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Title: The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2
Author: United States. Dept. of Defense
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Department of Defense

United States
Government Printing Office
Washington: 1950



                                                       _November 1950_

_This manual on leadership has been prepared for use by the Department
of Army, the Department of Navy, and the Department of Air Force, and
is published for the information and guidance of all concerned._

                            [Illustration: (Signature) G. C. Marshall]

                                                DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
                                  WASHINGTON 25, D. C., _20 June 1956_

Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2, The Armed Forces Officer, is
issued for the use of all concerned.

By Order of _Wilber M. Brucker_, Secretary of the Army:

                                                    MAXWELL D. TAYLOR,
                                         _General, United States Army,
                                                      Chief of Staff._


    _Major General, United States Army,
    The Adjutant General._



    CHAPTER                                                       PAGE

         I. THE MEANING OF YOUR COMMISSION                           1

        II. FORMING MILITARY IDEALS                                 14

       III. RESPONSIBILITY AND PRIVILEGE                            25

        IV. PLANNING YOUR CAREER                                    32

         V. RANK AND PRECEDENCE                                     41

        VI. CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES                                  50

       VII. KEEPING YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER                             63

      VIII. GETTING ALONG WITH PEOPLE                               69

        IX. LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP                                  79

         X. MAINSPRINGS OF LEADERSHIP                               93

        XI. HUMAN NATURE                                            99

       XII. GROUP NATURE                                           110

      XIII. ENVIRONMENT                                            121

       XIV. THE MISSION                                            131

        XV. DISCIPLINE                                             139

       XVI. MORALE                                                 147

      XVII. ESPRIT                                                 158

     XVIII. KNOWING YOUR JOB                                       166

       XIX. KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR MEN                                  176

        XX. WRITING AND SPEAKING                                   182

       XXI. THE ART OF INSTRUCTION                                 196

      XXII. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR MEN                       206


      XXIV. KEEPING YOUR MEN INFORMED                              222

       XXV. COUNSELING YOUR MEN                                    228

      XXVI. USING REWARD AND PUNISHMENT                            240

     XXVII. FITTING MEN TO JOBS                                    246

    XXVIII. AMERICANS IN COMBAT                                    255


         I. RECOMMENDED READING                                    264



Upon being commissioned in the Armed Services of the United States, a
man incurs a lasting obligation to cherish and protect his country and
to develop within himself that capacity and reserve strength which
will enable him to serve its arms and the welfare of his fellow
Americans with increasing wisdom, diligence, and patriotic conviction.

This is the meaning of his commission. It is not modified by any
reason of assignment while in the service, nor is the obligation
lessened on the day an officer puts the uniform aside and returns to
civil life. Having been specially chosen by the United States to
sustain the dignity and integrity of its sovereign power, an officer
is expected so to maintain himself, and so to exert his influence for
so long as he may live, that he will be recognized as a worthy symbol
of all that is best in the national character.

In this sense the trust imposed in the highest military commander in
the land is not more than what is encharged the newest ensign or
second lieutenant. Nor is it less. It is the fact of commission which
gives special distinction to the man and in turn requires that the
measure of his devotion to the service of his country be distinctive,
as compared with the charge laid upon the average citizen.

In the beginning, a man takes an oath to uphold his country's
Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, to bear true
faith and allegiance, and to discharge well and faithfully the duties
of office. He does this without any mental reservation.

Thereafter he is given a paper which says that because the President
as a representative of the people of this country reposes "special
trust and confidence" in his "patriotism, valor, fidelity, and
abilities," he is forthwith commissioned.

By these tokens, the Nation also becomes a party to the contract, and
will faithfully keep its bond with the man. While he continues to
serve honorably, it will sustain him and will clothe him with its
dignity. That it has vouched for him gives him a felicitous status in
our society. The device he wears, his insignia, and even his garments
identify him directly with the power of the United States. The living
standards of himself and of his family are underwritten by Federal
statute. Should he become ill, the Nation will care for him. Should he
be disabled, it will stand as his guardian through life. Should he
seek to advance himself through higher studies, it will open the way.

Other than the officer corps, there is no group within our society
toward which the obligation of the Nation is more fully expressed.
Even so, other Americans regard this fact with pride, rather than with
envy. They accept the principle that some unusual advantage should
attend exceptional and unremitting responsibility. Whatever path an
American officer may walk, he enjoys prestige. Though little is known
of his intrinsic merit, he will be given the respect of his fellow
citizens, unless he proves himself utterly undeserving.

This national esteem for the corps is one of the priceless assets of
American security. The services themselves so recognize it. That they
place such strong emphasis upon the importance of personal honor among
officers is because they know that the future of our arms and the
well-being of our people depend upon a constant renewing and
strengthening of public faith in the virtue of the corps. Were this to
languish, the Nation would be loath to commit its sons to any military
endeavor, no matter how grave the emergency.

The works of goodwill by which those who lead the national military
forces endeavor to win the unreserved trust of the American people is
one of the chief preservatives of the American system of freedoms. The
character of the corps is in a most direct sense a final safeguard of
the character of the Nation.

To these thoughts any officer who is morally deserving of his
commission would freely subscribe. He will look beyond the letter of
his obligation and will accept in his own heart the total implications
of his new responsibility.

So doing, he still might see fit to ask: "But to what do I turn my
thoughts? How do I hold myself so that while following the line of
duty, I will also exemplify those ideals which may inspire other men
to make their best effort?"

It is suggested that there is a one-word key to the answer among the
four lofty qualities which are cited on every man's commission.

That word is _Fidelity_.

As for patriotism, either a man loves his country or else he would not
seek commission at its hands, unless he be completely the rascal,
pretending to serve in order to destroy.

Valor, on the other hand, can not be fully vouchsafed, since it is not
given to any man to know the nature and depth of his personal courage.

Abilities vary from man to man, and are partly what heredity and
environment have made them. If nature had not imposed a ceiling, mere
striving would make every man a genius.

But Fidelity is the derivative of personal decision. It is the jewel
within reach of every man who has the will to possess it.

Given an officer corps composed throughout of men who would make the
eternal try toward bettering their professional capacities and
furthering the working efficiency and harmony within all forces, the
United States would become thrice-armed though not producing one new
weapon in its arsenals.

Great faith, rightness of mind, influence over other men, and finally,
personal success and satisfaction come of service to the ideals of the
profession. Were these strengths reflected throughout the officer
body, it could well happen that because of the shining example, the
American people would become more deeply conscious of the need to keep
their own fibers strong than has been their disposition throughout

Accepting these truths as valid, a man still must know where he stands
before making a true reckoning of his line of advance. This entails
some consideration of himself (_a_) as to the personal standard which
is required of him because of his position in relation to all others
(_b_) as to the reasons in common sense which make this requirement,
and (_c_) as to the principles and philosophy which will enable him to
play his part well.

The military officer is considered a gentleman, not because Congress
wills it, nor because it has been the custom of people in all times to
afford him that courtesy, but specifically because nothing less than a
gentleman is truly suited for his particular set of responsibilities.

This is not simply a bit of self-adulation; it is distinctly the
American tradition in the matter. The Nation has never attempted to
draw its officers from a particular class. During World War II,
thousands of men were commissioned in our forces who had enjoyed
little opportunity in their earlier environments. They were sound men
by nature. They had courage. They could set a good example. They could
rally other men around them. In the eyes of the services, these things
count more than any man's blood lines. We say with Voltaire, "Whoever
serves his country well has no need of ancestors."

On the other hand, from the time of the Colonies, this country has
despised press gangs, floggings, martinetism, and all of the other Old
World military practices which demeaned the rank and file. Its
military system was founded on the dignity of man, just as was its
Constitution. The system has sought ever since to advance itself by
appealing to the higher nature of the individual. That is why its
officers need to be gentlemen. To call forth great loyalty in other
people and to harness it to any noble undertaking, one must first be
sensible of their finer instincts and feelings. Certainly these things
at least are among the gentle qualities which are desired in every
military officer of the United States:

    1. Strong belief in human rights.

    2. Respect for the dignity of every other person.

    3. The Golden Rule attitude toward one's daily associates.

    4. An abiding interest in all aspects of human welfare.

    5. A willingness to deal with every man as considerately as if he
    were a blood relative.

These qualities are the epitome of strength, not of softness. They
mark the man who is capable of pursuing a great purpose consistently
in spite of temptations. He who possesses them will all the more
surely be regarded as a "man among men." Take any crowd of new
recruits! The greater number of them during their first few days in
service will use more profanity and obscenity, talk more about women
and boast more about drinking than they have ever done in their lives,
because of the mistaken idea that this is the quick way to get a
reputation for being hard-boiled. But at the same time, the one or two
men among them who stay decent, talk moderately and walk the line of
duty will uniquely receive the infinite respect of the others. It
never fails to happen!

There is the other matter about how a man should feel toward his own
profession. Simply to accept the fact that the bearing of arms is a
highly honorable calling because the book says so should not suffice
one's own interest in the matter, when a little personal reflection
will reveal wherein the honor resides.

To every officer who has thought earnestly about the business, it is
at once apparent that civilization, as men have known it since the
time of the Greek City States, has rested as a pyramid upon a base of
organized military power. Moreover, the general possibility of world
cultural progress in the foreseeable future has no other conceivable
foundation. For any military man to deny, on any ground whatever, the
role which his profession has played in the establishment of
everything which is well-ordered in our society, shows only a faulty
understanding of history. It made possible the birth of the American
system of freedoms. Later, it gave the nation a new birth and
vouchsafed a more perfect union.

Likewise, we need to see the case in its present terms. One may abhor
war fully, despise militarism absolutely, deplore all of the impulses
in human nature which make armed force necessary, and still agree that
for the world as we know it, the main hope is that "peace-loving
nations can be made obviously capable of defeating nations which are
willing to wage aggressive war." Those words, by the way, were not
said by a warrior, but by the eminent pacifist, Bertrand Russell. It
does not make the military man any less the humanitarian that he
accepts this reality, that he faces toward the chance forthrightly,
and that he believes that if all military power were stricken
tomorrow, men would revert to a state of anarchy and there would ensue
the total defeat of the forces which are trying to establish peace and
brotherly love in our lives.

The complete identity of American military forces with the character
of the people comes of this indivisibility of interest. To think of
the military as a guardian class apart, like Lynkeus "born for vision,
ordained for watching," rather than as a strong right arm, corporately
joined to the body and sharing its every function, is historically
false and politically inaccurate. It is not unusual, however, for
those whose task it is to interpret the trend of opinion to take the
line that "the military" are thinking one way and "the people" quite
another on some particular issue, as if to imply that the two are
quite separate and of different nature. This is usually false in
detail, and always false in general. It not only discounts the objects
of their unity but overlooks the truth of its origins.

Maybe they should be invited to go to the root of the word. The true
meaning of "populus," from which we get the word "people," was in the
time of ancient Rome the "armed body." The pure-blooded Roman in the
days of the Republic could not conceive of a citizen who was not a
warrior. It was the arms which a Roman's possession of land enabled
him to get that qualified him to participate in the affairs of state.
He had no political rights until he had fought. _He was not of the
people; they were of him!_ Nor is this concept alien to the ideals on
which the Founding Fathers built the American system, since they
stated it as the right and duty of every able-bodied citizen to bear

These propositions should mean much to every American who has chosen
the military profession. A main point is that on becoming an officer a
man does not renounce any part of his fundamental character as an
American citizen. He has simply signed on for the post graduate course
where one learns how to exercise authority in accordance with the
spirit of liberty. The nature of his trusteeship has been subtly
expressed by an Admiral in our service: "The American philosophy
places the individual above the state. It distrusts personal power and
coercion. It denies the existence of indispensable men. It asserts the
supremacy of principle."

An understanding of American principles of life and growth, and
personal zeal in upholding them, is the bedrock of sound leading in
our services. Moral and emotional stability are expected of an
American officer; he can usually satisfy his superiors if he attains
to this equilibrium. But he is not likely to satisfy himself unless he
can also achieve that maturity of character which expresses itself in
the ability to make decisions in detachment of spirit from that which
is pleasant or unpleasant to him personally, in the desire to hold
onto things not by grasping them but by understanding them and
remembering them, and in learning to covet only that which may be
rightfully possessed.

An occasional man has become wealthy while in the services by making
wise investments, through writings, by skill at invention, or through
some other means. But he is the exception. The majority have no such
prospect. Indeed, if love of money were the mainspring of all American
action, the officer corps long since would have disintegrated. But it
is well said that the only truly happy people on earth are those who
are indifferent to money because they have some positive purpose which
forecloses it. Than the service, there is no other environment which
is more conducive to the leading of the full life by the individual
who is ready to accept the word of the philosopher that the only
security on earth is the willingness to accept insecurity as an
inevitable part of living. Once an officer has made this passage into
maturity, and is at peace with himself because the service means more
to him than all else, he will find kinship with the great body of his
brothers-in-arms. The highest possible consequence can develop from
the feelings of men mutually inspired by some great endeavor and
moving forward together according to the principle that only those who
are willing to serve are fit to lead. Completely immersed in action,
they have no time for smallness in speech, thought or deed. It is for
these reasons that those who in times past have excelled in the
leadership of American forces have invariably been great Americans
first and superior officers second. The rule applies at all levels.
The lieutenant who is not moved at the thought that he is serving his
country is unlikely to do an intelligent job of directing other men.
He will come apart at the seams whenever the going grows tough. Until
men accept this thought freely, and apply it to their personal action,
it is not possible for them to go forward together strongly. In the
words of Lionel Curtis: "The only force that unites men is conscience,
a varying capacity in most of them to put the interests of other
people before their own."

The services are accustomed to being hammered. Like other human
institutions, they are imperfect. Therefore the criticisms are not
always unjust. Further, there is no more reason why the services
should be immune to attack than any other organic part of our society
and government.

The service officer is charged only to take a lively interest in all
such discussions. He has no more right to condemn the service unfairly
than has any other American. On the other hand he is not expected to
be an intellectual eunuch, oblivious to all of the faults in the
institution to which he gives his loyalty. To the contrary, the nature
of that loyalty requires that he will use his force toward the
righting of those things which reason convinces him are going wrong,
though making certain that his action will not do more damage than

His ultimate commanding loyalty at all times is to his country, and
not to his service or his superior. He owes it to his country to speak
the truth as he sees it. This implies a steadying judgment as to when
it should be spoken, and to whom it should be addressed. A truth need
not only be well-rounded, but the utterance of it should be cognizant
of the stresses and objectives of the hour. Truth becomes falsehood
unless it has the strength of perspective. The presentation of facts
is self-justifying only when the facts are developed in their true

Where there is public criticism of the services, in matters both large
and small, the service officer has the right and the duty of
intervention only toward the end of making possible that all criticism
will be well-informed. That right can not be properly exercised when
there is nothing behind it but a defense of professional pride. The
duty can be well performed when the officer knows not only his
subject--the mechanism itself--but the history and philosophy of the
armed services in their relation to the development of the American
system. Criticism from the outside is essential to service well-being,
for as Confucius said, oftentimes men in the game are blind to what
the lookers on see clearly.

The value of any officer's opinion of any military question can never
be any greater than the extent and accuracy of his information. His
ability to dispose public thought favorably toward the service will
depend upon the wisdom of his words rather than upon his military rank
and other credentials. A false idea will come upon a bad fate even
though it has the backing of the highest authority.

Only men of informed mind and unprejudiced expression can strengthen
the claim of the services on the affections of the American people.

This is, of itself, a major objective for the officer corps, since our
public has little studious interest in military affairs, tends ever to
discount the vitality of the military role in the progress and
prosperity of the nation and regards the security problem as one of
the less pleasant and abnormal burdens on an otherwise orderly

It is an explicable contradiction of the American birthright that to
some of our people the military establishment is at best a necessary
evil, and military service is an extraordinary hardship rather than an
inherent obligation. Yet these illusions are rooted deep in the
American tradition, though it is a fact to be noted not without hope
that we are growing wiser as we move along. In the years which
followed the American Revolution, the new union of States tried to
eliminate military forces altogether. There was vast confusion of
thought as to what freedom required for its own survival. Thomas
Jefferson, one of the great architects of democracy, and still
renowned for his "isolationist" sentiments, wrote the warning: "We
must train and classify the whole of our male citizens, and make
military instruction a regular part of collegiate education. We can
never be safe until this is done."

None the less, the hour came when the standing Army was reduced to 80
men. None the less, the quaint notion has survived that an enlightened
interest in military affairs is somehow undemocratic. And none the
less, recurring war has invariably found the United States
inadequately prepared for the defense of its own territory.

Because there has been a holdover of these mistaken sentiments right
down to the present, there persists in many military officers a
defensive attitude toward their own profession which has no practical
relation to the strength of the ground on which they are enabled to
stand. Toward any unfair and flippant criticism of the "military mind"
they react with resentment, instead of with buoyant proof that their
own minds are more plastic and more receptive to national ideals than
those of any other profession. Where they should approach all problems
of the national security with the zeal of the missionary, seeking and
giving light, they treat this subject as if it were a private game

It suffices to say of this minority that they are a barnacle on the
hull of an otherwise staunch vessel. From such limited concepts of
personal responsibility, there can not fail to develop a foreshortened
view of the dignity of the task at hand. The note of apology is
injected at the wrong time; the tone of belligerency is used when it
serves no purpose. When someone arises within the halls of government
to say that the military establishment is "uneconomic" because it cuts
no bricks, bales no hay and produces nothing which can be vended in
the market places, it is not unusual to hear some military men concur
in this strange notion. That acquiescence is wholly unbecoming.

The physician is not slurred as belonging to a nonproductive
profession because he contributes only to the care and healing of the
body, and through these things to the general well-being of society.
Respect for formal education, organized religion and all of the
enterprises built up around the dissemination of ideas is not the less
because the resultant benefit to society is not always tangible and
saleable. Hence to say that that without which society could not
endure in its present form is "uneconomic" is to make the word itself
altogether meaningless.

In that inner power of courage and conviction which stems from the
spiritual integrity of the individual, lies the strength of democracy.
As to their ability to produce toward these ends, the military
services can stand on the record. When shortly after World War II, a
census was taken among the returned men, 60 percent said that they had
been _morally strengthened_ by their military service in the American
uniform. About 30 percent had no opinion or felt that military life
had not changed them one way or the other. An insignificant minority
considered themselves damaged. This is an amazing testimony in light
of the fact that only a small fraction of American youth is schooled
to believe that any spiritual good can come of military service. As to
what it signifies, those who take a wholly materialistic view of the
objects of the Republic are entitled to call the military
establishment "uneconomic." The services will continue to hold with
the idea that strong nationhood comes not of the making of gadgets but
of the building of character.

Men beget goodwill in other men by giving it. They develop courage in
their following mainly as a reflection of the courage which they show
in their own action. These two qualities of mind and heart are of the
essence of sound officership. One is of little avail without the
other, and either helps to sustain the other. As to which is the
stronger force in its impact upon the masses of men, no truth is more
certain than the words once written by William James: "Evident though
the shortcomings of a man may be, if he is ready to give up his life
for a cause, we forgive him everything. However inferior he may be to
ourselves in other respects, if we cling to life while he throws it
away like a flower, we bow to his superiority."

Theodore Roosevelt once said that if he had a son who refrained from
any worthwhile action because of the fear of hurt to himself, he would
disown him. Soon after his return to civilian life, Gen. Dwight D.
Eisenhower spoke of the worthwhileness of "living dangerously." An
officer of the United States armed forces can not go far wrong if he
holds with these ideas. It is not the suitable profession for those
who believe only in digging-in and nursing a soft snap until death
comes at a ripe old age. Who risks nothing gains nothing.

Nor should there be any room in it for professional smugness, small
jealousies, and undue concern about privilege.

The regular recognizes as his peer and comrade the officer from any of
the civilian components. That he is a professional does not give him
an especial eminence, but simply a greater measure of responsibility
for the success of the total establishment. Moreover, he can not
afford to be patronizing, without risking self-embarrassment, such is
the vast experience which many reservists have had on the active field
of war.

Toward services other than his own, any officer is expected to have
both a comradely feeling and an imaginative interest. Any Army officer
is a better man for having studied the works of Admiral Mahan and
familiarized himself with the modern Navy from first-hand experience.
Those who lead sea-going forces can enlarge their own capacities by
knowing more, rather than less, about the nature of the air and ground
establishments. The submariner can always learn something useful to
his own work by mingling with airmen; the airman becomes a better
officer as he grows in qualified knowledge of ground and sea fighting.

But the fact remains that the services are not alike, that no wit of
man can make them alike, and that the retention by each of its
separate character, customs and confidence is essential to the
conserving of our national military power. Unification has not altered
this basic proposition. The first requirement of a unified
establishment is moral soundness in each of the integral parts,
without which there can be no soundness at all. And on the question of
fundamental loyalty, the officer who loves every other service just as
much as his own will have just as much active virtue as the man who
loves other women as much as his own wife.



Any stranger making a survey of what Americans are and how they get
that way would probably see it as a paradox that within the armed
establishment the inculcation of ideals is considered the most vital
of all teaching, while in our gentler and less rigid institutions,
there is steadily less emphasis on this subject.

He would be entitled to the explanation that it is not so done because
this has always been the way of Armies, Navies, and other fighting
forces, or because it is universal in the military establishments of
the twentieth century, but because nothing else would better suffice
the American military system under present conditions.

There are two main reasons why.

The first is that we are an altogether unregimented people, with a
strong belief in the virtues of rugged individualism and in the right
of the average man to go along about as he pleases, so long as he does
not do actual injury to society. Voluntary group cooperation rather
than absolute group loyalty, developing from a strong spiritual bond,
is the basic technic of Americans in their average rounds. It is
enough to satisfy the social, political and economic needs of a
democracy, but in its military parts, it would be fatally weak. There
would be no possibility of achieving an all-compelling unity under
conditions of utmost pressure if no man felt any higher call to action
than what was put upon him by purely material considerations.

Military ideals are therefore, as related to this purpose, mainly an
instrument of national survival. But not altogether so, since in the
measure that they influence the personal life and conduct of millions
of men who move in and out of the services, they have a regenerative
effect upon the spiritual fiber of the Nation as a whole.

There is the second and equally important reason that, whereas wars
have sometimes been fought for ideal causes, as witness the American
Revolution and Civil War, war itself is never ideal, and the character
of our people is such as to insist that from our side, its brutalities
be minimized. The barbarian who kills for killing's sake and who
scorns the laws of war at any point is repugnant to the instincts of
our people, under whatever flag he fights. If we did not have some men
of this type among us, our penitentiaries would not be filled. The
ravages which they might commit when all of the barriers are down on
the battlefield can be prevented only when forces as a whole believe
that armed power, while not ideal in itself, must be made to serve
ideal ends.

To speak of ethics in the same breath with war may seem like sheer
cant and hypocrisy. But in the possibility that those who best
understand the use and nature of armed power may excel all others in
stimulating that higher morality which may some day restrain war lies
a main chance for the future. The Armed Services of the United States
do not simply do lip service to such institutions as United Nations.
They encourage their people to take a deep personal interest in every
legitimate activity aimed to bulwark world peace. But while doing
this, they keep their powder dry.

Military ideals are not different than the ideals which make any man
sound in himself, and in his relation to others. They are called
military ideals only because the proving ground is a little more
rugged in the service than elsewhere. But they are all founded in hard
military experience; they did not find expression because some Admiral
got it in his head one day to set an unattainable goal for his men, or
because some General wished to turn a pious face toward the public,
professing that his men were aspiring to greater virtue than anything
the public knew.

The military way is a long, hard road, and it makes extraordinary
requirements of every individual. In war, particularly, it puts
stresses upon men such as they have not known elsewhere, and the
temptation to "get out from under" would be irresistible if their
spirits had not been tempered to the ordeal. If nothing but fear of
punishments were depended upon to hold men to the line during extreme
trial, the result would be wholesale mutiny and a situation altogether
beyond the control of leadership. So it must be true that _it is out
of the impact of ideals mainly that men develop the strength to face
situations from which it would be normal to run away_.

Also, during the normal routine of peace, members of the Armed
Services are expected to respond to situations that are more
extensive, more complex, and take longer to reach fulfillment than the
situations to which the majority of men instinctively respond. Even
the length of the enlistment period looks like a slow march up a
60-mile grade. Promotion is slow, duty frequently monotonous. It is
all too easy for the individual to worry about his own insignificance
and to feel that he has become lost in the crowd. Under these
conditions a man may go altogether bad, or simply get lazy and rock
with the grain. But nothing except a strong belief in the ideals he is
serving will make him respond to the larger situation and give it his
best effort. Ideals have the intensely practical end of strengthening
men for the better discharge of duties which devolve upon them in
their day-to-day affairs.

What is the main test of human character? Probably it is this: that a
man will know how to be patient in the midst of hard circumstance, and
can continue to be personally effective while living through whatever
discouragements beset him and his companions. Moreover, that is what
every truly civilized man would want in himself during the calmer
moments when he compares critically what he is inside with what he
would like to be. That is specifically the reason why the promulgation
of military ideals is initially a problem in the first person,
singular. The Armed Services have in one sense a narrow motive in
turning the thoughts of younger leaders toward a belief in ideals.
They know that this is a lubricant in the machinery of organization
and the best way to sweeten the lives of men working together in a
group toward some worthwhile purpose. But there is also a higher
object. All experience has taught that it is likewise the best way to
give the individual man a solid foundation for living successfully
amid the facts of existence, irrespective of his situation. The
military system of the United States is not committed to grinding out
warriors _per se_, but to the training of men in such manner that they
will be able to play a better part anywhere, and will find greater
satisfactions in what they do. All the time, when the service seeks to
emphasize to its ranks what is the "right thing to do," it is speaking
of that course of conduct which in the long run is most necessary and
useful to the individual.

As to what one man should seek in himself, in order to be four-square
with his own life and all others who are related to his personal
situation, it is simple enough to formulate it, and to describe what
constitutes maturity of character. In fact, that can be done without
mentioning the words "patriotism" and "courage", which traditionally
and rightly are viewed as the very highest of the military virtues.

No man is truly fit for officership unless in the inner recess of his
being he can go along with the toast known to every American
schoolboy: "My country, in her intercourse with other nations may she
always be in the right! But right or wrong, my country!" And he will
never do a really good job of supporting her standards if, when the
clutch comes, he is lacking in intestinal fortitude.

But there is this to be said about the nature of courage and
patriotism, in the same breath that we agree they are essential in an
officer of the fighting establishment--neither of these qualities of
itself carries sufficient conviction, except as it is the product of
those homelier attributes which give dignity to all action, in things
both large and small, during the course of any average work day.

When Dr. Johnson remarked that patriotism is the last refuge of a
scoundrel he was not belittling the value of love of country as a
force in the lives of men, but to the contrary, was pointing out that
a profession of patriotism, unaccompanied by good works, was the mark
of a man not to be trusted. In no other institution in the land will
flag-waving fall as flat as in the Armed Services when the ranks know
that it is just an act, with no sincere commitment to service backing
it up. But the uniformed forces will still respond to the real
article with the same emotion that they felt at Bunker Hill and Manila

There is a Civil War story from one of the campaigns against Stonewall
Jackson in the Valley. A Confederate who had had his leg shot away
turned on his pallet to regard a Union private who had just lost an
arm, and said to him, "For what reason did you invade us and make all
this trouble?" The boy replied simply: "For the old flag." That may
sound like sentiment from a distant past. But turn to the story of
Major Devereux and the Marine defense of Wake Island. He wrote that
the "music" had always gone sour, and had invariably broken down when
he tried to play "The Colors." But on the morning of Pearl Harbor,
when the flag was raised, the garrison already knew that the war was
on. And for some reason which no man could account for, the bugler
rose to the occasion, and for the first time, every note came straight
and true. Devereux said that every throat tightened and every head
went higher. Yet Devereux was a remarkably unmelodramatic fighting

But to get back to those simpler virtues which provide a firm
foundation for patriotism and may become the fount of courage, at
least these few things would have to be put among the fundamentals:

    1. A man has honor if he holds himself to a course of conduct,
    because of a conviction that it is in the general interest, even
    though he is well aware that it may lead to inconvenience,
    personal loss, humiliation or grave physical risk.

    2. He has veracity if, having studied a question to the limit of
    his ability, he says and believes what he thinks to be true, even
    though it would be the path of least resistance to deceive others
    and himself.

    3. He has justice if he acknowledges the interests of all
    concerned in any particular transaction rather than serving his
    own apparent interest.

    4. He has graciousness if he acts and speaks forthrightly, agrees
    warmly, disagrees fairly and respectfully, participates
    enthusiastically, refrains from harboring grudges, takes his
    reverses in stride, and does not complain or ask for help in the
    face of trifling calamities.

    5. He has integrity if his interest in the good of the service is
    at all times greater than his personal pride, and when he holds
    himself to the same line of duty when unobserved as he would
    follow if all of his superiors were present.

The list could be longer, but for the moment, we can let it go at
that. These standards are not counsels of perfection; thousands of
officers have adhered to them. But it should be said as well that if
all leaders at the lower levels in all of the services were to conform
in the same way, the task of higher command would be simplicity
itself. The cause of much of the friction in the administrative
machinery is that at all levels there are individuals who insist on
standing in their own light. They believe that there is some special
magic, some quick springboard to success; they mistakenly think that
it can be won by bootlicking, apple-polishing, yessing higher
authority, playing office politics, throwing weight around, ducking
the issues, striving for cheap popularity, courting publicity or
seeking any and all means of grabbing the spotlight.

Any one of this set of tricks may enable a man to carry the ball
forward a yard or two in some special situation. But at least this
comment can be made without qualification: Of the men who have risen
to supreme heights in the fighting establishment of the United States,
and have had their greatness proclaimed by their fellow countrymen,
there is not one career which provides any warrant for the conclusion
that there is a special shortcut known only to the smart operators.
True enough, a few men have gained fairly high rank by dint of what
the late Mr. Justice Holmes called "the instinct for the jugular"--a
feeling for when to jump, where to press and how to slash in order to
achieve somewhat predatory personal ends. That will occasionally
happen in any walk of life. But from Washington, Wayne, and Jones down
to Eisenhower, Vandegrift, and Nimitz, the men best loved by the
American people for their military successes were also men with
greatness of soul. In short, they were idealists, though they likely
would have disclaimed that label, since it somehow connotes the
visionary rather than the intensely practical man.

But it isn't necessary to look at the upper brackets of history to
find the object lesson. The things that any man remembers about his
own father with love and reverence have to do with his forbearance,
his charity toward other men, his strength and rightness of will and
his readiness to contribute of his force to the good of other people.
Or if not his father, then it may be an uncle, a neighbor or one of
his schoolmasters.

In one way, however, it illuminates but half the subject to reflect
that a man has to find purpose in himself before he can seek purpose
in any of the undertakings of which he is a part or in the society of
which he is a member. No man is wholly sufficient unto himself even
though he has been schooled from infancy to live according to
principles. His character and the moral strength from which he gains
peace of mind need constantly to be replenished by the force of other
individuals who think and act more or less in tune with him. His
ability to remain whole, and to bound back from any depression of the
spirit, depends in some measure on the chance that they will be
upgrading when he is on the downswing. To read what the wisest of the
philosophers have written about the formation of human character is
always a stimulating experience; but it is better yet to live next to
the man who already possesses what the philosophers are talking about.
During World War II, there were quite a few higher commanders relieved
in our forces because it was judged, for one reason or another, that
they had failed in battle. Of the total number, there were a few who
took a reduction in rank, went willingly to a lower post in a fighting
command, uttered no complaint, kept their chins up, worked
courageously and sympathetically with their commands, and provided an
example of manhood that all who saw them will never forget. Though
their names need not be mentioned, they were imprinted with the real
virtue of the services even more deeply than many of their colleagues
who had no blemishes on their records. Their character had met the
ultimate test. The men who had the privilege of working close to them
realized this and the sublime effect of this personal influence helped
strengthen the resolve of many others.

