses to lead in many different ways. On the most personal level, spouses are leaders in their families—a role that is especially important during the long deployments our military men and women often face. At our Air Force installations, they also lead through initiatives like the Key Spouse Program, in which military spouses support the local base mission through mentorship and communication with families. When Norty assumed the duties of Air Force Chief of Staff, I was given the opportunity to lead on a much larger scale. As I struggled to find the best way to communicate with our airmen and their families spread out all across the globe, I met Senior Airman Michael Malarsie. While deployed as a Tactical Air Control Party Member in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Michael found himself in an intense battle that cost him his eyesight. During his recovery in the United States, he used social media as a way to share with others his experiences and his indomitable spirit. He inspired me to use these new tools to better connect with our Air Force, and I’m now able to quickly communicate with thousands of military men and women and their families through my Facebook page. The use of such innovations to better con-

nect with our military families, as well as the amazing support our service members receive from the American public, make me optimistic about the future of our Air Force and our joint team. Today’s military spouses may be different than the ones I encountered in my earliest years with Norty, but they are no less involved. I know the younger spouses I had the opportunity to mentor will continue to find new and better ways to support their families and the joint team. As Norty and I prepare to enjoy life after this career of service, we feel privileged to have been members of the outstanding U.S. armed forces team, and I will always be proud to consider myself a military spouse. H —Suzie Schwartz is the wife of General Norman Schwartz who recently retired as the Air Force Chief of Staff.

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Š 2009 Lockheed Martin Corporation

F o r e v er y A m eri c A n her o, t her e’ s A her o i c A m eri c A n FA mily. t h A nK in G t hem i s A l l A Q Ue s t i o n o F h o W.

We owe so much to the men and women of our military. But there are others whose courage and sacrifice also deserve our gratitude. The families who support their loved ones. And take pride in their service. We offer our gratitude to those who serve in America’s military forces and to their families, who stand behind them.

[ home front ] texas H by trevor romain

Open Arms


t literally took 20 seconds to change the course of my life. It was as simple as that. One minute I am your average South African soldier doing my national service. The next minute I am that same soldier … but I am changed. I didn’t change because I went crazy. Or from being broken down and re-built the military way. From doing parade after parade and hitchhiking home from base but not being allowed to hitch, just standing there with a look on your face that said, “please-pick–me-up-I-wanna-go-home-because-Imiss-my-girlfriend-and-my-mommy’s apple pie.” It wasn’t because of a near death experience when an idiot almost shot us at the range because his rifle jammed and he was waving the bloody thing around trying to un-jam it. It wasn’t even the harsh lectures we had, after basics, about terrorists on the border pulling peoples lips off with pliers. Nor was it the pictures they showed us of what the terrorists did. No. It was a simple thing. And I’ve come to realize—now that I’m a lot older—that simple things are sometimes very complicated. I was at the military hospital talking to a guy who had heavy shrapnel wounds from an attack on the South African border with Angola. He was bruised black and blue, yet he was one of the lucky ones that day. One of my best friends, Howard Remmington, wasn’t so lucky. On my way to another part of the hospital after chatting with the injured chap, I saw a little kid sitting on the edge of a bed in another section. They said he was an Ovambo from the Caprivi in Southwest Africa—now Namibia. The boy had lost his legs, though I’m not sure what happened. And for some reason, that I cannot explain, I was drawn to the kid. I walked over to the little guy and he put his arms up to me. I looked around. No nurses or doctors were in the ward. Only an old toothless man cleaning the floor who didn’t seem particularly interested in the kid. I wasn’t sure what to do. But what happened next is precisely why I am who I am today. I looked down at the kid. And KWAH. It hit me like an electric shock. He had no legs. Oh my God! He was whimpering and looking at me with

those big brown eyes. He stretched his arms out even more. Reaching toward me. So I just did it. I bent down and picked him up. He put his arms around me, and honestly, I have never been held so tightly in my life. That little guy hugged me and wouldn’t let go. He put his little face against my neck and started to cry. Goodness did he cry. His tears ran down my neck. And inside my shirt. And touched my heart. And the world changed. Not changed as in, “Aha, I now know the meaning of life!” or even, “Stand back, people, now I know my mission.” To tell the truth, I didn’t even realize it at that time. I just went back to my tent on the base where I was stationed in Potchefstroom and listened to Charles Fortune, the cricket commentator, on a Saturday afternoon.


ut deep, deep in the far reaches of my soul, a small seed of hope was sown—a shard of white light that stayed dormant for ages and then slowly grew brighter and brighter over the years. It’s a light that now shows me where to go, especially when I get lost in the darkness of my own self-importance. The lessons I have learned from kids in Africa and those with cancer that I have worked with over the years form the backbone of the presentations and workshops for our USO tours. Our focus is presenting all the information we have gleaned over the years in a palatable and entertaining form for the children of our troops. We have reached more than 100,000 military kids so far. And every time I go on stage I pause for a second as I see the countless faces. Those who are about to move or who have just moved. Those with parents deployed. Those with injured parents and those who have lost parents. And, as I begin my talk and all the kids lean forward to engage in my story I see not one, but hundreds and hundreds of kids, with emotional arms outstretched, waiting for us to comfort them while their parents serve here and abroad. H —Trevor Romain is a best-selling children’s book author, award-winning TV personality, and motivational speaker. To learn more about Trevor Romain, please visit Fall 2012

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[ down range ]

Afghanistan H By Marine Corporal Timothy Lenzo

Marine Mom


arine Corps Staff Sergeant Maribel Valdez—the adjutant with the 1st Marine Division (Forward) at Camp Leatherneck—sits quietly at her desk. She sits straight with dark eyes, her M-9 pistol holstered tight against her uniform, and pictures of her family on the board behind her, showcasing the two different lives she lives. She’s a mother and a Marine. A balancing act that’s more difficult since she deployed to Afghanistan in January. She’s thousands of miles from her children, having traded the sunny Southern California lifestyle for the heat and dust of Afghanistan. “It’s very hard, I’m not going to say it’s easy,” Valdez said. “I think its harder being a mom, it’s hard to know that a big part of your life is not here with you.” A large part of her life is at her home in Temecula, California. Valdez has five children: Breanna, 12; Jose, 10; Issac, 9; Jason, 5; and Jacob, 4. Valdez said it’s hard for her younger children to understand why she can’t be home. “No matter how you tell them you are working, they don’t understand,” Valdez said. “To them, it’s ‘Mommy’s gone’ or ‘Mommy left me.’” Valdez prepared her family as best she could before she deployed. She told them why she had to leave and how her job as an adjutant helps Marines. “I explained to my [children] that my purpose was to make sure that everyone that was doing great things was being recognized for it,” Valdez said. Mother’s Day came and went much like any other day for Valdez, with the exception of a few well wishes via email. She woke up and went to work like she does every Sunday. “Mother’s Day was just a typical day until night when I got to talk to [the kids],” she said.

Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Maribel Sanchez. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Timothy Lenzo

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fghanistan is 12 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Temecula, so when Valdez called her family her Mother’s Day here was almost over. It was bittersweet. Her children wished her a Happy Mother’s Day, but also expressed how much they missed her and wished she was home.

“It was heartbreaking because it was the first time my [children] said ‘Mom you left me’ or ‘I’m lonely,’” Valdez said. “It’s hard to comfort them over the phone, knowing I can’t hug them to make them feel better.” The pain of not being able to be there for her children is difficult for Valdez, a proud Marine and even prouder parent. “When they hurt, you hurt, when they’re happy, you’re happy,” she explained.

“It was heartbreaking because it was the first time my [children] said ‘Mom you left me’ or ‘I’m lonely.’ It’s hard to comfort them over the phone, knowing I can’t hug them to make them feel better.”

When Valdez married her husband Jose, a former Marine, he had three children from a previous marriage, forcing her to learn quickly how to be a mother. Valdez said being a mother was difficult and stressful, but it has made her a better person and a better Marine. She said she balanced being a mother and taking care of her junior Marines by taking the lessons learned from motherhood and applying them to her military career. “I commonly refer to her as ‘Momma Valdez’ because she’s like the ‘Mom’ of the office,” said Marine Staff Sergeant Andre Smith, the division’s adjutant chief. “Somebody does something wrong and she gives them an eye, like, ‘You know you messed up.’”


aldez learned the look from having four boys and one pre-teen daughter in the house. She also learned to be more understanding when people make mistakes. With Mother’s Day fresh in her mind and a recent package delivered with a DVD, filled with music and photos of her family, Valdez can’t help but think of what it’ll be like when she returns home. “The first thing I’m going to do, is hug them because I miss that feeling,” Valdez said with a grin. H —Marine Corporal Timothy Lenzo serves with the 1st Marine Division. Fall 2012

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[ gold star ]

arkansas H By lona parten

Finding Solace on Higher Ground


t’s one severe step at a time. I struggle through the dark hours past midnight to cover the last 3,000 feet of frozen lava dust in the thin air and freezing temperatures with nothing but a tiny headlamp to light my way. At 19,340 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest point in Africa. I know I’m not alone in this climb. There are others around me, but my mind draws inward to the point where it’s only my body and its survival as I feel my own pain and breath. Rest. Step. Breathe. Rest. Step. Breathe. Stopping is not an option. I have to do this. I push on through four hours, then five. Rest. Step. Breathe. Rest. Step. Breathe. My mind flashes back to the reason I’m here. Tyler! I’m doing it, son. Just like I promised. Can you hear me? I draw inward again, but keep moving as the memories flood my mind. I still can hear your voice, Tyler. “Mom, you would love it. It’s the best thing I have ever accomplished besides graduating from West Point. Mom, you can do it! Why not? When I return from Afghanistan, let’s do it together. I have friends wanting to go so let’s make it happen. After my deployment… let’s go.

“Why not, son?” I replied. “I might as well go for it while I physically can, and to climb it with my oldest child will be a dream.” Rest. Step. Breathe. Are you with me now, Tyler? Suddenly the wind slams me as it blows over the crest. Tyler, this must be Stella Point, the false summit you talked about. I recall the stories you and your brother Daniel told of your Kilimanjaro summit back in 2007. How the two of you celebrated Daniel’s first year at the USMA and your graduation by summiting the mountain. That must be the huge rock the two of you took refuge behind for a moment before moving on. It’s the six-hour mark and the sun’s first tiny morning rays are beginning to glimmer across the sky. A hope is stirring in my soul, but I know the struggle’s not over. The summit is there, but where? My hands and feet are so cold. When will this misery end? I know I’m strong, but how long can I hold out? Misery? What am I thinking? This is nothing. I pause at Stella Point for a moment, reflecting. I’ll never forget that night, son. September 10, 2009.

