[October 31, 2020] In the first half of twentieth-century America, boxing was one of the most popular sports; in popularity, number one tied with baseball. The fighters were some of the toughest and fastest people ever. As my ex-Drill Sergeant Bryant used to say, they were tough SOBs.
Growing up, I got to meet many WWII and Korean War vets. You know the ones; those who took on the Nazi war machine and the Japanese Imperial military and later fighting well-equipped North Korean and Chinese soldiers. They were really tough.
Americans like tough SOBs. It is not surprising Americans also like their greatest athletes, their Special Forces military, hard-hitting politicians, and SWAT police officers. They love it when they witness aggressive action, a no-nonsense approach to getting things done, and any person who doesn’t take any crap off anybody. “No fear” is their motto.
I was fortunate to meet some really tough guys in the U.S. Army. One senior Infantry sergeant at my first duty station overseas was the meanest, strongest, hardest man I ever knew. I’m glad he was on my side. I remember him lifting a case of stout German beer with one hand and holding it out horizontally. I couldn’t do that with both hands.
Another tough guy I met was a two-star Army General. How could a General be tough? Well, he could get anything done asked of him. Sort of like General George Patton, this General was a preeminent leader of soldiers. He was told once to stand up a killer–drone program during the Iraq War within just a couple of weeks. Impossible? He got it done. The man was amazing; he was everywhere, all the time.
Knowing and having lived alongside some of the world’s toughest soldiers gave me a new appreciation of life and the motivation to be tougher myself. While I could never compete with these men, I knew that they were there if I ever needed them. That is what we call the Band of Brothers; those tough SOBs.