Because there is so much at stake in the matter, the services cannot
depend solely upon such influence as would be exerted on their affairs
by the occasional idealist, but must work for that chain reaction
which comes of making the inculcation of military ideals one of the
cardinal points of a strong, uniting inner doctrine. It is altogether
necessary that as a body, the power of their thought be shaped along
ideal lines. The ideal object must be held high at all times, even
though it is recognized that men are not perfect, and that no matter
how greatly they may aspire, they will occasionally fail. Nor is the
effort to lead other men to believe in the transcendent importance of
goodwill made less effective because the leader has a conscience about
his own weakness, _provided he has the good sense not to flaunt it_.
He need not be a paragon of all the virtues to set an example which
will convince other men that his ideas are worth following. No man
alive possesses perfect virtue, which fact is generally understood.
Many an otherwise ideal commander is ruthless in his exactions upon
his staff; many a petty officer, who has won the absolute love of all
men with whom he served, has found himself in the middle because he
couldn't think straight about his debts. But these things do not
lessen the impact upon men of thinking together about common ideals
and working together toward the fulfillment of some high obligation.
The pursuit of ideals culminates in the experience of mutual growth.
If that were not so, men who have served the arms of the United States
would not continue to have a special respect for the uniform, and an
extra reverence for the flag, for years after they have passed from
the service. These emotions are not the consequence of habit, but come
of having known the comradeship of other men whom they loved and
respected, who shared these same thoughts, and believed in the same
body of ideals.

Any normal man loves his country and it is natural in him to regard
highly the symbols through which this affection is expressed. An
American child of kindergarten age already feels an emotional
attachment for the national emblem. The recruit who has just entered
upon service can begin to understand that his regard for his uniform
must be a far different thing than what he felt about his civilian
dress, since it is identified with the dignity of the Nation. His
training in military ideals starts at this point, and for the main
part is carried forward subtly, by transfer of this same feeling to
all other objects associated with his military life. His perseverance
in the care of weapons, in keeping his living quarters orderly and in
doing his full share of work is best insured, not through fear of
punishments, but by stimulating his belief that any other way of going
is unworthy of a member of a fighting service.

Precision in personal habits, precision in drill and precision in
daily living are the high road to that kind of discipline which best
insures cool and collected thought and unity of action on the field of
battle. When men, working together, successfully attain to a high
standard of orderliness, deportment and response, each to the other,
they develop the cohesive strength which will carry them through any
great crisis. For this reason mainly, military life is far more
exacting than civil life. But the services hold that what is best for
the many can be achieved without cramping the personal life or
blighting individuality and initiative. Within the frame of our
system, we can achieve obedience and discipline without destroying
independence and impulse.

This is idealism, though we seldom think about it in that light.
Further, it is all the better that in the beginning these impressions
are developed obliquely, rather than through the direct approach of
reading a lecture on ideals and ethics, since it means that the man is
assisted to reach certain conclusions by himself, and as Kant has
said, those things which a man learns pretty much on his own become
the ideas that he is least likely to forget.

Looking at this subject in its largest aspect, it should be perfectly
clear that any institution must know what its ideals are before it can
become coherent and confident, and that there must be present in the
form of clearly available ideas an imaginative conception of the good
at which the institution aims.

This is fully recognized in the American armed establishment. For many
years, the program of indoctrinating military ideals has been
inseparably linked with instruction in democratic ideals, teaching as
to the American way of life and clear statement of the policies and
purposes of the Government of the United States in its relations with
all others powers and peoples.

Moreover, it is an accepted principle in all services that this
mission can not be carried forward competently except by those
officers who are directly in charge of forces. It is not a job for
chaplains or orientation specialists, because it cannot flourish
unless it is in the hands of those leaders whom men know well and in
whom they place their confidence. When men are well led, they become
fully receptive to the whole body of ideas which their leaders see fit
to put before them.

There are two points which follow, as a matter of course.

An officer's ability to talk effectively on these or other subjects to
his men can be no better than his information, irrespective of his
zeal or of his own firm belief in the ideals of his country and

All other things being equal, his effectiveness will depend on the
extent to which he participates in all of the other affairs of
organization. If he is remote from the spirit of his own unit, and
indifferent to the varying activities which enter into the building of
that spirit, he will not have a sympathetic audience when he talks to
men about the grand objectives of organization. There is something
terribly incongruous about a man talking to troops on the ideal
purposes of the military service if all they see of him convinces them
that he is loyal only to his own rank and his pay check. It can be
said without any qualification that when an officer's interest in the
unit is limited strictly to those things which _have to be done_ in
line of duty, even though he attends to them truly and well, he will
never have a strong hold on the sympathy and imagination of his men.
When he takes an enthusiastic part in the sports program of the ship,
the company, the squadron or the battalion, even though he has no
natural talent for sport, when he voluntarily helps in furthering all
activities within the unit which are designed to make leisure more
enjoyable, and when he is seen by his men attending religious
exercises, his magnetism is increased. It was noteworthy during World
War II that church attendance among enlisted personnel took a
tremendous bound forward when it was seen that their officers were
present at church services. This provided tremendous support to those
chaplains who were intent not only on praising the Lord but on passing
moral ammunition to all ranks so that they would be better prepared
for the ordeal ahead.

Recognizing that instruction in the duties of citizenship, and
providing information which will enable Americans to have a better
understanding of their national affairs, is part of the arch of morale
and of a strong uniting comradeship, the Armed Services nevertheless
hold that _the keystone of the arch, among fighting forces, is the
inculcation of military ideals and the stimulation of principles of
military action_. Unless orientation within the services is balanced
in this direction, the military spirit of all ranks will suffer, and
the forces will deteriorate into an assembly of Americans who,
whatever their enthusiasms for the nation, will lack an organized
capacity to serve it efficiently along the main line of resistance.

To round out any discussion of how military ideals are formed, much
more needs to be said about the nature of courage on the battlefield
and, in preparation for it, about the winning and meaning of loyalty
within the Armed Services and how instruction on these points and all
related matters is best advanced within the organization.

But the object of this chapter is to define certain governing
principles. The substantive parts of the subject can be more clearly
presented further along in the book.



There is a common saying in the services, and elsewhere, that greater
privileges grow out of larger responsibilities, and that the latter
justifies the former. This is part truth and part fable.

In military organization, as in industry, business, and political
life, the more important a man's position, the more lavish he is
likely to be in his office appointments and living arrangements, and
the greater the care that is apt to be taken in freeing him of
trifling annoyances.

But that is only partly because of the need for him to conserve his
time and energy. When men are successful, they like the good things of
life. Why deny it? Not one individual in 10,000 would aspire to power
and authority if it meant living like a hermit.

There is no way that the military establishment can denature human
nature, and change this determining condition. Nor is there any reason
why it should wish to do so. Its men, like all others, develop a sense
of well-being from those advantages, many of them minor, which attend,
and build prestige, both in private and in official life. The
incentive system by which our country has prospered has always
recognized that privilege is a reward for effort and enterprise. The
American people have always accepted that reasonable, harmless
privileges should attend merit. It is by enhancing the prestige of
leaders and by making their positions attractive that the Armed Forces
get better officers and men.

One of the keenest-minded Americans of our time has said:
"Responsibilities are what devolve upon a person, and privileges are
what he ought not to have, but takes." In a perfect universe, that
would be a perfect truth. But men being as they are, prideful and
desirous of any mark of recognition, privileges are the natural
accompaniment of rank and station, and when not wilfully misused, may
contribute to the general welfare. At all levels, men will aspire
more, and their ambition will be firmer, if getting ahead will mean
for them an increase in the visible tokens of deference from the
majority, rather than simply a boost in the paycheck. To complain
about this quality in human nature is as futile as regretting that the
sun goes down.

However, since it is out of the abuse of privilege that much of the
friction between authority and the rank-and-file arises, the subject
can't be dropped at that point. What puts most of the grit into the
machinery isn't that privileges exist, but that they are exercised too
often by persons who are not motivated by a passionate sense of duty.
For it is an almost inviolable rule of human behavior that the man who
is concerned most of all with his responsibilities will be fretted
least about the matter of his privileges, and that his exercise of any
rightful privilege will not be resented by his subordinates, because
they are conscious of his merit.

We can take two officers. Lieutenant "A" enters the service with one
main question in mind: "Where does my duty lie?" So long as he remains
on that beam, he will never injure the morale of the service by using
such privileges as are rightfully his as an officer. But in the mind
of Lieutenant "B" the other idea is uppermost: "What kudos do I get
out of my position?" Unless that man changes his ways, he will be a
troublemaker while he remains in the service, a headache to his fellow
officers and a despoiler of those who are under him.

In recent years, we have learned a lot about American manpower. We
have seen enough of the raw material under testing conditions to know
that, with the exception of the occasional malcontent who was
irreparably spoiled before he left home, American young men when
brought into military organization do not resent rank, and are
amenable to authority. Indeed, they expect that higher authority will
have certain advantages not common to the rank-and-file, because that
is normal in our society in all of its workday relationships.

But they do not like to have their noses rubbed in it by officers who,
having no real moral claim on authority, try to exhibit it by pushing
other people around. And when that happens, our men get their backs
up. And they wouldn't be worth a hoot in hades if they didn't.

Even as privilege attends rank and station, it is confirmed by custom,
and modified by time and environment. What was all right yesterday may
be all wrong tomorrow, and what is proper in one set of circumstances
may be wholly wrong in another.

Take one example. In Washington's Continental Army, a first lieutenant
was court-martialed and jailed because he demeaned himself by doing
manual labor with a working detail of his men. Yet in that same
season, Major General von Steuben, then trainer and inspector of all
the forces, created a great scandal and almost terminated his
usefulness by trying to rank a relatively junior officer out of his
quarters. Today both of these usages seem out of joint. Any officer
has the _privilege_ of working with his men, if he needs exercise,
wishes to see for himself how the thing is done, or feels that an
extra hand is needed on the job at a critical moment. As for any
notion that his quarters are his permanent castle no matter who comes,
he had best not make an issue of the point!

But to emphasize it once again, duty is the great regulator of the
proper exercise of one's rights. Here we speak of duty as it was meant
by Giuseppe Mazzini, Italy's great patriot of the early Nineteenth
Century, when he said: "Every mission constitutes a pledge of duty.
Every man is bound to consecrate his every effort to its fulfillment.
He will derive his rule of action from the profound conviction of that
duty." For finally the key lies in this, that out of high regard for
duty comes as a natural flow that sense of proportion which we call
common sense.

Adjustment and dignity in any situation are impossible when minds are
bent only on a code of conduct rather than on action which is
consistent with the far objectives. In the early stages of World War
II, it was not unusual to see a junior officer walking on the public
sidewalk, hands free, and looking important, while his wife tagged
along, trying to keep step, though laden like a pack mule. This was
because someone had told him that it was not in keeping with an
officer's dignity to be seen heavily burdened. In the nature of
things, anyone so lacking in gallantry as that would stimulate very
little respect for the officer corps.

Actually, in these times, there are relatively few special privileges
which attend officership, and though the war brought perhaps a few
excesses, the post war trend has been in the other direction.

Normally, an officer is not expected to buck a chow line, or any other
queue in line of duty, if he is sensibly in a rush. The presumption is
that his time is more valuable to the service than that of an enlisted
man. Normally, an officer is not expected to pitch a tent or spend his
energy on any hand labor incidental to housekeeping. Normally, he has
greater freedom of action and is less bound by minor restrictions than
the ranks.

But the accent in these things is decidedly on the word _normally_. If
a mess line were in an area under general fire, so that added waiting
meant extra danger, then only a poltroon would insist on being fed
first. And while an officer wouldn't be expected to pitch a tent, he
would dig his own foxhole, unless he was well up in grade. At that,
there were a few high commanders in World War II who made it a point
of pride to do their own digging from first to last. Greater "freedom
of action," too, can go out the window, for conditions arise,
particularly in war, when freedom of action can not be permitted
anyone except the very top authority. When a general restriction is
clamped down, the officer caught violating it is in more serious
jeopardy than the enlisted offender.

As the entire body of this book is directed toward the consideration
of the fundamental responsibilities in officership, the special
comments in this chapter will relate mainly to propositions not stated

Though it has been said before, even so, it can be said again: It is a
paramount and overriding responsibility of every officer to take care
of his men before caring for himself. From the frequent and gross
violation of this principle by badly informed or meanly selfish
individuals comes more embarrassment to officer-man relationships than
perhaps from all other causes put together. _It is a cardinal
principle!_ Yet many junior officers do not seem to understand that
steadfast fidelity to it is required, not lip service. "And of this,"
as Admiral Mahan would say, "comes much evil." The loyalty of men
simply cannot be commanded when they become embittered by selfish

Then how deeply does this rule cut? In line of duty, it applies right
down to the hilt! When a command is worn, bruised, and hungry,
officers attend to their men's creature comforts and make sure that
all is going well, before looking to their own needs. If an officer is
on a tour with an enlisted man, he takes care that the man is
accommodated as to food, shelter, medical treatment or other prime
needs, before satisfying his own wants; if that means that the last
meal or the last bed is gone, his duty is to get along the hard way.
If a command is so located that recreational facilities are extremely
limited, and there are not enough to go around, the welfare of the
ranks takes priority over the interests of their commissioned leaders;
in fact, it would be more correct to say that the welfare of men _is_
the prior interest of the officer.

These few concrete illustrations show, in general, what is expected.
Once the main idea is grasped, the way of its total application
becomes clear. Officers do not go around playing pigtail to enlisted
men. But they build loyalty by serving the men first, when all
concerned are following a general line of duty together.

It is an incumbent responsibility on all officers to maintain the
dignity of the uniform and prevent anyone from sullying it. This means
not only the dress of person, but the uniform wherever it is worn
publicly by any man of the United States forces. Where the offense is
committed by a member of some other service and the disgrace to the
uniform is obvious, it is the duty of the officer to intervene, or to
bring about intervention, rather than to walk out on the situation.
This calls for judgment, tact, nerve. The offense must be real, and
not simply an offense against one's private sensibilities. But
indecencies, exhibitionism and bawdiness of such a nature that if done
on a reservation would warrant trial of the individual for unbecoming
conduct will justify intervention by the officer under public

Similarly, any officer has a responsibility to any enlisted man who is
in personal distress, with no other means of ready help. Suppose they
just happen to meet in a strange community. The enlisted man's
credentials are shown to be _bona fide_. But he has had his pocket
picked, or has lost his wallet, or has just missed the train that
would have carried him back from his leave on time, and he doesn't
know what to do. For any officer to brush-off a forthright request for
aid or advice under such circumstances is an unofficerly act.
Likewise, if one suspects, just from appearances, that the man is in
trouble and somewhat beyond his depths, it will be found that, far
from resenting a kindly inquiry, he will mark it to the credit of the
whole fighting system.

To say that an officer owes a fellow officer no less consideration
than this is to state the obvious. Officers meeting in transit usually
get into conversation; it is a habit that adds much to one's
professional education. When an officer is getting into a strange
town, or arriving at a new post, anything done by a fellow officer to
help him get oriented, or to make things friendly and easy for him,
furthers the comity of the corps. Between officers of differing
services these small courtesies are particularly appreciated. Nor does
the matter end there. Within Unit A, the officers have the
responsibility of continuing support to the officers of Unit C, Unit
B, and so on. Though they are in a sense competing, each trying to
build higher than the other, they must never forget that the basic
technique of organization is cooperation. What "A" knows that has
helped his unit, or whatever he can do to assist "B" and "C" without
materially depriving himself, it becomes his official and moral
obligation to transmit. An officer can never understand his own
command problem very well unless he knows, at least a little, of how
things are going in other units. And the statement can be reversed. He
cannot judge the problems of other people unless he tries passionately
to understand his own people.

There are many other minor articles within what is sometimes called
the "unwritten code" which help to regulate life in the services, and
to sweeten it.

But what counts most is not the knowing of the rule but the sharing of
the spirit which gives it meaning and makes its proper administration



The main purpose of this book is to stimulate thought and to encourage
the average young officer to seek truth for, and in, himself. It is
never a good idea to attempt a precise formula about matters which are
by nature indefinite and subject to all number of variable factors.

Thus with respect to career planning, despite all of the emphasis put
upon that subject in modern America, it would be plain error to infer
that any man can become all-wise, as to the direction which he should
take with his own life, simply by steeping himself in all of the
information which is to be had on this subject.

That might qualify him to give top-lofty advice to all others on how
to make the start up the right ladder, and he would win a reputation
as a personnel expert, which in itself is no mean assignment. But in
all probability, he would still be doing better by himself than by any
other individual.

American library shelves are stacked with such books as "Planning Your
Future," "New Careers for Youth," and "The Problem of Vocational
Guidance." The pages are laden with sage counsel and bromidic
expressions. But their chief public value is that they enabled a
writer, his publisher and the bookseller to get a little further ahead
in life.

Reflecting the trend elsewhere in the national life, the Armed
Services are equipped to give their forces the advantage of career
management principles, and to assist their men to plan their
professional careers. The opportunities and the job qualifications can
be described. Also, somewhat more thoroughly than is done in civil
life, the establishment's system of record-keeping throws a partial
light on the aptitudes of the individual. The qualified man is soon
known by his "spec number" or maybe two numbers. It might seem
therefore that things are so well-regulated that the prospect of
every man finding his niche is better than even.

The fact remains that the majority of individuals spend the greater
part of their lives doing something other than that which would bring
out their best quality and give them the greatest satisfaction, mainly
because accident, in one form or another, put them into a particular
channel, and inertia kept them there.

A boy builds model airplanes. His hobby being a force in his youthful
years, he becomes a pilot, and then discovers to his shocked amazement
that he does not have his heart in machines but in the management of
men. A man who has lived his life among guns, and who enjoys the feel
and the working of them, enters the service and permits himself to be
made a food procurement specialist, having run that kind of business
in civil life only because he had inherited it from his father. An
officer assigned to a weapons detail finds it hard going. And the fact
that he takes a delight in writing a good paper still does not signal
to him that this is his main field and he should exploit it to the

To what do these things point? In particular, to this, that despite
all of the help which may be provided by outside agencies, finding the
straight thoroughfare in work is mainly a problem of searching
self-examination and personal decision. The impression which any other
person may have of our talents and possibilities is largely formed by
what we say, think and feel about ourselves.

This does not require that constant introspection which is found in
Cecil Forester's nervous hero, "Captain Horatio Hornblower." That man
doubtless would have died of stomach ulcers before winning his second
stripe. It is not a matter of, "How do I look to someone else?" but
of, "What do I know about myself?" The kind of work which one likes
best and does with the greatest facility, the avocational study which
is pursued because it provides greater delight than an encharged
responsibility, the talent which one had as a youth but was dropped
because of the press of making a living, the task which looks alluring
though one has lacked either the chance, or the courage, to try a
hand at it--these are among the more fertile points of inquiry.

Weighing it out, the service officer has an unrivaled opportunity for
fruitful experiment.

In the first place, he has made the fundamental decision to serve his
country in the profession of arms. The meaning of that decision should
not be lost on him. It is by nature patriotic. But if he regards his
inheritance simply as a snug berth and the best way to provide "three
squares" to himself and family throughout a lifetime, he is neither
soundly patriotic nor intelligently selfish.

After signing on the line for his country, the individual's duty to
himself is to strive by every honorable means to move ahead of his
competition by growing more knowledgeable and better qualified. _It is
the inherent right of every officer to request such service as he
believes will further his advancement_, and far from discouraging the
ambitious man, higher authority will invariably try to favor him. In
no other mode of life are older men so ready to encourage the willing

Gen. H. H. Arnold, the great air leader of World War II, is an
inspiring case study with respect to several of these points. He wrote
in "Global Mission" how he considered quitting the Army in disgust
upon being commissioned in infantry, following graduation, so deeply
was his heart set upon service in cavalry. But something held him to
the assignment. Some years later he tried to transfer to ordnance
because the prospect for advancement looked better. While still
ruminating on this change, he was offered a detail to the newly
forming aviation section of the signal corps, and took it, not because
he had a clear vision of the future, but because it looked like a
chance to get ahead. Thus, almost inadvertently, he met the
opportunity of which came his world fame.

This emphasizes another peculiar advantage belonging to the young
officer who is trying to orient himself toward the line of greatest
opportunity. In civil life, the man who flits from job to job is soon
regarded as a drifter and unstable. In the military establishment an
ability to adjust from job to job and to achieve greater all-around
qualification by making a successful record in a diversified
experience becomes a major asset in a career. Generalship, in its real
sense, requires a wider knowledge of human affairs, supported by
specialized knowledge of professional techniques, than any other great
responsibility. Those who get to the top have to be many-sided men,
with skill in the control and guidance of a multifarious variety of
activities. Therefore even the young specialist, who has his eyes on a
narrow track because his talents seem to lie in that direction, is
well advised to raise his sights and extend his interest to the far
horizons of the profession, even while directing the greater part of
his force to a particular field.

After all, variety is the spice of life, as well as a high road toward
perfection. Of Princeton's 1932 class, 161, or 59 percent, were in the
armed services during World War II. Questioned after the war 70
percent of the total number replied that military service was
interesting, broadening, and profitable. But the main point was that
they said in overwhelming number that its great lure was that _they
were doing something new_. They liked it because it gave them a
legitimate excuse to quit their jobs and attempt something different.
In the services, a man may give vent to this natural desire without
impairing his record, and if he is young and not at all certain what
is his favorite dish, the more he broadens his experience, the more
likely it becomes that he will sharpen his view of his own

The possible hard consequence of looking at service opportunity
through any one lens is epitomized in one paragraph of a
reclassification proceedings on an officer relieved during World War
II while serving as assistant division commander:

    "Through no fault of his own, General Blank has never served with
    troops since he was a captain during World War I. He has been
    unable to keep pace with the problems of a commander on the
    battlefield of today. He is unqualified for command of troops due
    to lack of practical experience."

It is hard to imagine a more dismal ending for a career than that of
the man who aspires to rank, without having any honest concept of its
proportionate moral responsibilities, particularly when the lives of
others are at stake.

So when we say that "career planning" is a springboard to personal
success within the military establishment, it is not with the narrow
meaning that any officer should proceed to limit his field of
interest, decide quickly and arbitrarily where he will put his plow
and run his furrow, and then sit down and plot a schedule of how he
proposes to mount the success ladder rung by rung. That might suit a
plumber, or tickle the fancy of an interior decorator, but it will not
conserve the strength of the officer corps. Its consequence would be
to stereotype the thinking faculties of a professional whose inner
power flows from the questing imagination, eager curiosity and
versatility of its individuals. Intense specialization, to the
exclusion of all peripheral areas of knowledge, warps the mind and
limits the useful action and influence of its owner. Dr. Vannevar Bush
was a greater scientist on the day he made his decision to explore the
sphere of military knowledge, and greater still when he applied
himself to literature.

There are few men of great talent who initially have an unswerving
inner conviction that they possess the final answer, as to themselves.
They may feel reasonably sure about what they would like to do, though
still reserving an honest doubt about the validity of their instincts
and of their power to compete. Even long and successful experience
does not always allay this doubt. Said Washington, on being appointed
Commander-in-Chief: "I beg it may be remembered by every man in this
room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think
myself equal to the command I am honored with." Assurance, or by its
other name, self-confidence, is only a continuing willingness to keep
coming back and trying, without fear of coming a cropper, but with a
care to the constant strengthening of one's own resources. The motto
of Admiral Robert E. Peary: "I will find a way or make one," is not
over-bold; any officer can afford to paste the words inside his own
hat. But in the hard game with which Peary's fame is forever linked,
there were countless errors, an occasional hit, and at last a run.

The health and progressive spirit of the services come of the
many-sided officer who can make not one career for himself but three
or four. Had officers from all services been unwilling to go into the
industrial workshops and scientific laboratories of the Nation to try
their hands at wholly new lines of work, had successful cavalrymen
been unable to evolve as leaders of armored forces, had ship captains
and ensigns disdained taking to the air, had foot soldiers refused the
risks of parachuting and naval officers not participated as observers
with the infantry line to further SFC (ship fire control) we would
have run out of wind before winning World War II.

Some months after the war ended, the Secretary of the Navy,
recognizing the dilemma which confronted thousands of men who were
asking whether the wave of the future would be to the specialist or to
the all-around man, sent a message which applied not less to the
officers of every service:

    It is intended that the highest posts will be filled by officers
    of the highest attainments, regardless of specialty. Be assured,
    whatever may be your field of endeavor, that your future as an
    officer rests, as it always has, in your hands. The outstanding
    officer will continue to be he who attacks with all of his energy
    and enthusiasm the tasks to which he is assigned and who grows in
    stature and understanding with his years and with his experience.
    Responsibility comes to him who seeks responsibility. It is this
    officer, regardless of his field of effort, who will be called to
    high command.

There is not a chief of service who would shade the general tone of
this paragraph if asked to put before his own officers the one rule
which, most closely followed, would most surely bring success. Nothing
need be added to it and nothing should be taken away; it states the

At the same time, and as the message itself implies, specialization,
like sex and the automobile, is here to stay. In the service,
perforce, even the balanced, all-around man has his specialty. In the
beginning, true enough, he may aspire only to being a soldier, marine,
sailor or airman. That is good enough in the cocoon stage. But
ultimately he emerges with the definite coloring of a ground fighter,
a gunner, an engineer officer, a signals man, a submariner, a weapons
man, a navigator, an observer, a transport officer or something else.
If his tact, bearing and quick pick-up suggest to his superiors that
he may be good staff material, and he takes that route, there are
again branch lines, leading out in roughly parallel directions, and
embracing activities in the fields of personnel, intelligence,
operations, supply and military government. And each one of these main
stems has smaller branches, greatly diversified. The man with a love
for logistics (and few have it) might some day find himself running
railroads or managing a port. The engineer could become a salvage
officer working a crew of deep sea divers, or as easily a demolitions
expert running a company of dynamiters. The expert in communications?
His next task might be setting up a radio station near the North Pole
or helping perfect radio control of troops over a 50-mile area.

It is in these things that the privilege of free choice arises, for
despite the popular theory that in the services you take what you are
given and like it, the placement of officers according to their main
aptitudes and desires is a controlling principle of personnel policy.
It is recognized throughout the military establishment that, in
general, men will do their best service in that field where they think
their natural talents are being most usefully employed.

Among the combat line commanders in World War II there were doctors,
dentists and even a few ministers. They could have had places in their
regular corps, but they were permitted to continue with the duty of
their own choice.

Concerning the main problem of the officer, in fitting himself for
higher command, the controlling principle is well expressed in the
words of a distinguished educator, Wallace B. Donham: "The hope of the
wisdom essential to the general direction of men's affairs lies not so
much in wealth of specialized knowledge as in the habits and skills
required to handle problems involving very diverse viewpoints which
must be related to new concrete situations. Wisdom is based on broad
understanding in perspective. It is common sense on a large canvas. It
is never the product of scientific, technological, or other
specializations, though men so trained may, of course, acquire it."

This puts just the right light on the subject. The military officer
specializes strictly to qualify himself more highly in his main
calling--the management of men in the practice of arms. Becoming a
specialist does not _ipso facto_ make him a better officer, or win him
preferment. It is part of the mechanism, though not the main wheel. As
Admiral Forrest P. Sherman has so well said: "We are not pushed
willy-nilly into specialization; there is never an excess of the
all-around, highly competent combat officer."

Concerning his choice, all general advice is gratuitous. Whatever
might be written here would be worth far less than the counsel or
suggestion of any superior, or for that matter, a colleague, who has
observed his work closely over a long period, who has some critical
faculty, and whose good will is beyond question.

Particularly, the _voluntary_ advice of such a person is worth notice.
That which is spontaneous usually has shrewd reason behind it. When
counsel is deliberately sought, it may catch the consultant unaware,
and in lieu of saying that which is well-considered, he may offer a
half-baked opinion, rather than be disappointing. But when another
person having one's trust, says: "Your natural line is to do
thus-and-so," it is time to ask him why, and check his reasoning with
one's own. Worth just as much earnest consideration is his negative
opinion, his strong feeling that what one is about to undertake is not
particularly suitable.

As for the man himself, it remains to survey thoughtfully the whole
range of possibilities, to keep the mind open and receptive to
impressions, to experiment but take firm hold in so doing, to tackle
each new task with as much enthusiasm as if it were to be his life
work, to ask for difficult assignments rather than soft snaps and to
be calmly deliberate, rather than rashly hasteful, in appraising his
own capabilities.

Self-study is a lifetime job. A great many engineers didn't realize
that they were born to make nuclear fission possible until there was
a three-way wedding between science, industry and the military in
1940. Many officers who have had a late blooming as experts in the
field of electronics and supersonic speeds had lived out successful
careers before these subjects first saw daylight.

As Elbert Hubbard said of it, the only way to get away from
opportunity is to lie down and die.



The regulations that govern precedence among officers of the same
service and among the services in relation to each other have a very
real utility not only in determining succession to command and as
reminders of the authority to which all persons in the Armed Services
are subject but in providing precedent for all official or ceremonial
occasions in which officers or organizations of the several services
may find themselves cooperating. It is easy to imagine the confusion
that would result without such rules, especially if a junior commander
of a senior service had to defend the right of his organization to
occupy the place of honor ahead of a very senior commander with a
detachment from a junior service. These regulations are also the
arbiter in disputes arising between officers of equal rank who aspire
to command of the same unit.

The legislation which separated the Air Force from the Army again
raised the question of precedence in parades and ceremonies. Since the
Air Force is the junior service, as to date of recognition, the change
indicated the following parade order: (Reference, _Federal Register_,
Volume 14, Number 160, August 19, 1949, page 5203)

    1. Cadets, United States Military Academy.

    2. Midshipmen, United States Naval Academy.

    3. Cadets, United States Coast Guard Academy.

    4. United States Army.

    5. United States Marines.

    6. United States Navy.

    7. United States Air Force.

    8. United States Coast Guard.

    9. National Guard of the United States.

    10. Organized Reserve Corps of the Army.

    11. Marine Corps Reserve.

    12. Naval Reserve.

    13. Air Force National Guard of the United States.

    14. United States Air Force Reserve.

    15. Coast Guard Reserve.

    16. Other training organizations of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy,
    Air Force, and Coast Guard, in that order, respectively.

During any period when the United States Coast Guard shall operate as
a part of the United States Navy, the Cadets, United States Coast
Guard Academy, the United States Coast Guard, and the Coast Guard
Reserve, shall take precedence, respectively, next after the
Midshipmen, United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy, and
the Naval Reserve.

In any ceremony in which any or all of these components act together,
the table of precedence in appropriate regulations determines their
location in the column.

The ranks and insignia in the Armed Services have been substantially
the same since 1883. During World War II there were newly established
the five star ranks of general of the army and fleet admiral. After
the first World War the rank of general-of-the-armies was created to
honor General Pershing, who was permitted to choose the number of
stars he would wear. He chose four. After the Spanish-American War the
rank of admiral-of-the-navy was established for Admiral Dewey. No one
has held this rank since.

On November 15, 1776, Congress established the ranks of admiral,
vice-admiral, rear admiral and commodore corresponding to general,
lieutenant general, major general, and brigadier general. It also
established three grades of naval captains--captain of a 40-gun ship
and upward to rank with colonel, captain of a 20 to 40-gun ship to
rank with lieutenant colonel, captain of a 10 to 20-gun ship to rank
with major, and lieutenant to rank with captain in the Army.

Although the top naval ranks were provided, the only two officers ever
to attain a higher rank than captain prior to 1862 were Ezekiel
Hopkins, whom Congress on December 22, 1775, commissioned with the
rank of _C-in-C of the Fleet_, and Charles Stewart who was
commissioned _Senior Flag Officer_ by Congress in 1859. Hopkins and
Stewart were called "commodore" as was any other captain who commanded
more than one ship.

During our War of Independence, the Army had the rank of ensign and
the Navy did not. The several Army ranks were then distinguishable by
the color of the cockade, green for lieutenant, buff for captain, and
pink or red for a field officer. As early as 1780 major generals wore
two stars on their epaulettes and brigadier generals one. During our
quasi-war with France, toward the end of the eighteenth century,
Washington was commissioned lieutenant general, our first, and three
stars were prescribed to be worn by him.

In the Army Register for 1813 the rank of ensign had disappeared but
there were third lieutenants (as in the Soviet Army today) and
coronets. In 1832 the eagle was adopted as the insignia of colonel in
the Army and in 1857 the lieutenant colonel, captain, and first
lieutenant wore the same insignia as today. These insignia were
adopted some time in the interval between 1847 and 1857. The gold bar,
insigne of the second lieutenant, was authorized just prior to World
War I.

The Navy has used the same shoulder insignia as the Army since the
Civil War. However, shoulder insignia on blues were discontinued by
the Navy in 1911 but the insignia were still prescribed on epaulettes.
The Navy adopted the eagle for captain in 1852, twenty years after it
had been approved by the Army for colonels.

In the first half of the last century the Navy List contained officers
of four grades only. A captain wore three stripes, a master
commandant, two (master commandant, established in 1806, was changed
to commander in 1837;) and a lieutenant, one. A master had no stripe
but three buttons instead. There were midshipmen too, but they were
warrant officers and _aspirants_ for commissioned rank as the present
French term designates them.

