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01-11-04, 06:58 PM #1
Not to brag, please don't take it like this. But this is a letter written by one of my cadets. The cadets were supposed to find someone they view as a great leader and write a paper on how that person showed the traits and principles of leadership. This cadet wrote one on me and it touched me. I knew who it was as soon as I read it too. Just thought I'd share it with you all.
I went on a field trip to Fort Lewis Army Base. While I was there I saw the traits and principles of leadership being practiced everywhere. I knew, after that weekend, that I wanted to have that kind of discipline. When I came back home, I found out that my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. He had been sick for some time. I lived next door to my Grandma and Grandpa my entire life. My Grandpa was a father figure to me. I had been missing school to see him in the hospital. I was missing days of school even when I knew I had inspections. Now with the diagnosis of cancer, nothing seemed to matter anymore. My Grandpa died Sept. 16th, 2003. As I re-entered my life at school, I could see the mess I was responsible for because I ignored the traits and principles of leadership. To better myself, I am using my CO from Fort Lewis as an example of good leadership, while looking at myself to see where I have failed.
The examples of leadership that I saw that weekend at Fort Lewis actually began before I got there. Before we left the school, I was in the bathroom getting dressed down. I was running late and having trouble rolling the sleeves on my untilities. My fellow cadets were scattered all over the school. A guy dressed in utilities came into the bathroom. I said "Hey dude, can you help me roll up my sleeves?" The guy said to me "sure". He was totally cool and he knew a lot. He helped me roll up my sleeves and then he showed me the correct way to use my blousing bands. I thanked him and joined the other cadets in the classroom. While sitting in the class a loud voice says "Officer on Deck." My fellow cadets and I stand at attention as we watch the CO walk to the front of the class. All of the sudden I realize that the CO is the guy from the bathroom. Oh my God, my heart started pounding. I felt like I was in trouble because I did not properly acknowledge a superior officer when I was in the bathroom. Then I felt stuipd for not noticing his insignia. Then embarrassed as I could see myself saying "Hey Dude" to my Commanding Officer when I should have been saying "Sir". I told my Dad how I wished I could go back in time and change how I was in the bathroom. He said "You can't, so learn from it and change yourself."
When I think back about the way the CO acted while he was in the bathroom, I am amazed. The CO that was standing in front of the classroom did not even seem like the same person. It was like he changed from a man to a machine. In front of the class ALL of the leadership traits were easy to see. His integrity, knowledge and decisiveness were clear in his voice. He was bearing and enthusiastic but was tactful at the same time. This programmed machine that stood in front of the class was crystal clear with his expressions and his courage and loyalty could be felt as well as heard. I would _not_ want to run into this guy alone in a dark alley.
When I think about the way the CO acted in front of the class, I can't believe that this is the same guy as the guy in the bathroom. The guy in the bathroom never scolded me for calling him dude instead of Sir, he didn't even correct me. He just replied "sure [I'll help you]". He did not verbally beat me down for not noticing his insignia, instead he showed me the correct way to roll my sleeves and use my blousing bands. He was truly there to help. He made me feel safe instead of in trouble for running late. His leadership principles were in full force looking out for my welfare, keeping me informed, training me and making sure the task was understood, supervised and accopmplished. If I was ever alone in a dark alley, there is no one I would rather run into.
In writing this, I am forced to think back at that weekend at Fort Lewis and think about examples of leadership that I experienced. In just a short period of time one man, one leader, one CO showed me both the principles and traits of leadership and the difference between the two. Now, more than ever, I know what I want to be. I want to be that helpful guy in the bathroom and I want to be crystal clear like that man in front of the class. ... (last part of paper not included to keep cadets identity secret).
01-11-04, 07:40 PM #2firstsgtmikeGuest Free Member
When you receive unsolicited, sincere recognition and appreciation like that, it makes all the pain, strain, sweat and tears that went into your metamorphosis worthwhile.
As you will always remember the source of YOUR inspiration, so will HE.
Save the letter. Knowing you, I'm sure it is only the first of many you will receive in your career. Save them to share with your children. They will help eliminate many hours of lectures.
01-11-04, 11:55 PM #3
Life teaches one a great deal about leadership.
There was foreman, who had been Army.
He had a saying;
"Make me shine!"
But it was he that should had made others "shine".
He had been a horse xhit worker, but when he assumed a position of leadership.
He wanted others to make him "shine".
Like Lt. General Lewis B. Puller USMC said, we training men to take care of themselves, when there isn't any Officers or NCO's around, when he find himself alone in the battlefield.
I commence that Officer for not dressing down that cadet.
Even if it was called for.
Thanks for the story...
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