Tyler Parten looks across the clouds at Mount Meru from his campsite on Mount Kilimanjaro. Photos courtesy of Lona Parten

Fall 2012

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A graduate of West Point, First Lieutenant Tyler Parten had a penchant for mountain climbing. In 2007, he and his brother, Daniel, left, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

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Anna Laura, your baby sister, had just started her first year of college. Daniel was studying abroad in Ecuador during his last year at West Point and you were, well, “over there,” a 3-61 Calvary U.S. Army First Lieutenant leading your newly formed unit in the mountains of the Kunar Province. I had spent another long day nursing in a Hospice program trying to stay as busy as I could so as not to dwell on you guys being away. You know me, son, always a worrier. Tyler, for some reason on that particular evening I wasn’t feeling well. I’d felt odd all day. I had declined an offer for dinner, feeling the need to stay in. As I was preparing for bed my cell phone rang. It was your sister. “Hey Pumpkin,” I said. “How are you?” “Mom! What’s wrong, Mom? Dad just called and said he’s coming to get me, but wouldn’t say why. Mama, what’s wrong?” she asked in a trembling voice. By then she was crying.

“Anna,” I answered calmly, “I don’t know but I’ll find out. Is your roommate with you?” “Yes, Mama,” she said. “Okay Sweetheart. Stay put and I’ll call you back in a bit.” I hung up my cell phone. Two sons out of the country but instinctively I felt it was something to do with you, Tyler. You and I had discussed this. Before your deployment you named your father as the point of contact, saying you wanted to protect me from all the tough decisions that were to be made should the unthinkable happen. Your father lived two hours from me, he’s the POC and he’s on his way to pick up Anna. Tyler, my heart stopped and my mind started racing. I recall whispering, “Oh no God. Please let it be an injury. We can handle any kind of injury, Lord. Tyler’s mentally and physically strong and young, only 24. We can do this, together. Please God, please be with him and please give me strength.” I made the decision to call your Dad. He an-

Army First Lieutenant Tyler Parten in Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

swered but was silent and by the sound I could tell he was driving. “Oh no,” I thought. “Anna called me terrified,” I said, breaking the silence. “Please tell me everything is okay.” Silence. Panic welled up inside me. “Which one?” I screamed. “Tell me what has happened. My children need me! Which one is hurt? Please?” “Lona, they are on their way,” he said. “Who’s on their way?” I screamed again. “Is someone coming to get me? I’m by myself but I can drive. Just tell me where to go. Just tell me! They need me. I can’t bear not knowing. Tell me! What’s happened? Oh God, please!” By then I was sobbing. His voice broke as he said my name. “Lona.” It was then I knew. “Lona, Tyler was killed today.” The cold is so intense. We are in the seventh hour of the ascent to the summit and moving along the rim of the dormant volcano to the highest point now. The wind will not let up. My fingers—though gloved—are numb, but it’s nothing compared to the pain I felt in my heart the moment I heard those words. “Tyler was killed today.” I stop briefly on the mountain gasping in the thin air feeling the intense real pain in my heart as my mind goes back to that time a year ago. “No!” I screamed and fell to the floor. “Tyler, No! God! No!” I thrashed, pounding the floor and the walls and screaming over and over. I continued to scream and cry—for how long I don’t know. The doorbell rang and I knew who it was. I crawled in my nightgown on my hands and knees to the door. I recall sitting up and having to lean against the wall as I reached for the lock. Through the opaque glass I can see two dark figures standing at the door. As I turned the doorknob and pushed open the door I said out loud to myself, “Oh God, Why?” Standing there is a sight that every military family member that has a loved one deployed never wants to see. “I already know,” I said to the formally dressed Army captain and chaplain, voice trembling, choked with sobs. The air is beginning to warm as the sun rises over the top of the volcano displaying glorious colors across the sky. I look ahead and there it is—the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. “Tyler, I’m here! We did it!” I feel a tingling sensation rise in my soul and Fall 2012

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Tyler, right, deployed in May 2009, just after his sister, Anna Laura, second from right, graduated from high school. At the time, Tyler’s younger brother, Daniel, left, was in his last year at West Point, and Lona Parten, second from left, was working as a Hospice nurse. This was their last family photo before Tyler was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

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realize what seemed impossible during the darkness was possible. I take a moment at the edge of the rim to give thanks that I made it to the summit and reflect some more. Tyler, my last phone conversation with you will stay with me forever. You said to me, “Mom, I want to share with you what I’ve learned during my time here on this outpost in Afghanistan. I’ve come to realize when things get tough, distractions aren’t what a person needs. Mom, I know the next few months are going to be hard for you with Anna Laura going off to college and you’ll have that empty nest thing going on. Take my advice and don’t fill your life with distractions! Turn to God. Turn to nature. Turn to something larger than yourself like the mountains or the ocean.” “Tyler,” I replied trying to lighten the conversation knowing I was about to cry, “You’ve always enjoyed the mountains. Remember, that’s why you chose Fort Carson for your post. Are we still going to climb Pike’s Peak and Kilimanjaro when you get back?” You replied, “Of course! Pike’s Peak first to prep for Kili. That will be for you because I’m in the best shape of my life right now walking these tough mountains here.” We laughed and talked and then, before closing, you said, “Also, Mom, know you can lean on me, even though I’m over here. Mom! My relationship with the Lord has gotten stronger. I want the same for you.”

We ended the conversation with me eventually crying and telling you how much I loved you and how I worried so much about your safety. You, of course, said, “Don’t worry, Mom! It’s all in God’s hands.”


s I look out from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, I think of this past year. Tyler! I’m trying. It is all in God’s hands, but it’s so hard. I’m trying to live and move forward. I’m trying to treat every day like it’s my last, just like you lived. Ty, I’m trying! I wipe my eyes, take in the view, turn, pick up my trekking poles and head down the mountain. Son! Two-and-a-half years later it’s still hard, but I’m doing it. Little glimmers of joy pop out occasionally where before there was nothing in my spirit. I know I’ll never be the same person I was before your death. A part of me was taken when you died, but I’m learning to live with that part gone. It’s been a struggle. Ty, it’s almost like climbing a mountain. Rest. Step. Breathe. Rest. Step. Breathe. H —Though Lona Parten tried to return to Hospice about six weeks after her son’s death, she is no longer nursing. She manages her rental properties in Alabama and Arkansas and is engaged to be married. Anna Laura just finished her third year of college and is studying to become a speech pathologist. Daniel graduated from West Point in May 2010, became an Army Ranger and married fellow West Point classmate, Tara. They are both 82nd Airborne officers currently deployed to Afghanistan.

[ duty H honor H country ]

georgia H BY leon “lee” ellis

Learning Leadership in Hanoi


Retired Colonel Leon “Lee” Ellis today.

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he POW camps of North Vietnam were crucibles, revealing both the mettle of leaders and powerful lessons that are essential for successful leadership today. As a junior ranking first lieutenant in those camps, I learned about leadership from the masters. Many of our senior ranking officers (SROs) were from “The Greatest Generation.” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Risner and Majors Larry Guarino and Bud Day had served in World War II. Commanders Jim Stockdale and Jeremiah Denton were commissioned from the Naval Academy at the end of that war and a good number of our group had served in the Korean War. These experienced, battle-hardened men stepped forward time and again to lead the POWs through the fire of torture and abuse. Their example of leading with honor was instructive then and is just as much so now. Let’s take a look at what it means to lead with honor. Know yourself. Our SROs had very different personalities with different strengths and struggles, but they knew who they were and what they stood for—which gave them great inner strength and genuine humility—a potent combination in any scenario, especially when facing torture and isolation. In the long days of quiet reflection, we all got to know ourselves at the deepest levels. And whether it was being locked up with another person in a tiny cell for years or facing a threat from our captors, we could not pretend—the unrelenting vulnerability of POW life revealed our true selves. Guard your character. Even when you think you know yourself, you can’t assume your character. More than 98 percent of POWs were faithful, but sadly a very few let us down. Three senior officers were removed from command eligibility because they put self-comfort and security above the team and duty. Sadly, many around us who claim they have high integrity fail when faced with choosing between self and duty. We have to be very clear about our com-

mitments and then be on guard lest our selfishness or fears take us off course. Clarify and build the culture. Traditionally, military organizations have a distinct culture. The POW group in Hanoi was no exception, but it did not come without sacrifice. The enemy tried every way possible to isolate us and keep us from forming a cohesive unit. Anyone caught communicating or giving direction to others was isolated, beaten and often tortured. We fought back, taking risks daily to stay connected. In spite of enemy efforts and prison obstacles, great leadership and the Code of Conduct kept us united. Over time, our leaders built a culture around the motto, “Return with Honor.” The vision and values captured in those three words guided our behaviors and eventually became reality. The importance of a strong culture to mission success is not limited to the military and POW camps. Most all highly successful organizations are intentional about creating and building a strong culture. Just study companies like Southwest Airlines, IBM, Google,, NASCAR and most successful athletic teams and you’ll see how culture unifies efforts and minimizes negative behaviors. Great leaders know this and focus on culture. Confront your doubts and fears. Courage is an essential characteristic for great leadership and there was no shortage of it among the POW leaders. Though often in handcuffs and leg irons so tight they cut deeply into the skin, they looked the enemy in the eye and said, “No deal.” After being tortured to meet with a communist press delegation, Commander Denton faced the camera, reaffirmed his faith in the U.S. government, and while answering questions about living conditions, blinked T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse Code—at great risk to himself—telling our government about our treatment. As a leadership coach, I’ve found that doubts and fears are the most significant challenge leaders face. Courage is the only solution. The best coach-

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. ... If I am senior, I will take command. If I am not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me, and will back them up in every way.—Article IV of the Military Code of Conduct

ing I can give is this simple mantra: “Lean into the pain of your fears and do the right thing.” We almost always know the right thing to do and when we don’t there is usually someone we can consult to get clarity. Whether at home, at work or in a POW camp, living and leading with honor is not easy. These four lessons will increase success. Know yourself, accept yourself and then grow to a higher level of effectiveness. Guard your character. If you haven’t noticed it’s hard, you’re in trouble. Clarify and build the culture. Clarity about purpose, values and acceptable behaviors is essential for success, at work and at home. Confront your doubts and fears. Without courage, you’ll get off course and not be able to consistently succeed in the first three points above.

We can thank the POW leaders for giving us living lessons. They had the courage to go first into the crucible. Their example set the gold standard from which we can learn so much. H —Leon “Lee” Ellis is a speaker, author and leadership coach. In his recent book, Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, he shares stories from his experiences as a Vietnam POW and highlights leadership lessons learned in the camps. Ellis, who retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel, is president of Leadership Freedom LLC and has consulted in the areas of hiring, teambuilding, executive development and succession planning for more than 15 years. For more information, please visit www.