Our first full general was U. S. Grant and our first full admiral,
David D. Porter; both won their rank in the Civil War. In that war
there was a large increase in the Navy and more naval ranks were
established. In 1862 ensign was provided in the Navy to correspond to
second lieutenant; and the term lieutenant commanding became
lieutenant commander. An ensign wore one stripe as now; an additional
stripe was added for each rank till the rear admiral had eight. Since
1869 the senior officers have worn the same stripes as now prescribed.
In 1883 the rank "master" was changed to lieutenant, junior grade.

The rank of commodore, which had been abolished, was temporarily
revived during World War II. The rank of passed-midshipman was
abolished about 1910; thereafter graduates of the Naval Academy were
commissioned ensign. The rank of ensign had previously been attained
by passed-midshipmen after 2 years at sea and a successful examination
at the end of that cruise. The only permanent change in recent years
was the addition of aviation cadet to both the Air Force and Navy
listings. The warrant rank of flight officer in the Air Force, which
was created during the war, has now been abandoned, all the flight
officers then holding warrants either being commissioned second
lieutenants or separated. The naval rank of commodore was likewise
dropped, and brigadier generals of the Army and Air Force now rank
with admirals of the lower half.

The following are the present corresponding ranks in the Armed

        NAVY     |   MARINE    |    ARMY     |  AIR FORCE  |    COAST
                 |   CORPS     |             |             |    GUARD
    Fleet Admiral|             |General of   |General of   |
                 |             |the Army     |the Air      |
                 |             |             |Force        |
    Admiral      |General      |General      |General      |Admiral
    Vice Admiral |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |Vice Admiral
                 |General      |General      |General      |
    Rear Admiral |Major        |Major        |Major        |Rear Admiral
    (upper half) |General      |General      |General      |(upper half)
    Rear Admiral |Brigadier    |Brigadier    |Brigadier    |Rear Admiral
    (lower half) |General      |General      |General      |(lower half)
    and          |             |             |             |and
    Commodore    |             |             |             |Commodore
    Captain      |Colonel      |Colonel      |Colonel      |Captain
    Commander    |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |Commander
                 |Colonel      |Colonel      |Colonel      |
    Lieutenant   |Major        |Major        |Major        |Lieutenant
    Commander    |             |             |             |Commander
    Lieutenant   |Captain      |Captain      |Captain      |Lieutenant
    Lieutenant   |First        |First        |First        |Lieutenant
    (Junior      |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |(Junior
    Grade)       |             |             |             |Grade)
    Ensign       |Second       |Second       |Second       |Ensign
                 |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |Lieutenant   |
    Commissioned |Commissioned |Chief Warrant|Chief Warrant|Commissioned
    Warrant      |Warrant      |Officer      |Officer      |Warrant
    Officer      |Officer      |             |             |Officer
    Midshipman   |             |Cadet        |Cadet        |Cadet
    Warrant      |Warrant      |Warrant      |Warrant      |Warrant
    Officer      |Officer      |Officer      |Officer      |Officer
                 |             |Junior Grade |Junior Grade |
    Aviation     |             |             |Aviation     |
    Cadet        |             |             |Cadet        |

Officers of all the fighting service, whether regular or reserve, take
precedence among themselves according to their dates of rank. Officers
take command in their respective services in accordance with their
dates of rank in the line, the senior, unless otherwise ordered,
taking command, whether regular or reserve. The command of a task
force or group composed of commands from two or more services devolves
upon the senior commanding officer present in the force or group
unless otherwise designated by the appropriate common senior, acting
for the President.

The obvious exceptions to this are that officers outside the line
(that is, commissioned in specialized branches or corps) cannot
command line organizations. They may, however, in the Army and Air
Force, command organizations within the structure of their own corps.
Non-rated officers in the Air Force and Navy are not eligible to
command tactical flying units. As a specialized case of command, the
assigned first pilot and airplane commander of any aircraft continues
in command even though a pilot senior in rank may be aboard.

Retired officers of the Army rank at the foot of active officers of
the same grade; those of the Navy according to date of rank.

Changing personnel policies have been reflected by frequent revisions
of the scale and grade given noncommissioned leadership. This subject
should therefore be checked against current regulations. But as a
rough guide, the following can be taken as the corresponding
noncommissioned grades and rates in the services:

    PAY  |     NAVY AND     |    ARMY     |     AIR     |    MARINE
    GRADE|   COAST GUARD    |             |    FORCE    |    CORPS
    E-7  |Chief Petty       |Master       |Master       |Master
         |Officer           |Sergeant     |Sergeant     |Sergeant
    E-6  |Petty Officer     |Sergeant     |Technical    |Technical
         |First Class       |First Class  |Sergeant     |Sergeant
    E-5  |Petty Officer     |Sergeant     |Staff        |Staff
         |Second Class      |             |Sergeant     |Sergeant
    E-4  |Petty Officer     |Corporal     |Sergeant     |Sergeant
         |Third Class       |             |             |
    E-3  |[A]Airman         |Private      |Corporal     |Corporal
         |[A]Constructionman|First Class  |             |
         |[A]Dentalman      |             |             |
         |Fireman           |             |             |
         |Hospitalman       |             |             |
         |Seaman            |             |             |
         |Stewardsman       |             |             |
    E-2  |Apprentice        |Private      |Private      |Private
         |                  |             |First Class  |First Class
    E-1  |Recruit           |Recruit      |Private      |Private

    [A] Does not apply to Coast Guard.

Enlisted insignia of rank are of cloth, sewn on the sleeve of the
outer garment. Army chevrons are worn on both sleeves with the point
up, and special devices may be incorporated within the chevron to
indicate specialties. Chevrons for combat soldiers are blue on a gold
background, and all others are gold on a blue background. Naval
chevrons are worn point down. Air Force chevrons have no point, but
are a compound reverse curve with the deepest part of the curve worn
down; over this is imposed a star within a circle. Marine Corps
chevrons are worn on both sleeves with the point up and are gold on a
crimson background for the dress blue uniform, green on a red
background for the forest green uniform, green on a khaki background
for the khaki uniform, and for combat uniforms the chevrons are
stenciled on the sleeves in black ink.


[Illustration: NAVY AND COAST GUARD]

[Illustration: AIR FORCE]

All military and naval personnel are addressed in official
correspondence by their full titles. Off duty in conversations and in
unofficial correspondence, officers are addressed as follows:


    All general officers                 General

    Colonels and Lt. Colonels            Colonel

    Majors                               Major

    Captains                             Captain

    Lieutenants                          Mister or Lieutenant

    Lieutenants in Medical Corps         Doctor or Lieutenant

    All Chaplains                        Chaplain

    Army nurses                          Nurse


      (Official address)                 Cadet

      (Unofficial address)               Mister

    Warrant Officers                     Mister

    All sergeants                        Sergeant

    Corporals                            Corporal

    Privates and Privates, First Class   Private Jones or Jones
      When the name is not known, an Army private may be addressed as
      "Soldier," and in the Marine Corps the term, "Marine," is proper
      in such a case.


    All Admirals                         Admiral

    Commodores                           Commodore

    Captains                             Captain

    Commanders                           Commander

    Lieutenant Commanders, lieutenants,
    ensigns and midshipmen               Mister

    All Chaplains                        Chaplain

    All medical officers (to commander)  Doctor

Except when in the presence of troops, senior officers frequently
address juniors as "Smith" or "Jones" but this does not give the
junior the privilege of addressing the senior in any other way than
his proper title. By the same token, officers of the same grade
generally address one another by their first or last names depending
on the degree of intimacy. The courtesy and respect for others which
govern the conduct of gentlemen are expected to prevail at all times.

Enlisted men are commonly addressed by their last names. Except in
cases where the officer has a blood relationship or a preservice
friendship with an enlisted man, the occasions on which an enlisted
man can properly be called by his first name are extremely rare.
Speaking face to face, it is proper to use either the last name,
alone, or the title of rank, or the last name and any accepted
abbreviation of the title. In calling First Sergeant Brown from among
a group, it would be acceptable to call for "Brown" but better still
"Sergeant Brown." In the Navy, the common practice in addressing Chief
Pharmacists Mate Gale, for instance, would be either "Gale" or
"Chief." On formal occasions, as in calling a senior enlisted man
front and center at a formation, the full military title would be
used: "Chief Bo's'ns Mate Gale and Master Sergeant Brown, front and
center." The longer form of address would also be proper in directing
a third party to report to Master Sergeant White.

A painstaking observation of the courtesies due to ranks of other
services is more than a sign of good manners; it indicates a
recognition of the interdependence of the services upon one another.
Failure to observe or to recognize the tables of precedence officially
agreed upon among the services is both stupid and rude. Any future war
will see joint operations on a scale never before achieved, and its
success will be dependent in large part upon the cooperation of all
ranks in all services. Likewise, in combined operations, the alert
officer will take it upon himself to learn and respect the insignia,
relative ranks, and customs of his Allies. By exerting himself in the
recognition of other ranks, by exacting adherence to the official
tables of precedence, he contributes not only to his own stature as a
professional soldier, sailor, marine or airman, but adds to the
reputation of his service.

In the main requirements, military courtesy varies but little from
nation to nation. During service abroad, an American officer will
salute the commissioned officers and pay respects to the anthems and
colors of friendly nations just as to those of his own country.



Mutual respect and courtesy are indispensable elements in military
organization. The junior shows deference to the senior; the senior
shows consideration for him. The salute is the ancient and universal
privilege of fighting men. It is a recognition of a common fellowship
in a proud profession. Saluting is an expression of courtesy,
alertness, and discipline. The senior is as obliged to return it as
the junior is to initiate it. In fact, in the Army particularly, it is
not unusual to see the senior salute first. Interservice salutes
should be exchanged as punctiliously as between members of a single
service, for both services stand to gain or lose by the manner in
which this act is performed.

The general rules governing saluting are based on common sense, good
manners, and the customs of the times. For instance, soldiers actively
engaged in sports are not required to salute, nor is any man leading a
horse, since the sudden motion so near the horse's head might make it
restive. There will always be occasions when it is inconvenient,
impractical, or illogical to render or require the return of a salute.
The intent of the regulation is not that it embarrass or demean the
individual, but that it serve as a signal of recognition and greeting
between members of the military brotherhood. According to regulations,
in all services, the salute is initiated by the junior, and at any
convenient distance that insures recognition, the least being about
six paces. The form of the salute is the same in the Army, Navy and
Air Force, and it is given either from the position of attention or at
a walk. It is not given indoors except when reporting to another
officer in an official capacity. In the Navy, it is customary for the
junior initiating a salute to combine it with "Good morning, Sir," as
a means of reinforcing its meaning as a greeting. Where this is done
in the other two services, it is usually the result of a local
directive expressing the wish of a particular commander. While it is
expected that the junior will initiate such a greeting, there is no
obligation upon him to do so, nor is there any reason that the senior
may not say it first.

The Navy and Air Force require that the junior, when engaged in work
that brings him in reasonably frequent contact with the same seniors
during the course of the working day, salute each senior officer the
first time that he is passed during the day, but not subsequently
unless a change in circumstances requires it. In the Air Force an
enlisted mechanic working on the line would salute the engineering
officer and his assistants the first time he recognized them during
the day. If he passed one of the same officers later in the day, for
example in front of the post exchange, he would salute again. The Army
requires that a salute be given and returned each time the junior
passes the senior, unless circumstances dictate that it be temporarily
suspended by common agreement. The Commanding Officer of a naval
vessel is saluted whenever met.

Salutes are not mandatory on the driver of a vehicle, whether moving
or idling at the curb, for the reason that the operator is presumed to
need both hands for driving. Salutes are not exchanged between moving
vehicles, between moving and halted vehicles, or between persons
walking and persons riding in official cars except when it is obvious
that the passenger is a senior, or when it is required as part of a
ceremony. Official vehicles carrying general officers or flag officers
will be clearly marked outside, and will be saluted. A salute is
exchanged between persons in a parked vehicle and persons walking,
unless the car is a bus or taxi. When two boats pass each other, the
senior officer in each boat salutes without rising.

Aside from saluting, there are certain other customs that govern
conduct around official vehicles. Since the place of honor is on the
right, the junior not only walks on the left, but rides there as well.
In entering a car, the junior enters first, followed by other members
of the party in inverse order of rank, each seating himself so that
the senior may take position on the right side. In leaving the car,
the senior debarks first. However, if following this general procedure
would necessitate any member of the party climbing over another, or
in any other way cause an awkward situation, the senior may enter
first and alight last.

The same rules govern for boarding and leaving small boats, except
that the junior rides forward and the senior aft.

In boarding aircraft with a single hatch, the pilot enters first,
followed by the copilot and other members of the crew. With the crew
in place, other passengers enter according to rank, the senior first;
he takes the seat of his choice if the aircraft is equipped with
seats. In either transport or tactical aircraft, the senior officers
generally ride as far forward as possible. In leaving the aircraft,
the aircrew who handle deplaning normally leave first, followed by
passengers in order of seniority.

The long association of the Air Force with the Army precludes any
large body of custom and tradition that can be called peculiarly Air
Force in origin or usage. In time undoubtedly a considerable body of
distinctive official and social courtesies will grow, but at present
most of the official and unofficial usages given here for the Army are
understood to be applicable to the Air Force as well, and will be so

The hand salute is required on all military installations and in
occupied territories, whether on or off duty; in all official greeting
in the line of duty both on and off the base; for ceremonial
occasions; and in honoring the National Anthem, or color, or
distinguished persons.

Since most military posts or bases are guarded on a twenty-four hour
basis, the first official contact will be with the guard on the main
gate. He may be a soldier or airman selected by roster and under the
temporary control of the Officer of the Day, a Military Policeman
wearing an MP brassard and under the command of the Provost Marshal,
or a civilian guard either under the Provost or some other special
staff agency of the Post or Base Commander. On the ordinary post or
base, officers of other services will be admitted if wearing uniform,
even when accompanied by civilian dependents. If the stay is of short
duration, a "visitors" tag on the car may be sufficient; in other
cases it may be necessary to secure a temporary pass from the Provost.

Except for civilian guards, who do not salute, and who will be
readily identified in their police uniforms, the guard, if armed with
a pistol or carbine will give a hand salute. During the hours for
challenging (usually extending from a short time before darkness until
after reveille the next morning) sentries on an Army post may require
any officer to halt, give his rank and name, and advance for
recognition. The challenging sentry stands at "raise pistol" or "port
arms" until the challenged party has been recognized, after which he
simply returns his weapon to the normal carrying position; if armed
with a rifle, he executes "present arms" and holds it until the salute
is returned.

On any post or base, the adjutant usually acts for the commanding
officer in greeting the visitor and directing him to the various
facilities of the base, although if the visit is to be of short
duration--say, just for the purpose of seeing a friend--it would be
impertinent to bother him. But if the visiting officer is reporting
for temporary duty, or if he will be living in the immediate vicinity
for some time on special detail and desires the use of post
facilities, he is required to report to the adjutant.

Most posts and bases have not only a bachelor officers quarters, more
popularly known by the abbreviation BOQ, where the visitor may obtain
lodging, but also a Hostess House where the officer may stay with his
dependents. These accommodations are usually under the supervision of
the Billeting Officer, who makes the assignments and charges a nominal
fee for the services provided. Other facilities that the visitor may
use include the Officer's Club and dining room, the Post Exchange
(corresponding to Navy Exchanges), and the post theater. Under certain
conditions the visitor may secure permission from the adjutant or
executive to make purchases at the Commissary, which deals in
foodstuffs and other perishables.

Special dinners are served to the enlisted men on Christmas,
Thanksgiving, July 4, New Year's Day and sometimes on February 22. The
company commander and lieutenants of the company accompanied by their
wives and families and other guests visit the dining room and kitchen
just before Christmas dinner is served, often remaining for dinner as
guests of the organization. In some companies the soldiers are
permitted to invite their wives and other ladies to dinner. In some
commands, the post commander accompanied by his staff and some of the
ladies of the garrison visit all the dining rooms and kitchens just
previous to dinner hour.

A newly arrived officer on a post and the adult members of his family
are usually invited to be in the receiving line at the first
regimental function after their arrival.

If you arrive at a post at which you expect to remain longer than 24
hours you should check with the post adjutant for rules on calling.
The adjutant will also give the normal calling hours in effect at the
post or station. You are usually expected to call on the post
commander. If assigned to duty there, you would normally call on all
of your intermediate commanders at their offices. These calls should
be made immediately after the call on the post commander. If unable to
wear uniform, an explanation should be made for appearing in civilian

When it is in keeping with local rules, as verified by the adjutant,
you should follow the official visit by a social call on the post and
intermediate commanders at their residence within 72 hours after your
arrival. If the commander is married and his wife is present on the
post, it is customary for you to make the visit accompanied by your
wife. These calls should be formal and ordinarily last no longer than
fifteen minutes.

You need not make other calls until the officers of the battalion,
regiment or garrison have called on you except that as junior officer
you should make the first call on field officers of your organization.

It is customary for all officers of a unit or garrison to call upon
the commanding officer on New Year's Day. (Again the commanding
officer's desire in this matter can be asked of his aide or adjutant.)

The visitor at the average Army and Air Force post will probably see
few ceremonies other than retreat. This ceremony, which closes the
official day, may be accompanied either by appropriate bugle calls, or
by a parade with a military band. In the former case, the music will
sound _To the Color_, and in the latter, the _National Anthem_, while
the flag is being lowered. Retreat is held daily at a fixed time,
usually about 1700 hours. Posts with saluting cannon fire one round at
the designated hour. At the first note of either the _National Anthem_
or _To the Color_, all dismounted persons face toward the color or
flag and render the prescribed salute from attention; the salute is
held until the last note of the music has been played. In the event
the flag cannot be seen and the location of the flag staff is unknown
to the person saluting, he faces toward the sound of the music.

At parades and reviews and on other occasions when uncased colors are
carried, all military personnel salute at six paces distance and hold
the salute until the color or standard is the same distance past. When
personal honors are being rendered to general or flag officers at a
review, all military personnel present and not in formation salute
during the ruffles, flourishes, and march. When a cannon salute is
given, personnel in the immediate vicinity conform to the actions of
the person being saluted. No salute is required during the 48 gun
salute to the Nation on the Fourth of July.

Military personnel also salute during the passing of a caisson or
hearse in a military funeral. If attending the services at the grave
side either as mourners or as honorary pallbearers, they stand at
attention with the head-dress over the left breast at any time the
casket is being moved, and during the service at the grave, including
the firing of the volleys and the sounding of _Taps_. In cold or
inclement weather, the head-dress is left on and the hand salute is
rendered during the movement of the casket, the firing of the volleys,
and the sound of _Taps_.

On ships having 180 or more men of the seaman branch, the side is
attended by side boys for visiting officers of our Armed Services,
except in civilian clothes, and for officers of the Foreign Service
when they come on board and depart. This courtesy is also extended to
commissioned officers of the armed services of foreign nations.
Officers of the rank of lieutenant to major inclusive are given two
side boys, from lieutenant colonel to colonel four side boys, from
brigadier to major general six side boys, and lieutenant general and
above eight side boys. Full guard and band are given to general
officers, and for a colonel the guard of the day but no music.

During the hours of darkness or low visibility an approaching boat is
usually hailed "Boat ahoy?" which corresponds to the sentry's
challenge, "Who goes there?" Some of the answers are as follows:

    ANSWER          MEANING: Senior in boat is:

    "Aye aye"       Commissioned officer

    "No no"         Warrant officer

    "Hello"         Enlisted man

    "Enterprise"    CO of U.S.S. Enterprise

    "Third Fleet"   Admiral commanding Third Fleet

Similarly if the CO of the 13th Infantry is embarked or the CO of
Fortress Monroe, the answers would be "13th Infantry" or "Fort

On arrival, at the order, "Tend the side" the side boys fall in fore
and aft of the approach to the gangway, facing each other. The
boatswain's mate-of-the-watch takes station forward of them and faces
aft. When the boat comes alongside the boatswain's mate pipes, and
again when the visiting officer's head reaches the level of the deck.
At this moment the side boys salute.

On departure, the ceremony is repeated in reverse, the bo's'ns mate
begins to pipe and the side boys salute as soon as the departing
officer steps toward the gangway between the side boys. As the boat
casts off the bo's'ns mate pipes again. (Shore boats and automobiles
are not piped.)

You uncover when entering a space where men are at mess and in Sick
Bay (Quarters) if sick men are present. You uncover in the wardroom at
all times if you are junior. All hands except when under arms uncover
in the captain's cabin and country.

You should not overtake a senior except in emergency. In the latter
case slow, salute, and say, "By your leave, sir."

Admirals and captains when in uniform fly colors astern when embarked
in boats. When on official visits they also display their personal
flags (pennants for commanding officers) in the bow. Flag officers'
barges are distinguished by the appropriate number of stars on each
side of the barge's hull. Captains' gigs are distinguished by the name
or abbreviation of their ships surcharged by an arrow.

Where gangways are rigged on both sides, the starboard gangway is
reserved for officers and the port for enlisted men. Stress of weather
or expedience (in the discretion of the officer of the deck or OOD)
may make either gangway available to both officers and men.

Seniors come on board ship first. When reaching the deck you face
toward the colors (or aft if no colors are hoisted) and salute the
colors (quarterdeck). Immediately thereafter you salute the OOD and
request permission to come on board. The usual form is, "Request
permission to come aboard, sir." The OOD is required to return both

On leaving the ship the inverse order is observed. You salute the OOD
and request permission to leave the ship. The OOD will indicate when
the boat is ready (if a boat is used). Each person, juniors first,
salutes the OOD; then faces toward the colors, salutes and embarks.

The OOD on board ship represents the captain and as such has
unquestioned authority. Only the executive and commanding officer may
order him relieved. The authority of the OOD extends to the
accommodation ladders or gangways. He is perfectly within his rights
to order any approaching boat to "lay off" and keep clear until in his
judgment he can receive her alongside.

The OOD normally conveys orders to the embarked troops via the Troop
Commander but in emergencies he may issue orders direct to you or any
person on board.

The _bridge_ is the "Command Post" of the ship when underway, as the
quarterdeck is at anchor. The officer-of-the-deck is in charge of the
ship as the representative of the captain. Admittance to the bridge
when underway should be at the captain's invitation or with his
permission. You may usually obtain permission through the executive

The _quarterdeck_ is the seat of authority; as such it is respected.
The starboard side of the quarterdeck is reserved for the captain (and
admiral, if a flagship). No person trespasses upon it except when
necessary in the course of work or official business. All persons
salute the quarterdeck when entering upon it. When pacing the deck
with another officer the place of honor is outboard, and when
reversing direction each turns towards the other. The port side of the
quarterdeck is reserved for commissioned officers, and the crew has
all the rest of the weather decks of the ship. However, every part of
the deck (and the ship) is assigned to a particular division so that
the crew has ample space. Not unnaturally every division considers it
has a prior though unwritten right to its own part of the ship. For
gatherings such as smokers and movies, all divisions have equal
privileges at the scene of assemblage. Space and chairs are reserved
for officers and for CPO's, where available, and mess benches are
brought up for the men. The seniors have the place of honor. When the
captain (and admiral) arrive those present are called to attention.
The captain customarily gives "carry on" at once through the executive
officer or master-at-arms who accompanies him to his seat.

If you take passage on board a naval vessel you will be assigned to
one of several messes on board ship, the wardroom or junior officer's
mess. In off-hours, particularly in the evenings, you can foregather
there for cards, yarns or reading. Generally a percolator is available
with hot coffee.

The Executive Officer is ex officio the president of the wardroom
mess. The wardroom officers are the division officers and the heads of
departments. All officers await the arrival of the Executive Officer
before being seated at lunch and dinner. If it is necessary for you to
leave early, ask the head at your table for permission to be excused
as you would at home. The seating arrangement in the messes is by
order of seniority.

Naval Officers are required to pay their mess bills in advance. The
mess treasurer takes care of the receipts and expenditures and the
management of the mess. The mess chooses him by election every month.
When assigned to a mess you are an honorary member. Consult the mess
treasurer as to when he will receive payment for mess bills. Your
meals are served by stewards who in addition, clean your room, make up
your bunk, shine your shoes. This is their regular work for which they
draw the pay of their rating. They are not tipped.

The Cigar Mess is the successor of the old Wine Mess. You may make
purchases from this mess, for example, of cigarettes, cigars, pipe
tobacco and candies. The cigar mess treasurer will make out your bill
at the end of the month or before your detachment. Before you are
detached be sure that the mess treasurer and the cigar mess treasurer
have sufficient warning to make out your bills before you leave. Once
a ship has sailed, long delays usually occur before your remittances
can overtake it. The unpaid mess bill on board is a more serious
breach of propriety than the unpaid club bill ashore because of the
greater inconvenience and delay in settlement.

Passenger officers should call on the captain of the ship. If there
are many, they should choose a calling committee and consult the
executive officer as to a convenient time to call. The latter will
make arrangements with the captain.

Gun salutes in the Navy are the same as in the Army, except that flag
officers below the rank of fleet admiral or general of the Army are,
by Navy regulations, given a gun salute upon departure only. By Army
regulations gun salutes for the same officers are fired only on

The rules governing saluting, whether saluting other individuals or
paying honor to the color or National Anthem, are the same for the Air
Force as in the Army, with the minor exceptions already noted. Because
a most frequent contact between the Air Force and the other services
comes of the operations of air transport, an officer should know what
is expected of him when he travels as a passenger in military

It is assumed that the majority of officers visiting an Air Force base
will arrive by air at the local military airfield. In addition to the
Base Operations Officer, who is the commander's staff officer with
jurisdiction over air traffic arriving and departing, the Airdrome
Officer is charged with meeting all transient aircraft, determining
their transportation requirements, and directing them to the various
base facilities. General officers and admirals will usually be met by
the Base Commander if practicable. RON (Remaining Over Night) messages
may be transmitted through Base Operations at the same time the
arrival notice is filed.

Pilots of transient aircraft carrying classified equipment are
responsible for the safeguarding of that equipment unless it can be
removed from the aircraft and stored in an adequately guarded area.
Under unusual circumstances, it may be possible to arrange for a
special airplane guard with the base commander.

Passengers from other services, who desire to remain overnight at an
air force station should make the necessary arrangements with the
Airdrome Officer, and not attach themselves to the pilot who will be
busy with his own responsibilities. By the same token, passengers of
other services who have had a special flight arranged for them should
make every effort to see that the pilot and crew are offered the same
accommodations that they themselves are using, unless the particular
base has adequate transient accommodations.

Passenger vehicles are never allowed on the ramp or flight line unless
special arrangements have been made with the Base Operations Officer;
this permission will be granted only under the most unusual

The assigned first pilot, or the airplane commander, is the final
authority on the operation of any military aircraft. Passengers,
regardless of rank, seniority, or service, are subject to the orders
of the airplane commander, who is held responsible for their adherence
to regulations governing conduct in and around the aircraft. In the
event it is impractical for the airplane commander to leave his
position, orders may be transmitted through the copilot, engineer, or
flight clerk, and have the same authority as if given by the pilot

The order of boarding and alighting from military aircraft--excluding
the crew--will vary somewhat with the nature of the mission. If a
special flight is arranged for the transportation of Very Important
Persons, official inspecting parties, or other high ranking officers
of any service, the senior member will enter first and take the seat
of his choice, unless the aircraft is compartmented otherwise. Other
members of the party will enter in order of rank, and precedence among
officers of the same rank will be determined among the officers
themselves. In alighting from the aircraft, the senior member will
exit first, and the other members of the party will follow either in
order of rank, or in order of seating, those nearest the hatch
alighting first. The duties of the crew preclude their acting as
arbiters in matters of precedence, and order of boarding and alighting
will be decided among the members of the party.

In routine flights, officers will normally be loaded in order of rank
without regard for precedence, except that any VIP will be on- and
off-loaded first; in alighting, officers will leave as they are seated
from the exit forward--officers seated near the hatch will debark
first, and so on to those who are seated farthest forward. In the
event civilian dependents are being carried, or an enlisted man
accompanied by dependents, they will be loaded after any VIP and
before the officers, and leave in the same sequence.

Aircraft carrying general or flag officers will usually be marked with
a detachable metal plate carrying stars appropriate to the highest
rank aboard, and will be greeted on arrival by the Air Force Base
Commander, if the destination is an Air Force base. Other aircraft are
usually met by the Airdrome Officer, who is appointed for one day
only, and acts as the Base Commander's representative.

Other personnel on active duty, seeking transportation on navigation
or training missions, should realize that the flight is at the pilot's
convenience. While the pilot will usually agree to any reasonable
request, he can not deviate from his approved flight plan simply to
accommodate a passenger. By the same token, passengers should be
prompt, observe all pertinent safety regulations, and remain in the
passengers compartment of the aircraft unless specifically invited to
the flight deck or pilot's compartment. Under instrument
conditions--so-called "blind" flying--continuous movement of the
passengers of the aircraft makes unnecessary work for the pilot in
maintaining balance, trim, and his assigned altitude. Passengers who
are abnormally active while in the air are sometimes called--with
exasperation--"waltzing mice."

Since flights are somewhat dependent on weather, especially when
carrying passengers, the decision of the pilot to fly or not to fly,
or to alter his flight plan enroute will not be questioned by the
passengers of whatever rank or service. Regulations governing the use
of safety belts; wearing of parachutes; smoking during take-off,
landing, fuel transfer, or in the vicinity of the aircraft on the
ground are binding on all classes of passengers.

When airplanes participate in the funeral of an aviator, it is
customary to fly in a normal tactical formation, less one aircraft, to
indicate the vacancy formerly occupied by the deceased. The flight
should be so timed that it appears over the procession while the
remains are being carried to the grave. Care should be exercised that
the noise of the flight does not drown out the service at the edge of
the grave.

Other ceremonies, including Retreat and reviews, are the same for the
Air Force as for the Army.

By custom; and because it is the natural way of an American, the
officers of the host service accord more than their average
hospitality to the individual from any other service who may be
visiting or doing duty among them. Even the young officer, having this
experience for the first time, and in consequence feeling a little
strange about it, is not permitted to feel that way long. He quickly
finds a second home, provided there is that in his nature which
responds to friendship.

These amenities, carefully observed at all levels, contribute more
directly to a spiritual uniting of American fighting forces than all
of the policies which have been promulgated toward the serving of that



In one of Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son there is to be found
this bit of wisdom: "Dispatch is the soul of business and nothing
contributes more to dispatch than method. Fix one certain hour and day
in the week for your accounts, keep them together in their proper
order, and you can never be much cheated."

Although that is good advice in any man's league, there is just a
little more reason why the military officer should adopt a system of
accounting whereby he can keep his record straight, his affairs
solvent and his situation mobile than if he had remained in civil

He rarely, if ever, becomes permanently fixed in one location or
remains tied to one group of individuals who know his credit, his
ability, his past accomplishments and his general reputation. In the
nature of his work, these things have to be reestablished from point
to point, and if he personally does not take pains to conserve them,
he can be certain only that no one else ever will.

On the whole, the attitude of the services toward the private affairs
and nonduty conduct of their officers can be best set forth by once
again employing Chesterfield's phrases: "If you have the knowledge,
the honor, and probity which you may have, the marks and warmth of my
affection will amply reward you; but if you have them not, my aversion
and indignation will rise in the same proportion."

Reassignment to a distant station is of course a day-to-day
possibility in the life of any military officer. Far from this being a
general hardship, it is because the pattern of work and environment
changes frequently, and the opportunity to build new friendships is
almost endless, that the best men are attracted to the services. To
vegetate in one spot is killing to the spirit of the individual who is
truly fitted to play a lead part in bold enterprises, and for that
reason there is something very unseemly and unmilitary about the
officer who resists movement.

On the other hand, a move order is like a club over the head to the
officer who hasn't kept his own deck clean, has made no clear
accounting of himself and is out of funds and harassed by his

Concerning the evils of running into debt, there is hardly need for a
sermon to any American male who has brains enough to memorize his
general orders. As Mr. Micawber put it to David Copperfield, "The
blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of days goes down
upon the dreary scene, and--and in short, you are forever floored."
The over-extension of credit is a not unknown American failing. It is
now the nigh universal custom to overload the home with every kind of
gadget, usually bought on time, and nearly all intended to provide the
householder with every possible excuse for resisting human toil or for
declining to use any personal ingenuity in making life interesting for
his family. It is all good enough for those who must have it, but it
is well for an officer to remember that the greater the accumulation,
the less his chance of accommodating his personal establishment to the
requirements of the service. All moves are costly, even though the
government pays most of the freight.

