[January 11, 2022] Growing up, it was a weekly event to play team sports in the elementary schoolyard. Our teacher would choose two (either a boy or girl) as the team leader. The team leaders would take turns picking team members. A basic rule was to pick the strongest first. Likewise, as a leader of Infantry Soldiers, I always wanted strong men on my side.
Those I wanted on my side had to be strong; physically, mentally, and emotionally. No wimps allowed. My teams knew the drill. If you couldn’t perform up to military standard and re-training didn’t work, you were off the team. It had to be that way. Lives depended upon our ability to get the mission accomplished. There would never be an excuse for failure.
Of course, there were other personal traits we were looking for our team members to possess, like proven experience in leadership positions, a positive go-get-em attitude, and demonstrated ingenuity. Yet, being strong counted most. If you could not hang with us under extreme stress (like combat), it didn’t matter what else you brought to the table for our team.
Many were attracted to our Infantry unit (later Combat Engineers) because we got the job done – always – at the lowest cost in money and lives, and we got it done fast and the right way. Success attracts those who are the best in any field of human endeavor. Everybody loves a winning horse and is willing to put “their money down on a winner.”
Our philosophy in the U.S. Army was to win. Winning over the enemy on the battlefield is not sometimes; it’s an all-the-time thing. You don’t win sometimes. You win all the time. People like that idea.
In sports, winning isn’t everything or losing a game. In combat, that’s different. There are still rules, but short of those rules (based mainly on Western ethical ideas), everything you do targets success. Overwhelming firepower and numerical superiority are examples of not going up against an enemy as equals. We were superior because we were strong. That’s why I wanted strong men on my side.
There is no substitute for having strong men on your side. Of course, in the civilian world, that means either men or women. Either works, but strength is the characteristic you want. Period.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).