POWs are released March 14, 1973, at Hanoi Gia Lam Airport, including Senator John McCain, then a Navy Lieutenant Commander, front right. Fellow POW, Lee Ellis is seen three behind McCain. Photos courtesy of Air Force Colonel Lee Ellis (Ret.) Fall 2012

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Tuskegee Airmen Shattered Perceptions in the Military and at Home hey may not have broken the sound barrier in their P-51 Mustangs, but the Tuskegee Airmen broke through the barrier that—until World War II—kept African Americans from becoming military pilots. In the process, they advanced the civil rights movement at home. This storied group of flyboys had humble beginnings. Prior to the war it was believed they weren’t qualified to serve in combat and so they were denied military leadership positions and skills training. They persevered, however, and over-

came segregation and prejudice to become lauded war heroes. But their success didn’t start on their terms. “They created the Tuskegee Airmen as an experimental program,” said Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr., a Tuskegee pilot. “They went to colleges—black and white—and recruited the smartest and the best athletes … and leaders. So, we had an excellent group of people.” The Tuskegee Experiment that Brown referred to was an Army Air Corps program to teach African Americans to

By Samantha L. Quigley Fall 2012

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The Tuskegee Airmen developed a reputation for being top-notch pilots during their World War II service. After the war, many of them remained in the service. In fact, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.—seen here briefing a group of Tuskegee Airmen—went on to become the Air Force’s first African American general. Photos used with permission of Special Collections & Archives, University of California, Riverside Libraries

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fly and maintain combat aircraft. The experiment included training for pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors and the personnel who kept the planes in the air. The first aviation class of Tuskegee Airmen—13 cadets in size—commenced July 19, 1941, with ground training. Navigation, meteorology and instruments training were among the courses at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. The military chose the institute for its dedication to aeronautical training. Cadets who succeeded in this phase of the training were transferred to the segregated Tuskegee Army Air Field to complete their pilot training. Five of the 13 cadets finished successfully and earned their wings, becoming the nation’s first black military pilots. Those first pilots went on to serve with the 332nd Fighter Group, which was officially formed October 13, 1942. Another 350 pilots joined the ranks of the Tuskegee Airmen in various squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group during the war. Brown—one of those pilots—eventually became the commander of the 332nd Fighter Group’s 100th Fighter Squadron. His leadership contributed to the unit’s distinguished combat record. “When we went into combat, we flew as a separate, segregated group ... because that’s the way the military was,” Brown said. “We flew with the 15th Air Force in P-51s on long-range bomber escort missions deep into Germany and very far into southern Europe. “Because of our record of staying close to bombers and not having many of them shot down, we gained the reputation of being one of the best fighter groups in the military. In addition, we were also among the first fighter groups to actually shoot down the new German jets.” In fact, Brown is credited with being among the first pilots to shoot down one of Germany’s new Messerschmitt Me 262, the first operational fighter jet, during the 15th Air Force’s longest mission. He was 23 at the time. By the end of the war he’d flown 68 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Fly-

ing Cross, the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters and the Presidential Unit Citation. As a whole, the Tuskegee Airmen earned 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses. ut even as Brown was leading his squad in combat, he knew they were under not only the military’s microscope, but that of the whole United States. “I come from a generation … where those of us who went to college knew that we had to be better than whites in order to succeed and that every time we broke a barrier, we were opening the door for others. The Tuskegee Airmen were part of these barrier breakers,” Brown said. “We knew we were being watched every step of the way. We loved to fly and we were pretty damn good. We were leading by example.” As it was, the group of men, and eventually a few women, were helping pave the way for an integrated military and—on a larger scale—an integrated American society. This was realized when, as the first official act of integration, President Harry S. Truman ordered the military desegregated in 1948. This preceeded Brown vs. Board of Education, one of the most visible civil rights victories, by six years. “In order to defeat prejudice, you have to give people information and the information [you have to give them] is that you are excellent—as good as they are or better. Then, some of the resistance comes down,” he said. “My mantra is excellence hopes to overcome prejudice. Our path was to seek as much excellence as we could.” And that they did. Many of the Tuskegee Airmen stayed in the military—some going on to achieve the rank of general. Brown separated from the Army Air Corps as a captain and resumed his education, pursuing a doctorate. He’s spent the years since as a college professor, president and director of research institutions. Most recently, he consulted on a film that shined a light on the Tuskegee Airmen. The George Lucas film Red Tails tells the story of the pilots and their role in the military’s desegregation.

“George Lucas brought us out to Skywalker Ranch—several of us—to interview us and then had me and some others look at the script,” Brown said. “Then Lee Archer, myself and a couple of others went over to help instruct the actors on how to be fighter pilots. “All in all, I think it came out very well,” he said. “They did a damn good job and it’s a very exciting movie.” Red Tails, which describes the tails of the P-51 Mustangs the Tuskegee Airmen flew, hit theaters in January 2012, but Brown said there’s a powerful message in the DVD’s extras. The DVD includes not only the movie but a

documentary titled Double Victory. “That really was the mantra of African Americans fighting in the war—victory over the enemy overseas and victory over segregation and discrimination at home,” he said. “We … beat the Army by 1945, but we didn’t really get the civil rights law passed until 1964.” It certainly seems that, at least for Brown, the loop has been closed. The movie ends with President Barack Obama’s inauguration. A shot of the crowd shows Brown sitting with his daughter who marched on Washington with him in 1963. H —Samantha L. Quigley is the Editor in Chief for OnHPatrol magazine. Fall 2012

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By Army General Martin E. Dempsey


carry around an image in my mind. It’s a picture of a soldier, a squad leader. He’s on the radio, calling for support. I don’t know if he is calling for air support or medical evacuation. It doesn’t matter because he knows he and his squad will get it. He’s vulnerable while calling, but you can see that his battle buddy has his back. You can also see a ring on his finger. He has a family back home. They have confidence in him because of the training he and his team received. They have confidence—as members of our Military Family— that we will keep faith with them no matter what happens to their loved one. They trust us. After nearly a year of being the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the principal military advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the President—I find that trust is just as relevant to me as it is to this soldier. Why? Because trust is at the center of who we are and what we do as members of the Profession of Arms. And, it is at the core of what it means to be a leader—whether a squad leader or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, the similarities between leading at these two levels are greater than most would think. As I visit our young men and women in service around the globe, I am consistently reminded of the leadership lessons I learned as a young officer—they are still relevant today. This consistency across the force is one of the main reasons my trust in our service members runs so deep. I want to share with you a few of the fundamentals that guide my personal approach to leadership—30 years ago as a troop commander and today as Chairman.

Building Relationships


recognized years ago that relationships are a key part of leadership. From the family unit all the way up to the international level, healthy relationships depend on trust. Sowing the seeds of trust, early and often, can bear a harvest that is well worth the labor. You can’t just phone these things in—you have to dig in and get your hands dirty. You have to meet face to

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g n i p t e s ke e tru of s f e i h C t n oi J h e h t airman ofet future wn hile

h o th s C r s o e e l f e Th plans h t io d d n f i f a r a m e St ng in h t n i o keep soldietor e ho of tilluhstration from DoD p o


General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2012. Photo illustration from DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett

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face. You have to nurture relationships for them to grow and to be effective and meaningful. My relationships today span across government and society, both at home and abroad. I rely on the counsel and expertise of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Strong relationships enable me to work with leaders throughout the executive and legislative branches on our most challenging national security issues. Furthermore, an important component of U.S. relations with other countries centers on my dialogue with foreign military leaders. And, my relationship with the American people and key civic organizations helps to take care of our Military Family.

Understanding Context


y perspectives have broadened naturally and deliberately over time. In my early years, understanding my unit and its mission was the most important thing. As Chairman, my jurisdiction is global, and my focus must be our security today and tomorrow. By tomorrow, I mean 2020 and beyond. I strive to understand and anticipate changes in the global security landscape as well as the dynamics within our Joint Force. This is a daunting task, but to succeed in my position, I have to un-

women d n a n e m r we of ou a in d n a t s s who r ‘I e b m e m y the famil , m r o if n u in erans of t e v , m e h t stand with warriors d e d n u o w , ation every gener llen.’ a f r u o f o s ed one and the lov

derstand the world in which we live and the context in which the military is used. As I scan the security horizon, I see a paradox. On one hand, geopolitical trends are ushering in greater levels of peace and stability worldwide. And the U.S. retains the most capable military in the world. Be assured, that will not change. On the other hand, lethal technologies are available to a wider array of would-be adversaries. Much of the destructive capability that rested in the hands of only major powers 10 years ago is more commonplace today. In this respect, the security environment has become more competitive.

As I reflect on our institution, I see three significant transitions that will have lasting impact on our troops, their families and our nation. First, we are transitioning away from a decade dominated by war. We have gone from more than 200,000 to fewer than 90,000 troops deployed in combat in the past two years alone. As we continue this trend, we will be working to restore versatility at an affordable cost. This brings me to the second major transition. Our budget is contracting as we contribute to the economic recovery of our country. This means we will have to figure out how to operate with fewer resources than Fall 2012

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before. We’ll need to learn some new spending habits to make sure we are the best possible stewards of our nation’s treasure. We can and will do this, as we always have, for the nation and for our Military Family. The Military Family is at the center of a third major transition. Thousands will take off their nation’s uniform and put on a business suit. Crossing this bridge is made easier by the groundswell of support we receive from our civic and community organizations, businesses and industry. In fact, this transition offers great potential for American society and our economy. Our troops and their families are talented, hard-working and—most of all—trustworthy. These transitions, coupled with emerging security challenges, form our context. They shape how we defend our nation, and they drive the demands we put on our men and women in uniform. This context frames many of my recommendations to the President and Secretary of Defense. And it surely informs my priorities.

Setting Priorities


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin E. Dempsey meets troops during a June 3, 2012, visit to Camp Navarro, Philippines. DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen

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y first assignment as a second lieutenant was to an armored cavalry squadron about an hour north of Nuremberg, Germany. We spent most of the time on the Czech border, where the Warsaw Pact was facing off against NATO. I was a brand new officer without combat experience coming into a military that had just finished a war. The soldiers lacked discipline and motivation. Grousing is a military tradition—an art really—but this was too much. The only way to cure their contagion was to give them a sense of purpose—to set priorities that helped them take responsibility for their own success. As Chairman, I serve as the senior military officer of a force that is filled with pride and confidence. But, I still set priorities to make sure we can successfully manage the big transitions and—most important—keep delivering options for our nation. One of my four priorities is to stay focused on achieving our national objectives in Afghanistan. Not a moment goes by that I don’t think about our men and women in harm’s way. We must never overlook the fact that we have America’s sons and daughters still fighting in Afghanistan. Remember that image of the squad leader. He’s out there right now, on that radio, counting on us to deliver. Even as we stay focused on their success, we must prepare to be successful in the future. Therefore, I am investing considerable energy is building the Joint Force we will need in 2020. We need to be selective

in the joint capabilities we reconstitute after a decade of war—and which new capabilities to develop. I am determined to build a responsive Joint Force that preserves options for our nation. While we look to the future force, we must also consider how the last decade of war has changed us. I believe we have an opportunity—and an obligation—to reflect on what it means to be a member of America’s armed forces. We have to ask first-order questions about who we were, are and can be. So, another priority is to renew our commitment to the Profession of Arms. This ensures we fulfill our role as guardians of our profession— our reputation, our self-respect and our honor. Finally, I stand in awe of our men and women in uniform, the family members who stand with them, veterans of every generation, wounded warriors and the loved ones of our fallen. They have fought harder and sacrificed more than many will ever know. Honoring our commitments to them is how we preserve the strength of our All-Volunteer Force. It is a fundamental part of who we are. This is why I am determined to keep faith with our Military Family.