For these and many other reasons, the habit of systematic saving is an
essential form of career insurance. The officer who will not deprive
himself of a few luxuries to build up a financial reserve is as
reckless of his professional future as the one who in battle commits
his manpower reserve to front-line action without first weighing his

In the old days, keeping up with the Joneses was almost a part of
service tradition. If the colonel's lady owned a bob-tailed nag, the
major's wife could be satisfied with nothing less than a bay. And so
on and on. Things are no longer that way. They have become much more

There is one other kind of credit--the professional credit which an
officer is entitled to keep with his own establishment. Junior
officers are entitled to know that which their superiors are often
too forgetful to tell them--that if they have made some especially
distinct and worthy contribution to the service, it belongs in the
permanent record. If, for example, an officer has written part of a
manual, or sat on a major board or committee or provided the idea
which has resulted in an improvement of materiel, the fact should be
noted in the 201 file, or its equivalent. Such things are not done
automatically, as many an officer has learned too late and to his
sorrow. But any officer is within propriety in asking this
acknowledgment from his responsible superior.

The legal assistance office in an officer's immediate organization
will usually suffice his needs in the drawing of all papers essential
to his personal housekeeping.

To make a will is merely good business practice, and to neglect it
simply because one's holdings are small is to postpone forming the
habits which mark a responsible person. Because of superstition and a
reluctance to think about death, about three out of every four
Americans die intestate. That is about as foolish as leading men into
battle without designating a second in command. The Armed Services
counsel all officers to take the more responsible view, and make it
easy for their officers to do this duty without cost.

A power of attorney enables one person to take certain legal steps for
another in his absence, and execute papers which would usually require
his signature. When an officer is going on an extended tour overseas,
his interests are apt to be left dangling unless he leaves such a
power with his wife, mother, best friend or some other person, thereby
avoiding loss of money and excess worry.

Any citizen may draw up a will in his own handwriting, and if it is
properly attested, it will have some standing in court. Likewise, a
power of attorney can be executed on a blank form. But it is foolish
for a military officer to do these things halfway when the legal
offices of the service are available to him, not only for performing
the work, but for counseling him as to its effect.

There is one other step that the responsible man takes on his own. It
is not likely that his wife or any other person knows at any one time
the whole story of his interests, obligations and holdings, as to
where goods may be stored, savings kept, insurance policies filed,
what debts are owed and what accounts are receivable. In the event of
his sudden death, next of kin would be at a loss to know whom and
where to call to get the estate settled smoothly, and with all things
accurately inventoried. So it is a practical idea to keep an
up-to-date check list in ledger form, but containing all pertinent
information whereby things may be made readily accessible. If for some
private reason, it is preferred not to leave this with next of kin, it
can be kept in a top drawer at the office, where it could scarcely
escape attention.

A current inventory of household goods is also a safety and
time-saving precaution. As changes occur, the list can be corrected
and kept fresh. Then in case of a sudden move, there is almost nothing
to be done in preparation for the movers, and in the event of loss
anywhere along the line, one's own tables will provide a basis for
recovery. Goods are not infrequently mislaid, lost, or damaged when
shipped or warehoused, and the more authentic the description of the
goods in question, the better the chances for the claim.

For any officer with dependents, insurance is of course a necessity.
How much it should be, and what its form, are matters for his judgment
and conscience, and according to his circumstances. The services do
not try to tell a man how he should provide for his family. Men of
honor need no such reminder, though they may be bothered by the
question: "How much can I afford?" On that point, sufficient to say
that it is _not_ more blessed to be insolvent and worried about debts
from being overloaded with insurance than for any other reason. Many
retired officers supplement their pay by selling insurance. When a
young service officer wants insurance counsel, he will find that they
are disposed to deal sympathetically with his problem.

A few recurrent expenses, such as insurance premiums and bond
purchases, can be met with allotments through the Finance or
Disbursing Officer. The forms for the starting of an allotment are
quite simple. When an officer is going overseas, if his dependents are
not to follow immediately, an allotment is the best way to insure
that they will get their income regularly. Overseas expenses are
usually quite light, which means that the allotment may safely be made
in larger amount than half the monthly pay. Under certain
circumstances, it may also be arranged for allotments to be made to
banks, as a form of steady saving.

Adverting for a moment to the question of what happens to a service
officer when he becomes ridden by debt and plagued by his creditors,
it is a fair statement that the generality of higher commanders are
not unsympathetic, that they know that shrewdness and thrift are quite
often the product of a broadened experience, and that their natural
disposition is to temper the wind to the shorn lamb, if there are
signs that he is making a reasonable effort to recover. When it
becomes clear that he is taking the service for a ride and cares
nothing for the good name of the officer corps, they'll send him
packing. A man harassed by debt, and not knowing how to meet his
situation, is always well-advised to go to his commander, make a clean
statement of the case, and ask for his counsel.

Every officer should be absolutely scrupulous about keeping a
complete, chronologically arranged file of all official papers having
anything to do with his status, movements, duties, or possessions.
That may seem burdensome, but it is well worth doing, since one never
knows when an old paper will become germane to a current question or

Likewise, receipts are necessary whenever one spends money on anything
(for instance, travel) on which reimbursement is expected from the
Government. Regulations are clear on this point--the Government simply
will not give the individual the benefit of the doubt. No receipt; no
check from the Treasury.

The military society is a little more tightly closed than a civilian
society, particularly in posts, camps and stations. For that reason
the pressure from the distaff side is usually a little heavier. Wives
get together more frequently, know one another better, and take a more
direct interest in their husbands' careers than is common elsewhere.
That has its advantages, but also its headaches. There is an
occasional officer who is so immature in his judgments as to permit
his wife's feelings about a colleague or a colleague's wife to
supervene in the affairs of organization. This is one way to ask for

Gossip is to be avoided because it is vicious, self-destructive,
unmanly, unmilitary and, most of the time, untrue. The obligation of
each officer toward his fellow officer is to build him up, which
implies the use of moral pressure against whatsoever influence would
pull him down. While the love of scandal is universal, and the
services can not hope to rid themselves altogether of the average
human failings, it is possible for any man to guard his own tongue
and, by the example of moderation, serve to keep all such discussion
temperate. Were all officers to make a conscious striving in this
direction, the credit of the corps as a whole, and the satisfactions
of each of its members in his service, would be tremendously
increased. Besides, there is another point: gossip is the mark of the
man insufficiently occupied with serious thought about his personal
responsibilities. His carelessness about the destruction of the
character of others is incidental to his indifference to those things
which make for character in self.

As for the rest of it, we can turn back to Chesterfield, with whom we
started. For how might any man state it more neatly than with these

"Were I to begin the world again with the experience which I now have
of it, I would lead a life of real, not of imaginary pleasure. I would
enjoy the pleasures of the table and of wine, but stop short of the
pains inseparably annexed to an excess of either.

"I should let other people do as they would without formally and
sententiously rebuking them for it. But I would be most firmly
resolved not to destroy my own faculties and constitution in
complaisance to those who have no regard for their own.

"I would play to give me pleasure, but not to give me pain. That is, I
would play for trifles in mixed companies, to amuse myself and conform
to custom. But I would take care not to venture for sums which if I
won I would not be the better for, but if I lost, should be under a
difficulty to pay."



The main answer can be stated almost as simply as doing right-face.
Hear this:

If you like people, if you seek contact with them rather than hiding
yourself in a corner, if you study your fellow men sympathetically, if
you try consistently to contribute something to their success and
happiness, if you are reasonably generous with your thoughts and your
time, if you have a partial reserve with everyone but a seeming
reserve with no one, if you work to be interesting rather than spend
to be a good fellow, you will get along with your superiors, your
subordinates, your orderly, your roommate and the human race.

It is easy enough to chart a course for the individual who is wise
enough to make human relationships his main concern. But getting the
knack of it is sufficiently more difficult that it is safe to say more
talk has been devoted to this subject than to any other topic of
conversation since Noah quit the Ark. From Confucius down to Emily
Post, greater and lesser minds have worked at gentling the human race.
By the scores of thousands, precepts and platitudes have been written
for the guidance of personal conduct. The odd part of it is that
despite all of this labor, most of the frictions in modern society
arise from the individual's feeling of inferiority, his false pride,
his vanity, his unwillingness to yield space to any other man, and his
consequent urge to throw his own weight around. Goethe said that the
quality which best enables a man to renew his own life, in his
relation to others, is that he will become capable of renouncing
particular things at the right moment in order warmly to embrace
something new in the next.

That is earthy advice for any member of the officer corps. For who is
regarded as the strong man in the service--the individual who fights
with tooth and nail to hold to a particular post or privilege? Not at
all! Full respect is given only to him who at all times is willing to
yield his space to a worthy successor, because of an ingrained
confidence that he can succeed as greatly in some other sphere.

For a fresh start in this study of getting along with people, we could
not do better than quote what was published some time ago in the
United States Coast Guard Magazine. Under the title "_Thirteen
Mistakes_," the coast guardsmen raised their warning flares above the
13 pitfalls. It is a mistake:

    1. To attempt to set up your own standard of right and wrong.

    2. To try to measure the enjoyment of others by your own.

    3. To expect uniformity of opinions in the world.

    4. To fail to make allowance for inexperience.

    5. To endeavor to mold all dispositions alike.

    6. Not to yield on unimportant trifles.

    7. To look for perfection in our own actions.

    8. To worry ourselves and others about what can't be remedied.

    9. Not to help everybody wherever, however, whenever we can.

    10. To consider impossible what we cannot ourselves perform.

    11. To believe only what our finite minds can grasp.

    12. Not to make allowances for the weakness of others.

    13. To estimate by some outside quality, when it is that within
    which makes the man.

The unobserving officer will no doubt dismiss this list as just so
many clichés. The reflective man will accept it as a negative guide to
positive conduct, for it engages practically every principle which is
vital to the growth of a strong spiritual life in relation to one's
fellow men.

Certain of these points stand out as prominently as pips on a radar
screen to the military officer bent on keeping his own ship out of
trouble. The morals contained in 4, 5, 12, and 13 all come to bear in
the story told by Sgt. Fred Miller about Pvt. Fred Lang of Hospital
No. 1 on Bataan. Miller had tried to do what he could for Lang, but no
one else in the detachment was willing to give him a break. He was an
unlettered hillbilly and, being ashamed of his own ignorance, he was
shy toward other men. The rest of the story is best told in Miller's

"When the Japs made their first bombing run on Marivales, most of us,
being new at war, huddled together under such cover as we could find.
Some people were hit outside. We stayed where we were. But we looked
out and saw Lang. He was trying to handle a stretcher by himself,
dragging one end along the ground in an effort to bring in the
wounded. I remember one member of our group remarking, 'Look at old
Lang trying to do litter drill right in the middle of a war.' Lang was
killed by an enemy bomb that night. I guess he had to die to make us
understand that he was the best man."

There is hardly an American who has been in combat but can tell some
other version of this same story, changing only the names and the
surroundings. All too frequently it happens in the services--we look
at a man, and because at a casual inspection we do not like the cut of
his jib, or the manner of his response, or are over-persuaded by what
someone else has said about him, we reach a permanent conclusion about
his possibilities, and either mentally write him off, or impair our
own capacity for giving him help.

It suffices to say that when any officer has the inexcusable fault
that he takes snap judgment on his _own_ men, he will not be any
different in his relations with all other people, and will stand in
his own light for the duration of his career. Which leads to one other
observation. When any man, bearing a bad efficiency report, comes to a
new organization, it is a fact to be noted with mild interest, but
_without any prejudice whatever_. Every new assignment means a clean
slate, and there should be no hangover from what has happened,
including the possible mistaken judgments of others. The system was
never intended to give a dog a bad name. To be perpetually supervised,
questioned and shadowed is to be doubted, and doubt destroys
confidence and creates fear, slyness and discontent in the other
individual. Every man is entitled to a fresh hold on security with his
new superior. Any wise and experienced senior commander will tell you
this, and will cite examples of men who came to him with a spotty
record, who started nervously, began to pick up after realizing that
they were not going to get another kick, and went on to become
altogether superior. For any right-minded commander, it is far more
gratifying to be able to salvage human material than to take over an
organization that is sound from bottom to top.

However, the truth in point 9 applies universally. The studied effort
to be helpful in all of our relations with our fellow men, and to give
help not grudgingly, but cheerfully, courteously and in greater
measure than is expected, is the high road to wide influence and
personal strength of character. More than all else, it is the little
kindnesses in life which bind men together and help each wayfarer to
start the day right. These tokens are like bread cast upon the water;
they ultimately nourish the giver more than the direct beneficiary.
One of our best-known corps commanders in the Pacific War made it a
rule that if any man serving under him, or any man he knew in the
service, however unimportant, was promoted or given any other
recognition, he would write a letter to the man's wife or mother,
saying how proud he felt. He was not a great tactician or strategist
but, because of the little things he did, men loved him and would ride
to hell for him, and their collective moral strength became the
bastion of his professional success.

Of Maj. Gen. Henry T. Allen, who commanded our first Army of
Occupation in Germany, a distinguished contemporary once said: "It
surprised us that Allen did so well; in the old Army we regarded him
as a swashbuckler." Maybe that was because he was a cavalryman and
liked to strut, and he liked to see chestiness in his own people,
right down to the last file. But General Allen was infinitely
considerate of the dignity of all other men, and he disciplined
himself to further their growth and give them some mark of his
thoughtful regard so far as lay within his power. It was because of
his rich understanding humanity, and not through any genial slackness,
that he kept a tight hold on discipline. To the units he commanded he
gave his own tone. He warmed men instead of chilling them with fear.
Thousands returned to civil life better equipped for the passage
because of what they had seen him do and heard him say.

So we can link points 1, 6, 7, and 8 from the Coast Guard's list into
one binding truth not less essential to sound officership than to
action anywhere which seeks the cooperation and goodwill of men: _It
is not more blessed to be right than to be loved_, Henry Clay's remark
that he would rather be right than president notwithstanding. The
absolute perfectionist is the most tiresome of men, and a waster of
time and of nerves. The stickler, the fly-speckler, the bully and the
sadist serve only to encumber those parts of the establishment which
they touch; their subordinates spend part of their own strength
clearing away the wreckage which these misfits make.

Other than these comments, it is not necessary to say a great deal
about the _inner qualities_ which give an officer a free-wheeling
adjustment with other persons in all walks of life. Once again,
however, it might be well to speak of the importance of enthusiasm,
kindness, courtesy, and justice, which are the safeguards of honor and
the tokens of mutual respect between man and man. This last there must
be if men are to go forward together, prosper in one another's
company, find strength in the bonds of mutual service, and experience
a common felicity in the relationship between the leader and the led.

But it is sadly the case that the reputation of any man, as to what he
is inside, forms in large measure from what others see of him from the
outside. That is what makes poignant the story of Pvt. Fred Lang; like
a singed cat, he was better than he looked. In the military service,
more than elsewhere in life, manner weighs heavily in the balance, if
only for the reason that from the public point of view, the military
officer is supposed to look the part. He is expected to be the
embodiment of character, given to forthright but amiable speech,
capable of expressing his ideas and purpose clearly, careful of
customs and good usage, and carrying himself with poise and assurance.
For if he does not have the aura of vitality, confidence and
reflection which is expected in a leader of men, it will be suspected
that he is incapable of playing the part. However unfairly
discriminating that judgment may seem to be, in comparison with the
attitude toward other professions, it has a perfectly logical basis.
The people are willing to forgive preoccupation in all others, since
how an engineer dresses has no relation to his skill as a
mathematician, and when a doctor mumbles it doesn't suggest that he
would be clumsy with a scalpel. But when they meet an uncivil or
unkempt officer, or see an untidy soldier or bluejacket on the street,
they worry that the national defense is going to pot. One reason for
the great prestige of the Marine Corps is that the public seldom, if
ever, sees a sloppy marine, though its members do sometimes look a
little gruesome on the field of battle.

The officer corps does have its share of "characters." Some are men
born in an uncommon mold, with a great deal of natural phlegm in their
systems, a gift for salty speech and a tendency to drawl their words
as if their thoughts were being raised from a deep well. Usually, they
are men of extraordinary power, and are worth any dozen of that
individual who scuttles about like a water bug, making an exhibition
of great energy but, like the whirling dervish, keeping in such
constant motion that he has no chance to observe what goes on under
his nose. Here, as in all things, it is steadiness that does it. The
blunt soldier, the old sea-dog type of naval officer, is endurable and
even lovable in the eyes of most other people, when he has done his
scrapping with fire rather than firewater, when his personal
credentials are sound, and when his outward manner is bluff in both
meanings of the word. But the fakers who affect the crusty manner, the
glaring eye and the jutting jaw, simply because they are wearing
military suits and think mistakenly that these things are in the
tradition, will be recognized as counterfeit as quickly as a lead

There is nothing else that serves as well as the natural manner, with
some polishing of the surfaces here and there, and a general
tightening at the corners.

While a partial check list is not likely to reform the establishment
overnight, if kept simple enough, it may afford help to an occasional
individual, instead of giving him the fear that he is falling apart at
the seams.

The smartest physical culturists are swinging around to the idea that
correct posture alone is the great secret of physical fitness, that if
a man sits well, stands erect and walks correctly all the time, he is
doing more for his health and longevity than all of the setting-up
exercises and sweat baths yet devised. At the same time he is making a
favorable impression on all who see him. Clumsy one-sided postures,
fidgeting on a chair, slouching while sitting or standing, moving
along at a shambling gait and speaking with the chin down on the chest
produce quite the opposite effect. Right or wrong, they are taken as a
sign of indolence, fatigue, or inattention. There is always an hour
for complete physical relaxation, for stretching and letting the
muscles melt; Winston Churchill attributed a large part of his vigor
and recuperative powers to the habit of taking a 30-minute cat nap in
midday. That is a smart trick if one can master it. But trying most of
all for _physical ease_ when in conversation, or at conference, or in
attending to any matter wherein one comes under the surveillance of
those whose good opinion is worth cultivating is as certain a handicap
as putting excess weight on an otherwise good horse.

In the services, as in any situation in life in which deference to
higher opinion is compelled by the nature of an undertaking, the young
will do well to consider the wisdom of the precept, "Be patient with
your betters."

It is lamentably bad judgment to act by any other rules. Where
differences of opinion exist, time and forbearance not infrequently
will work the desired change, where stubbornness or rudeness would
utterly fail. More than that, a junior owes this much consideration to
any senior whose heart is in the right place. It is bad manners, but
even worse from the standpoint of tactics, to attempt publicly to
score a victory over a senior in any dispute, or to attempt by wit to
gain the upperhand of him in the presence of others. Though the point
may be gained for the moment, it is usually at the cost of one's
personal hold on the confidence of the senior.

But there is also the other side of the case, that the superior should
deal considerately with any earnest proposal from his subordinate,
rather than dashing cold water in his face, just because he has not
thought his proposition through. One of the best-loved editors of the
United States, Grove Patterson, of Toledo, Ohio, was remembered by
every young journalist who ever came under him because of the care
with which he supported every man's pride. A youngster would go in to
him, filled with enthusiasm for some idea, which he himself had not
bothered to view in the round. Patterson would listen carefully, and
would then say: "That's a corking idea. Take it and work it out
carefully, going over every aspect of it. Then bring it back to me."
On second thought, the youngster would begin having his own doubts,
and would shortly begin hoping that the chief would forget all about
the subject, which he invariably did. Many celebrated commanders in
our military services have won the lasting affection of their
subordinates by employing exactly this method.

Men like the direct glance. They feel flattered by it, particularly
when they are talking, and in conversation they like to be heard
through, not interrupted in mid-passage. That is true whatever their
station. Nobody likes to be bored, but fully half of boredom comes
from lack of the habit of careful listening. The man who will not
listen never develops wits enough to distinguish between a bore and a
sage and therefore cannot pick the best company. The vacant stare, the
drifting of eyes from the speaker to a window, or a picture or a
passing blonde, though greatly tempting in the midst of long
discourse, are taken only as signs of inattention. Many a young
officer called to the carpet for some trivial business has managed to
square himself with his commander just by looking straight and talking
straight in the few moments that decided his future.

Elsewhere in the book, a great deal has been said about the importance
of the voice and of developing one's powers of conversation. Not a
great deal more needs to be added here. But there is no excuse for the
officer who talks so that others must strain to hear what he is
saying--unless he is suffering from laryngitis. It is simple enough
to keep the chin up and let the words roll out. Many persons have the
bad habit of letting the voice drop at the end of a sentence; the
effect on the other party is like watching a man run away from a
fight. For clear understanding, and to create a good impression, there
should be a cheerful lift upward at the end of a sentence.

Also, officers who look at lecturing simply as part of the routine
tend to fall into either the singsong rhythm which one frequently
hears in college professors and certain radio announcers, or go all
out for the sonorous intonations which are beloved by many of the
clergy. Many young officers get into these same cadences whenever they
talk to men, and before they know it, they are trying the same thing
in the family circle. They sound like alarm clocks running down, but
instead of arousing the house, they are an invitation to slumber.
Either on the lecture platform, or in man-to-man conversation, there
is no valid reason why it is ever necessary to take the tone which
suggests that the talk is one-sided. Words can be crisply uttered and
still be personally directed, but not if the speaker is looking at the
floor, the moon or the rafters. To discuss a question amicably is the
best way to gain clear insight into it; when a man argues violently,
his purpose usually is not to serve wisdom but to prevail despite his
lack of it, thus stultifying both himself and his adversary.

Clothes are important. They have to be. One can't go very far without
them, north of the Equator. But a fresh press counts more than a new
suit by a Fifth Avenue tailor left unpressed, and neatness beats
lavishness any day in the week.

Carefulness in the little things counts much. Men develop an aversion
to the individual who cannot remember their names, their titles or
their stations, but they will warm to the person who remembers, and
they will overlook most of his other shortcomings. Likewise, they are
won by any words of appreciation or of interest in what they are
doing. Get a man talking about his business, his golf game or his
family, and you are on the inside track toward his friendship. As for
senior commanders, when the hours comes for them to bat the ball back
and forth in friendly conversation, there is nothing they enjoy more
than reminiscing about experiences on the battlefield. Other than
inveterate surgical patients, no one can outdo them in talking about
their operations.

It isn't lengthy advice which is needed on this subject, since a man
commissioned is considered to have graduated from at least the
kindergarten of good manners. What counts is simply caring about it,
not to be ingratiating to other people, but for the sake of one's own
dignity and self-respect.

None of the oracles on winning friends and influencing people have
said it in those few words, and if they had, there would have been no
books to sell.



In that gallery of Great Americans whose names are conspicuously
identified with the prospering of the national arms in peace and war,
there are almost as many types as there are men.

There were a certain few qualities that they had to possess in common
or their names would never have become known beyond the county line.

But these were inner qualities, often deep buried, rather than outward
marks of greatness which men recognized immediately upon beholding

Some almost missed the roll call, either because in early life their
weaknesses were more apparent than their strengths, or because of an
outward seeming of insignificance which at first fooled their

In the minority are the few who seemed marked for greatness almost
from the cradle, and were acclaimed for leadership while still of
tender years.

Winfield Scott, a Brigadier in the War of 1812 when Brigadiers were
few, and Chief of Staff when the Civil War began, is a unique figure
in the national history.

George Washington, Adjutant of the State of Virginia at 21, is one
other military infant prodigy who never later belied his early fame.

The majority in the gallery are not like these. No two of them are
strikingly alike in mien and manner. Their personalities are as
different, for most part, as their names. Their characters also ran
the range of the spectrum, or nearly, if we are talking of moral
habit, rather than of conscientious performance of military duty. Some
drank their whiskey neat and frequently; others loathed it and took a
harsh line with any subordinate who used it.

One of the greatest generals in American history, celebrated for his
fighting hardly more than for his tippling, would walk from the room
if any man tried to tell an off-color story in his presence.

One of the most celebrated and successful of our Admirals endeared
himself to millions of men in all ranks and services by his trick of
gathering his chief subordinates together just prior to battle,
issuing his orders sternly and surely, and then relaxing long enough
to tell them his latest parlor story, knowing that finally it would
trickle down through the whole command.

Among the warriors in this gallery are men who would bet a month's pay
on a horse race. There are duellists and brawlers, athletes and
aesthetes, men who lived almost sainted lives and scholars who lived
more for learning than for fame.

Some tended to be so over-reclusive that they almost missed
recognition; others were hail-fellow-well-met in any company.

Their methods of work reflected these extreme variations in personal
type, as did the means they used to draw other men to them, thereby
setting a foundation for real success.

Part of their number commanded mainly through the sheer force of
ideas; others owed their fortune more to the magnetism of dynamic

In a few there was the spark of genius. All things seemed to come
right with them at all times. Fate was kind, the openings occurred,
and they were prepared to take advantage of them.

But the greater number moved up the hill one slow step at a time, not
always sure of their footing, buffeted by mischance, owning no exalted
opinion of their own merits, reacting to discouragement much as other
men would do, but finally accumulating power as they learned how to
organize the work of other men.

While a young lieutenant, Admiral Sims became so incensed, when the
United States would not take his word on a voucher, that he offered to

General Grant signally failed to organize his life as an individual
prior to the time when a turn of the wheel gave him his chance to
organize the military power of the United States in war.

General Sherman, who commanded the Army for almost 15 years, was
considered by many of his close friends to be a fit subject for
confinement as a mental case just prior to the Civil War.

General Meade, one of the sweetest and most serene of men in his
family relationships, lacked confidence in his own merits and was very
abusive of his associates during battle.

Admiral Farragut, whose tenderness as an individual are marked by the
16 years in which he personally nursed an invalid wife, was so
independent in his professional thought and action that both in and
out of the Navy he was disqualified as a "climber." He got into
wretched quarrels with his superiors mainly because he felt his
assignments afforded him no distinction. The Civil War gave him his

Admiral John Paul Jones, though an unusually modest man, was as
redoubtable in the boudoir as at sea, and it would be hard to say
which type of engagement most caught his fancy.

General Winfield Scott, as firm a commander as ever drew on a glove,
plagued the service with his petty bickering over rank, seniority, and

They were all mortal. Being human, they had their points of personal
weakness, just as any newly appointed ensign or second lieutenant also
has weak spots in his armor, and sometimes views them in such false
proportion that he doubts his own potential for high responsibility.

There is not one perfect life in the gallery of the great. All were
moulded by the human influences which surrounded them. They reacted in
their own feelings, and toward other men, according as their personal
fortunes rose and fell. They sought help where it could be found. When
disappointed, they chilled like anyone else. But along with their
professional talents, they possessed, in common, a desire for
substantial recognition, accompanied by the will to earn it fairly, or
else the nation would never have heard their names.

All in all it is a multifarious gallery. If we were to pass it in
review, and then inspect it carefully, it would still be impossible to
say: "This is the composite of character. This is the prototype of
military success. Model upon it and you have the pinnacle within

The same thing would no doubt hold true of a majority of the better
men who commanded ships, squadrons, regiments, and companies under
these commanders, and at their own level were as superior in
leadership as the relatively few who rose to national stature because
of the achievements of the general body.

The same rule will apply tomorrow. Those who come forward to fill
these same places, and to command them with equal or greater authority
and competence, will not be plaster saints, laden with all human
virtue, spotless in character and fit to be anointed with a superman
legend by some future Parson Weems. They will be men with a human
quality, and a strong belief in the United States and the goodness of
a free society. They will have some of the average man's faults, and
maybe a few of his vices. But certainly they will possess the
qualities of courage, creative intelligence and physical fitness in
more than average measure.

What we know of our great leaders in the current age should disparage
the idea that only a superman may scale the heights. Trained observers
have noted in their personalities and careers many of the plain
characteristics which each man feels in himself and mistakenly
believes is a bar to preferment.

Drew Middleton, the British correspondent, wrote of Gen. Carl "Tooey"
Spaatz: "This man, who may be a heroic figure to our grandchildren, is
essentially an unheroic figure to his contemporaries. He is in fact
such a friendly, human person that observers tend to minimize his
stature as a war leader. He is not temperamental. He makes no rousing
speeches, writes no inspirational orders. Spaatz, in issuing orders
for a major operation involving 1,500 airplanes, is about as inspiring
as a groceryman ordering another five cases of canned peas."

In the files of the Navy Department there is a picture of Admiral Marc
A. Mitscher, the famed commander of Task Force 58, coming on board a
flagship to take command of a force of carriers. Officers and men are
lined up at spick-and-span attention. The Admiral himself appears as a
little man in a rumpled khaki uniform, tieless and wearing an
informal garrison cap. Under his arm is a book, and in the photograph
the title can be read as "Send Another Coffin." Mitscher liked
detective stories; he didn't like ceremonial pomp.

An interviewer who called on Gen. Ira C. Eaker when he was leading 8th
Air Force against Germany found "a strikingly soft-spoken, sober,
compact man who has the mild manner of a conservative minister and the
judicial outlook of a member of the Supreme Court. But he is always
about two steps ahead of everybody on the score, and there is a quiet,
inexorable logic about everything he does." Of his own choice, Eaker
would have separated from military service after World War I. He
wanted to be a lawyer and he also toyed with the idea of running a
country newspaper. In his off hours, he wrote books on aviation for
junior readers. On the side, he studied civil law and found it
"valuable mental training."

On the eve of the Guadalcanal landing, Gen. A. A. Vandegrift's final
order to his command ended with the stirring and now celebrated
phrase: "God favors the bold and strong of heart." Yet in the
afterglow of later years, the Nation read a character sketch of him
which included this: "He is so polite and so soft spoken that he is
continually disappointing the people whom he meets. They find him
lacking in the fire-eating traits they like to expect of all marines,
and they find it difficult to believe that such a mild-mannered man
could really have led and won the bloody fight." When another officer
spoke warmly of Vandegrift's coolness under fire, his "grace under
pressure," to quote Hemingway's phrase, he replied: "I shouldn't be
given any credit. I'm built that way."

The point is beautifully taken. Too often the man with great inner
strength holds in contempt those less well endowed by nature than

While there are no perfect men, there are those who become relatively
perfect leaders of men because something in their makeup brings out in
strength the highest virtues of all who follow them. That is the way
of human nature. Minor shortcomings do not impair the working loyalty,
or growth, of the follower who has found someone whose strengths he
deems worth emulating. On the other hand, to recognize merit, you must
yourself have it. _The act of recognizing the worthwhile traits in
another person is both the test and the making of character._ The man
who scorns all others, and thinks no one else worth following, parades
his own inferiority before the world. He puts his own character into
bankruptcy just as surely as does that other sad camp follower of whom
Thomas Carlyle wrote: "To recognize false merit, and crown it as true,
because a long tail runs after it, is the saddest operation under the

Sherman, Logan, Rawlins and the many others hitched their wagons to
Grant's star because they saw in him a man who had a way with other
men, and who commanded them not less by personal courage than by
patient work in their interest. Had Grant spent time brooding over his
civilian failures, he would have been stuck with a disorderly camp and
would never have gotten out of Illinois.

The nobility of the private life and influence of Gen. Robert E. Lee
and the grandeur of his military character are known to every American
school boy. His peerless gifts as a battle leader have won the tribute
of celebrated soldiers and historians throughout the English-speaking
world. Likewise, the deep religiosity of his great lieutenant,
Stonewall Jackson, the latter's fiery zeal and the almost evangelical
power with which he lifted the hearts of all men who followed him, are
hallmarks of character that are vividly remembered in whatever context
his name happens to be mentioned.

If we turn for a somewhat closer look at Grant it is because he, more
than any other American soldier, left us a full, clear narrative of
his own growth, and of the inner thoughts and doubts pertaining to
himself which attended his life experience. There was a great deal of
the average man in Grant. He was beset by human failings. He could not
look impressive. He had no sense of destiny. In his great hours, it
was sweat, rather than inspiration, dogged perseverance, rather than
the aura of power, which made the hour great.

Average though he was in many things, there was nothing average about
the strong way in which he took hold, applying massive common sense to
the complex problems of the field. That is why he is worth close
regard. His virtues as a military leader were of the simpler sort
which plain men may understand and hope to emulate. He was direct in
manner. He never intrigued. His speech was homely. He was
approachable. His mind never deviated from the object. Though a
stubborn man, he was always willing to listen to his subordinates. He
never adhered to a plan obstinately, but nothing could induce him to
forsake the idea behind the plan.

History has left us a clear view of how he attained to greatness in
leadership by holding steadfastly to a few main principles.

At Belmont, his first small action, he showed nothing to indicate that
he was competent as a tactician and strategist. But the closing scene
reveals him as the last man to leave the field of action, risking his
life to see that none of his men had been left behind.

