[February 26, 2021] At 11 years of age, I joined the Boy Scouts. Among other things, they taught me to be prepared. We also learned the Boy Scout oath and the Scout Law. If we ever had any doubts about what values were important, each scout core value was reviewed weekly in our meetings.
This article is the first in a series of posts that I am using to discuss senior leadership. I will use the War in Iraq to illustrate that leadership is the essential element to success. Whether we speak of war, business, politics, or diplomacy, leadership is the single most significant factor that leads to success.
When notified about my second tour of duty in Iraq, I had only one week to prepare myself and kids. This tour would not be as hard on them as my first tour; they knew what to expect by this time. It would, however, be an enormous challenge for me and those I served with in III Corps. This would be the longest year, the longest year of our lives.
The U.S. military’s largest fighting element is an Army Corps. III Corps task was to provide the central element to the fight in Iraq. It was augmented by a large number of additional personnel (military and civilian) and equipment. The Corps’ capacity to lead the fight in Iraq would be greatly improved. One way they achieved this expansion of capability was by bringing in highly experienced senior officers and NCOs.
Dedicated, Intelligent, and Experienced:
We were fortunate that so many dedicated, intelligent, and experienced leaders would provide this expanded capacity’s central element. I was impressed with the quality of these men and women. They were hard-working and focused, yet understanding of the human element of leadership. If you needed something, they got it for you. I was and remain honored that I witnessed so many great leaders do so much for so many.
Never before had I experienced being part of the best of the best of what America and its Coalition partners could field in a combat arena. It worked. With new direction and guidance from General Odierno, it didn’t take long for a plan to develop to stop the terrible violence that plagued the Sunni-Shia divide in Iraq.
The coalition was prepared. Putting into place qualified leaders, those nation-states’ political leaders gave their brightest and best. Now, it was time to put them to good use in the fight in the War on Terror.