What it Boils Down to


e have some great equipment in our Joint Force, but our people are our greatest asset. Leadership and trust are what brings them together. Military service remains our nation’s preeminent leadership experience. Our service members start learning these fundamentals on their first day. Furthermore, over the past decade they have earned much more than our admiration—they have earned our trust. Early this year, I had the chance to meet Master Sergeant Roger Sparks, a pararescueman in the Alaska Air National Guard. Sparks rescued 12 soldiers off the side of a mountain in the Hindu Kush area of Afghanistan. Under tremendous fire, he lowered himself by cable from a helicopter 12 times. Twice, the cable was hit by gunfire. Eight soldiers survived and four died in his arms. “What were you thinking of when you lowered yourself time after time after time?” I asked Sparks. “Truthfully,” he said, “I didn’t have time to think about it. I just knew they really needed me.” That sort of trust, sacrifice and leadership is who we are in the military family. We will go through changes—in strategy, resourcing and structure—but as long as we keep the attitude Sparks demonstrated, as long as we focus on the fundamentals and as long as we trust our service members, I am absolutely convinced we’ll be there when the nation needs us. H —General Martin E. Dempsey is the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an assignment that follows his tenure as the 37th Army Chief of Staff.





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defining leadership examples from the battlefield Army Captain Bethany Everett Army Sergeant RaFfique Khan Army Captain MICHAEL Kelvington Air Force Staff Sergeant Charles Stamper

By Malini Wilkes

Army Sergeant Raffique Khan is a military food inspector deployed to Forward Operating Base Salerno. He and Captain Bethany Everett, his commanding officer, showed strong leadership when insurgents attacked the FOB, destroying the dining facility where they were eating lunch. They pulled wounded from the rubble and Everett (inset), an Army veterinarian, treated them. Photos courtesy of Army Captain Bethany Everett

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t was just after 12:30 p.m. on June 1, and the dining hall at FOB Salerno was crowded with soldiers enjoying their lunch and a break from the heat. Suddenly, a powerful explosion rocked the building, sending troops and contractors flying out of their seats as part of the roof caved in on them. “It was pretty much like slow motion … almost like you’re dreaming,” Army Captain Bethany Everett said. “You feel that bang literally push you out of your seat … the whole building just shakes and stuff comes off the wall, stuff comes down from the ceilings, the lights go out … you see a big flash.” “It was just dust, smoke everywhere. …You can’t see anything,” Army Sergeant Raffique Khan said. “I’m about 195—almost 200 pounds—and for me to fly and hit a wall, that impact was very, very strong.” Everett, 34, is an Army veterinarian who heads a four-person unit that includes Kahn, a food inspector. After the blast, they paired up and began searching the dining hall, checking under tables and helping people to the exits. They waded into the dust and debris even as others fled for the bunkers. “Just the sound of somebody screaming for help … I couldn’t do nothing but help, while other people were leaving,” Khan said. “I’m kind of reliving it right now. I’m getting goose bumps.” When he and the captain finally made it outside, they found the attack was far from over. A suicide truck bomber had blown out a chunk of the blast wall surrounding the base. More than a dozen insurgents had swarmed through the opening and were shooting indiscriminately. Some were wearing suicide vests packed with explosives. Everett and Khan saw that a fast food shack behind the dining hall had collapsed, and someone was trapped underneath. With bullets flying overhead, they pulled a contract worker from the mound of rubble and sheltered him behind a shipping container. They could see he was badly wounded, his face contorted in pain. Everett, with her medical training, began treating him on the spot, though he later succumbed to his injuries. She also treated at least four other people for gunshot wounds as the battle raged around her. “Lots of profane words were being thought at the time,” she said. “Is this ever going to end? Why aren’t they [the insurgents] getting shot? And still the thought of, ‘Where are my soldiers? Where are they? Are they okay?’” Kahn and another soldier spotted a gunman wearing a suicide vest on the other side of the shipping container where they had taken cover, and they opened fire. “The guy that was standing right next to me, he actually got shot in his leg,” Khan said. “Somebody was yelling [the insurgent] is under the humvee, he’s under the humvee, and the guy blew himself up.” Khan never wavered. He had one thought on his mind the whole time. “I’m going home to see my kids. These people are not going to get past me.” When it was all over, 11 insurgents had been killed. Major Paul Haverstick, an Army spokesman, says one U.S. soldier died of his injuries. Two contractors—one American and one Indian—also lost their lives. Though Everett is the highest ranking officer on her team, she gives all her soldiers credit for the leadership they displayed that day. “Being a leader doesn’t mean that you have to have rank,” she said. “The first reaction is to ask about the people who are around you. … Everybody was pretty much just checking on the other people around them. It was really like everybody was in it for everybody else.” “Just knowing that my soldiers are safe and that they look to me and say, ‘I’m proud of you.’ Then I don’t have to have any kind of awards or medals or anything else,” she said. “That’s all I need.” Khan has nothing but praise for his captain’s response. “My officer was there with me. She stood by me the whole time,” he said. As a food inspector who never expected to see combat, he thinks training and instinct propelled him into action that day. It was hours later that he realized he had a shoulder injury where the blast threw him into a wall, deep lacerations on his legs, a sprained ankle and a concussion. He’s left with a new confidence in his ability to stay cool under fire, but he’s still coming to terms with the gravity of feeling responsible for someone else’s life. “I was just thinking about my kids. I wanted my kids to know that in a time of danger, their dad didn’t run. He did what he needed to do to take care of his own,” Khan said. “That’s all I could think of, was just making sure they can be proud of me.” H

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Army Captain Michael Kelvington kneels next to the remains of Gulam Dasteger, an Afghan Local Police commander. Reuters photo by Shamil Zhumatov. Inset: Dasteger and Kelvington in March 2012. Photo courtesy of Army Captain Michael Kelvington

leaders and Partners

U.S. Captain and Fallen Afghan Commander Share Common Values

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never really saw myself having such a strong friendship with an Afghan in my battle space. It wasn’t something I predicted,” said Army Captain Michael Kelvington, describing his partnership with a trusted Afghan police commander. “I leaned on him a lot for advice.” As company commander for Battle Company, 1st Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Kelvington is the highest ranking officer stationed at Combat Outpost Senjaray in southeastern Afghanistan. He’s responsible for 150 of his own men, 260 Afghan security forces and a village of 12,000 people. As the fighting season loomed this spring, the young American officer recruited Gulam Dasteger, a respected village elder and charismatic veteran of the Soviet conflict, to lead the Afghan Local Police unit in the Senjaray area. Just six weeks later, Dasteger was killed by an improvised explosive device while on a joint patrol. For Kelvington, it was the loss of a mentor and friend. “Despite uniforms and languages there’s a bond that gets formed in combat,” the captain said. “And there was a specific personal relationship between myself and Gulam Dasteger.” The two warriors hit it off from the start. “He was in my office pretty much every single day,” Kelvington recalled. “And if he wasn’t in my office, he was out on patrol with me or I would go to his house and talk to him.” They were an unlikely pair of compatriots. Kelvington, 29, has a wife and baby girl back home and has served five deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past seven years. Dasteger, 55, had three wives and 22 children. He told riveting stories about his adventures as a young mujahedeen fighter—planning ambushes and chasing Soviet tanks with Molotov cocktails over the very same terrain he was now now patrolled with the soldiers of Battle Company. When the Taliban called him with death threats, he put them on speaker phone so Kelvington could listen. “They would say things like, ‘We’re going to come find you in the middle of the night and cut your head off.’ And he would just answer back, ‘Not if I catch you first. I’ll hang you in my bazaar.’” Beyond the bravado, Kelvington saw an honest, selfless leader who worked tirelessly to improve security in his village. On May 25th, the Afghan commander organized a joint mission to establish a new checkpoint designed to cut the enemy off from town. Dasteger was leading his men through tall elephant grass when he stepped on a pressure plate. The explosion killed him instantly. Stunned by the blast, the Afghan police pulled back in dismay, but Kelvington felt he owed his brother in arms an honorable exit from the battlefield. He ordered one of his soldiers to clear the way with a mine detector, then pulled on a pair of rubber gloves and stepped into the minefield with his interpreter and a platoon sergeant. “When we found [Dasteger], he was gone from the waist down. We walked around and picked up pieces of his weapon, his legs, his body, his clothes,” Kelvington said. “Because of the leader he was and the respect I had for him, I felt obligated to bring this guy home to his family.” Still reeling from his own grief, he carefully packed up the remains of his comrade using a thermal blanket and rescue stretcher, and later that day, delivered the body to Dasteger’s oldest son. Months later, Kelvington still feels the absence of a man he considered an exemplary leader, one of the few who truly had the vision, the authority and the guts to stop the violence in his community. “He was a man of action. He got stuff done. He cared about his people,” Kelvington said. “He took care of his men and because of that, his men took care of him, and they took care of the people of Senjaray.” That matches Kelvington’s own philosophy of leadership, developed through multiple deployments. “I’m a firm believer that if you take care of the men, they will always take care of the mission,” he said. And Battle Company is accomplishing their mission in Senjaray. The area has seen dramatic reductions in violence over the last year, but it’s come at a cost. They’ve lost three soldiers since February, all from the same platoon—a devastating blow to the men who fought with them. Kelvington hopes Americans back home will honor their sacrifice by trying to understand what his soldiers achieved—their efforts to build schools and clinics and markets, and the relationships they developed with courageous Afghan leaders like Dasteger, who boldly stood up to the Taliban and risked his life to partner with U.S. troops. “He went out leading from the front,” Kelvington said of his friend and colleague. “I never saw him scared.” H