At Fort Donelson, where he had initiated an amphibious campaign of
highly original daring, he was not on the battlefield when his army
was suddenly attacked. He arrived to find his right wing crushed and
his whole force on the verge of defeat. He blamed no one. Without more
than a passing second's hesitation, he said quietly to his chief
subordinates: "Gentlemen, the position on the right must be retaken."
Then he mounted his horse, and galloped along the line shouting to his
men: "Fill your cartridge cases quick; the enemy is trying to escape
and he must not be permitted to do so." Control and order were
immediately reestablished by his presence.

At Shiloh, the same thing happened, only this time it was worse; the
whole Union Army was on the verge of rout. Grant, hobbling on crutches
from a recent leg injury, met the mob of panic-stricken stragglers as
he left the boat at Pittsburgh Landing. Calling on them to turn back,
he mounted and rode toward the battle, shouting encouragement and
giving orders to all he met. Confidence flowed from him back into an
already beaten Army and in this way a field near lost was soon

The last and best picture of Grant is on the evening after he had
taken his first beating from General Lee in the campaign against
Richmond. He was newly with the Army of the Potomac. His predecessors,
after being whipped by Lee, had invariably retreated to safe distance.
But this time as the defeated army took the road of retreat out of the
Wilderness, its columns got only as far as the Chancellorsville House
crossroad. There the soldiers saw a squat, bearded man, sitting
horseback, and drawing on a cigar. As the head of each regiment came
abreast him, he silently motioned it to take the right-hand fork--back
toward Lee's flank and deeper than ever into the Wilderness. That
night for the first time the Army sensed an electric change in the air
over Virginia. It had a man.

"I intend to fight it out on this line" is more revealing of the one
supreme quality which put the seal on all other of U. S. Grant's great
gifts for military leading than everything else that the historians
have written of him. He was the epitome of that spirit which moderns
call "seeing the show through." He was sensitive to a fault in his
early years, and carried to his tomb a dislike for military uniform,
caused by his being made the butt of ridicule the first time he ever
donned a soldier suit. As a junior lieutenant in the Mexican War, he
sensed no particular aptitude in himself. But he had participated in
every engagement possible to a member of his regiment, and had
executed every small duty to the hilt, with particular attention to
conserving the lives of his men. This was the school and the course
which later enabled him to march to Richmond, when men's lives had to
be spent for the good of the Nation. In more recent times, one of the
great statesmen and soldiers of the United States, Henry L. Stimson,
has added his witness to the value of this force in all enterprise: "I
know the withering effect of limited commitments and I know the
regenerative effect of full action." Though he was speaking
particularly of the larger affairs of war and nation policy, his words
apply with full weight to the personal life. The truth seen only
halfway is missed wholly; the thing done only halfway had best not be
attempted at all. Men can be fooled but they can't be fooled on this
score. They will know every time when the bolt falls short for lack of
a worthwhile effort. And when that happens, confidence in the leader
is corroded, even among those who themselves were unwilling to try.

There have been great and distinguished leaders in our military
services at all levels, who had no particular gifts for
administration, and little for organizing the detail of decisive
action either within battle or without. They excelled because of a
superior ability to utilize the brains and command the loyalty of
well-chosen subordinates. Their particular function was to judge the
mark according to their resources and audacity, and then to hold the
team steady until the mark was gained. So doing, they complemented the
power of the faithful lieutenants who might have put them in the shade
in any I. Q. test. Wrote Grant: "I never knew what to do with a paper
except put it in a side pocket or pass it to a clerk who understood it
better than I did." There was nothing unfair or irregular about this;
it was as it should be. All military achievement develops out of unity
of action. The laurel goes to the man whose powers can most surely be
directed toward the end purposes of organization. _The winning of
battles is the product of the winning of men._ That aptitude is not an
endowment of formal education, though the man who has led a football
team, a class, a fraternity or a debating society is the stronger for
the experience which he has gained. It is not uncustomary in those who
have excelled in scholarship to despise those who have excelled merely
in sympathetic understanding of the human race. But in the military
services, though there are niches for the pedant, character is at all
times at least as vital as intellect, and the main rewards go to him
who can make other men feel toughened as well as elevated.

    _Quiet resolution._

    _The hardihood to take risks._

    _The will to take full responsibility for decision._

    _The readiness to share its rewards with subordinates._

    _An equal readiness to take the blame when things go adversely._

    _The nerve to survive storm and disappointment and to face toward
    each new day with the scoresheet wiped clean, neither dwelling on
    one's successes nor accepting discouragement from one's failures._

In these things lie a great part of the essence of leadership, for
they are the constituents of that kind of moral courage which has
enabled one man to draw many others to him in any age.

It is good, also, to look the part, not only because of its effect on
others, but because from out of the effort made to _look it_, one may
in time come _to be it_. One of the kindliest and most penetrating
philosophers of our age, Abbé Ernest Dimnet, has assured us that this
is true. He says that by trying to look and act like a socially
distinguished person, one may in fact attain to the inner disposition
of a gentleman. That, almost needless to say, is the _real_ mark of
the officer who takes great pains about the manner of his dress and
address, for as Walt Whitman has said: "All changes of appearances
without a change in that which underlies appearance, are without
avail." All depends upon the spirit in which one makes the effort. By
his own account, U. S. Grant, as a West Point cadet, was more stirred
by the commanding appearance of General Winfield Scott than by any man
he had ever seen, including the President. He wrote that at that
moment there flashed across his mind the thought that some day he
would stand in Scott's place. Grant was unkempt of dress. His physical
endowments were such that he could never achieve the commanding air of
Scott, but he left us his witness that Scott's military bearing helped
kindle his own desire for command, even though he knew that he could
not be like Scott.

Much is said in favor of modesty as an asset in leadership. It is
remarked that the man who wishes to hold the respect of others will
mention himself not more frequently than a born aristocrat mentions
his ancestor. However, the point can be labored too hard. Some of the
ablest of the Nation's battlefield commanders have been anything but
shrinking violets; we have had now and then a hero who could boast
with such gusto that this very characteristic somehow endeared him to
his men. But that would be a dangerous tack for all save the most
exceptional individual. Instead of speaking of modesty as a charm that
will win all hearts, thereby risking that through excessive modesty a
man will become tiresome to others and rated as too timid for high
responsibility, it would be better to dwell upon the importance of
being natural, which means neither concealing nor making a vulgar
display of one's ideals and motives, but acting directly according to
their dictations.

This leads to another point. In several of the most celebrated
commentaries written by higher commanders on the nature of
generalship, the statement is made rather carelessly that to be
capable of great military leadership a man must be something of an
actor. If that were unqualifiedly true, then it would be a desirable
technique likewise in any junior officer that he too should learn how
to wear a false face, and play a part which cloaks his real self. The
hollowness of the idea is proved by the lives of such men as Robert E.
Lee, W. T. Sherman, George C. Marshall, Omar N. Bradley, Carl A.
Spaatz, William H. Simpson, Chester A. Nimitz, and W. S. Sims. As
commanders, they were all as natural as children, though some had
great natural reserve, and others were warmer and more outgiving. They
expressed themselves straightforwardly rather than by artful striving
for effect. There was no studied attempt to appear only in a certain
light. To use the common word for it, their people did not regard them
as "characters." This naturalness had much to do with their hold on
other men.

Such a result will always come. He who concentrates on the object at
hand has little need to worry about the impression he is making on
others. Even though they detect the chinks in the armor, they will
know that the armor will hold.

On the other hand, a sense of the dramatic values, coupled with the
intelligence to play upon them skillfully, is an invaluable quality in
any military leader. Though there was nothing of the "actor" in Grant,
he understood the value of pointing things up. _To put a bold or
inspiring emphasis where it belongs is not stagecraft, but an integral
part of the military fine art of communications._ System which is only
system is injurious to the mind and spirit of any normal person. One
can play a superior part well, and maintain prestige and dignity,
without being under the compulsion to think, speak and act in a
monotone. In fact, when any military commander becomes over-inhibited
along these lines because of the illusion that this is the way to
build a reputation for strength, he but doubles the necessity that his
subordinates will act at all times like human beings rather than

Coupled with self-control, recollection and thoughtfulness will carry
a man far. Men will warm toward a leader when they come to believe
that all the energy he stores up by living somewhat within himself is
at their service. But when they feel that this is not the case, and
that his reserve is simply the outward sign of a spiritual miserliness
and concentration on purely personal goals, no amount of restraint
will ever win their favor. This is as true of him who commands a whole
service as of the leader of a picket squad.

To speak of the importance of a sense of humor would be unavailing if
it were not that what cramps so many men isn't that they are by nature
humorless but that they are hesitant to exercise what humor they
possess. Within the military profession, it is as unwise as to let the
muscles go soft and to spare the mind the strain of original thinking.
Great humor has always been in the military tradition. The need of it
is nowhere more delicately expressed than in Kipling's lines:

    My son was killed while laughing at some jest,
               I would I knew
    What it was, and it might serve me in a time
               When jests are few.

Marcus Aurelius, Rome's soldier philosopher, spoke of his love for the
man who "could be humorous in an agreeable way." No reader of Grant's
_Memoirs_ (one of the few truly great autobiographies ever written by
a soldier) could fail to be impressed by his light touch. A delicate
sense of the incongruous seems to have pervaded him; he is at his
whimsical best when he sees himself in a ridiculous light. Lord
Kitchener, one of the grimmest warriors ever to serve the British
Empire, warmed to the man who made him the butt of a practical joke.
There is the unforgettable picture of Admiral Beatty at Jutland. The
_Indefatigable_ has disappeared beneath the waves. The _Queen Mary_
had exploded. The _Lion_ was in flames. Then word came that the
_Princess Royal_ was blown up. Said Beatty to his Flag Captain
"Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our ... ships
today. Turn two points nearer the enemy." Admiral Nimitz, surveying
the terrible landscape of the Kwajalein battlefield for the first
time, said gravely to his Staff: "It's the worst devastation I've ever
seen except for that last Texas picnic in Honolulu." There is a
characteristic anecdote of General Patton. He had just been worsted by
higher headquarters in an argument over strategy. So he sat talking to
his own Staff about it, his dog curled up beside him. Suddenly he said
to the animal: "The trouble with you, too, Willy, is that you don't
understand the big picture." General Eisenhower, probably more than
any other American commander, had the art of winning with his humor.
He would have qualified under Sydney Smith's definition: "The meaning
of an extraordinary man is that he is eight men in one man; that he
has as much wit as if he had no sense, and as much sense as if he had
no wit; that his conduct is as judicious as if he were the dullest of
human beings, and his imagination as brilliant as if he were
irretrievably ruined."

There is hardly a soldier, marine, or bluejacket who has been long in
battle but can tell some tale of an experience under fire when the
pressure became almost unbearable, and then was suddenly relieved
because somebody made a wisecrack or pulled something that was good
for a laugh. At Bastogne the American headquarters was being shelled
out of its position in the Belgian Barracks. The Commanding General
called in his Chief Signal Officer and asked when it would be
convenient to move. Said Lt. Col. Sid Davis, "Right now, while I've
got one line left and you can still give the order." When the garrison
was surrounded, and higher headquarters requested a description of the
situation, the young G-3 of the operation, Col. H. W. O. Kinnard,
radioed: "Think of a doughnut: we're the hole."

Who hasn't heard of the top kick who got his men forward by yelling:
"Come on you ----! Do you want to live forever?" Both the Army and the
Marine Corps claim him for their own, and it is possible that he was

If the American fighting man did not have an instinctive feeling for
the moral value of that kind of thing, the story would be long since
buried, for it is as ancient as the other tale which ends: "That was
no lady; that was my wife."



To what has been said, just a few things should be added so that the
problem of generating greater powers of leadership within the officer
corps may be seen in its true light.

The counselor says: "Be forthright! Be articulate! Be confident! Be
positive! Possess a commanding appearance!" The young man replies:
"All very good, so far as it goes. I will, if I can. But tell me, how
do I get that way?" He sees rightly enough the main point, that these
things are but derivatives of other inner qualities which must be
possessed, if the leader is to travel the decisive mile between
wavering capacity and resolute performance.

So the need is to get down to a few governing principles. Finding
them, we may be able to resolve finally any argument as to whether
leadership is a God-given power, or may be bestowed through earnest
military teaching.

Two great American commanders have spoken their thoughts on this
subject. The weight of their comment is enhanced by the conspicuous
success of both men in the field of moral leading.

Said Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations: "I concur
that we _can_ take average good men and, by proper training, develop
in them the essential initiative, confidence, and magnetism which are
necessary in leadership. I believe that these qualities are present in
the average man to a degree that he can be made a good leader if his
native qualities are properly developed; whether or not he becomes a
_great_ leader depends upon whether or not he possesses that _extra_
initiative, magnetism, moral courage, and force which makes the
difference between the average man and the above-average man."

Said Gen. C. B. Cates, Commandant of the Marine Corps: "Leadership is
intangible, hard to measure and difficult to describe. Its qualities
would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include
a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, _self-confidence
based on expert knowledge_, initiative, loyalty, pride, _and a sense
of responsibility_. Inherent ability obviously cannot be instilled,
but that which is latent or dormant can be developed. Other
ingredients can be acquired. They are not easily taught or easily
learned. _But leaders can be and are made._ The average good man in
our service is and must be considered a potential leader."

There are common denominators in these two quotations which clearly
point in one main direction. When we accent the importance of extra
initiative, expert knowledge and a sense of responsibility, we are
saying in other words that out of unusual application to duty comes
the power to lead others in the doing of it.

The matter is as simple and as profound as that, and if we will
consider for but a moment, we will see why it could hardly be

No normal young man is likely to recognize in himself the qualities
which will persuade others to follow him. On the other hand, any man
who can carry out orders in a cheerful spirit, complete this work step
by step, use imagination in improving it, and then when the job is
done, can face toward his next duty with anticipation, need have no
reason to doubt his own capacity for leadership.

The psychologists assure us that there is a sound scientific basis for
what enlightened military trainers have long held to be true--that the
first-class follower and the leader are one and the same. They say
that this is literally true, and that their tests prove it so.

But it does not follow that every man can be taught to lead. In the
majority of men, success or failure is caused more by mental attitude
than by mental capacity. Many are unwilling to face the ordeal of
thinking for themselves and of accepting responsibility for others.
But the man determined to excel at his own work has already climbed
the first rung of the ladder; in that process he perforce learns to
think for himself while setting an example to those who are around
him. Out of application to work comes capacity for original and
creative progress. The personality characteristics, emotional balance,
etc., which give him excellence in those things which he does with his
own brain and hand will enable him to command the respect, and in
turn, the service of other men.

To this extent, certainly leadership can be learned! It is a matter of
mastering simple techniques which will give more effective expression
to the character and natural talents of the individual.

Said one of this Nation's great political leaders: "There is no more
valuable subordinate than the man to whom you can give a piece of work
and then forget it, in the confident expectation that the next time it
is brought to your attention it will come in the form of a report that
the thing has been done. When this self-reliant quality is joined to
executive power, loyalty and common sense, the result is a man whom
you can trust."

Yes, indeed, and that is as it should be. For while no man can be sure
of the possibilities of his influence over other men, every man knows
by his own conscience when he is putting forth his best effort, and
when he is slacking.

It is therefore not an arbitrary standard for measuring leadership
capacity in men which puts the ability to excel in assigned work above
everything else. The willingness and ability to strive, and to do, are
best judged by what we see of men in action. If they are indifferent
to assigned responsibilities, they are bad risks for larger ones, no
matter how charming their personalities or what the record says about
their prior experience and educational advantages. Either that
proposition is both reasonable and sound, or Arnold Bennett was
singing off key when he said: "I think fine this necessity for the
tense bracing of the will before anything worth doing can be done. It
is the chief thing that distinguishes me from the cat by the fire."

Love of work is the sheet-anchor of the man who truly aspires to
command responsibilities; that means love of it, not for the reward,
or for the skill exercised, but for the final and successful
accomplishment of the work itself. For out of interest in the job
comes thoroughness, and it is this quality above all which
distinguishes the willing spirit. The willingness to learn, to study
and to try harder are requisite to individual progress and the
improvement of opportunity--the process that Thomas Carlyle described
as the "unfolding of one's self." Thus it can be taken as an axiom
that any man can lead who is determined to become master of that
knowledge which an increased responsibility would require of him; and
by the same token, that to achieve maximum efficiency at one's own
working level, it is necessary to see it as if from the perspective of
the next level up. To excel in the management of a squad, the leader
must be knowledgeable of all that bears upon the command of a platoon.
Otherwise the mechanism lacks something of unity.

Mark Twain said at one point that we should be thankful for the
indolent, since but for them the rest of us could not get ahead.
That's on the target, and it emphasizes that how fast and far each of
us travels is largely a matter of free choice.

Personal advancement, within any worthwhile system, requires some
sacrifice of leisure, and more careful attention to the better
organization of one's working routine. But that does not entail heroic
self-sacrifice or the forfeiting of any of life's truly enduring
rewards. It means putting the completion of work ahead of golf and
bridge. It means rejecting the convenient excuse for postponing
solution of the problem until the next time. It means cultivating the
mind during hours that would otherwise be spent in idleness. It means
concentrating for longer periods on the work at hand without getting
up from one's chair. But after all, these things do not require an
extraordinary faculty. The ability of the normal man to concentrate
his thought and effort are mainly the product of a personal conviction
that concentration is necessary and desirable. Abbé Dimnet said:
"Concentration is supposed to be exceptional only because people do
not try and, in this, as in so many things, starve within an inch of
plenty." And as to the mien and manner which will develop from firm
commitments, another wise Frenchman, Honore Balzac, added this:
"Conviction brings a silent, indefinable beauty into faces made of the
commonest human clay." Here is a great part of the secret. It is in
the exercise of the will that the men are separated from the boys, and
that the officer who is merely anxious for advancement is put apart
from the one who is truly ambitious to succeed in his life calling.
Even a lazy-minded superior, in judging of his subordinates, will
rarely mistake the one condition for the other.

When within the services we hear the highest praise reserved for the
man "with character," that is what the term means--application to duty
and thoroughness in all undertakings, along with that maturity of
spirit and judgment which comes by precept, by kindness, by study, by
watching, and above all, by example. The numerous American commanders
from all services who have been accorded special honor because they
rose from the ranks have invariably made their careers by the extra
work, self-denial and rigor which the truly good man does not hesitate
to endure. The question facing every young officer is whether he, too,
is willing to walk that road for the rewards, material and spiritual,
which will surely attend it.

There is of course that commonest of excuses for rejecting the
difficult and taking life easy. "I haven't time!" But for the man who
keeps his mind on the object, there is always time. Figure it out!
About us in the services daily we see busy men who somehow manage to
find time for whatever is worth doing, while at the adjoining desks
are others with abundant leisure who can't find time for anything.
When something important requires doing, it is usually the busy man
who gets the call.

Of the many personal decisions which life puts upon a service officer,
the main one is whether he chooses to swim upstream. If he says yes to
that, and means it, all things then begin to fit into place. Then will
develop gradually but surely that well-placed inner confidence which
is the foundation of military character. From the knowing of _what to
do_ comes the knowing of _how to do_, which is likewise important.
Much is conveyed in few words in Army Field Forces' "Brief on
Practical Concepts of Leadership." It is stressed therein that the
preeminent quality which all great commanders have owned in common is
a _positiveness_ of manner and of viewpoint, the power to concentrate
on means to a given end to the exclusion of exaggerated fears of the
obstacles which lie athwart the course. Every word of that should be
underscored, and above all, what it says about the need for
affirmative thinking, and concentrating on how the thing can be done.
The service is no place for those who hang back and view through a
glass darkly. The man who falls into the vice of thinking negatively
must perforce in time become fearful of all action; he lacks the power
of decision, because it has been destroyed by his habit of thought,
and even when circumstances compel him to say yes he remains
uncommitted in spirit.

But the shadow should not be mistaken for the substance. Positiveness
of manner, and redoubtable inner conviction stem only from the mastery
of superior knowledge, and this last is the fruit of application,
preparation, thoroughness and the willingness to struggle to gain the
desired end.



In the history of American arms, the most revealing chapter as to the
nature of the human animal does not come from any story of the
battlefield but from the record of 23 white men and two Eskimos who,
on August 26, 1881, set up in isolation a camp on the edge of Lady
Franklin Bay to attempt a Farthest North record for the United States.

The Expedition under command of First Lt. A. W. Greeley, USA, expected
to be picked up by a relief ship after 1 year, or 2 years at most. Its
supply could be stretched to cover the maximum period. But the winters
were so unduly harsh that the rescue mission could not break through
the ice to keep the rendezvous. During the first year, two members of
the party had set a new Far North mark. The party as a whole--3
officers, 19 enlisted men, 1 civilian surgeon and the 2 natives--had
survived a winter closer to the Pole than civilized men had ever lived
before. So doing, they had remained in reasonably good personal
adjustment to each other, despite the Arctic monotony. The discipline
of the camp had been strict. Rules of subordination, sanitation,
work-sharing and religious observance had been maintained, without
major friction occurring in the life of the group. Lectures were given
regularly, and schools were organized. Though it is recorded that the
men became melancholy, sleepless, and irritable because of the long
Arctic night, temper was still in so good a state that an honor system
within the camp meted out extra duty to any man using an oath.

The comradely feeling remained alive within the party throughout the
first winter, though morale had its first blow when Greeley issued an
unwise order forbidding enlisted men to go more than 500 yards from
the base without permission. The strain was beginning to tell, but
there was no fatal rift in the working harmony of the group while
supply and hope remained reasonably full.

But June of the second year came and passed, and no relief ship
arrived. In August, Greeley decided on a retreat, intending to fall
back on bases which were supposed to hold food stores. Thereafter
disaster was piled upon disaster, most of it having to do with the
lack of food, and the varying animal and spiritual reactions of men to
a situation of utmost desperation. When the Greeley Expedition was at
last rescued at Cape Sabine on June 22, 1884, by the third
expedition--the _Revenue Cutter Bear_ and the _Thetis_ under Commander
Winfield S. Schley, USN--only seven men remained alive. Even in these,
the spark of life was so feeble that their tent was down over them and
they had resigned themselves to death. Two died soon after the rescue,
leaving five. Most of the other 20 had perished of slow starvation,
but not all. Some had been shot. Others had met death with utmost
bravery trying to save their failing comrades.

All that happened to Greeley's party during the months of its terrible
ordeal is known because of a diary which records the main things--the
fight of discipline against the primal instincts in men, the reversion
of the so-called civilized man to his real type when he knows that
death is at his elbow, the strength of unity which comes of
comradeship, and also the weakness in some individuals which makes it
impossible for them to measure up to honor's requirements.

Men are of all kinds. Some remain base, though given every opportunity
to develop compassion. Others who may appear plodding and dull, and
have been denied opportunity, still have in them an immortal spark of
love for humanity which gives them an unbreakable bond with their
fellows in the hours of crisis.

What the case history of the Greeley Expedition proves is that _in the
determining number of men, the potential is sound_. Given a wise,
understanding leadership, they will stand together, and they will
either persuade the others to go along, or they will help break them
if they resist. If that were not the truth of the matter, no military
commander in our time would be able to make his forces keep going into

Until the end, discipline was kept in Greeley's force. But this was
not primarily due to Lieutenant Greeley, the aloof, strict
disciplinarian who commanded by giving orders, instead of by trying to
command the spirits and loyalties of men. That any survived was due to
the personal force and example of Sgt. (later Brig. Gen.) David L.
Brainard, who believed in discipline as did Greeley, and supported his
chief steadfastly, but also supplied the human warmth and helping hand
which rallied other men, where Greeley's strictures only made them
want to fight back. Brainard was not physically the strongest man in
the Expedition, nor necessarily the most self-sacrificing and
courageous. But he had what counted most--mental and moral balance.

Among the most fractious and self-centered of the individuals was the
camp surgeon, highly trained and educated, and chosen because he
seemed to have a way among men. Greeley was several times at the point
of having him shot; the surgeon's death by starvation saved Greeley
that necessity.

Among the most decent, trustworthy, and helpful was Jens, the simple
Eskimo, who died trying to carry out a rescue mission. He had never
been to school a day in his life.

There were soldiers in the party whom no threat of punishment, or
sense of pity, could deter from taking advantage of their comrades,
rifling stores, cheating on duty and even stealing arms in the hope of
doing away with other survivors. When repeated offense showed that
they were unreformable, they were shot.

But in the greater number, the sense of pride and of honor was
stronger even than the instinct for self-preservation, though these
were _average_ enlisted men, not especially chosen because their
records proved they had unusual fortitude.

Private Schneider, a youngster who loved dogs and played the violin,
succumbed to starvation after penning one of the most revealing
deathbed statements ever written: "Although I stand accused of doing
dishonest things here lately, I herewith, as a dying man, can say that
the only dishonest thing I ever did was to eat my own sealskin boots
and the part of my pants."

Private Fredericks, accused in the early and less-trying period of
meanness and injustice to his comrades, became a rock of strength in
the weeks when all of the others were in physical collapse or coma,
and was made a sergeant because of the nobility of his conduct. Yet
this man's ambition was to be a saloonkeeper in Minneapolis.

There is still an official report on file in the Department of the
Army which describes Sergeant Rice as the "bravest and noblest" of the
Expedition. He is identified with most of its greatest heroisms. The
man was apparently absolutely indomitable and incorruptible. He died
from freezing on a last forlorn mission into the Arctic storm to
retrieve a cache of seal meat for his friends. Fredericks, who had
accompanied him, was so grief-stricken at the tragedy that he
contemplated dying at his side, then reacted in a way which signifies
much in a few words, "Out of the sense of duty I owed my dead comrade,
I stooped and kissed the remains and left them there for the wild
winds of the Arctic to sweep over."

Such briefly were the extremes and the middle ground in this body of
human material. At one end were the amoral characters whose excesses
became steadily worse as the situation blackened. At the other were
Brainard and Rice--good all the way through, absolute in integrity and
adjusted perfectly to other men. In between these wholly contrasting
elements was the group majority, trying to do duty, with varying
degrees of success. That would include Greeley, strong in
self-discipline but likewise brittle. It would include Lieutenant
Lockwood, a lion among men for most of the distance, but totally
downcast and beaten in the last dreadful stretch, Israel, the youngest
of the party who won the love of other men by his frankness and
generosity, Sergeant Gardiner who was always ready to share his scraps
of food with whoever he thought needed them more, Private Whisler who
died begging his comrades to forgive him for having stolen a few
slices of bacon, and Private Bender who alternated between feats of
heroism and acts of miscreancy.

Other than their common experience, there was probably nothing unusual
about this group of men. They were an average slice of American
manpower as found in the services of that day, and in the
fundamentals, men have changed but little since. Those who had the
chance to study American men under the terrible rigor of Japanese
imprisonment during World War II give an analysis not unlike the
chronicles of the Greeley party. In certain of the prisoners,
character, and sanity with it, held fast against every circumstance.
In others, some of whom had been well educated and came from gentle
homes, the brute instinct was as uppermost as in an East African

From such crucibles as these, even more than from the remittent
stresses of combat in war, comes the clearest light on the inner
nature of man, insofar as it needs to be understood by the officer who
may some day lead a force into battle.

Snap judgment on the data might lead to the conclusion that every
individual is exactly according to his own mould, that influence from
without can not catalyze character, and that hence training has little
to do with winning loyalty and instilling dutifulness. That would be
as radically false as to believe that training, when properly
conducted, can make all men alike and can infuse all ranks with the
desire for a high standard. The vanity of that hope can be read out of
what happened to the force at Cape Sabine. But the positive lesson
glows even more strongly. The good Sergeant, Brainard, wrote of his
Lieutenant, Lockwood, that he "loved him more than a brother." It was
the service which taught him the worth of that attachment; Brainard's
superb courage developed initially out of his unbounded admiration for
Lockwood's dauntlessness, and in time the copyist outdistanced the
model. Emotionally, Greeley and Brainard were quite unlike. One was a
New England Puritan, the other a hard-boiled sergeant. But they became
as one in the interests of the force; service training had made that

Psychologists tell us that every sense impression leaves a trace or
imprint of itself on the mind, or in other words, what we are, and
what we may become, is influenced in some measure by everything
touching the circumference of our daily lives. The imprints become
memories and ideas, and in their turn build up the consciousness, the
reason and finally the will, which translates into physical action
the psychological purpose. In the process, moral character may be
shaped and strengthened; but it will not be transformed if it is dross
in the first place. That is something which every combat leader has
learned in his tour under fire; the man of whom nobody speaks good,
who is regarded as a social misfit, unliked and unliking, of his
comrades, will usually desert them under pressure. There are others
who have the right look but will be just as quick to quit, and look to
themselves, in a crisis; underneath, they are made of the same shoddy
stuff as the derelict, but have learned a little more of the modern
art of getting by. Leadership, be it ever so inspired, can not make a
silk purse from a sow's ear. But as shines forth in the record of
Greeley and his men, it can reckon with the fact that the majority is
more good than mean, and that from this may be developed the strength
of the whole. In the clutch, the men at Cape Sabine who believed in
the word "duty," and who understood spiritually that its first meaning
was mutual responsibility, remained joined in an insoluble union. That
was the inevitable outcome, leadership doing its part. The minority
had no basis for organic solidarity, as each of its number was
motivated only by self-interest. Goodwill and weakness may be combined
in one man; bad will and strength in another. High moral leading can
lift the first man to excel himself; it will not reform the other. But
there is no other sensible rule than that all men will be approached
with trust, and treated as trustworthy until proved otherwise beyond
reasonable doubt.

To transfer this thought to even the largest element in war, it will
be seen that _it is not primarily a cause which makes men loyal to
each other, but the loyalty of men to each other which makes a cause_.
The unity which develops from man's recognition of his dependence upon
his fellows is the mainspring of every movement by which society, or
any autonomy within it, moves forward.

It is a common practice to say "Men are thus-and-so." Nothing is more
attractive than to make some glittering generalization about the human
race, and from it draw a moral for the instruction of those who work
with human material. But from all that we have learned from the
experience of men under inordinate pressure, either in war or wherever
else military forces have been sorely tested, it would be false to say
either that the desire for economic security or the instinct for
self-preservation is the driving force in every man's action. To those
who possess the strength of the strong, honor is the main shaft; and
they can carry a sufficient number of the company along with them to
stamp their mark upon whatever is done by the group. No matter what
their personal strength, however, they too are dependent on the
others. There is no possibility of growth for any man except through
the force, and by the works of those about him, though the manner of
his growth is partly a matter of free choice. To most men, the setting
of the good example is a challenge to pride and a stimulus to action.
To nearly every member of the race, confidence and inspiration come
mainly from the influence which living associates have upon them. That
training is most perfect which takes greatest advantage of this truth,
employing it in balance toward the development of a spirit of
comradeship and the doing of work with a manifestly military purpose.
Peace training is war training and nothing less. There is no other
basis for the efficient operation of military forces even when the
skies are clear. _But no commander or instructor can convince men of
the decisive importance of the object if he himself regards it as only
an intellectual exercise._

The Army's "Brief on Practical Concepts of Leaderships," published 1
January 1950, well points out the desirability of leaders realizing it
is vain to expect that training can bring men forward uniformly. The
better men advance rapidly; the men of average attainments remain
average; the below-average lose additional ground to the competition.
In consequence, the chance for balance in the organizational structure
depends upon the leader progressing in such close knowledge of his men
that those who are strong in various aspects of the team's general
requirements compensate for the weaknesses of others, irrespective of
MOS numbers. It is not less essential that the followers know each
other and prepare themselves to complement each other. Obviously,
this cannot be done when personnel changes are so frequent that those
concerned have no chance to see deeper than the surface.

Even when to do any labor meant sapping the small store of energy
deriving from a few ounces of food each day, Greeley's men kept alive
the spark of morale and mutual support by maintaining a work schedule,
until the day came when there was no longer a man who could stand. To
fight off despondency, they held to a nightly schedule of lectures and
discussions in their rude shelters, until speech became an agony
because of throats poisoned by eating of caterpillars, lichens and
saxifrage blossoms. In their worst extremity, Private Fredericks,
unlettered but a man of great common sense and moral power, became the
doctor, cook and forager for the party.

