The Rat Patrol: Lessons Not Forgotten

By | January 10, 2021

[January 10, 2021]  Sociologists tell us that culture affects perception, and perceptions drive behavior.  Some parts of our culture influence us in different ways, and some are more powerful than others.  Growing up, like so many kids, I watched television and saw something exciting and educational.  One show that I favored was The Rat Patrol (1966-1968).

Starring Christopher George, Gary Raymond, and Eric Braden, The Rat Patrol was about an Allied commando patrol with missions during World War II in North Africa.  The basis of the show was about four soldiers using guerilla-style warfare, doing jumps and standing up in the back of the jeep with a heavy 50-caliber machinegun, and flying off dunes.

 “Four Men … Two Jeeps … and Courage!

Impossible Odds … Impossible Task … Give it to the Rat Patrol!

From the local stories of WWII veterans and watching a few tv shows, we gleaned some lessons that I never forgot.  The veterans caught our attention with their stories. From the excitement of war shows like The Rat Patrol, Combat, 12 O’Clock High, and Hogan’s Heroes, we were thoroughly captured by our imaginations.

Here are a few of the simple lessons not forgotten:

  1. BOLD execution matters more than a good plan, numbers, or ammo.
  2. SPEED in execution works.
  3. COURAGE helps push through and around obstacles.
  4. TEAMWORK works.

Yeah, even as a kid, I could figure this out.  My time in the Boy Scouts may have assisted in preparing me for this WWII series.  I already had experience with teamwork and saw some great leaders as a kid.  I understood its value to get the job done and that it did require hard work, luck, intelligence, and a solid ethical background.  Of course, these four lessons are just a few things leaders must have to succeed.

The first episode of the series can be found on the Internet (click here, a YouTube video, 24:57 minutes).  For those familiar with WWII military equipment, you might want to be ready for a mixed bagged.  The German Afrika Corps, for example, uses mostly U.S. armored vehicles.  And the “Germans” speak with a slight English accent.  But, who cares, right?  Action is what we are looking for.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “The Rat Patrol: Lessons Not Forgotten

  1. Greg Heyman

    This article brings back memories of when I was young and watched television with my brothers and sisters. My parents didn’t like the show The Rat Patrol but we all did. Maybe that is why it only lasted two seasons. Parents didn’t like it but kids sure did.

    Reply
    1. Jerome Smith

      Greg, I’m sure you’re right. However, it gave a bunch of us some good lessons. Some of which I also never forgot.

      Reply
    1. Boyington II

      Allies involved in The Rat Patrol.
      Keep these blog posts coming our way.
      😃

      Reply
  2. Willie Shrumburger

    I’m not a big fan of television for much. Especially, I’m not for it for lessons in leadership except for a few rare examples. Some movies that are produced do a darn good job, on occasion but tv shows, nope.

    Reply
    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      I agree in principle with you Willie but there are lessons if you put your mind to it.
      👍

      Reply
  3. Valkerie

    Thank you General Satterfield. This was one of the many war show series I watched on Saturday at home. I appreciate you bringing it up for the lessons it could provide.

    Reply
  4. Max Foster

    Hey folks, if you have never seen this Rat Patrol series, each episode is very short. I recommend them. Some are better than others, some have more action but they are all laid out in a classic form: brave soldiers attack and destroy the enemy, good guys get the girls, and they are all heroes. Classic hero tale.

    Reply
    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Yes, classic hero story. That is why it was so popular for so long. Like many like this series, it was loved – not for the violence – but for the story that replicates what parents have told to their kids since the beginning of time.

      Reply
  5. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Pow, you actually got some lessons from the show as a Kid? I didn’t. I jus got the fun of watching the good guys take out the bad guys. All action, no plot. That’s what kids like to see. To take something away from it meant that you must have had someone helping you interpret the show. I would think, any way. Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for another good article. Have a great Sunday.

    Reply
    1. Jonnie the Bart

      Right, even kids can learn basic lesson in leader as you know since you teach High School. We are all more complex than we might think and our capability to learn is often based upon our motivation to do so.

      Reply
    2. Lynn Pitts

      Yes, TJ. Good questions but I think anyone who saw this learned something and it was the entertainment that was the vehicle that lessons arrived in.

      Reply
      1. Joe Omerrod

        Good analogy. Motivation, however, remains the primary catalyst that gets kids to learn anything.

        Reply
        1. Kenny Foster

          I do think you are right, Joe. Appreciate you bringing this up and that is, of course, what school teachers everywhere work toward achieving.

          Reply
  6. Dale Paul Fox

    This was a great series. It showed that bravery and boldness could overcome any enemy. I watched it long ago and never forgot the action. 👍👍👍👍

    Reply
    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Dale, I too watched it as a young man and loved the show. I got a lot from it. One things I learned was that being brave counted for something. You had to stand up to the bad guys and not let them take you down. Declaring yourself as a ‘victim’ was the worst thing you could do. Attack Attack Attack. That was the mantra and still is today.

      Reply

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