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Air Force Staff Sergeant Charles Stamper— also seen in inset—watches as an AMBUS, or Ambulance Bus, pulls away from The Craig Joint Theater Hospital headed for an air evacuation flight to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Stamper, a chaplain assistant, is one of the volunteers who load and unload the AMBUSes. It allows him a chance to offer comfort to the patients. USO photos by Samantha L. Quigley

a Leader and follower Chaplain Assistant Comforts Wounded Warriors 44 |


henever a medevac flight lands at Bagram Airfield, Air Force Staff Sergeant Charles Stamper is standing by, ready to meet the wounded troops arriving at the hospital’s emergency room. He sees patients come in from all over Afghanistan with some of the gravest battlefield injuries—lost limbs, gunshots, burns, traumatic brain injuries and severe combat stress. “I put everything I have into each one of the patients,” said Stamper, the base hospital’s chaplain assistant. “Spending time with them, listening to them … and just trying to impart some words of encouragement to them, some hope.” With a quiet voice and soothing demeanor, Stamper, 34, helps offload and move patients, chatting with them about sports, music or their families. Sometimes he’s asked to offer spiritual counseling to warriors who carry heavy emotional and psychological burdens on top of their physical injuries. “Some soldiers are going through survivors’ guilt,” he said. “Why did I survive when he didn’t? That should have been me. I need to get back to my unit to take care of my troops.” Stamper also offers solace and sanctuary to doctors, nurses and technicians who need to unwind and relax after long days treating a steady stream of young troops who’ve been disfigured and maimed. “When the patients come in… [the medical staff ] takes care of those wounds, but when they leave that situation, that’s when they feel stress and come into my office,” he said. Before he became a chaplain assistant five years ago, Stamper was a vehicle operator driving cargo forklifts, wreckers and buses. He retrained for the chaplain corps because he wanted to continue serving in the Air Force while doing something he was truly passionate about. Stamper’s view of leadership is intertwined with his commitment to the military. He strives to balance the interests of the Air Force with the needs of his men, and he believes a good leader should also be a follower. “I’m leading from the front, but I’m also following the needs of the airmen I’m leading,” he explained. “The higher I go in rank, the more airmen I serve. So in a sense, I’m following more people.” His supervisor, hospital chaplain Captain Ruth Segres, says Stamper’s greatest leadership quality is his ability to connect with patients, making them feel like more than a name and number, and putting them at ease in an institutional setting. “To find that niche of how do you get in, how do you pull the conversation out of them … he seems to do that almost instinctively,” she said. “When he comes back, he’s telling me their name, where they’re from, their kids’ names.” Most of the wounded troops spend only a few days at the Bagram hospital before flying home and it used to bother Stamper that he might never find out what happened to the soldiers he gets to know. But that changed recently when he accompanied a semi-conscious patient into a neurology procedure. Stamper and the doctor were wondering aloud if the troops they met would ever remember them, when the patient woke up and wrote on a notepad, “I’ll never forget you, Charles.” H

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Flourishing Amid Chaos How General David Petraeus Set the Tone in Iraq and Afghanistan


By Paula D. Broadwell

had the opportunity to spend the last few years documenting the intellectual development of the man whom then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called “one of America’s great soldier-scholar-statesmen,” Army General David Petraeus. As I observed Petraeus—who retired from the Army in 2011 and is now director of the CIA—I sought to capture his philosophy on and implementation of the duties of strategic leaders, concepts that may be applied on the battlefield or in the boardroom. Petraeus frequently evoked powerful images to inspire, including one of a Frederic Remington painting titled “The Stampede,” which he used to symbolize his personal leadership style. Petraeus received a copy of the painting from his mentor, General Jack Galvin, as a farewell gift after serving as Galvin’s aide-de-camp in the 24th Infantry Division in 1982. Galvin used the painting to symbolize the relative chaos of the time as he reorganized his division and the Pentagon sought to address the shortcomings of the so-called hollow army. The painting portrays a cowboy stoically riding a horse through a stormy night, guiding a herd of cattle. Petraeus later used the symbolic painting while commander of overall forces in Iraq in 2007, Afghanistan in 2010 and on his first-day speech at the CIA. What did it symbolize? “I use this painting to describe what it is we do,” he told his staff on his first day in command in Afghanistan. “I use this image to convey that I am comfortable with semi-chaotic situations. “The picture depicts an outrider galloping at full tilt over rough terrain at the height of a violent storm while steering a willful mount and guiding a sometimes

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Army General David Petraeus visits troops in Afghanistan on December 16, 2010. Navy photos by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Treadwell

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Army Major General John Galvin presents thenCaptain David Petraeus with “The Stampede” in 1982. Courtesy of the Petraeus family

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frightened and unthinking herd of cattle to its destination. It represents getting the job done despite the challenges. The terrain is rocky, the wind is in their faces, and it is raining sideways. Some of these cattle will get out ahead of us. That’s fine, we will catch up. Some cattle will fall behind and we will have to circle back and get them. That’s fine, we will bring them on. “We must be comfortable with this environment of uncertainty, challenge, risk, danger and competing agendas. We need to accept it. But we need to do more than simply hang on to the saddle. We must master our mount and we must flourish in the apparent chaos. I am comfortable with this. It is a privilege to be part of the Kabul stampede. Kick on!” Uncertain times—especially when lives are at stake—place additional stress on leaders and followers. In such an environment, Petraeus embraced the principle that leaders need to project an even temper, consistent outlook and even guarded optimism. Operationalizing this behavior requires leaders to consistently maintain presence—whether through staff meetings or battlefield circulations—in order

to personally convey confidence in the course of action. This display of poise reassures subordinates and commands respect. I would even say it often gave Petraeus’ subordinates hope, when hope seemed remote in the most challenging areas of the war zones. Even more important than a leader’s calm and resolution is the ability to develop the proper big ideas to navigate through stormy endeavors. To continue the metaphor, a rider can master his mount, but he still has to know where he driving the stampede. In this vein, Petraeus frequently described what he called the four key tasks of strategic leaders. First, get the big ideas right. Second, communicate them throughout the breadth of the organization and to all stakeholders. Third, properly oversee their execution. And fourth, capture the best practices so the organization can continue to adapt and refine the big ideas. Big Ideas he most fundamentally important task is getting the big ideas right, developing the right intellectual constructs to guide a strategy.


One might recall how Kodak failed to adapt ganization in order to get individuals to understand from traditional photography to digital imaging. Or them and take ownership. A related anecdote comes from Petraeus’ 2006 how the rush to transition the mission to Iraqi security forces and lack of emphasis on protecting the initiatives at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Since Vietpopulation from insurgents foiled military efforts in nam, the U.S. Army had, to varying degrees, purged the middle years of the Iraq war. Whatever the in- the system of the study of counterinsurgency tacdustry, if you don’t adapt properly in pursuit of the tics. That showed on the battlefield in Iraq and Afbig idea, the competitor or the enemy may prove the ghanistan, where troops struggled to adapt in an unfaster learner. And in industry—or war—the side conventional warfare setting. In response, Petraeus oversaw the creation of a doctrinal manual for the that learns the fastest often prevails. Getting the big ideas right also requires an ability to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As doctrine drives think creatively about complex challenges. Sometimes military activities, getting the right doctrine in place the best approach to dealing with an issue is not imme- was paramount. The new manual helped troops diately apparent. Occasionally, it may even be counter- better understand and implement the principles of intuitive. In Iraq, it took several years to develop and re- comprehensive counterinsurgency. Beyond rewriting doctrine, Petraeus also went on fine the ideas that guided the military’s efforts, including the big idea of the surge. Petraeus would often say a tour to meet with lawmakers, think tanks, academics that the most important surge was not the surge of ad- and others to communicate what a counterinsurgency ditional forces, but instead the surge of ideas that guid- campaign should look like. He understood that communicating a vision to the domestic audience was imed the changes the military made to its strategy. The biggest of the big ideas in that war was that portant for maintaining public support for the war. Petraeus also took personal ownership of educatthe Iraqi people—the human terrain—were the decisive terrain and that together with their Iraqi part- ing his team. The first thing he did in Afghanistan, for ners, U.S. and coalition forces had to focus on We must be comfortable with this environment of securing them and gaining their support. Sever- uncertainty, challenge, risk, danger and competing al other big ideas flowed agendas.We need to accept it. But we need to do more from this. First, the U.S. mili- than simply hang on to the saddle. We must master tary realized it couldn’t our mount and we must flourish in the apparent chaos. adequately secure the people by commuting to the fight from big bases. example, was to refine a battle rhythm. As part of that Troops had to live with the people they were going battle rhythm, Petraeus established many ways to reach to secure. Second, soldiers couldn’t just clear an area out to his team, such as letters to the troops, including and then move on to the next. Units had to com- one on his first day of command to outline his priorities. mit the resources to hold and rebuild areas once He conducted theater-wide daily video conferences, they had been cleared. Third, our forces could not weekly staff meetings, monthly campaign updates and just kill or capture all the enemies in Iraq. Instead, quarterly campaign assessments for NATO, the Penfriendly forces had to identify and reach out to rec- tagon, and the White House and press engagements. oncilable elements of the insurgency and offer them These were all means to communicate the big ideas and a chance to lay down their weapons and become help reinforce the commander’s intent throughout and part of the solution rather than a continuing part of beyond an organization to all stakeholders. the problem. Petraeus found other methods to relay the mesNone of these concepts were readily apparent in sage to the operators on the frontlines. He often Iraq. The experience showed how leaders must rec- reached out to junior operators on the frontlines, ognize that best practices are derived from a combi- clearing a room of senior leaders so junior leaders nation of experience, study and consultation with a could speak candidly about challenges and new braintrust of subject matter experts. ideas, many of which Petraeus adopted. That decentralized engagement was a key to his deep situCommunication ational awareness. hile getting the big ideas right is critical, simply developing them is not enough. A strate- Implementation gic leader must communicate those big ideas effeche third task for a strategic leader is overtively throughout the breadth and depth of the orseeing the implementation of ideas. To do



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Army General David Petraeus, speaks with troops April 11, 2011, at Forward Operation Base Joyce, Afghanistan. Right: General David Petraeus talks with author Paula Broadwell in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2011.