Men do not achieve a great solidarity, or preserve it, simply by
_being_ together. Their mutual bonds are forged only by _doing_
together that which they have been made convinced is constructive.
Their view of its importance is usually contingent upon what others
tell them, and upon a continuing emphasis thereof. _Unity is all at
one time a consequence of, and a cause and condition for great
accomplishment._ Toward that end, it is neither vital nor desirable
that all members of the group coincide in their motives, ideas and
methods of expression. What is important is that each man should know,
and to a reasonable extent incorporate into his own life the thoughts,
desires and interests of the others. Such sentiments, fixed by
repetition, remain as a habit during the life of the group, and
provide the base for disciplined action. But when men are not thus
drawn together and the cord of sympathy remains unstrung, there is no
basis for control, nor any element of contact by which the group may
identify itself with some larger entity and profit by transfusion of
its moral strength.

_The absence of a common purpose is the chief source of unhappiness in
any collection of individuals._ Lacking it, and the common standard of
justice which is one of its chief agents, men become more and more
separate units, each fighting for his own rights. Yet paradoxically,
if an organic unity is to develop within any body of free men, drawn
from a free society to serve its military institutions, and if the
fairest use is to be made of their possibilities, the processes of the
institution must embody respect for the dignity of the individual, for
his rights, and not less, for his desire for worthwhile recognition.
The profile of every man depends upon the space which others leave
him. "Of himself," said Napoleon, "a man is nothing." But every man
also contributes with his every act to the level of what his group may
attain. One of the foremost leaders in the United States Navy in World
War II said this about the integrity of personality: "Every person is
unique. Human talents were never before assembled in exactly the same
way that they have been put together in yourself. Nothing like you
ever happened before. No one can predict with accuracy how you will
grow in your particular combination of skills if allowed complete
freedom of movement." If there is one word out of place in that
statement, it is "complete;" no one has complete freedom but a
buccaneer, and it is for the exercise of it that organized society
swings him from a gibbet. It is only when personal freedom of action
operates within an area limited by the rights and welfare of others
that subordination, in its best sense, takes place. To direct a body
of men toward the acceptance of this principle, so that thereby they
may attain social coherence as a group and greater strength of
personal character, is the most solid contribution that an officer can
make to the arms of his country.

He can succeed in this without being godlike in wisdom or pluperfect
in temper. But it is necessary at least that he be interesting, and
that he know how to get out of his own tracks, lest he be over-run by
his own organization. Whatever his rank, _it is impossible for any man
to lead if he is himself running behind_. This bespeaks the need of
constant study, the constant use of one's personal powers and the
exercise of the imagination. As men advance, that which was good soon
ceases to be good simply because something better is possible. Once
men begin to acquire a sense of organization, they also come to take
the measure of those who are over them. They will then move
instinctively toward the one man who possesses the greatest measure
of social energy. The accolade of leadership is not inherent in the
individual but is conferred on him by the group. It does not always
follow that a man can develop an influence with others which is
proportionate to his talents and capacity for work. Leadership in work
is a main requirement, but if the group does not warm toward the
appointed leader, if its members can not feel any enthusiasm about
him, they will be hypercritical of whatever he does.

History confirms, and a study of the workings of the human mind
supports one proposition which many of the great captains of war have
accepted as a truism. "There are no bad troops: there are only bad
leaders." Taking on percentage what we already know of our average
American raw material, as it had proved itself in every war, and as it
has been studied in such a laboratory as the camp at Cape Sabine, no
exception can be taken to that statement. On the other hand, we know
equally well that leadership can be taught and it can be acquired.
Much of our best material lies fallow, awaiting a hand on the
shoulder, and the touch of other men's confidence, before it can step
forward. This is not because men with a sound potential for leading
must necessarily have an outward air of modesty among their major
virtues, but because a man--particularly a young man--cannot gain a
sense of his power among his fellows except as they give him their
confidence, and vivify his natural desire to be something better than
the average. There is no indication that at any stage of his career
Gen. George S. Patton was an outwardly modest man. But in reviewing
the milestones in his own making, he underscored the occasion when
General Pershing, then commanding the Punitive Expedition into Mexico,
supported Lieutenant Patton's judgment against that of a major. These
are his words: "My act took high moral courage and built up my
self-confidence." It would seem altogether clear, however, that
Pershing had more than a little to do with it. Col. W. T. Sherman had
to be kindled by the warm touch of Mr. Lincoln and steeled by the
example and strong faith of Gen. U. S. Grant before he could believe
in his own capacity for generalship. We all live by information and
not by sight. We exist by faith in others, which is the source toward
knowing greater faith in ourselves.

About the elements of human nature, it is good that an officer should
know enough that he will be able to win friends and influence people.
But it is folly to believe that he should pursue his studies in this
subject until he habitually looks at men as would a scientist putting
some specimen under a powerful microscope.

Self-consciousness is by no means a serious fault in anyone confronted
by a new set of responsibilities, and working among new companions.
There is scarcely an officer who has not felt it, particularly in the
beginning, before he is assured in his own presence. But if the
greater part of the officer corps were ever to become absorbed in the
business of taking men apart to see what makes them tick, thereby
superinducing self-consciousness all down the line, an irremediable
blight would come upon the services. There is no need to look that
deeply. What matters mainly is that an officer will know how men are
won to accept authority, how they can be made to unify their own
strength, how they can be helped to find satisfaction and success in
their employment, how the stronger men can be chosen for preferment
from among them, and finally, how they can be conditioned to face the
realities of combat.

The chronicles of effective military leadership date back to Gideon
and his Band. Therefore any notion that it is impossible for an
officer to make the best use of his men unless he is armed with all
available research data and can talk the language of the philosopher
and modern social scientist is little more than a twentieth century
conceit. To seek and use all pertinent information is commendable, but
truth comes of seeing all things in their natural proportion. To know
more than is necessary blunts one's own weapons. The application of
common sense to the problem is more vital than the possession of an
inexhaustible store of data which has no practical bearing upon the
matter at hand. As was said by a philosopher three centuries ago: "It
is remarkable in some that they could be so much better if they could
but be better in some thing."



In the same way that knowledge of individual nature becomes the key to
building strength within the group, an understanding of crowd nature
is essential to the preservation of the unique power within the group,
particularly under conditions of extreme pressure.

Whereas the central object of a training discipline is to raise a
safeguard against any military body reverting to crowd form under
trial by fire, history shows that paralysis both of leadership and of
the ranks, obliviousness to orders, forgetfulness of means of
communication, disintegration and even panic are the not uncommon
reactions of military forces when first entering into battle.

From Bunker Hill and Brandywine down to Pearl Harbor and the fight at
Kasserine Pass, the American battle record shows that our own troops
are by no means immune to these ill effects, and that our peace time
training needs, therefore, always to be reappraised with a critical
eye to the main issue.

Any of these unsteadying reactions can be prevented, or at least
minimized, by training which anticipates the inevitable disorders of
battle--including those who are of material sort as well as the
disorders of the mind--and acclimates men to the realities of the
field in war. All may be averted if leadership is braced to the shock
and prepared to exercise strong control. Indeed, it is a truth worthy
of the closest regard that the greater number of the disarrangements
which take place during combat are due to leadership feeling a
tightening of the throat, and a sticking of the palate, and failing to
do that which the intellect says should be done.

To take any action, when even to think of action is itself difficult,
is the essential step toward recovery and the surmounting of all
difficulty. It is not because of a babel of mixed voices and commands
that military bodies not infrequently relapse into helplessness and
stagnation in the face of the enemy. From that cause there may occur
an occasional minor dislocation. Their total effect is trivial
compared to the failures which come of leadership, at varying levels,
failing promptly to exercise authority when nothing else can resolve
the situation. Among the commonest of experiences in war is to witness
troops doing nothing, or worse, doing the wrong thing, without one
commanding voice being raised to give them direction. In such
circumstance, any man who has the nerve and presence to step forward
and give them an intelligent order in a manner indicating that he
expects to be obeyed, will be accepted as a leader and will be given
their support.

For this reason, under the conditions of modern battle, the coherence
of any military body comes not only of men being articulate all down
the line but of building up the dynamic power in each individual. It
is a thoroughly sound exercise in any unit to give every man a chance
to take charge, and give orders in drill, or other limited exercises,
once he had learned what the orders mean. By the same token, it is
good practice for the junior leader to displace a file in a training
exercise, and become commanded for a time, to sharpen his own

Progress comes of making the most of our strengths rather than looking
for ways to repair weaknesses. This is true in things both large and
small. The platoon leader who permits himself to be bedeviled by the
file who won't or can't keep step cannot do justice to the ambitions
of the 10 strongest men beneath him, upon whom the life of the
formation would depend, come an emergency. To nourish and encourage
the top rather than to concentrate effort and exhaust nerves in trying
to correct the few least likely prospects is the healthy way of growth
within military organization.

Not all men are fitted by nature for the precisions of life in a
barracks. They may accept its discipline while not being able to
adjust to its rhythm. The normal temptation to despair of them needs
to be resisted if only for the reason experience has proved they
sometimes make the best men in combat. There are many types which fit
into this category--the foreigner but recently arrived in America,
the miner who has spent most of his years underground, the boy from
the sticks who has known only the plough and furrow, the woodsman, the
reservation Indian, and the men of all races who have had hard
taskmasters or other misfortune in their civilian sphere, and expect
to be hurt again. It is not unusual for this kind of material to show
badly in training because of an ingrained fear of other men. At the
same time, they can face mortal danger. _To harass the man who is
trying, but can't quite do it, therefore cuts double against the
strength of organization. It may ruin the man; it may also give his
comrades the feeling that he isn't getting a decent break._

The military crowd requires, above all, maturity of judgment in its
leaders. It cannot be patronized safely. Nor can it be treated in the
classroom manner, as if wisdom were being dispensed to schoolboys.
When it has been remiss, it expects to catch unshirted hell for its
failings, and though it may smart under a just bawling out, it will
feel let down if the commander quibbles. But any officer puts himself
on a skid, and impairs the strength of his unit, if he takes to task
all hands because of the wilful failings of a minority. Strength comes
to men when they feel that they are grown up and as a body are in
control and under control, since it amounts to the same thing; it is
only when men unite toward a common purpose that control becomes
possible. In this respect, the servant is in fact the master of the
situation, fully realizes it, and is not unprepared to accept
proportionate responsibility.

It is a sign of a good level of discipline in a command when orders
are given and faithfully carried out. But it is a sign of a vastly
superior condition when men are prepared to demand those orders which
they know the situation requires, if it is to be helped. No competent
subordinate sits around waiting for someone else to give impulse to
movement if his senses tell him that things are going to pot. He
either suggests a course of action to his superior, or asks authority
to execute it on his own, or in the more desperate circumstances of
the battlefield, gives orders on his own initiative. To counsel any
lesser theory of individual responsibility than this would leave
every chain of command at the complete mercy of its weakest link, and
throughout the general establishment, would choke the fount of
inspiration which comes of the upward thrust of energy and of ideas.

This latter characteristic in the masses of men composing any
organization is the final statement of moral responsibility for
success. Within military forces, an element of command is owned by
every man who is doing his duty with intelligence and imagination.
That puts him on the side of the angels, and the pressure which he
exerts is felt not only by his subordinates but by those topside who
are doing less. Many a lazy skipper has snapped out of it and at last
begun to level with his organization because he felt the hot breath of
a few earnest subordinates on his neck. Many a battle unit has held to
ground which it had been ready to forsake because of the example of an
aid man who stayed at his work and refused to forsake the wounded.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was thinking on these things when he said
during World War II: "There is among the mass of individuals who carry
rifles in war a great amount of ingenuity and efficiency. If men can
talk naturally to their officers, the product of their resourcefulness
becomes available to all." But the art of open communication requires
both receiving and sending, and the besetting problem is to get
officers to talk naturally to men.

In the seventeenth century Marshal Maurice de Saxe rediscovered
cadenced marching which, along with the hard-surfaced roads of France,
had remained buried since the time of the Romans. He reinstituted
precision marching and drill within military bodies, and by that
action changed European armies from straggling mobs into disciplined
troops. The effects of that reform have been felt right down to the
present. Baron von Steuben, the great reorganizer of the forces in
George Washington's Army, simply built upon the principles which de
Saxe had set forth one century earlier. These two great architects of
military organization founded their separate systems upon one
controlling idea--that _if men can be trained to think about moving
together, they can then be led to move toward thinking together_. De
Saxe wanted keen men, not automatons; in that, he was singular among
the captains of his day. He started the numbering of regiments so that
they would have a continuing history and thereby benefit from _esprit
de corps_. He was the first to see the great importance of battle
colors and to standardize their use. Of his own military opinions he
wrote: "Experts should not be offended by the assurance with which I
deliver my opinions. They should correct them; that is the fruit I
expect from my work."

Now to take a look at von Steuben. He was the drillmaster of the
American Revolution, but he was also its greatest student of the human
mind and heart. He wrote the drill regulations of the Army, and as he
wrote, committed them to memory. Of his labors he said: "I dictated my
dispositions in the night; in the day I had them performed." But he
learned the nature of the human material for which he thought these
exercises were suited by visiting the huts of the half-clad soldiers
of Valley Forge, personally inspecting their neglected weapons and
hearing from their own lips of their sufferings. His main technic in
installing his system was to depend upon the appeal of a powerful
example; to allay all doubt of exactly what was wanted, he formed a
model company and drilled it himself. He was a natural man; troops
warmed to him because of an unabashed use of broken English and his
violently explosive use, under stress, of "gottam!" which was his only
quasi-English oath. In countenance he was strikingly like Gen. George
S. Patton and there were other points of resemblance. A private
soldier at Valley Forge was impressed with "the trappings of his
pistols, the enormous holsters of his pistols, his large size, his
strikingly martial aspect." But while he liked to dine with great men
at his table, he chose to complete his list with officers of inferior
rank. Once at Valley Forge he permitted his aides to give a dinner for
junior officers on condition that none should be admitted that had on
a whole pair of breeches. This was making the most of adversity. While
wearing two stars and serving as Inspector General of the Army, he
would still devote his whole day to the drilling of a squad of 10 or
12 men to get his system going. To a former Prussian associate he
wrote this of Americans: "You say to your soldier, 'Do this!' and he
doeth it; but I am obliged to say, 'This is the reason that you ought
to do that,' and then he does it."

This was the key to the phenomenal success of his system. Within 6
weeks after he began work at Valley Forge, the Continental Army was on
a new footing of self-confidence. His personal diligence in inquiring
into the conduct of all officers toward their men, and his zeal in
checking the accoutrement and carriage of every soldier established
within the Army its first standard of inspection. Officers began to
divide their scant rations with their men so that they would look
better. But though he drilled the men of Valley Forge in marching and
maneuver, Steuben paid no attention to the manual of arms, and let
that wait until after he had gone into battle with these same forces.
He explained why in these words: "Every colonel had introduced a
system of his own and those who had taken the greatest pains were
naturally the most attached to their work. Had I destroyed their
productions, they would have detested me. I therefore preferred to pay
no special attention to this subject until I had won their
confidence." To take hold at the essential point and postpone action
on the relatively unimportant, to respect a worthy pride and natural
dignity in other men, and finally, to demonstrate that there is a
better way in order to win men's loyalty and to use loyalty as the
portal to more constructive collective thought--all of these morals
shine in this one object lesson. The most revealing light upon the
character of Steuben comes of the episode in which he had one
Lieutenant Gibbons arrested for an offense, which he later learned
another had committed. He then went before the Regiment. It was
raining hard, but he bared his head and asked Gibbons to come forward.
"Sir," he said, "the fault which was committed might, in the presence
of an enemy, have been fatal. Your Colonel tells me you are blameless.
I ask your pardon. Return to your command."

Mistakes will occur. Tempers will go off half-cocked even among men
of good habit. Action will be taken on impulse rather than full
information, despite every warning as to its danger. But no officer
who has ever done serious injustice to a subordinate can do less than
Steuben did, if he wants to keep respect. Admiral Halsey wrote about
how he had once relieved one of his Captains in battle, found months
later that he had misjudged him, and then tried by every means within
his power to make redress.

The main connecting link between the perfecting of group action in
training and the end product of unity and economy of operations in
battle has never been better than imperfectly expressed even by such
masters as de Saxe and von Steuben, who felt it by profound instinct.
The time-honored explanation is that when men accustom themselves to
obeying orders, the time ultimately arrives when they will obey by
habit, and that the habit will carry over into any set of
circumstances requiring response to orders. This has the quality of
relative truth; it is true so far as it goes, but it undersells the
major values.

The heterogeneous crowd is swayed by the voices of instinct. Properly
trained, any military unit, being a homogeneous body, should be swayed
by the voice of training. Out of uniformity of environment comes
uniformity of character and spirit. From moving and acting together
men grow to depend upon, and to support, each other, and to
subordinate their individual wills to the will of the leader. And if
that were all that training profited them, they would rarely win a
battle or a skirmish under modern conditions!

Today the supreme value of any training at arms which fixes habit is
that, under conditions of absolute pressure, it enables men to take
the primary steps essential to basic security without too great taxing
of their mental faculties and moral powers; this leaves their senses
relatively free to cope with the unexpected. The unforeseen
contingency invariably happens in battle, and its incidence supplies
the supreme test of the efficacy of any training method. Surprise has
no regard for the importance of rank; in combat any unit's fortune may
pivot on the judgment and initiative of the file who has last joined
it. Therefore the moral object in training is stated without any
qualification in words once used by a wise Frenchman, Dr. Maurice
Campeaux: "_It should be the subordination of the individual's will to
the leader's, and not its surrender or destruction._" All training at
all levels has a dual object--to develop us all as leaders of men and
followers of leaders. Its technics are most perfect when they serve
evenly these parallel purposes. In consequence, when any officer
thinks only on: "What is policy?" rather than: "What should policy be
for the good of the service?" he has trained his sights too low.

Even in modern warfare, however, there are exceptional circumstances
in which success is altogether dependent upon the will and judgment of
the leader, and undeviating response to his orders. The commander of a
buttoned-up tank is the master of its fortunes, and what happens for
better or worse is according to the strength of his personal control.
Within a submerged submarine during action, the situation is still
more remarkable. Only one man, the commander of the ship, can see what
is occurring, and he only with one eye; the resolving of every
situation depends on his judgment as to what should be done. Yet those
who have the surest knowledge of this service have said that the main
problem in submarine warfare is to find a sufficient body of officers
who will rise superior to the intricacies of their complicated
machines, and will make their own opportunities and take advantage of
them. That is hardly unique. The same quality is the hallmark of
greatness in any individual serving with a combat arm. The military
crowd will double its effort for a leader when success rides on his
coattails; but he needs first to capture their loyalty by keeping his
contracts with them, sweetening the ties of organization, and
convincing them that he is a man to be followed. His luck (which
despite all platitudes to the contrary is an element in success)
begins when his men start to believe that he was born under a lucky
star. But they are not apt to be so persuaded unless he can make his
outfit shine in comparison with all others. The best argument for
establishing a low VD score and a high disciplinary and deportment
record within any unit is that it convinces higher authority that the
unit is well run and is trying, and is therefore entitled to any extra
consideration that may be requested. All who have been closely
identified with the inner working of any higher headquarters in the
American establishment know that it works this way. On the other hand,
the fundamental idea is almost as old as the hills. Turning back to
Cicero, we will find these words: "Neither the physician nor the
general can ever, however praiseworthy he may be in the theory of his
art, perform anything highly worthwhile without experience in the
rules laid down for the observation of all small duties." The Old
Roman added that between men nothing is so binding as a similarity of
good dispositions.

Within the military crowd, and granting to each the same quality of
human material, the problem of achieving organic unity in the face of
the enemy is one thing on a ship, and quite another among
land-fighting forces. Loyalty to the ship itself provides an extra and
incisive bond among naval forces. Given steadiness in the command, men
will fight the ship to the limit, if only for the reason that if they
fail to do so, there is no place to go but down. The physical setting
of duty is defined by material objects close at hand. The individual
has only to fit himself into an already predetermined frame. He knows
when he is derelict, and he knows further that his dereliction can
hardly escape the eye of his comrades. The words: "Now Hear This!"
have the particular significance that they bespeak the collected
nature of naval forces, and the essential unifying force of complete

If the situation were as concrete, and the integrating influences as
pervading among field forces as in the Navy, land warfare would be
relieved of a great part of its frictions. Except among troops
defending a major fortress with all-around protection, there is no
such possibility. Field movement is always diffusing. As fire builds
up against the line, its members have less and less a sense of each
other, and a feeling that as individuals they are getting support.
Each man is at the mercy of the contact with some other file, and when
the contact breaks, he sees only blackness in the enveloping
situation. Men then have to turn physically back toward each other to
regain the feeling of strength which comes of organization. That, in
brief, is the mathematical and psychological reason why salients into
an enemy line invariably take the form of a wedge; it comes of the
movements of unnerved and aimless men huddling toward each other like
sheep awaiting the voice of the shepherd. The natural instincts
intervene ever in the absence of strong leadership. Said the French
General de Maud'huy: "However perfectly trained a company may be it
always tends to become once again the crowd when suddenly shocked."

But the priceless advantage which may be instilled in the military
crowd by a proper training is that it also possesses the means of
recovery. That possibility--the resolution of order out of
chaos--reposes within every file who has gained within the service a
confidence that he has some measure of influence among his fellows.
The welfare of the unit machinery depends upon having the greatest
possible number of human shock absorbers--men who in the worst hour
are capable of stepping forward and saying: "This calls for something
extra and that means me." The restoration of control upon the
battlefield, and the process of checking fright and paralysis and
turning men back to essential tactical duties, does not come simply of
constituted authority again finding its voice and articulating its
strength to the extremities of the unit boundary. Control is a
man-to-man force under fire. No matter how lowly his rank, any man who
controls himself contributes to the control of others. A private can
steady a general as surely as a cat can look at a king. There is no
better ramrod for the back of a senior, who is beginning to buckle,
than the sight of a junior who has kept his nerve. Land battles, as to
the fighting part, are won by the intrepidity of men in grade from
private to captains mainly. Fear is contagious but courage is not less
so. The courage of any one man reflects in some degree the courage of
all those who are within his vision. To the man who is in terror and
bordering on panic, no influence can be more steadying than that of
seeing some other man near him who is retaining self-control and doing
his duty.

The paralysis which comes of fear can be lifted only through the
resumption of action which will again give individuals the feeling of
organization. This does not mean ordering a bayonet charge, or the
firing of a volley at such-and-such o'clock. It may mean only patting
one man on the back, "talking it up" to a couple of others, sending
someone out to find a flank, or turning one's self to dig-in, while
passing the word to others to do likewise. This is action in the
realest sense of the term. _Out of reinvigorating men toward the
taking of many small actions develops the possibility of large and
decisive action._ The unit must first find itself before doing an
effective job of finding the enemy. Out of those acts which are
incidental to the establishing of order, a leader reaffirms his own
power of decision.

Such things are elementary, and of the very nature of the fire fight.
While there is much more to be said about the play of moral forces in
the trial and success of the group under combat conditions, most of it
is to be learned from other sources, and it is the duty of every
officer to study all that he can of this subject, and apply it to what
he does in his daily rounds.

_There is no rule pertaining to the moral unifying of military forces
under the pressures of the battlefield which is not equally good in
the training which conditions troops for this eventuality._ For the
group to feel a great spiritual solidarity, and for its members to be
bound together by mutual confidence and the satisfactions of a
rewarding comradeship, is the foundation of great enterprise. But it
is not more than that. Unaccompanied by a strengthening of the
military virtues and a rise in the martial spirit, a friendly unity
will not of itself point men directly toward the main object in
training, nor enable them to dispose themselves efficiently toward
each other on entering battle.

It does not make the military man less an agent of peace and more a
militarist that he relishes his membership within a fighting
establishment and thinks those thoughts which would best put his arms
to efficient use. The military establishment neither declares nor
makes war; these are acts by the nation. But it is the duty of the
military establishment primarily to succor the nation from any great



The saying of the Old Sergeant that, "It takes a war to knock the hell
out of the Regular Army," applies as broadly to war's effects upon the
general peacetime establishment.

In the rapid expansion of the armed service which comes of a national
emergency, nothing seems to remain the same. Old units fill up, and
change their character. By the time they have sent out three or four
cadres of commissioned and enlisted leaders to form the base for
entirely new organizations, little remains of the moral foundation of
the parent unit except an honored name.

Promotion is rapid and moves are frequent among the higher commanders.
No sooner does a man feel fairly settled under a new commander, and
confident that he will get along, than he looks up to see someone else
filling the space.

Installations grow like mushrooms. Schools multiply at a phenomenal
rate. The best qualified men are taken away so that they will become
better qualified, either by taking an officers' course or through
specialist training. Their places are taken by men who may have an
equal native ability, but haven't yet mastered the tricks of the
trade. This piles high the load of work on those who command.

The intake and the pipelines in all services fill with men of a quite
different fiber and outlook than those which commonly pass through the
peacetime training establishment.

Particularly in the drafts which flow to the army there is a curious
mixture of the good with the bad. The illiterates, the low IQs and the
men who are physically a few notches below par are passed for service,
though under normal conditions the recruiting standards shut them out.
At the other end of the scale are the highly educated men from the
colleges, and the robust individuals from the factory and farm. In
natural quality they are as well suited to the service as any who seek
it out in peacetime, but in disposition they are likely to be a
little less tractable. On the whole, however, there is no radical
difference between them, if we look at both groups simply as training
problems for the study of the officer.

In the midst of war, when all else is in flux, at least one thing
stands fast. The methods, the self-discipline, and the personality
which will best enable the officer to command efficiently during peace
are identical with the requirements which fit him to shape new
material most perfectly under the conditions of war.

This is only another way of saying that for his own success, in
addition to the solid qualities which win him the respect of other
men, when war comes, he needs a vast adaptability and a confidence
which will carry over from one situation to another, or he will have
no peace of mind.

It is only to the man who is burdened with unnecessary and exaggerated
fears, and who mistakes for a fancied security the privilege of
sitting quietly in one place, that the uprooting which comes with war
is demoralizing. The natural officer sees it as an hour of
opportunity, and though he may not like anything else about war, he at
least relishes the strong feeling of personal contention which always
develops when there are many openings inviting many men. As one World
War II commander expressed it: "During war the ball is always kicking
around loose in the middle of the field and any man who has the will
may pick it up and run with it."

Promotion, however, and the invitation to try one's hand at some
greater venture, do not come automatically to an officer because of
the onset of war. The man who had marked time on his job becomes
relatively worse off, not only because the competition is keener, but
because in lieu of anything which marks him for preferment, there is
no good reason why he should get it. Years of service are not to a
man's credit short of some positive proof that the years have been
well used. The following are among the reasons why certain officers
are marked for high places and find the door wide open, come an

    A consistently superior showing in the efficiency reports.

    A record showing that they have done well in service schools.

    The ability to attract the eye of some high-placed superior by
    exceptional performance on maneuvers, in committee work or any
    other testing problem.

    In addition to general dutifulness, the development to a
    conspicuous degree of the special talents such as writing,
    instructing, lecturing and staff administration.

    Fluency in other languages.

    Wide and resourceful study in the fields of military history,
    military geography, national military policy and logistics.

    The advancement of an original idea which has led to a general
    improvement in any one service.

Any and all of these are extra strings to one's bow. They are the
means to greater satisfaction during peacetime employment and the
source of great personal advantage during the shooting season. But
they should not be mistaken for the main thing. _To excell in command,
and to be recognized as deserving of it, is the rightful ambition of
every service officer and his main hold on the probabilities of
getting wider recognition._

This holds true of the man who is so patently a specialist that it
would be wrong to waste him in a command responsibility. If he
understands the art of command, and his personality and moral
fortitude fit him for the leading of men, he will be in better
adjustment with his circumstances anywhere in the services, and will
be given greater respect by his superiors. This rule is so absolute in
its workings as to warrant saying that _every man who wears the
insignia of an officer in the armed forces of the United States should
aspire to the same bearing and the same inner confidence as to his
power to meet other men and move them in the direction he desires that
is to be marked in a superior company commander_.

The natural leader is the real specialist of the armed services. He is
as prodigious, and as much a man apart, as the wizard who has mastered
supersonic speeds. Here we speak not alone of the ability of an
officer fully to control and develop his element under training
conditions, but to take the same element into battle and conserve the
total of its powers with complete efficiency. The man who resolves to
develop within himself the prerequisite qualities which serve such an
object is moved by the worthiest of all ambitions, for he has
submitted himself to the most complex task within human reach.

The self-assurance that one has promise in the field of command is in
part a derivative of growth and in part a matter of instinct. But to
the normal young officer, it comes as something of a delightful
surprise to learn that when he speaks other men will listen, when he
reasons they will become convinced, and when he gives an order his
authority is accepted. Far from being a bad quality, this
ingenuousness is wholesome because it reflects warm appreciation of
what has been given him. It does not lessen confidence if a commander
feels this way about those who are within his charge throughout his
service. The best results flow when the working loyalty of other men
is accepted like manna from heaven, with gratitude rather than with
gratification. _Simply to feel that it is one's rightful portion is
the best proof that it is not, and leads to cockiness, windiness, and
self-adulation, with attendant loss of the sympathy of other men._ The
consequence to the individual whose dream of success is only that he
will take on more and more authority is that he will suffer from a
more and more one-sided development. The great philosopher, Albert
Schweitzer, holds up to other self-reliant men the example of Defoe's
hero, Robinson Crusoe, because he is continually reflecting on the
subject of human conduct and he feels himself so responsible for this
duty that when he gets in a fight he thinks about how he can win it
with the smallest loss of human life. _The conservation of men's
powers, not the spending thereof, is the object of main concern to the
truly qualified military commander._

At the same time, there should be no mistake about the manner in which
command is exercised. To command is not simply to compel or to
convince but a subtle mixture of both. Moral suasion and material
compulsion are linked in its every act. _It involves not only saying
that this is the best thing to do but inferring that the thing had
best be done._ Force and reason are inseparably linked in its nature,
and the force of reason is not more important than the reason of
force, if the matter is to be brought to a successful issue. _The
very touchstone of loyalty is that just demands will be put upon it._
It cannot endure and strengthen except through finding material means
of expression. When men are given absolute freedom, with no compulsion
upon them but to eat and sleep, as with a group of South Sea savages,
there can be no strong, uniting bond between them. As for absolute
security, outside of the walls of a penitentiary it is virtually
nonexistent, though one would scarcely look inside the walls expecting
to find loyalty. In brief, being an active force in the lives of
humankind, _loyalty is developed through the unifying of action_. _The
more decisive the action becomes, the greater becomes the vitality of
the bond._ Service men look back with an esteem, amounting almost to
the love that a son feels for his father, toward the captains who led
them well on the battlefield. But the best skipper they ever had on a
training detail gets hardly more than a kind word.

It has already been said that the man with a preeminent ability to
organize and direct the action of the military group has an
outstanding and greatly prized talent. The assumption that the holder
of a commission in an armed service of the United States is possessed
of this quality to a degree goes with the commission; lacking it, the
warrant would have been withheld. But all men vary in their capacities
to respond confidently to any particular situation. Some, no matter
how hard they try, lack the keen edge.

To the officer who discovers that he is especially suited, by
temperament and liking, to the leading of combat forces, it comes,
therefore, almost as a personal charge that he will let nothing
dissuade him from the conviction that his post of duty is with the
line. Though he may seek other temporary duty to advance his own
knowledge and interests, he should remain mentally wedded to that
which he does best, and which most other men find difficult.

If it is a good rule for him, it applies just as well to all others
within his charge. This means close attention to the careers of all
junior leaders from the enlisted ranks, toward the end that the
fighting strength of the establishment will be conserved. The
personnel people will sometimes scuttle a fine natural leader of a
tactical platoon, simply because they have discovered that in civilian
life he ran a garage and there is a vacancy for a motor pool operator,
or switch a gunner who is zealous for his new work back to a place in
the rear, because the record book says that he is an erstwhile, though
reluctant, keeper of books. From their point of view, this makes
sense. But they are not always aware of how difficult and essential it
is to find men who can lead at fighting. It is a point which all
officers need ponder, for in our modern enthusiasm over the marvels
that can be worked by a classification system, we tend to overlook
that fighting power is the main thing, and that the best hands are not
to be found behind every bush.

When war comes, there are vast changes in the tempo and pressure of
life within the armed establishment. Faced with new and unmeasured
responsibility, almost every man would be depressed by the feeling
that he is out far beyond his depth, if he were not buoyed by the
knowledge that every other man is in like case, and that all things
are relative. Once these points are recognized, the experience becomes
exalting. A relatively junior officer finds himself able confidently
to administer a policy applying to an entire service; a bureau, which
might have been laboring to save money in the purchase of carpet tacks
and pins, becomes suddenly confronted with the task of spending
billions, and of getting action whatever the cost.

