Be Prepared: the right Pathway

By | September 8, 2022

[September 8, 2022]  On my first field exercise as an army Lieutenant, I was tasked to take my platoon from our base camp to another location a short distance away.  Twelve armored personnel carriers readied, and off we went … and since I was a great map reader, I anticipated no problems on the trip.  Unfortunately, the route had been blocked, so I failed to arrive on time.  It follows that the best leader advice I can give anyone is to be prepared.

I was ready but not prepared to take my Soldiers on the trip because I didn’t inspect the route; it was not the last time I wasn’t prepared.  Humans are prone to making assumptions about things, and I was no exception.  Even the Boy Scouts teach their young boys to be prepared.  If there is one thing I repeatedly see in junior leaders is the simple lack of preparation.  And since giving presentations on university campuses, I also see unprepared students.

“Be Prepared… the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.” – Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement

What I don’t mean is that these folks lack intelligence or haven’t taken steps to get access to information but overlook basic things they should to ready themselves to complete a task.   Common for junior leaders is they assume that everyone knows what their assigned task is and that they know how to accomplish it.  Students regularly assume they’ve studied enough and studied the right material.  Those assumptions are frequently wrong.

In the World War II Battle of the Kasserine Pass in North Africa, Erwin Rommel’s Nazi German army bested allied forces.  This was a significant battle and the first large engagement between American and German forces.  American forces were inexperienced and poorly led.  The result was heavy allied casualties.  One of the first books I read as a junior officer on being prepared was First Blood: Battle of the Kasserine Pass, 1943 by Charles Whiting.  It certainly hit home for me.

Nothing brings focus to the mind that fighting an intelligent, experienced enemy intent on destroying your combat force.  I was fortunate that getting my unit’s armored column lost was only a training mission.  In combat, they would likely have been destroyed.  Today, I’m better prepared, but whenever things don’t go right, I think back and say, “what did I miss?”  Usually, I made an erroneous assumption.

Leaders, be prepared.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “Be Prepared: the right Pathway

  1. KenFBrown

    Good example using the Boy Scouts but sadly, they ain’t the boy scouts anymore.

  2. Willie Strumburger

    The most important skill in life is to be adaptive. And for that, you need to test yourself in different environments and learn to survive. Then, nothing will ever bother you again in real life. We first need to make sure we’re alive and doing well, before we move onto having better relationships or being healthier.

    1. Autistic Techie

      Most people today can only survive with the help of technology and the comforts of the modern lifestyle. But what happens when they get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere? Or need to change a bulb? Or see an old lady passing out on the street and realize they aren’t sure what number to dial to call help?

    1. Idiot Savant

      DPG, I’m shocked that so many young people today believe someone else will take care of them that they are not prepared for anything. they cannot see their own future failures and be prepared to take them head on.

      1. Liz at Home

        There are some pretty smart ways to be prepared for anything that happens in life, no matter how bad or unexpected it is.

  3. Janna Faulkner

    Nothing like getting up in the morning and reading about some of the experiences of Gen. Satterfield while he was in the Army. I love it. He is willing to tell us about when he made some big mistakes and how he overcame that problem and then learned from it. I love this website and have been for some time now. If those who are new are reading my comment, then also go to Amazon and order his book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.” You will not be disappointed.

  4. Emma Archambeau

    Just a note to say thanks to Gen. Satterfield for his website and for helping us be better persons! Men and Women both. Not 57 shades of sex/gender.

  5. JT Patterson

    Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, would be disappointed in what he saw today in the Boy Scouts ….. well, they don’t even call it the Boy Scouts anymore. That is what happens when you put weak men in charge. Sissy men are glorified today. So Sad.

  6. Steve Dade

    I know of no “woke” person who is prepared for anything but disappointment because they want to be the victim. Let them be.

    1. Fred Weber

      Wow, got that right Steve. Ha Ha Ha…. those coke snorting woke pajama babies are growing daily but their contributions to society are inverse to their numbers.


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