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this, leaders must strive to establish unity of effort among all contributors, including encouraging interagency collaboration at all levels of command. Delegating to local leaders on the ground is also essential. All insurgencies are local, therefore all counterinsurgency operations must be fine-tuned to local circumstances. This requires empowering people to take initiative and implement ideas at their local levels without constantly asking for approval. An associated axiom Petraeus found posted at an infantry outpost in Iraq captured the sentiment precisely: “In the absence of guidance or orders, figure out what they should have been and execute aggressively.” Powering down enables local leaders to turn big ideas from the strategic level into real action at the field level. Finally, Petraeus felt that to oversee the implementation of big ideas, leaders need to be present at various points of decision and to see various activities for themselves. This helps

identify obstacles to the successful execution of the big ideas. Drawing again on “The Stampede” metaphor, one can see how the rider has the best awareness when daring to occasionally ride amongst the herd. Petraeus’ bi-weekly battlefield circulations to remote outposts, for example, were invaluable. The visits gave him the opportunity to provide direct guidance to tactical commanders. They also helped him elicit the tactical commanders’ ground-level observations, observe the battle space personally and interact with local Afghan leaders and forces. Petraeus was also able to gather and share best and worst practices because of this theater-wide exposure. Institutionalize Adaptations roper oversight enables the final task of a strategic leader—ensuring the organization continues to appropriately adapt. Indeed, the long-


term effectiveness of any organization often depends on its ability to operate under pressure and still identify and institutionalize adaptations that have proven effective. Petraeus encouraged this by enabling field visits for strategic advisors, academics, think tankers and representatives from the Army’s Center for Army

ing the sharing of at least some of the best practices being implemented. Successfully accomplishing Petraeus’ four key tasks of strategic leaders while in a chaotic stampede— whether in a war zone or on Wall Street—is certainly not easy and takes a determined and even-tempered rider. Aspiring leaders may take inspiration from the

Getting the big ideas right also requires an ability to think creatively about complex challenges. Sometimes the best approach to dealing with an issue is not immediately apparent. Occasionally, it may even be counterintuitive. Lessons Learned expeditionary teams. He capitalized on their ability to objectively share insights with domestic audiences and military schools. Petraeus would also routinely task subordinates attending commanders’ conferences to describe two initiatives of general interest to all in attendance, thereby ensur-

symbolism embodied by Petraeus’ efforts to master the mount and strive to guide the herd with the right big ideas. As Petraeus would say, “kick on!” H —Paula D. Broadwell is the author of the New York Times Bestseller All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.

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to the

BOARDROOM Moving military strategy into the realm of business


essons have flowed from the military to business and back throughout the history of our country—to the great benefit of both institutions. Our returning veterans from the World Wars and Korea carried their personal lessons from combat to the work forces of their generation. Those lessons learned from the harsh reality of combat were essential to America’s development as an economic powerhouse. “It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically and culturally because of its sacrifices,” said Tom Brokaw in his book The Greatest Generation. “It is a generation of towering achievement and modest demeanor, a legacy of their formative years when they were participants in and witness to sacrifices of the highest order.” Our returning Vietnam veterans also incorporated lessons, though with less fanfare. Whether this

was caused by the stigma of the war, reduced numbers or changing demographics in society and business is open for debate. In 1980, 59 percent of CEOs of publicly held companies had served in military. Currently, only about 8 percent of CEOs are veterans. Ironically, many of us who entered the military in the post-Vietnam era spent as much time reading business books as we did reading military history. We were intrigued with the business lessons and case studies on strategy, management and leadership without fully appreciating that many of those lessons had originated from the combat experience of the veterans who preceded us. Regardless of the era, the spread of knowledge and design between the military and industry has and will continue to be critically important to our economy and our security. Our returning veterans are some of our country’s greatest resources. The importance of knowledge exchange from the military to American business has never been more critical than today and,

By Army General Stanley McChrystal (Ret.) and Army Brigadier General Craig Nixon (Ret.)

unfortunately, it has also never been as difficult. Although the American military has spent more time in continuous combat since 2001 than any time in its history, the odds of meeting or working with a veteran from the current conflicts are surprisingly low. With less than 1 percent of our nation in military uniform—and the changing demographics of an all volunteer force—the average American was 22 times more likely to interact with a returning World War II veteran and seven times more likely to interact with a returning Vietnam veteran than they are with one of our current returning veterans. This reduced chance of interacting with veterans

Pages 52-53: General Stanley McChrystal addresses the audience during his retirement ceremony on Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., on July 23, 2010. McChrystal retired from the Army after 34 years of service to his nation during both peace and war time. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen

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similarly reduces the casual and personal conversion of design and knowledge compared to the post–World War II era. As important, the relatively low percentage of Americans with combat experience reduces the network of veterans in the workforce to champion new ideas from the unique experience of combat.


any businesses are currently trying to address the lack of veterans in the workforce through hiring programs. While the programs are well intentioned and greatly needed, our focus should not just include providing jobs to veterans. We need to tap into their brilliance to

win in today’s dynamic business environment. It is an environment eerily similar to the one we faced in the fight against al Qaeda. During the early phases of the current conflict, we tried to defeat al Qaeda using the lessons we had learned over 20 years in the special operations community. However, in early 2004 it became apparent that the enemy we faced was much different than any previous threat to national security. Al Qaeda was culturally difficult to understand, geographically dispersed, organized differently and operated far differently than the terrorist groups that we had faced in the 1980s and 1990s. Our environ-

ment—and our enemy—evolved frequently and created a situation the special operations force was unprepared to address. A gap opened between the capabilities of Special Operations Forces and the requirements of the new strategic environment. This capability gap was accompanied simultaneously by a more threatening deficiency: a leadership gap between the skills required of our military’s leaders and the demands of a new kind of war. Similarly, competition, the speed of communications, complexity and tears in the fabric of our society have created a leadership gap within private industry. Our military needed to fundamen-

Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal addresses a group in Normandy. The retired general has parlayed his lessons from the battlefield to the boardroom. Photo courtesy of the McChrystal Group

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tally change in order to effectively address this new threat. By extension, American business needs to change to address the demands of our current business environment. Those leadership skills in private industry that served America so well in the past are still required but are no longer sufficient. There is both a need and desire by a host of organizations to change the way they operate. Specifically, organizations in private industry are interested in how to best link strategy to execution, how to manage large, complex groups and war game contingencies. But most importantly, they are interested in practical leadership that works in complex, distributed and diverse organizations. Clearly, there are a number of returning veterans with experience and competence in many of those areas at the tactical, operational or strategic level. But it is a challenge to transfer that experience from the military to business.


e continue to face challenges in our effort to transfer lessons learned. Lessons like:

H Getting out of our comfort zone: Leaving the military after five years or 35 years requires a leap in faith. The farther you move away from the defense industry, the bigger the leap. Retired General Stanley McChrystal talks to an audience at Cameron University on March 15, 2012, about the importance of relationships in military affairs. He and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai developed a relationship that helped U.S. forces understand the culture and history of the country. Army photo by Marie Berberea

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H Learning a new language: Business has as many acronyms as the military—well almost as many. And just like counterinsurgency operations, culture and language are critical steps to build trust and influence leaders. H Hand-building a new network: You have to devote the time and energy to build a new personal network that is consistent with your new operating environment.

H Scaling our effort: To transform the current business environment in a meaningful way, we must continue to codify the real lessons learned from the war on terror into something that is repeatable and ultimately scalable in industry, education, health care and nonprofit organizations. Restoring the flow of lessons learned between the military and business will take a concerted effort by both our returning veterans and private industry. For veterans, providing insight based on unique wartime experience is a way to give back to our country after leaving the service. The cost we paid to learn the lessons and the need in the current business environment is too high to stay in our comfort zone. Our hope is that the lessons of the past decade improve business and—as was our experience— inform the next generation of young military leaders. And that those leaders—hopefully operating in a time of peace—turn toward business books for lessons. H —Army General (Retired) Stanley McChrystal served 34 years in uniform, including as commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, before retiring in 2010. Army Brigadier General (Retired) Craig Nixon held several posts in his 29 years of service, including director of operations for the Joint Special Operations Command, before retiring in 2011. McChrystal and Nixon formed the McChrystal Group to address current business conditions by applying lessons learned in combat to private industry. Over the past 18 months, the McChrystal Group has codified these lessons into a leadership system called CrossLead, which has been instilled in Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, the civil sector and a number of government agencies.

Task Force

DAGGER At the Tip of the Spear By Army Lieutenant General John Mulholland


he events of September 11, 2001, triggered an immediate military response from the United States targeting the al Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Then-Army Colonel John Mulholland, Task Force Dagger Commander, briefs then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force General Richard Myers, during Myers’ visit with forces in Afghanistan. DoD photos

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On October 5, 2001, the Joint Chiefs of Staff designated U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as the supported combatant command for operations in Afghanistan. This in turn led to the directive that the 5th Special Forces Group (SFG)— based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but geographically aligned with U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility—form Joint Special Operations Task Force-North (JSOTF-N) to command and control special operations in northern Afghanistan. As the 5th Group Commander, we coined the name Task Force Dagger for JSOTF-N, and we immediately initiated planning for the significant operational challenge ahead.

We quickly recognized that a Special Forces Group headquarters was by doctrine inadequately manned to function as a JSOTF. Working with Special Operations Command Joint Forces Command we substantially augmented our staff to meet the requirements for running a JSOTF. This entailed bringing on board a significant number of staff officers from both the Army and the other services to fill out the staff. Included in this was a large Air Forceled Joint Special Operations Aviation component under Colonel Frank Kisner, who ultimately served as my JSOTF-N Deputy Commander. The organizing and training of the JSOTF staff occurred concurrently with the train-up of our 5th

Group Operational Detachments, which would execute the campaign plan. Both of these critical missions had to be accomplished rapidly, because of the very compressed timeline for action. On October 10, 2001, our group headquarters and main body arrived at Karshi-Kanabad Airfield, Uzbekistan, known as K2. Army and Air Force staffs were integrated into the JSOTF-North Team and—with the occupation by U.S. forces—K2 was renamed “Stronghold Freedom.” We knew how important it was, in the aftermath of

The arrival of the Special Forces teams was instrumental in holding together the loose confederation of warlords—often as much in conflict with each other as they were with the Taliban. With the insertion of the ODAs, the battle tempo increased and the Taliban were rapidly evicted from their city strongholds. On November 10, 2001, General Dostum’s forces liberated Mazar-e-Sharif, which was closely followed by the November 13 fall of Kabul. In rapid succession, the major Afghan cities of Jalalabad, Tarin Kowt and Kandahar fell.

The teams and aircrews tried for several nights over the next week to get to their respective operational areas only to be turned back by the combination of horrific weather and the daunting mountain range separating Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. the attacks on 9/11 to begin taking the war to the enemy. There was great urgency to get the Operational Detachments—the A-Teams—into Afghanistan to support, but not intimidate, the warlords fighting against al Qaeda. The teams and aircrews tried for several nights over the next week to get to their respective operational areas only to be turned back by the combination of horrific weather and the daunting mountain range separating Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Finally, on the evening of October 19, our men broke through.


perational Detachment A (ODA) 595 landed in the Dari-a-Souf Valley to support Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum and began guiding smart bombs onto Taliban front-line positions from B-52 bombers on October 21. At the same time, ODA 555 was inserted in the mountains above the Panjshir Valley and after linking up with General Sharif, began providing B-52 close air support against Taliban bunkers and trenches around the abandoned Soviet air base at Bagram. In the ensuing two weeks, ODAs were inserted and linked up with the various anti-Taliban warlords across the country. It was during this time that the iconic image of the unconventional warfare (UW) campaign in Afghanistan emerged—that of the Army Special Forces operator on horseback riding with his Afghan counterparts. The “Horse Soldiers,” as they became known, personified the adaptability, skill and courage that has characterized Special Operations Forces since their inception. ODA 585 was inserted to support General Burillah Khan in Callocutta outside Konduz province on October 23. Ten days later, ODA 553 linked up with General Kareem Kahlili near Bamian province and two days after that, ODA 534 was inserted to support General Mohammed Atta’s forces in Daria-e-Balkh.