But despite the radical change in the scale of operations, the lines
laid down for the conduct of business remain the same. The regulations
under which the armed services proceed are written for peace and war,
and cover all contingencies in either situation. The course of conduct
which is set forth for an officer under training conditions is the
standard he is expected to follow when war comes. Administration is
carried out according to the same rules, though it is probably true
that there is less "paper doll cutting"--meaning that the tide of
paper work, though larger in volume, is more to the point. To the
young officer, it must oftentime seem that, under peacetime training
conditions, he is being called on constantly to read reports which
should never have been written in the first place and is required to
write memoranda which no one should be forced to read in the second
place. For that matter, the same thought occurs not infrequently to
many of his seniors. But there is this main point in rebuttal--it is
all a part of the practice and conditioning for a game which is in
deadly earnest when war comes. If the armed services in peace were to
limit correspondence up and down the line to those things which were
either routine or altogether vital, few men would develop a facility
at staff procedures.

In one sense, the same generalization applies to the workings of the
security system. There is the common criticism that the services
always tend to over-classify papers, and make work for themselves by
their careful safeguarding of "secrets" in which no one is interested.
The idea is not without warrant; part of the trouble stems from the
fact that the line between what can safely be made of public knowledge
and what can not is impossible of clear definition. Hence the only
safe rule-of-thumb is, "When in doubt, classify." There is, however,
the other point that it is only through officers learning how to
safeguard security, handle papers according to the regulations, and
keep a tightly buttoned lip on all things which are essentially the
business of the service during peacetime that they acquire the
disciplined habit of which matures not only their personal success but
the national safety when war comes.

Oftentimes the rules seem superfluous. A man scans a paper and sees
that the contents are innocuous, and ignoring the stamp, he leaves the
document on his desk, because he is too lazy to unlock the file. _But
the rules mean exactly what they say, and because their purpose is of
final importance to the nation, they will be enforced._ There is no
surer way for an officer to blight an otherwise promising career than
to become careless about security matters. The superior who looks
lightly on such an offense is but seeking trouble for himself.

Even so, it is to be observed that regulations are a general guide to
conduct, and though they mean what they say they are not utterly
inflexible. One must not be like the half-wit described by Col.
George F. Baltzell to his trainees during World War I. Joe had
attached himself to the Confederate command of the Colonel's father,
whose last chore before turning in was to post the boy. One night in a
Virginia Tidewater operation, Joe was told to stay by a stump until
morning. At dawn the unit was moving out in a fog when the elder
Baltzell bethought himself of Joe. Down by the riverside his cries
finally brought a faint answer through the mist, "Here I is." "What
are you doing there, boy?" barked the officer, "I told you not to
move." "I hain't moved, sir," replied the invisible Joe, up to his
neck in water, "the river done riz." An occasional unforeseen
circumstance arises in which it is nonsensical, or even impossible, to
adhere to the letter of regulations, as of orders. It is then
essential that an officer use plain common sense, acting according to
the spirit of the regulation, so that it is clearly manifest he did
the best possible thing within the determining set of conditions. For
example, in the European Theater, the Historian had charge of 32 tons
of documents, all classified "Confidential," "Secret" or "Top Secret."
There were not enough safes or secured files in the whole of France to
hold this material, which meant that established procedures could not
be followed. A permanent guard and watch was put on the archive.
Wooden cases were made from scrap lumber. Ample fire-fighting
equipment was brought in. Personnel was drilled in evacuating the
material in its order of importance, should fire occur. The setup was
inspected twice daily by the commander or his executive. Though these
arrangements still fell short of the letter of regulations, they
perforce had to satisfy any inspector because there was no sounder

When circumstances require any officer to take a course which, while
appearing in his view to be in the best interests of the service, runs
counter to the lines of action laid down by constituted authority, he
has the protection that he may always ask for a court to pass judgment
on what he had done. We are all prone to associate the court martial
process only with the fact of punishment, but it is also a shield
covering official integrity. The privilege of appealing to the
judgment and sense of fair play in a group of one's fellow officers
is a very comforting thing in any emergency situation, requiring a
desperate decision, and engaging conflicting interests. It gives one a
feeling of backing even when circumstances are such that one is making
a lonely decision. Almost needless to say, cases of this sort are far
more likely to occur in war than during peace.

Inspection takes on a somewhat different hue during war. It becomes
more frequent but, on the whole, less zealous with respect to
spit-and-polish and less captious about the many little things which
promote good order and appearance throughout the general
establishment. This condition is accentuated as organizations move
closer to the zone of fire. Higher authority becomes more engrossed in
the larger affairs of operation. At all levels more and more time is
taken in dealing with the next level above, which means that less and
less can be given to looking at the structure down below.

What then is the key to over-all soundness in the services in any hour
of great national peril? This, that in all services, at all times and
at all levels, each officer is vigilant to see that his own unit,
section or office is inspection-proof by every test which higher
authority might apply.

It should not require the visit of an inspector to any installation to
apprise those who are in charge as to what is being badly done.

The standards are neither complex nor arbitrary. They can be easily
learned. Thereafter, all that is needed are the eyes to see and the
will to insist firmly that correction be made.

In officership, there is simply no substitute for personal
reconnaissance, nor any other technique that in the long run will have
half its value. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, the first leader of our
independent Air Force, was so renowned for this disciplined habit of
getting everywhere and seeing everything that, even when he was a
relatively young major, a story about his ubiquitousness gained
service-wide fame. An ailing recruit was being examined by a doctor at
March Field. "Do you see spots before your eyes?" the doctor asked.
"Heavens," groaned the recruit. "Do I have to see him in here, too?"

Once formed, the habit of getting down to the roots of organization,
of seeing with one's own eyes what is taking place, of measuring it
against one's own scale of values, of ordering such changes as are
needed, and of following-through to make certain that the changes are
made, becomes the mainspring of all efficient command action.

In battle, there is no other way to be sure. In training, there is no
better way to move toward self-assurance.



There is a main reason why the word "mission" has an especial
appropriateness to the military services and implies something beyond
the call of duty. The arms of the United States do not advance simply
through the process of correct orders being given and then executed
with promptness, vigor, and intelligence.

That is the greater part of the task, but it is by no means all.
Military systems reflect the limitations and imperfections of their
human material. Whatever his station, and experience, no man is wise
enough and all-seeing enough that he can encompass every factor in a
given problem, take correct judgment on every area of weakness,
foresee all of that which has not yet happened, and then write the
perfect analysis and solution for the guidance of his subordinates.

The perfecting of operations, and the elimination of grit from the
machinery, therefore become the concern of _all_, directing their
thought and purpose to the doing of whatever needs to be done to
further the harmony and efficiency of the establishment, taking
personal action where it is within their province, or calling the
matter to the attention of higher authority when it is not. In this
direct sense, every ensign and second lieutenant has a personal
responsibility for the general well-being of the security structure of
the United States. This is fact, and not theory. In World War II, many
of the practical ideas which were made of universal application in the
services were initiated by men of very junior rank. But the extent to
which any man's influence may be felt beyond his immediate circle
depends first of all upon the thoroughness with which he executes his
assigned duties, since nothing else will give his superiors confidence
in his judgments. It is only when he is exacting in small things, and
is careful to "close the circuit" on every minor assignment, that he
qualifies himself to think and act constructively in larger matters,
through book study and imaginative observation of the situation which
surrounds him. At this stage, an officer is well on the road to the
accomplishment of his general mission.

When an order is given, what are the responsibilities of the man who
receives it? In sequence, these:

    To be certain that he understands what is required.

    To examine and organize his resources as promptly as possible.

    Fully to inform his subordinates on these points.

    To execute the order without waste of time or means.

    To call for support if events prove that his means are inadequate.

    To fill up the spaces in the orders if there are developments
    which had not been anticipated.

    When the detail is complete, to prepare to go on to something

Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan, who planned the invasion of Normandy,
put the matter this way: "When setting out on any enterprise, it is as
well to ask oneself three questions. To whom is one responsible? For
precisely what is one responsible? What are the means at one's
disposal for discharging this responsibility?"

Nothing so warms the heart of a superior as that, on giving an order,
he sees his subordinate salute, say "Yes sir," then about face and
proceed to carry it out to the hilt, without faltering or looking
back. This is the kind of man that a commander will choose to have
with him every time, and that he will recommend first for advancement.

On the other hand, clarification of the object is not only a right but
a duty, and it cuts both ways. Orders are not always clear, and no
superior is on firm ground when he is impatient of questions which are
to the point, or resentful of the man who asks them. But it is natural
that he will be doubtful of the man whose words show either that he
hasn't heard or is concerned mainly with irrelevencies. The
cultivation of the habit of careful, concentrated listening, and of
collected thought in reading into any problem, is a principal portal
to successful officership.

To say that promptness and positiveness in the execution of a mission
are at all times major virtues does not imply that the good man, like
an old fire horse, moves out instantly at the clang of a bell.
Soundness of action involves a sense of timing. Thoroughness is the
way of duty, rather than a speed which goes off half-cocked. There is
frequently a time for waiting; there is always time for acute
reflection. The brain which works "like a steel trap" exists only in
fiction. Even such men as General Eisenhower, or Admiral Nimitz, or
for that matter, Gen. U. S. Grant, have at times deferred decision
temporarily while waiting for a change in tide or circumstance to help
them make up their minds. This is normal in the rational individual;
it is not a sign of weakness. Rather than to cultivate a belief in
one's own infallibility, the mature outlook for the military man is
best expressed in the injunction of the Apostle Paul: "_Let all things
be done decently and in order._" Grant, wrote of the early stage of
his advance on Richmond: "At this time I was not entirely decided as
to how I should move my Army." From the pen of General Eisenhower come
these words: "The commander's success will be measured more by his
ability to lead than by his adherence to fixed notions." Thus, in the
conduct of operations not less than in the execution of orders, it is
necessary that the mind remain plastic and impressionable.

Within military organization, to refuse an order is unthinkable,
though to muster a case showing why some other order would serve in
its place is not undutiful in an individual subordinate, any more than
in a staff. By the same rule, insistence that an order be carried out
undeviatingly, simply because it has been given, does not of itself
win respect for the authority uttering it. Its modification, however,
should never be in consequence of untempered pressure from below. To
change or rescind is justified only when reestimate of all of the
available facts indicates that some other order will serve the general
purpose more efficiently.

Taking counsel of subordinates in any enterprise or situation is
therefore a matter of giving them full advantage of one's own
information and reasoning, weighing with the intellect whatever
thought or argument they may contribute to the sum of considerations,
and then making, without compromise, a clean decision as to the line
of greatest advantage. To know how to command obedience is a very
different thing from making men obey. Obedience is not the product of
fear, but of understanding, and understanding is based on knowledge.

On D-day in Normandy, Lt. Turner B. Turnbull undertook to do with his
platoon of 42 men a task which had been intended for a battalion; he
was to block the main road to enemy forces pressing south from the
Cherbourg area against the American right flank. In early morning he
engaged a counterattacking enemy battalion, supported by mortars and a
self-propelled gun at the village of Neuville au Plain. The platoon
held its ground throughout the day. By dusk the enemy had closed wide
around both its flanks and was about to cut the escape route. Turnbull
had 23 men left. He said to the others, "There's one thing left to do;
we can charge them." Pfc. Joseph Sebastian, who had just returned from
reconnoitering to the rear, said, "I think there's a chance we can
still get out; that's what we ought to do." Turnbull asked of his men,
"What's your judgment?" They supported Sebastian as having the sounder
idea. In a twinkling Turnbull made his decision. He told the others to
get set for the run; he was losing men even while he talked; he
ordered that the 12 wounded were to be left behind. Corp. James Kelly,
first aid man, said he would stay with the wounded. Pfc Sebastian, who
had argued Turnbull into a withdrawal, volunteered to stand his ground
and cover the others with a BAR. Corp. Raymond Smitson said he would
stay by Sebastian and support him with hand grenades. Sgt. Robert
Niland started for one of the machine guns, to help Smitson and
Sebastian in covering the withdrawal, but was shot dead by a German
closing in with a machine pistol before he could reach it. The 16
remaining survivors took off like so many shots fired from a pistol,
at full speed but at intervals, to minimize the target. All got back
to their Battalion, though Turnbull was killed in action a few days
later. Their 1-day fight had preserved the flank of an Army. For
economy of effort, and power of decision, there is not a brighter
example in the whole book of war.

To encourage subordinates to present their views, and to weigh them in
the light of reason, is at the same time the surest way to win their
confidence and to refine one's own information and judgments. However,
to leave final decision to them in matters which are clearly in the
area of one's own responsibility, is fatal to the character of self
and to the integrity of the force.

Any officer is one among many. Behind the smallest unit is the total
power of the combined services. In the main, effectiveness develops
out of unity of effort. To commit one's force to desperate, unhelped
enterprises, when there is support at hand which may be had for the
asking, may be one road to glory, but it is certainly not the path to
success in War. The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava was made
immortal by Tennyson's poem, but it was as foolhardy as asking a troop
of Boy Scouts to capture Gibraltar. In battle, a main obligation of
those who lead is to make constant resurvey of the full horizon of
their resources and means of possible support. This entails in time of
peace the acquisition of a great body of knowledge seemingly unrelated
to the administration of one's immediate affairs. It entails, also,
facing forthrightly toward every task, or assignment, giving it a full
try, sweating out every obstacle, but not being ashamed to ask for
help or counsel if it proves to be beyond one's powers. _To give it
everything, though not quite making the grade personally, is merely an
exercise in character building. But to have the mission fail because
of false pride is inexcusable._

The prayer that Sir Francis Drake wrote down for his men as he led
them forth to a great adventure might well be repeated by any leader
in the hour when he begins to despair because in spite of his striving
he has not gained all he sought: "O Lord God, when Thou givest to thy
servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it
is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same until it is
thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory."

The courage to start will carry a man far. Under the conditions of
either war or peace, it is astonishing how many times all things come
in balance for the man who is less fearful of rebuff than of being
counted a cypher. One of Britain's great armored leaders, Lt. Gen. Sir
Giffard Martel, digested the lesson of his whole life experience into
this sentence: "If you take a chance, it usually succeeds,
presupposing good judgment." Finally, it comes to that, for the
willingness to accept calculated risks is of the essence of effective
personal performance within the military profession. There must be
careful collection of data. There must be weighty consideration of all
known and knowable factors in the given situation. But beyond these
things, what?

To convey the idea that an officer must by ingrained habit dispose
himself to take action only after he has arrived at an exact formula,
pointing exclusively in one direction, would mean only that under the
conditions of war he could never get off his trousers-seat. For such
fullness of information and confidence of situation are not given to
combat commanders once in a lifetime.

It is customary to treat "estimate of situation" as if it were pure
mathematical process, pointing almost infallibly to a definite result.
But this is contrary to nature. The mind of man does not work that
way, nor is it consistent with operational realities. Senior
commanders are as prone as even the newest junior lieutenant to labor
in perplexity between two opposing courses of action during times of
crisis, and then make their decisions almost with the abruptness of an
explosion. _It is post-decision steadiness more than pre-decision
certitude which carries the day._ A large part of decision is
intuitive; it is the byproduct of the subconscious. In war, much of
what is most pertinent lies behind a drawn curtain. The officer is
therefore badly advised who would believe that a hunch is without
value, or that there is something unmilitary about the simple decision
to take some positive action, even though he is working in the dark.

The youthful Col. Julian Ewell of the 501st Parachute Infantry
Regiment, reaching Bastogne, Belgium, on the night of December 18,
1944, with only his lead battalion at hand, insisted that he be given
orders, even though higher headquarters could tell him almost nothing
about the friendly or enemy situations. He got his orders, and with
the one battalion moved out through the dark to counter-attack. So
doing, he stopped cold the German XXXXVII Panzer Corps, and compelled
Hitler to alter his Ardennes plan.

To grasp the spirit of orders is not less important than to accept
them cheerfully and keep faith with the contract. But the letter of an
instruction does not relieve him who receives it from the obligation
to exercise common sense. In the Carolina maneuvers of 1941, a soldier
stood at a road intersection for 3 days and nights directing civilian
traffic, simply because the man who put him there had forgotten all
about it. Though he was praised at the time, he was hardly a shining
example to hold up to troops. Diligence and dullness are mutually
exclusive traits. The model who is well worth pondering by all
services is Chief Boatswain L. M. Jahnsen who on the morning of Pearl
Harbor was in command of the yard garbage scow YG-17. She was
collecting refuse from the fleet when the first Japanese planes came
over. As the West Virginia began to burn, Jahnsen headed his scow into
the heat and smoke and ordered his men to man their single fire hose.
The old assignment forgotten, with overheated ammunition exploding all
around him, he stood there directing his men in all that could be done
to lessen the ruin of the fleet.

Within the services, a special glory attends those whose heroism or
service is "above and beyond the call of duty." But they owe their
fundamental character to the millions of men who have followed the
path of duty above and beyond the call of orders.

Whatever the nature of an officer's assignment, there are
compensations. The conventional attitude is to speak disparagingly of
staff duty, sniff at service with a higher administrative headquarters
as if it were somehow lacking in true masculine appeal, and express a
preference for duty "at sea," "with troops" or "in the field."
Although most of this is flapdoodle, it probably does no more harm
than Admiral William F. Halsey's grimace over the fact that he once
"commanded an LSD--Large Steel Desk." He is a poor stick of a military
man who has no natural desire to try his hand at the direct management
of men, if for no better reason than to test his own mettle. Even the
avowed specialist is better equipped for his own groove if he has
proved himself at the other game.

Staff work, however, has its own peculiar rewards. Chief among them
are the broadening of perspective, a more intimate contact with the
views, working methods and personality characteristics of higher
commanders and the chance to become acquainted with administrative
responsibility from the viewpoint of policy. Although it sounds
mysterious and even forbidding, until one has done it, the procedures
are not more complex nor less instructive than in any other type of

There are no inside secrets about what goes here that is different, or
will not work equally well elsewhere. The staff is simply the servant
of the general force; it exists but to further the welfare of the
fighting establishment. Those within it are remiss if they fail to
keep this rule uppermost. Consequently, no special attitude is called
for, other than an acute receptiveness. The same military bearing, the
same naturalness of manner which enable an officer to win the
confidence and working loyalty of his men will serve just as well when
he is dealing with higher authority.



Though many of the aspects of discipline can be discussed more
appropriately in other sections of this book, an officer must
understand its particular nature within American military forces if he
is to win from his men obedience coupled with activity at will.

It frequently happens that the root meaning of a word more nearly
explains the whole context of ideas with which it is legitimately
associated than the public's mistaken use of the same word. Coming
from the Latin, "to discipline" means "to teach." Insofar as the
military establishment of the United States is concerned, nothing need
be added to that definition. Its discipline is that standard of
personal deportment, work requirement, courtesy, appearance and
ethical conduct which, inculcated in men, will enable them singly or
collectively to perform their mission with an optimum efficiency.

Military discipline, in this respect, is no different than the
discipline of the university, a baseball league or a labor union. It
makes specific requirements of the individual; so do they. It has a
system of punishments; so do they. These things are but incidental to
the end result. Their main object is to preserve the interests and
further the opportunity of the cooperative majority. But the essential
difference between discipline in the military establishment and in any
other free institution is this, that if the man objects, he still does
not have the privilege of quitting tomorrow, and if he resists or
becomes indifferent and is not corrected, his bad example will be felt
to the far end of the line.

Though the failure to stop looting by our forces during World War II,
and the redeployment riots which followed it, are both unpleasant
memories, they underscored a lesson already affirmed by every American
experience at arms. The most contagious of all moral diseases is
insubordination, and it has no more respect for rank than the plague.
When higher authority winks at its existence among the rank and file,
it will contaminate upward as well as down. Once a man condones
remissness, his own belief in discipline begins to wither. The officer
who tolerates slackness in the dress of his men soon ceases to tend
his own appearance, and if he is not called to account, his sloppy
habits will shortly begin to infect his superior. There is only one
correct way to wear the uniform. When any deviations in dress are
condoned within the services, the way is open to the destruction of
all uniformity and unity. This continuing problem of stimulating all
ranks to toe-up to that straight line of bearing and deportment which
will build inner confidence and win public respect is the main reason
why, as George Washington put it: "To bring men to a proper degree of
subordination is not the work of a day, a month, or a year." It calls
not simply for a high-minded attitude toward the profession of arms
but for infinitely patient attention to a great variety of detail. An
officer has a disciplined hold upon his own job only when, like the
air pilot preparing to take off, he makes personal check of every
point where the machinery might fail. The stronger his example of
diligence, the more earnestly will it be followed by the ablest of his
subordinates, and they in turn will carry other men along. No leader
ever fails his men--nor will they fail him--who leads them in respect
for the disciplined life. Between these two things--discipline in
itself and a personal faith in the military value of discipline--lies
all the difference between military maturity and mediocrity. A salute
from an unwilling man is as meaningless as the moving of a leaf on a
tree; it is a sign only that the subject has been caught by a gust of
wind. But a salute from the man who takes pride in the gesture because
he feels privileged to wear the uniform of the United States, having
found the service good, is the epitome of military virtue. Of those
units which were most effective, and were capable of the greatest
measure of self-help during World War II combat, it was invariably
remarked that they observed the salute and the other rules of courtesy
better than the others, even when engaged.

The level of discipline is in large part what the officers in any unit
choose to make it. The general aim of regulations is to set an
over-all standard of conduct and work requirement for all concerned.
Training schedules, operational directives and other work programs
serve the same end. _But there is still a broad area in which the
influence of every officer is brought to bear. To state what is
required is only the beginning; to require what has been stated is the
positive end._ The rule of courtesy may be laid down by the book; it
remains for the officer to rule by work rather than working by rules,
and by setting the good example for his men, stimulate their
acceptance of orderly military habits. A training schedule may
stipulate that certain tasks be carried out but only the officer in
charge can assure that the work will be accomplished with fidelity.

The level of discipline should at all times be according to what is
needed to get the best results from the majority of dutiful
individuals. There is no practical reason for any sterner requirement
than that. There is no moral justification for countenancing anything
less. _Discipline destroys the spirit and working loyalty of the
general force when it is pitched to the minority of malcontented,
undutiful men within the organization, whether to punish or to appease
them._ When this common sense precept is ignored, the results
invariably are unhappy.

However, it is not here inferred that what has to be done to build
strong discipline in forces will at all times be welcomed by the
first-class men within a unit, or that their reaction will always be
approval. Rather, it is to say that they will accept what is ordered,
even though they may gripe about it, and that ultimately their own
reason will convince them of the value of what is being done.

Until men are severely tried, there is no conclusive test of their
discipline, nor proof that their training at arms is satisfying a
legitimate military end. The old game of follow-the-leader has no
point if the leader himself, like the little girl in a Thomas Hardy
novel, is balked by insuperable obstacles one-quarter inch high. _All
military forces remain relatively undisciplined until physically
toughened and mentally conditioned to unusual exertion._ Consider the
road march! No body of men could possibly enjoy the dust, the heat,
the blistered foot and the aching back. But hard road marching is
necessary if a sound foundation is to be built under the discipline of
fighting forces, particularly those whose labors are in the field. And
the gain comes quickly. The rise in spirits within any organization
which is always to be observed after they rebound from a hard march
does not come essentially from the feeling of relief that the strain
is past, but rather from satisfaction that a goal has been crossed.
_Every normal man needs to have some sense of a contest, some feeling
of resistance overcome, before he can make the best use of his
faculties. Whatever experience serves to give him confidence that he
can compete with other men helps to increase his solidarity with other

It must be accepted that discipline does not break down under the
strain of placing a testing demand upon the individual. It is sloth
and not activity that destroys discipline. Troops can endure hard
going when it serves an understandable end. This is what they will
boast about mainly when the fatigue is ended. A large part of training
is necessarily directed toward conditioning them for unusual hardship
and privation. They can take this in stride. But no power on earth can
reconcile them to what common sense tells them is unnecessary hardship
which might have been avoided by greater intelligence in their
superiors. When they are overloaded, they know it. When they are
required to form for a parade two hours ahead of time because their
commander got over-anxious, or didn't know how to write an order,
again they know it! _And they are perfectly right if they go sour
because this kind of thing happens a little too often within the

Within our system, that discipline is nearest perfect which assures to
the individual the greatest freedom of thought and action while at all
times promoting his feeling of responsibility toward the group. _These
twin ends are convergent and interdependent for the exact converse of
the reason that it is impossible for any man to feel happy and
successful if he is in the middle of a failing institution._ War, and
all training operations in preparation for it, have become more than
ever a problem of creating diversity of action out of unity of
thought. Its modern technological aspects not only require a much
keener intelligence in the average file but a higher degree of
initiative and courageous confidence in his own judgments. If the man
is cramped by monotonous routine, or made to feel that he cannot move
unless an order is barked, he cannot develop these qualities, and he
will never come forward as a junior leader. _On the other hand, the
increased utilization of the machine in military operations, far from
lessening the need of mutual support and unified action, has increased
it._ One of the hazards of high velocity warfare is that reverse and
disaster can occur much more swiftly than under former systems. Thus
the need for greater spiritual integration within forces, and
increased emphasis upon the values of more perfect communication in
all forms, at the same time that each individual is trained to
initiate action for the common good. Only so can the new discipline
promote a higher efficiency based on a more steadfast loyalty of man
to man. In the words of Du Picq, who saw so deeply into the hearts of
fighting men: "If one does not wish bonds broken, one should make them
elastic and thereby strengthen them."

The separate nature of military service is the key to the character of
the discipline of its several forces. In the United States, we have
fallen into the sloppy habit of saying that a soldier, bluejacket,
airman, coast guardsman or marine is only an American civilian in
uniform. The corollary of this quaint notion is that all military
organization is best run according to the principles of business
management. The truth of either of these ideas is to be disputed on
two grounds: both are contrary to truth and contrary to human nature.
An officer is not only an administrator but a magistrate, and it is
this dual role which makes his function so radically different than
anything encountered in civil life--to say nothing of the singleness
of purpose by which the service moves forward. Moreover, the armed
service officer deals with the most plastic human material within the
society--men who, in the majority, the moment they step into uniform,
are ready to seek his guidance toward a new way of life.

However, these fancies are but tangential aspects of a much larger
illusion--that the Armed Services of the United States, since they
serve a democracy, can better perfect themselves according to the
measure that they become more and more democratic. Authority is
questioned in democratic countries today, not only in government, but
in industry, the school, the church and the home. But to the extent
that military men lose their faith in its virtue and become amenable
to ill-considered reforms simply to appease the public, they
relinquish the power to protect and nurture that growth of free men,
free thought and free institutions which began among a handful of
soldiers in Cromwell's Army and was carried by them after the
Restoration to the North American mainland. The relation of the
military establishment to American democracy is as a shield covering
the body. But no wit of man can make it a wholly "democratic"
institution as to its own processes without vitiating its strength,
since it progresses through the exercise of unquestioned authority at
various levels.

One of these levels is the plane on which an ensign or second
lieutenant conducts his daily dealings with his men. George Washington
left behind these words, which are as good today as when he uttered
them from his command post: "Whilst men treat an officer as an equal,
regard him no more than a broomstick, being mixed together as one
common herd, no order nor discipline can prevail." Out of his
experience in the handling of deck divisions during World War II,
Edmund A. Gibson, Boatswain's Mate, First Class, also said something
which, put alongside Washington's words, brings the whole subject of
officer-man relationships into clear focus: "Speaking for Navy men, I
am certain that they are entirely without any feeling of inferiority,
social or otherwise, to their officers. If superiority or inferiority
of any kind enters into their contemplation at all, it is in the shape
of a conviction, doubtless a wrong one, that every serviceman, as a
professional warrior, is above the narrow interests which obsess the

Those who have served both as officer and under-officer well
understand the appropriateness of these two ideas, each to the other,
that the superior position of the officer must be preserved for the
good of the service, but that this engages recognition of the
individual equality of the enlisted man. They know, if they have
observed well and truly during their service in the ranks, that the
highest type enlisted man wants his officer to act the part, maintain
dignity and support the ideals which are consonant with the authority
vested in him by the Nation. But this same man at the same time
expects his officers to concede him his right to a separate position
and to respect his privacy. It is a pitiable eminence that is not well
founded upon sure feeling for the value of its own prestige and the
importance of this factor at all levels.

In the military service of the United States, there is always room for
firm and forthright friendship between officer and man. There is room
for a close, uniting comradeship. There is room for frank intellectual
discussion and the exchange of warm humor; no man goes far if he is
all salt and no savor. There is room for that kind of intimacy which
enables each to see the other as a human being, know something of the
other's emotions and help clear the atmosphere for honest counsel on
personal and organizational problems.

But there is no room for familiarity, since as in any other sphere, it
breeds contempt. When it occurs, respect flies out the window, the
officer loses part of his command authority and discipline breaks
down. Familiarity cannot obtain between the superior and the
subordinate without the vice of favoritism entering into the conduct
of organizational matters, even though the former is guilty only of an
over-zealous goodwill and the latter is otherwise sensible to the
interests of the unit. The chief damage comes from the effect upon all
others. It is when all the bars are let down that men communicate
those inner failings which a greater reserve would keep under cover.
Familiarity toward a superior is a positive danger; toward a
subordinate, it is unbecoming and does not increase his trust. In
excess, it can have no other effect than a breach of confidence on
both sides.

Changes in the environmental situation do not alter the natural
proprieties of this relationship between any two men, the one having
higher authority and the other having the obligation of obedience.
Under the conditions of modern war, the two not infrequently may be
required to work together as a unit, almost apart from the influence
of organizational discipline. Hardship and necessity may compel them
to extend the limit of personal accommodation to each other. They may
go into battle together. They may sleep in the same bed or foxhole.
They may drink from a common bottle and draw upon each other for the
means to keep going. But in adapting one's course according to the
rigors of any unconventional situation, authority is maintained only
through the exercise of a higher sense of responsibility. However, the
rule is applied according to the circumstance, the rule itself remains

Officers and men working together as a compact team, in any type of
military operation where success, and coordinated action in the face
of danger, depend mainly upon the moral resources within one small
group, develop a closer camaraderie and become less formal than is
normal elsewhere throughout the services. The close confinement in
which tank forces, airplane crews and submarine crews must operate
would stifle morale and torture nerves otherwise. Whatever the
patience of men under such conditions, sooner or later they get on
each other's nerves. Therefore that system of relationships is best
which is least artificial and most relaxing to the spirit of the
natural man. But to construe this as a deviation from the standards of
discipline is to mistake the shadow for the substance.



To grow in knowledge of how to win a loyal and willing response from
military forces, there must first be understanding of the springs of
human action, what they are, and how they may be directed toward
constructive ends. This done, the course which makes for the
perfecting of forces during peacetime training need only be extended
to harden them for the risk and stress of war.

The mainspring is morale. The meaning of the word is already known in
a general way to every man who has qualified for officership, so it is
hardly necessary to redefine it. A World War II bluejacket said it
this way: "Morale is when your hands and feet keep working when your
head says it can't be done." That says it just as well as anything
written by du Picq or Baron von Steuben. Nothing new need be added.

The handiest beginning is to consider morale in conjunction with
discipline, since in military service they are opposite sides of the
same coin. When one is present, the other will be also. But the
instilling of these things in military forces depends upon leadership
understanding the nature of the relationship.

As to discipline, until recent years, military forces tended to stress
the pattern rather than the ideal. The elder Moltke, one of the great
masters of the military art, taught his troops that it was of supreme
importance that they form accurately in training, since the perfection
of their formations would determine their efficiency in battle. Yet in
the Franco-Prussian War, these formations proved utterly unsuited to
the heavily wooded terrain of the theater, and new ones had to be
devised on the spur of the moment.

This is the familiar story. It was repeated by United States forces in
World War II during the Normandy hedgerow fighting and the invasions
of the Central Pacific atolls. Troops had to learn the hard way how to
hit, and how to survive, in moving through jungle or across the
mountains and desert. When that happened, the only disciplinary
residue which mattered was obedience to orders. The movements they had
learned by rote were of less value than the spiritual bond between one
man and another. The most valuable lesson was that of mutual support.
And unless this lesson was supported by confidence in the judgment of
those in authority, it is to be doubted that they were helped at all.

Finally, that confidence is the _sine qua non_ of all useful military
power. The moral strength of an organic unity comes from the faith in
ranks that they are being wisely directed and from faith up top that
orders will be obeyed. When forces are tempered by this spirit, there
is no limit to their enterprise. They become invincible. Lacking it,
however, any military body, even though it has been compelled to toe
the mark in training, will deteriorate into a rabble under conditions
of extraordinary stress in the field, as McDowell's Army did at Bull
Run in the American Civil War, and as Hitler's Armies did in 1945
after the Rhine had been crossed at Remagen.