By early December, the Taliban were driven from the cities and Kabul was under the control of the Afghan Interim Authority. On December 7, 2001, three days after the defeat of the Taliban at Kandahar, Task Force Dagger soldiers raised the American flag at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for the first time in 12 years. Three days later, a regimental “battle flag” was also raised at the American Embassy to honor the memory of Jefferson Davis, Dan Petithory and Cody Prosser—members of ODA 574 killed in action near Sayd-Alim-Kalay while supporting current Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This ended the first phase of the campaign. TFDagger then turned its attention to supporting conventional operations as CENTCOM began clearing the countryside of Taliban forces.

Then-Colonel John Mulholland, Commander of Task Force Dagger in northern Afghanistan, presents a plaque to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld was visiting with coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom.

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As additional coalition forces flowed into Afghanistan, we gained acceptance from our higher headquarters for a division of SOF responsibilities along the 30 degree latitude line. JSOTF-South assumed responsibility for all coalition SOF, DA and special reconnaissance missions. JSOTF-North retained the UW and assumed the traditional Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense mission to train the Afghan National Army.


he fall of Kandahar and Kabul in November 2001 marked the collapse of the Taliban government and disintegration of its fighting forces. As the Afghan Interim Authority reorganized, JSOTFNorth consolidated the stabilization effort and increased the 5th SFG battalion commanders’ involvement in operations by having them act as regional commanders to conduct UW operations designed to destroy al Qaeda elements as part of JSOTFNorth’s secondary mission.

During this phase of the campaign we formed Special Operations Command and Control Elements to better facilitate the operations of alliance warlords and reduce bypassed pockets of Taliban and al Qaeda resistance around Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan. This part of the campaign continued through the early winter months. As programmed, TF-Dagger, JSOTF-N, TFKabar and JSOTF-S were ultimately replaced by a single JSOTF-Afghanistan—or JSOTF-A—to command and control SOF operations there. The 3rd Special Forces Group was designated as the element to form JSOTF-A. Beginning in March 2002, the relief of TF-Dagger began. The 5th SFG was relieved of its duties by the 3rd SFG on April 1, 2002. The centrality of TF-Dagger’s story must be the A-Teams. These

men—underequipped and under-resourced for decades and facing an ambiguous tactical situation—demonstrated what we do better than anyone else. They bridged centuries of warfare to build effective relationships with disparate groups to defeat the Taliban government. The sincerity that these Green Berets and their joint teammates illustrated to their Afghan partners—sharing the same risks every day—spanned the significant cultural gap that existed. In the last decade, Green Berets have deployed to 135 of the 195 recognized countries around the globe. As our nation’s premier unconventional warriors, Special Forces provide a viable

military option with proven successes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Trans-Sahel Africa, the Philippines, the Andean Ridge, the Caribbean and in Central America. Today, thousands of Green Berets are deployed around the world, living up to their motto of, “De Oppresso Liber.” To Free the Oppressed. H —Lieutenant General John Mulholland is the Deputy Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

Symbolizing the adaptability that is a hallmark of Army Special Forces, these A-Team members ride horseback alongside their Northern Alliance during combat operations in northern Afghanistan.

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Rangers Lead the Way on

D - D ay

By Army Major General

John Raaen Jr. (Ret.)

A first-person perspective of the Normandy invasion


eadership is the quality in a commander that makes a subordinate want to follow that individual’s orders or desires. What goes into military leadership usually includes charisma, demonstrated bravery, reputation and understanding or empathy. I was witness to these acts and have recorded my observations in a recently released book. INTACT: A First-hand Account of the D-day Invasion from a Fifth Rangers Company Commander chronicles the actions of the U.S. Army’s 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion’s landing in Normandy

and is replete with examples of fine military leadership. The first would be leadership shown by the officers and petty officers of the Royal Navy Flotillas that brought the Rangers from their Royal Navy landing ships to the beaches. The mission of the Rangers in Normandy was to destroy the German 155 mm guns located at Pointe du Hoc. Having done that, the Ranger Forces would then block the routes of German reinforcements for the Omaha beaches. The plan was for Ranger Force C to land at Pointe du Hoc behind Ranger

Then-Captain John C. Raaen was among those on LCA 1377 when it landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. Photo courtesy of Reedy Press

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Relief forces reach the Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc. Troops below watch as German prisoners are moved in after being captured. Army photo Inset: John Raaen, Jr. during World War II.

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Force A—three companies, D, E and F of the 2nd Rangers—and climb the cliffs there. Then, they were to locate and destroy the guns and move inland to set up blocking positions. Unfortunately, the guide boat for Ranger Force A lost its way in the storm, smoke and confusion inherent in landings on a hostile shore. The Royal Navy Commodore of the five ships carrying the two Ranger battalions had to bite the bullet and give the order to abandon the Pointe du Hoc landings. As a result, Ranger Force C—consisting of Companies A and B of the 2nd Rangers and the entire 5th Ranger Battalion—diverted to Omaha Dog Green Beach. The three flotillas—the 501st, the 504th and the 507th—were already late in following the alternate landing plan as they turned for Vierville-sur-Mer. Arriving at the Vierville exit of Omaha Dog Green Beach, the three flotillas were waved off by landing control boats and told to land on Dog White Beach. As the first wave—Companies A, B and a Headquarters element of the 2nd Rangers—landed at the boundary between Green and White beaches, they were met by overwhelming fire from the bluffs and from WN 70—a small German strongpoint. Over half these Rangers in the first wave were immediate casualties, including most of the officers. Despite these losses, the noncommissioned officers of Company

A rallied the shattered Rangers, crossed the beach and fought their way up the bluffs, eliminating WN 70 in the process. The Force C commander, Lieutenant Colonel Max Schneider, now had his own bullet to bite. And he did. He diverted his second and third waves of landing craft another 1,000 yards east to Omaha Dog Red where it turned out the landing conditions were far more suitable than on Dog White. The entire 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion—some 450 Rangers— landed intact with no more than five casualties. Three times the plan was changed and three times the officers and petty officers of the flotillas rose to the occasion, leading their flotillas as if on a peacetime drill. No boats were lost and perfect order was maintained. Discipline and tradition played a huge role in the success of those maneuvers, but the leadership that guided those crews in doing their duty was outstanding.


olonel Schneider’s instant recognition of the danger to his troops on Dog White was another example of leadership. Schneider had landed on hostile shores in Africa, Sicily and in Italy at Salerno. He knew what could happen, recognized that it was happening and took action to save his forces. Was that leadership? You bet it was. He was bound to be sec-

ond guessed for any failure of his battalion. But did his men doubt that he knew what he was doing? No way. We all followed the man with complete faith in what he chose to do. But now, on the beach—the wrong beach—more than a mile away from where he was supposed to be, what was Schneider to do? Improvise. He knew where he was, where he was supposed to be, and what he was supposed to do. He didn’t hesitate one moment, but ordered his company commanders to infiltrate to their pre-planned assembly area southwest of Vierville and then resume the pursuit of his mission. No one doubted his decision. He was the experienced leader and we all had faith in him. Orders from the 29th Division changing the battalion’s mission failed to reach A Company’s commander. So with one platoon, he continued on his mission and the 5th Rangers began its infiltration to the assembly area. His second platoon received the change in orders and turned back as instructed. Lieutenant “Ace” Parker, the company commander, fought and infiltrated his way to the assembly area. Finding no one else there, and knowing the battalion mission was to relieve the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, he started out on his own to accomplish that mission. A single platoon in the middle of the German

Coastal Defenses for Normandy worked its way over six miles to join the Rangers of the 2nd Battalion at Pointe du Hoc. By the time the three companies of the 2nd Rangers were relieved, nearly 40 percent of the fighting force at Pointe du Hoc were Rangers from the 5th Battalion. The audacity of Parker’s decision and the unswerving devotion to what he saw as his duty and the performance of his platoon are superb examples of leadership at the junior officer level. At the higher levels of command, Brigadier General Norman D. Cota demonstrated uncommon leadership and heroism. Landing on Omaha Dog White Beach with his staff about one hour after H-Hour, he immediately went on a personal reconnaissance mission to learn the situation. What he found was frightening. There was no evidence that any 29th Division troops had left the beach and the German defenses were holding. He had to do something to get the soldiers off the beach. To that end—and with smallarms fire coming from the strong points—he began walking through the troops dug in on the bluffs of Green and White Beaches. He yelled at soldiers cringing behind the seawall and the embankment.

Reinforcements of men and equipment move inland from Omaha Beach. Army photo Inset: John Raaen, Jr. present day

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Courtesy of U.S. Army

He went up to them individually as they lay there and shook them. The message was always the same. “Get off the beach or you’re gonna die!” His fearless example sparked C Company of the 116th Infantry to blow holes in the barbed wire that was containing them on the beach. The same company then burst through the wire, assaulted the bluffs and carried their attack into hedgerow country. I saw General Cota—chewing on a big, unlit cigar—coming toward my position on Dog Red when he was about 100 yards away. By the time he got to me, I realized he was someone high ranking and moved to report to him. I gave him the situation of the 5th Rangers, including the fact that we were in the process of blowing the wire in front of us so we could move off the beach. As he moved through about a 100 yards of Rangers he added something to his mantra. “You men are Rangers, I know you won’t let me down,” and what later turned out to be the Ranger motto, “Rangers, Lead the Way.” When the 5th Rangers went through the wire and up the bluffs, General Cota was still with us, right up with the lead platoons, always urging the troops onward. But he didn’t stop there. Returning to the beach and finding the Vierville exit still blocked by antitank walls, he found a dozer loaded with explosives and an engineer sergeant eager to blow the barriers. With German artillery fire falling around him, he continued restoring order to unit after unit until he reached the First Division Forward Headquarters, nearly two miles down the beach. Cota was a real leader and a real hero. If INTACT weren’t about the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, Major Sidney Bingham would be the star. Bingham commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment—the Stonewallers—direct descendants of Stonewall Jackson’s Brigade.

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When Bingham landed in front of WN 68— another German strongpoint—his battalion was scattered. Many troops were leaderless, as wind, tide, smoke and other obstacles scattered the formations of landing craft. Undeterred, Bingham organized any troops he found nearby, made sure they were armed and attacked WN 68.


he German forts were not designed to defend themselves, but to use interlocking fires to defend adjacent forts and the troops and weapons emplacements scattered along the bluffs. When Bingham’s actions forced WN 68 to defend itself, the German troops between the strong points found themselves unsupported. Other leaders were able to pull together enough troops to penetrate between strong points and then spread out into the rear areas of the German defenses, as well as attack the strong points from the rear. When Bingham’s makeshift force was repulsed, he went back again and again, finding new soldiers to repeat his attacks on WN 68. Eventually enough troops had climbed the bluffs between the strong points to establish the beachheads. Thanks to Bingham’s leadership—and that of many others too numerous to mention who did exactly as Bingham did—the day was won. H —Retired Army Major General John C. Raaen Jr., graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1943. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, he joined the newly activated 5th Ranger Battalion, landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was awarded a Silver Star for his actions that day. Raaen recently published INTACT: A First-hand Account of the D-day Invasion from a Fifth Rangers Company Commander.

[ heroes ]

idaho H By stewart portela with gene dixon

Leadership Helped Save The Chosin Few

Marines of the 5th and 7th Regiments hurled back a surprise onslaught by three Chinese communist divisions during the Chosin Reservoir campaign. Marine Corps photo

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Editor’s Note: The Marines who participated in the Chosin Reservoir Campaign are often referred to as the Frozen Chosin or The Chosin Few. The second moniker could imply divine intervention alone saved the men who fought their way out of the Chinese assault at Chosin Reservoir in 1950. Gene Dixon was a Marine staff sergeant when he celebrated his 21st birthday amid the Chosin fighting. He will tell you it was, indeed, divine intervention—bolstered by solid leadership—that got him and his fellow Marines to the port of Hungnam nearly frozen, but alive. What follows are excerpts from Dixon’s experiences as they appear in Heroes Among Us: Reflections from Pearl Harbor to the Streets of Baghdad, a recently published book by Stewart Portela.


fter the successful operations in the landing at Inchon and then liberating Seoul—the American military operation in Korea faced crucial questions. Should the U.S. forces attack north and push on

to the Yalu River and the Chinese border? By pushing north, were U.S. forces entering new and dangerous precedents? [General Douglas] MacArthur won a gamble at Inchon. Should he gamble again? General MacArthur believed that China would enter the war even if we pushed north through Korea. In fact, Mao Tse-tung, the premier of China, threatened to enter the war if United States forces crossed the 38th parallel. China had thousands of troops well-hidden near the border. As U.S. forces advanced into the cold and hilly land of North Korea, their morale was high. The thought of an easy victory and a return home by Christmas was prevalent. On occasion, soldiers in brown, quilted uniforms were spotted. Whether they were Chinese soldiers was unknown ... Air Force spotter planes could not find the Chinese Army. As the Marines approached the Chosin Reservoir separating China from Korea, over 300,000 Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) were prepared to defend the Korean border. The weather was aw-

ful. The reception awaiting the Marines even worse. As we traveled north the weather became much colder. Thanksgiving Day found our unit deep into North Korea where we were treated to a special big Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Rumors had it that we would all be home by Christmas.

diers did not have any weapons and had to pick up rifles from fallen comrades. Cargo planes dropped supplies to us and our artillery was pointed in all directions. It was obvious we were surrounded, so the commanding general decided to attack in a different direction, toward Hagaru.

I have to believe it was God and good leadership that prevailed. Many of our officers and senior enlisted men were veterans of [World War II]. Shortly after our meal we were ordered to the west of the Chosin. On the trip we heard that some units had taken Chinese prisoners. As we pulled into Chosin on the 27th it was dark. We dismounted from the trucks and then it seemed as if all hell broke loose. The Chinese were coming at us from all directions. The fighting was fierce, with hoards of Chinese blowing bugles and yelling throughout the night. We took a lot of casualties. I don’t know how many Chinese there were, but it was thousands. Some of the enemy sol-

It got as cold as 35 degrees below zero. The weather was made more intense by a strong north wind. Many of our vehicles could not be started without a tow [and] some of our weapons would not function. Our canned C rations all froze. Living in Northern Michigan, I now notice how sensitive my feet are to the cold. There is no doubt this will forever be a lasting reminder of my involvement in the Chosin Reservoir campaign.


he Air Force flew re-supply missions and the helicopters worked around the clock to remove wounded. The Combat Engineers had to rebuild a bridge out of Koto-Ri for the Marines to proceed. As the convoy continued south, rifle companies had to take the hills to prevent the Chinese from firing down on the Americans. On December 10, 1950, I celebrated my 21st birthday by walking out of the Chosin Reservoir alive. I cannot explain why I survived the ordeal. I have to believe it was God and good leadership that prevailed. Many of our officers and senior enlisted men were veterans of [World War II]. It was a miracle that so many Marines and equipment survived, and that so many of the KIA’s came out with them. H Editor’s Note: Gene Dixon, originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, retired from the Marine Corps in July 1966 having achieved the rank of gunnery sergeant. He settled in Traverse City, Michigan, where he worked until retiring in 1988. Since then, he’s been enjoying retired life and “doing only what I want to do and when I want to do it.” — Author Stewart Portela has taught in the public school system for 22 years. Currently, he teaches and coaches at Firth High School in Firth, Idaho. He and Esther, his wife of 23 years, have three children.

Gunnery Sergeant Gene Dixon. Photo courtesy of Gene Dixon

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[ service + salute ] new york H By Tom Coughlin

It’s All About the Team


New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin signs an autograph for a soldier during a USO meet-andgreet at Camp Striker in Baghdad, July 3, 2009. Couglin was in the region as part of a week-long USO tour.  USO photo

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iven my respect and admiration for the armed forces and my long-standing friendship with Army General Raymond T. Odierno, I was ready and willing to take part in the inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour to the Persian Gulf in 2009. I joined four other coaches—former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden and Ravens coach John Harbaugh—for the privilege of spending time with service members throughout Iraq for a weeklong period that summer. While the NFL and USO have organized overseas, morale-building visits for more than 45 years, the Coaches Tour concept was a new one and one I was only too happy to join. I have always had great respect for those who served. In my time, we had the draft. Today’s troops are volunteers. To spend time with them is to sense their intelligence and passion and to stand in admiration and awe of that combination.

After boarding a flight at Dulles International Airport, we passed through Kuwait before reaching Bagh­ dad. That we were heading into a war zone was reinforced when the pilot turned the plane’s lights off 15 minutes before landing.


uring our stay in Iraq’s capital, the five of us shared one room in what was once one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. That first night, none of us did much sleeping, though—we were all too wired and ready to get going. In the morning, we travelled to Mosul. Again, the signs of war were all around. The soldiers were all armed and on combat alert. There were concrete abutments on the outside of the buildings and sandbags on the inside of the windows. It was hotter than hot—in the 125-degree area—and that was prior to the sandstorms. While in Mosul, I made sure to spend some time with a friend of former Giants coach Mike Sullivan. Sometimes, it’s truly a small world. We also spent time signing many autographs for service members before moving on to an airbase near Kirkuk, where I addressed the group before joining them for a meal and signing more autographs. Being able to spend time during the tour with General Odierno reminded me of the leadership principles we share. He always talks to me about the importance of the team concept, just as I do with our players. I remember back in 2007, I received a letter from him on the eve of training camp. He was very flattering in his comments about the soldiers in Iraq—the young women and men who represent our country. He talked about their beliefs—their belief in their leaders, but most of all their belief

in each other. He talked about team and the way you have to serve for each other in order to understand what the team concept is all about. His message has always been one of team and the message the New York Giants preach is always that of team. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a Giants fan, of course. After departing Kirkuk, our group returned to the Al Faw Palace in Baghdad where we were fortunate enough to witness Vice President Joe Biden and General Odierno preside over 237 soldiers of all nationalities being sworn in as United States citizens on July 4. It was an incredibly moving experience that represented the essence of freedom and liberty. What I remember the most from each base visit was the exceptional attitude of the men and women we met—they truly inspired me with their attitude and their belief in what they are doing and their desire to excel at their mission. I know that the troops we visited think that we inspired them, but believe me, the mo-

rale and dedication of our military men and women inspire us so much more, each and every day. Since 2009, several other NFL coaches have had the privilege of going on NFL-USO Coaches Tours. The coaches that will go on this year’s tour, and those who will go on future tours, are going to have an unforgettable experience. My USO tour was truly the trip of a lifetime. H —Tom Coughlin is the head coach of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Fall 2012

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[ thanks for the memories ] germany, 1945 H USO ARCHIVES

TheMickster Army Private First Class Mickey Rooney imitates Hollywood actors for an audience of Infantrymen of the 44th Division on April 13, 1945, in Kirst, Germany. He was part of a three-man unit that made jeep tours to entertain troops. USO Archives


top box office draw in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Mickey Rooney’s star began flickering on Vaudeville stages at the tender age of 17 months as part of his parents’ routine. By age 5, his parents had separated and he moved with his mother to Hollywood, California. Born Joseph Yule, Jr. on September 23, 1920, Rooney’s career got a boost when his mother answered an ad looking for a dark-haired child to play Mickey McGuire in silent films based on the Tooterville Trolly comic strip. He completed 78 films between 1927 and 1936, and was credited as Mickey McGuire until 1932 so producers could claim it was his real name and avoid paying royalties. It was then that his mother changed his name to Mickey Looney. The moniker didn’t stick, but Mickey Rooney became a legend. His career took off when he starred with Elizabeth Taylor in “National Velvet,” and continued its upward trajectory with roles opposite Judy Garland and Spencer Tracy in the late 1930s. But soon, the country’s focus was on the war overseas. In 1944, Rooney joined the Army, serving as a broadcaster for the American Forces Network and participating in jeep tours that took en-

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tertainment to troops on the front lines. According to his citation, Rooney was awarded the Bronze Star with clusters for entertaining troops under fire. In recounting his ordeal for the BBCs WW2 People’s War project, British soldier Thomas Emyr Davies of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment remembered stumbling across one of Rooney’s shows as he and fellow escaped POWs worked their way from American camp to American camp. “On one occasion, we arrived at a base one evening to find a mass of jubilant and excited G.I.s packed tightly around an open stage that had been erected especially for the purpose of putting on a concert where Mickey Rooney was doing his song and dance routine, his antics sending them crazy with delight,” Davies said. Rooney hasn’t stopped believing in or supporting the United States or its troops. In 2008, he served as the honorary marshal representing World War II in the 2008 National Memorial Day Parade. In a video message recorded for the event he encouraged Americans to remember that Memorial Day is, “not just a day. It’s a day to remember our fallen heroes… and to let the children of America know how important that is.” H



© 2012 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. “Battleship”™ and © Hasbro.


USO, Inc. H 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1200 H Arlington, VA H 22201

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On the Cover: The words “military” and “leadership” might as well be synonymous, so it seemed clear that OnHPatrol should delve into the topic. Inside this issue you’ll find perspectives on leadership from the top and from those among the ranks. You’ll also read stories from the beaches of Normandy–where the Ranger motto was first coined— and the skies over Europe—where the Tuskegee Airmen proved themselves.


Sometimes, coming home can be a battle in itself. Join us and discover how you can make a difference in the lives of our wounded warriors and their families. Donate today at

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