In its essentials, discipline is not measured according to how a man
keeps step in a drill yard, or whether he salutes at just the right
angle. The test is how well and willingly he responds to his superiors
in all _vital_ matters, and finally, whether he stands or runs when
his life is at stake. History makes this clear. There are countless
examples of successful military forces which had almost no discipline
when measured by the usual yardsticks, yet had a high battle morale
productive of the kind of discipline which beats the enemy in battle.
The French at Valmy, the Boers in the South African War, and even the
men of Capt. John Parker, responding to his order on the Lexington
Common, "Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war,
let it begin here," instance that men who lack training and have not
been regimented still may express themselves as a cohesive force on
the field of fire, provided that they are well led.

If we will accept the basic premise that discipline, even within the
military establishment of the United States, is not a ritual or a
form, but is simply that course of conduct which is most likely to
lead to the efficient performance of an assigned responsibility, it
will be seen that morale does not come of discipline, but discipline
of morale.

True enough, our recruits are given a discipline almost from the
moment that they take the oath. Their first lesson is the necessity
for obedience. They are required immediately to conform to a new
pattern of conduct. They respond to disciplinary treatment even before
they learn to think as a group and before the attitude of the group
has any influence upon them. Discipline bears down before morale can
lift up. Momentarily, they become timid before they have felt any
pain. These first reactions help condition the man to his new
environment. They are in part demoralizing, but on the upswing he
begins to realize that half the fun in life comes of seeing what one
can do in a new situation. The foundation of his morale is laid when
he begins to think of himself as a member of the fighting
establishment, rather than as a civilian. Thereafter all that is done
to nourish his military spirit and to arouse his thirst for
professional knowledge helps to build his moral power.

But follow the man a little longer. The time quickly comes when he
knows his way around in the service. His earlier fears and hesitations
are largely gone. He acquires strength and wisdom from the group. He
becomes able to judge his own situation against an attainable standard
within the service. He is critically conscious of the merits of his
superiors from what he has himself experienced and what others tell
him. He knows what is boondoggling and what is not.

From that point on, discipline has little part in alerting the man or
in furthering the building of his moral power. That which moves him
mainly is the knowledge that he is a personal success, and that he
belongs to an efficient unit which is in capable hands. Certain of the
outer signs of discipline, such as the cadence of the march or snap in
the execution of the manual, he may subconsciously reenforce his
impression of these things. But if he feels either that he is an
outsider or that the club isn't worth joining, no amount of spit and
polish will alter his opinion.

He is able to recognize a right and reasonable discipline as such,
even though it causes him personal inconvenience, because he has
acquired a sense of military values. But if it is either unduly harsh
or unnecessarily lax, he likewise knows it and wears it as a
hairshirt, to the undoing of his morale. Though the man, like the
group, can be hurt by being pushed beyond sensible limits, his spirit
will suffer even more sorely if no real test is put upon his abilities
and moral powers. The greater his intelligence, the stronger will be
his resentment. That is a law of nature. The enlightened mind has
always the greatest measure of self-discipline but it also has a
higher sense of what constitutes justice, fairplay and a reasonable
requirement in the performance of duty. If denied these things, he
will come to hold his chief, his job, and himself in contempt. The
greater part of man's satisfactions comes of activity and only a very
small remnant comes of passive enjoyment. Forgetting this rather
obvious fact in human nature, social reformers aim at securing more
leisure, rather than at making work itself more satisfactory. But it
need not be forgotten in the military service.

Even to those who best understand the reasons for the regimenting of
military forces, a discipline wrongfully applied is seen only as
indiscipline. Invariably it will be countered in its own terms. No
average rank-and-file will become insubordinate as quickly, or react
as violently, as a group of senior noncommissioned officers, brought
together in a body, and then mishandled by officers who are ignorant
of the customs of the service and the limits of their own authority.
Not only are they conscious of their rights, but they have greater
respect for the state of decency and order which is the mark of a
proper military establishment than for the insignia of rank. It is
this firm feeling of the fitness of things, and his unbounded
allegiance to an authority when it is based on character which makes
the NCO and the petty officer the backbone of discipline within the
United States fighting establishment. Sergeant Evans of "Command
Decision" was an archtype of the best ball carriers among them. In a
sense, they remain independent workmen, rather than a tool of
authority, until the hour comes when they fall in completely with
someone their own nature tells them is good. In the past, we have not
always made the wisest use of this latent strength. The normal desire
of the veteran who has won his stripes by hard service is to support
his officers and reduce the friction down below. Whatever is done to
lessen his dignity and prestige damages morale and creates new
stresses in the relations between the officer corps and the ranks.
When he is rebuffed, either because those above him are indifferent to
his pride or are unaware that he is their chief advocate among the
men, the military machinery loses its cushion and becomes subject to
increasing shock. Said a newly arrived lieutenant to an old sergeant
of the 12th Cavalry: "You've been here a long time, haven't you?" "Yes
sir," replied the sergeant. "The troop commanders, they come and they
go, but it don't hurt the troop."

To comment on these things, however, is to emphasize once again the
supreme importance of the judgment of the officer in dealing with all
of his military associates in such way that he will support that
native pride, without which a man cannot remain whole, and at the same
time direct it toward the betterment of the organization. To lecture
troops about the importance of morale and discipline serves no earthly
purpose, if the words are at odds with the general conditions which
have been imposed on the command. They impose their values only as
reflection of the leader's entire thought concerning his men. At the
same time, there is this to be remembered, that even when things are
going wrong at every other level, men will remain loyal and dutiful if
they see in the one junior officer who is nearest them the embodiment
of the ideals which they believe should apply throughout the service.
That is the main object lesson in that remarkable novel written around
a World War II Navy auxiliary, "Mister Roberts." But it holds just as
true in our ground and air forces as for those afloat.

Morale comes of the mind and of the spirit. The question is how it is
to be developed. Admiral Ben Moreell has stated a formula in
understanding terms by his explanation of what made the Seabees
notable for competence and devotion to duty during World War II. This
is what he said: "We used artisans to do the work for which they had
been trained in civil life. They were well led by officers who 'spoke
their language.' We made them feel that they were playing an important
part in the great adventure. And thus they achieved a high standard of
morale." The elements underscored by Admiral Moreell deserve special

    Satisfaction in a work program.

    Mutual confidence between leaders and ranks.

    Conviction that all together were striving for something more
    important than themselves.

True, that was wartime, and the challenge was apparent to all
concerned. But the principles hold good under any and all conditions,
and can be applied to any organization by the officer who approaches
his task with enthusiasm and imagination. The mission of keeping the
world at peace, through a moral strengthening of the security
structure of the United States, is a more difficult objective than
that which confronted fighting forces after Pearl Harbor. In his book,
"World War: Its Cause and Cure," Lionel Curtis stated our problem in
its broadest and most challenging terms: "Civilization began with a
war between freedom and despotism: we are now fighting its latest
campaign, and our task is to make it the last."

Under training conditions or in combat, the mental ills and the
resulting moral and physical deterioration which sometimes beset
military forces cannot be cured simply by the intensification of
disciplinary methods. It is true that the signs of a recovery will
sometimes attend the installation of a more rigid, or less rigid,
discipline. This onset is in fact usually due to the collateral
influence of an increased confidence in the command, whereby men are
made to feel that their own fortunes are on the mend. Then discipline
and morale are together revitalized almost as if by the throwing of an
electric switch.

In Army history, there is no better example of the working of this
principle than the work of Brig. Gen. Paul B. Malone of St.
Aignan-sur-Cher, France, in 1919. He took over a command where
slackness and indiscipline were general. The men were suffering
terrible privation and too many of their officers were indifferent to
their needs. Many of the men had been battle casualties. Some had been
discharged from hospitals before their wounds were healed. The mess
was abominable. The camp was short of firewood and other supply. In
freezing weather, men were sleeping on the ground with only a pair of
blankets apiece. The death toll from influenza, pneumonia, and the
aggravation of battle wounds rose daily. Despair and resentment over
these conditions began to express itself in semiviolent form. Every
fresh breach of discipline was countered with harassing punishments
until an air of wretched stagnation hung over the whole camp. General
Pershing visited the base. The men refused to form for him. When he
tried to address them at a mass meeting, they wouldn't hear him out.
Instead of taking any action against the men, he sent for General

The new commander arrived without any instructions except to determine
what was wrong and correct it. With soldierly instinct, he recognized
that the indiscipline of the camp was an effect and not a cause. But
even as he gave orders for relieving the physical distress of the men,
he demanded that they return to orderly habits.

He walked around the areas. Already, on his order, duck-boards were
being laid through the mud, and the whole physical setup was in
process of reorganization. The men, grown listless from weeks of
mistreatment, paid no heed. "Get on your feet! I'm your general. I
respect you but I want your respect," were his words. They restored
the situation. The first impact of this one man on that camp was never
forgotten by anyone who saw it. It is a point to remember: _A firm
hold at the beginning pays tenfold the dividend of a timid approach,
followed by a show of firmness later on._ Within 48 hours the physical
condition of the camp was showing improvement and 60,000 men were
again doing their duty and bearing themselves in a military manner.
The lessons from this one incident stand out like beams from a
searchlight battery.

_One man is able to accomplish a miracle by an act of will accompanied
by good works._

_The morale of the force flows from the self-discipline of the
commander, and in turn, the discipline of the force is reestablished
by the upsurge of its moral power._

_The inculcation of military habits and thoughts is the only means by
which these forces may be made to work together toward more perfect
ends, so that control can be exercised promptly._

When the redeployment period which followed World War II threatened a
complete collapse to the morale of the general military establishment,
the remedy attempted by some unit leaders was to relax discipline and
the work requirement all around. Other officers met this crisis by
improving the conditions of work, setting an example which proved to
the men that they believed in its importance and paying sedulous
attention to the personal problems of those within the unit. They
found that they could still get superior performance in the midst of
chaos. Organic strength materializes in the same way on the field of
war. _However adverse the general situation, men will stick to the one
man who knows what he wants to do and welcomes them to a full share in
the enterprise._

The rule applies in matters great and small. No man who leads a squad
or a squadron, a group of men or a group of armies, can develop within
his force a well-placed confidence in its own powers, if he is
uncertain of himself or doubtful of his object. The moral level of his
men is mainly according to the manner in which he expresses his
personal force working with, and for, them. If he is timid or aloof,
uncommunicative and unenthusiastic, prone to stand on his dignity and
devoid of interest in the human stuff of those who are within his
charge, they will not respond to him, and he will have raised a main
barrier to his own success. If, given a course or taking one of his
own choice, he worries so greatly about the obstacles in his way that
he cannot make penetrating search for the clear channel, he will
waste the powers of his men even though he may have won their

It would be futile to make these comments on the nature of moral
leading if it were not fully within the power of the average young
officer to cut his cloth according to the suggested pattern. The
commonplace that human nature cannot be changed is untrue. The
characters of each of us, and of all of our acquaintances, are greatly
affected by circumstances. No man's impulses are fixed from the
beginning by his native disposition; they remain plastic until the
hour of his death, and whatever touches his circumference, influences
them for better or worse. _The power of decision develops only out of
practice. There is nothing mystic about it. It comes of a clear-eyed
willingness to accept life's risks, recognizing that only the
enfeebled are comforted by thoughts of an existence devoid of

Nothing more radical is being suggested here than that the officer who
would make certain that the morale of his men will prove equal to
every change cannot do better than concentrate his best efforts upon
his primary military obligation--his duty to them. They dupe only
themselves who believe that there is a brand of military efficiency
which consists in moving smartly, expediting papers and achieving
perfection in formations, while at the same time slighting or ignoring
the human nature of those whom they command. The art of leadership,
the art of command, whether the forces be large or small, is the art
of dealing with humanity. Only the officer who dedicates his thought
and energy to his men can convert into coherent military force their
desire to be of service to the country. Such were the fundamental
values which Napoleon had in mind when he said that those who would
learn the art of war should study the Great Captains. He was not
speaking of tactics and strategy. He was pointing to the success of
Alexander, Caesar, and Hannibal in moulding raw human nature, and to
their understanding of the thinking of their men and of how to direct
it toward military advantage. These are the grand objects.

Diligence in the care of men, administration of all organizational
affairs according to a standard of resolute justice, military bearing
in one's self, and finally, an understanding of the simple facts that
men in a fighting establishment wish to think of themselves in that
light and that all military information is nourishing to their spirits
and their lives, are the four fundamentals by which the commander
builds an all-sufficing morale in those within his charge.

There are other motor forces and mechanisms, most of which come under
the heading of management principles, and are therefore discussed in
other portions of this volume. The exception is the greatest force of
all--patriotism. It may be deemed beyond argument that belief in the
social order and political doctrine of their country is the foundation
of a loyal, willing spirit in military forces. Yet this alone cannot
assure efficiency in training or a battle _elan_ which is the result
of proper training methods. There is nothing more soulless than a
religion without good works unless it be a patriotism which does not
concern itself with the welfare and dignity of the individual. This is
a simple idea though wise men in all ages have recognized it as one of
the most profound truths. From Aristotle on down the philosophers have
said that the main force in shaping the characters of men is not
teaching and preaching, though these too are important, but the social
framework in which a man lives. In an age when there is widespread
presumption that practical problems can be solved by phrases, the
military body needs more than ever to hold steadfastly to first
principles. It does no good for an officer to talk patriotism to his
men unless he stands four-square with them, and they see in him a
symbol of what is right with the country. Under those circumstances,
he can always talk to them about the cause, and what he says will be a
tonic to morale.

In the Normandy invasion, a young commander of paratroops, Lt. Col.
Edward C. Krause, was given the task of capturing a main enemy
communications center. Three hours before the take-off he assembled
his Battalion, held a small American flag in front of them and said
these words; "This is the first flag raised over the city of Naples.
You put it there. I want it to be the first flag raised over a
liberated town in France. The mission is that we will put it up in
Ste. Mere Eglise before dawn. You have only one order--to come and
fight with me wherever you land. When you get to Ste. Mere Eglise, I
will be there."

The assignment was kept. Next morning, Krause and his men raised the
flag together, even before they had completed capture of the town. As
Americans go, they were extremely rugged individualists. But they were
proud of every line of that story.



To proceed toward a better understanding of _esprit_ and its part in
the building of military forces, it is necessary to look beyond the
organization and consider the man.

The life of any socially upright individual is organized around only a
few basic loyalties and the degree of satisfaction which he derives
from existence can usually be measured in terms of his service to
them. He is loyal first to himself, for failing that, he fails in
loyalty to all else. If he cannot acquit himself ably for his own
sake, he cannot do honor to anything less personal. Along with loyalty
to self come loyalty to our beliefs, loyalty to family, loyalty to
country, loyalty to friends, and loyalty to humanity in general.

Stated as a factual and not as an ideal matter, the interesting and
important thing that happens to a man when he enters military service
is that, the moment he takes the oath, loyalty to the arms he bears
ranks first on the list, above all other loyalties. To get ahead, to
serve himself well, he must persevere in ways that are most useful to
the organization. If the circumstances of his family are reduced
because of this new loyalty, his means of compensating them is to
strive for such honor as may come to him through service to the United
States. In his life, service to country is no longer a beautiful
abstraction; it is the sternly concrete and unremitting obligation of
service to the regiment, the group or the ship's company. He parts
with old friends and finds new ones.

In this radical reorientation of the individual life and the arbitrary
imposition of a commanding loyalty is to be found the key to the
esprit of any military organization. Too long esprit has been regarded
as something bequeathed to the unit by the dead hand of tradition.
There is nothing moribund about it. It is a dynamic and vital
substance conducted to the living by the living. We can banish from
our minds the idea that esprit is what the regiment, the ship or the
company gives the man because of some spark which its past deeds and
the legends thereof have lighted in him. Esprit, at all times, is what
the unit gives the man, in terms of spiritual force translated into
constructive good. Considering what the unit has taken from him
initially, its obligation is great indeed.

To see this clearly, we need to look once again at what happens to the
individual when he puts on the uniform. The basis of his life changes
in broad and fundamental ways. His legal status is changed; the extent
and intensity of his obligations are magnified. He puts aside the
banner of individualism for that of obedience. Yet in the words of
Chester Barnard: "Scarcely a man, I think, who has felt the
annihilation of his personality in some organized system, has not also
felt that the same system belonged to him because of his own free will
he chose to make it so."

To that must be added the further thought that while the military
service is antecedent to the individual who enters it, that individual
is also in a sense antecedent to the service. He becomes a factor in
the equation which expresses the achievement or the failure of the
service in its particular mission. The thoughtful commander will give
careful regard to that relationship. One man cannot make or break an
Army or a Navy, but he can help break it, since each service at all
times derives its nature from the quality and wills of its men.
General Harbord, in _The American Army in France_, expressed it this
way: "Discipline and morale influence the inarticulate vote that is
constantly taken by masses of men when the order comes to move
forward--a variant of the crowd psychology that inclines it to follow
a leader. But the Army does not move forward until the motion has
carried. 'Unanimous consent' only follows cooperation between the
individual men in ranks."

But we can go one step beyond General Harbord's suggestion that the
multiplied individual acceptance of a command alone gives that command
authority. It is not less true that the multiplied rejection of a
command nullifies it. In other words, authority is the creature rather
than the creator of discipline and obedience. In the more recent
experiences of our arms, under the stresses of battle, there are many
instances of troops being given orders, and refusing to obey. In every
case, the root cause was lack of confidence in the wisdom and ability
of those who led. When a determining number of men in ranks have lost
the will to obey, their erstwhile leader has _ipso facto_ lost the
capacity to command. _In the final analysis, authority is contingent
upon respect far more truly than respect is founded upon authority._
In the words of Col. G. F. R. Henderson: "It is the leader who reckons
with the human nature of his troops, and of the enemy, rather than
with their mere physical attributes, numbers, armament and the like,
who can hope to follow in Napoleon's footsteps."

_Esprit_ then is the product of a thriving mutual confidence between
the leader and the led, founded on the faith that together they
possess a superior quality and capability. The failure of the spirit
of any military organization is less frequently due to what men have
forgotten than to what they can't forget. No "imperishable record" of
past greatness can make men serve with any greater vigor if they are
being served badly. Nor can it sustain the fighting will of the
organization so much as one mil beyond the radius within which living
associations enable men to think great thoughts and act with nobility
toward their fellows. Unless the organization's past conveys to its
officers a sense of having been especially chosen, and unless they
respond to this trust by developing a complete sense of duty toward
their men, the old battle records might as well be poured down the
drain, since they will not rally a single man in the hour of danger.
Said Col. LeRoy P. Hunt in a mimeographed notice to his troops just
prior to the Guadalcanal landing: "We are meeting a tough and wily
opponent but he is not sufficiently tough and wily to overcome us
because We Are Marines." (The capitals are Hunt's.)

Personality plays a part in the ability to command, both under
training conditions and under fire. But though a man be a veritable
John Paul Jones or Mad Anthony Wayne in the time of action, his
hardihood will never wholly undo any prior neglect of his men. While
men may be rallied for a short space by someone setting an example of
great courage, they can be kept in line under conditions of increasing
stress and mounting hardship only when loyalty is based upon a respect
which the commander has won by consistently thoughtful regard for the
welfare and rights of his men, and a correct measuring of his
responsibility to them.

There are a few governing principles, and before considering their
application in detail we should think first about the file. He is a
Man; he expects to be treated as an adult, not as a schoolboy. He has
rights; they must be made known to him and thereafter respected. He
has ambition; it must be stirred. He has a belief in fair play; it
must be honored. He has the need of comradeship; it must be supplied.
He has imagination; it must be stimulated. He has a sense of personal
dignity; it must not be broken down. He has pride; it can be satisfied
and made the bedrock of his character once he gains assurance that he
is playing a useful and respected part in a superior and successful
organization. To give men working as a group the feeling of great
accomplishment together is the acme of inspired leadership.

In the degree that the disciplinary method and the training procedure
of the military service, and the common sense of his superiors,
combine to nourish these satisfactions in the individual, _esprit de
corps_ comes into being and furthers his advance in the practice of
arms and his potential usefulness as a fighting man. He becomes loyal
because loyalty has been given to him. He learns to serve an ideal
because an ideal has served him. For it is to be remembered that it is
always the Army, the Navy or the nation that disengages the man from
his old moorings, but it is the regiment or the ship's company which
gives him a fresh anchor and enables him to feel secure again. The
service cancels out the man's old life; the unit gives him a fresh
start in a new environment, which may prove salutary or utterly
damnable, as the man and the unit together make it. Where there is
enlightened leading, neither can fail the other. _The majority of men,
so long as they are treated fairly and feel that good use is being
made of their powers, will rejoice in a new sense of unity with new
companions even more than they will mind the increased separation from
their old associations._ The ability to adjust is itself a landmark of
success in the life of a normal individual.

This is the primary gift of the organization to the man and the
primary advantage of its relationship to him. Once it has given the
file a sense of belonging, it restores his balance. It is this feeling
of possession which is the beginning of true esprit. Without it, the
man becomes a derelict. Indeed, we may go so far as to say that the
man who lacks it, and does not aspire to it, will almost invariably be
unsuited for combat or any military responsibility of consequence, not
because he is disrespectful of tradition, but because he is a social
outcast with no sense of duty to his fellows.

Referring once again to the list of satisfactions due the man, it will
be noted that they differ little, if at all, from the demands of his
spirit before he has put on the uniform. But there should be marked
also the vital difference that whereas a complex of social and
economic forces and of totally disconnected influences contribute to
his outlook so long as he is a civilian, the measure of his
satisfactions is almost wholly in the hands of the organization once
he has raised his right hand and taken the oath of military service to
country. The condition of his health, the amount of his pay, the
organization of his leisure time, his diet, his sleeping habits, his
sex problems, even the manner in which he shaves and wears his hair,
are matters of organizational concern. Within the new company, he may
either attain greatly, or miserably fail. It should speak to him with
the voice of Stentor, the bronze voice of 10,000 men--meaning the
thousand or so who are still with the ship, the group or the regiment,
and the thousands who are in the shadows but who once served it well,
thereby inspiring those who follow to give an extra portion of service
to their fellows. Unless tradition has that effect upon the living, it
will not produce esprit, but military "mossbackism."

What does this imply in terms of practical application? Simply that
the custodianship of esprit must ever be in the hands of the officer
corps. When the heart of the organization is sound, officership is
able to see its own reflection in the eyes of the enlisted man. For
this simple reason: insofar as his ability to mould the character of
troops is concerned, the qualifying test of the leader is the judgment
placed upon his military abilities by those who serve under him. If
they do not deem him fit to command, he cannot train them to obey. But
if they see in one man directly over them a steady example, the
strongest of their number will model after him, instead of sagging
because of weakness elsewhere in the command structure.

This point is irreducible. Though an officer have absolute confidence
in himself, and though he have an instinct amounting to genius for the
material things of war, these otherwise considerable gifts will avail
him little or nothing if his _manner_ is such that his troops remain
unconvinced of his capacity and doubtful of his power to maintain
command in periods of extreme trial. He will fail because he has not
sufficiently regarded the LAW OF PERSONALITY--LOOKS, ACTIONS, WORDS.

Among military men, there has been much mistaken praise for the virtue
of "mechanical obedience." There is no such thing. Men think in their
smallest actions; if this were not so, it would not be possible to
lead them. What has been blindly termed "mechanical response" requires
perhaps a higher concentration of will than any other type of action,
and hence of thought itself, since the two are inseparable. The forces
in which this characteristic was outstanding have been those which
were led with the highest degree of intelligence and of understanding
of human nature. For unity of spirit and of action, which is the
essence of _esprit de corps_, is of all military miracles the most
difficult to achieve.

Yet its abiding principle is simple. It comes of integrity and
clarification of purpose. The able officer is not a Saul waiting for
the light to strike him on the Damascus road, but a Paul having a
clear understanding that unless the trumpet give forth a certain sound
at all times, none shall prepare himself for the battle.

Given such officers, the organization comes to possess a sense of
unity and of fraternity in its routine existence which expresses
itself as the force of cohesion in the hour when all ranks are
confronted by a common danger. It is not because of mutual enthusiasm
for an honored name but because of mutual confidence in one another
that the ranks of old regiments or the bluejackets serving a ship with
a great tradition are able to convert their esprit into battle
discipline. Under stress they move and act together because they have
imbibed the great lesson, and experience has made its application
almost instinctive, that only in unity is there safety. They believe
that they can trust their comrades and commanders as they would trust
their next of kin. They have learned the necessity of mutual support
and a common danger serves but to bind the ranks closer.

But the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong.
The newest unit--one born only yesterday--is as susceptible to a
vaulting esprit as any which traces its founding to the beginnings of
the Republic. Led by those who themselves are capable of great
endeavour, who are quick to encourage and slow to disparage, and are
ever ready to make due acknowledgment of worthy effort and to let men
know wherein they are forging ahead, any military organization serving
our flag will come to count this among its strengths.

There are no tricks to the building of esprit. Its techniques are
those which come naturally in the course of stimulating the interest
of ranks in all of the great fundamentals of the military profession,
rather than selling short their intelligence, and taking it for
granted that they want nothing beyond the routine of work, liberty,
mess call, and payday.

But there is one pitfall. Toward the growth of esprit, the attitude,
"My organization first, and the rest nowhere," never pays off. It
begins with the idea, "_The service first, and my unit the best in the
service._" In all human enterprise, the whole is greater than the sum
of the parts. The citizen who thinks most deeply about his country
will be the first to share the burdens of his community and
neighborhood. The man who feels the greatest affection for the
service in which he bears arms will work most loyally to make his own
unit know a rightful pride in its own worth. Among all of the military
services from out of the present and past, none has been more faithful
to this principle than the United States Marine Corps. Among its
members, being a Marine is the thing that counts mainly; after that
comes service to the Regiment or Battalion. Even the other services
marvel at the result. Though they take due pride in their own virtues
and accomplishments, they still regard the esprit of the Marine with
admiration, and more than a little envy. What is the secret? Perhaps
it is this, that the Corps emphasizes the rugged outlet for men's
energies, and never permits its members to forget that the example of
courage is their most precious heritage.

Six years after his defeat at Wake Island, the things that remained
uppermost in the mind of Col. James P. S. Devereux, as he put together
the story of the most tragic hours of his life, were the heroisms of
the individuals who had been trained in a tradition to which he had
fully committed his own purpose. One incident of that day, typical of
many, is best related in Devereux's own words.

"Master Sergeant J. Paszkiewicz, a Marine for 20 years, was caught in
the first blast at the airfield. Bombs shattered his right leg. He
started crawling off, dragging his smashed leg limply behind him. The
second wave of bombers came in. Paszkiewicz reached a little pile of
wreckage and found what he wanted, a piece of wood. With a little
fixing it could serve as a crutch. The bombs were dropping again.
Paszkiewicz started hobbling off. He seemed to be going the wrong way.
Somebody tried to help him, but he wasn't having any. Lieutenant David
D. Kliewer saw him stumbling along on his makeshift crutch, giving
first aid to the wounded or trying to make a dying man a little

Could a man give that much, and could his superior, Devereux, have
remembered it so vividly from amid his own personal trials, unless
both had been inspired by the traditions of the Corps?



In one of his little-known passages, Robert Louis Stevenson did the
perfect portrait of the man who finally failed at everything, because
he just never learned how to take hold of his work.

It goes like this: "His career was one of unbroken shame. He did not
drink. He was exactly honest. He was never rude to his employers. Yet
he was everywhere discharged. Bringing no interest to his duties, he
brought no attention. His day was a tissue of things neglected and
things done amiss. And from place to place and from town to town he
carried the character of one thoroughly incompetent."

No one would say that the picture is overdrawn or that the poor devil
got other than his just deserts. In the summing up, the final judgment
that is put on a man by other men depends on his value as a working
hand. If he has other serious personality faults, they will be
overlooked as somewhat beside the point, provided that he levels with
his job. But if he embodies all of the surface virtues, and is
shiftless, any superior with sense will mark him for the discard, and
his coworkers will breathe a sigh of relief when he has gone on his

Within the armed services, the tone of grudging admiration is never
missing from such altogether familiar comments as:

"He's a queer duck but he has what it takes."

"We can't get along with him but we can't get along without him."

By such words, we unconsciously yield the palm to the man who,
whatever his other shortcomings, excels us in application to duty. One
of the worst rascals ever raised in Britain said that while he
wouldn't give a farthing for virtue, he would pay 10,000 pounds for
character, because, possessing it, he would be able to sell it for
much more.

Is it possible then that men of thoroughly good intentions will
neglect the one value which a knave says is worth prizing? Not only is
it possible; it happens every day! We see officers of the armed
establishment who, thinking themselves employed all day, would still,
if they had to make an honest reckoning of the score after tattoo
sounded, be compelled to say that they had done exactly nothing.
Lacking some compelling duty, they may have read several hours
mechanically, neither studying what was said, making notes, nor
reflecting on the value and accuracy of it. Such papers as they
signed, they had glanced over perfunctorily. If any subordinate
approached them with some small matter, they reacted by trying to get
rid of him as quickly as possible. When they entered the company of
their fellow officers, they partook of it as little as they could, not
bothering to enter vigorous conversation, failing to make any note of
the character and manner of their associates, and learning not at all
from the words that were said.

It is all good enough, and yet strangely it is neither good nor is it
enough. That idea of what life in the officer corps is meant to be
simply cannot stand up under the pressures of modern operations. True
enough, assignments do not all have the same level of work
requirement, and one is sometimes handed a wide open opportunity to
goldbrick. But taking advantage of it is like the dope habit; the more
that it is sniffed, the greater becomes the craving of the nervous
system. It is harder to throw off sloth than to keep it from climbing
onto one's back in the first place. And finally, the truth of the
matter is this, that there is never any assignment given an armed
service officer which entitles him to waste any of the working hours
of his day. Though he be marking time in a casual depot or replacement
center, there still awaits his attention the entire range of military
studies, through which he can advance his own abilities. And if he is
not of a mind for tactics, map-reading, military law, and training
doctrine, it still follows that the study of applied psychology,
English composition, economic geography and foreign languages will
further his career. Just as a rough approximation, any officer's work
week should comprise about 50 percent execution and the other half
study, if he is to make the best use of his force. The woods are
loaded with go-getters who claim they are men of action and therefore
have no need of books; that they are "the flat-bottoms who can ride
over the dew." Though they are a little breezier, they are of the same
bone and marrow as the drone who is always counseling halfspeed.
"Don't sweat; just get by; extra work means short life; you're better
off if they don't notice you." This chant can be heard by anyone who
cares to listen; it's the old American invitation to mediocrity. But
while mediocre, as commonly used, means "indifferent, ordinary," it
also has in old English the odd meaning "a young monk who was excused
from performing part of a monk's duties." And that, too, fits. It is
always worthwhile to ask a few very senior officers what they think of
these jokers who refuse to study. They will say that the higher up you
go, the more study you have to make up, because of what you missed
somewhere along the line. They will say also that when they got to
flag or star rank, things didn't ease off a bit.

But not all wisdom is to be found in books, and at no time is this
more true than when one is breaking in. What is expected of the novice
in any field is that he will ask questions, _smart ones if possible_,
but if not, then questions of all kinds until he learns that there is
no such item as reveille oil and that skirmish line doesn't come on
spools. For on one point there should be no mistake: the newly
appointed officer is a novice. Though many things go with the
commission, the assumption that he is all wise to all ways of the
service, and will automatically fit into his element as neatly as a
loaded ship settles down to its Plimsoll's mark, just isn't among
them. Within the services, seniors are rarely, if ever, either
patronizing or intolerant of the greenness of a new officer; they just
stand ready to help him. And if he doesn't permit them to have that
chance, because he would rather pretend that he knows it all, they
will gradually become bored with him because of the manifest proof
that he knows so very little.

_Wisdom begins at the point of understanding that there is nothing
shameful about ignorance; it is shameful only when a man would rather
remain in that state than cultivate other men's knowledge._ There is
never any reason why he should hesitate, for it is better to be
embarrassed from seeking counsel than to be found short for not having
sought it.

In one of the toughest trades in the world of affairs--that of the
foreign correspondent--initial dependence upon one's professional
colleagues is the only certain stepping stone to success. A man
arrives in strange country feeling very much alone. His credentials
lack the weight they had at home. The prestige of his newspaper counts
for almost nothing. Even the name of his home city stirs little
respect. The people, their ways, their approaches and their taboos are
foreign to him. This sweeping environmental change is crushing to the
spirit; it would impose an almost insuperable moral handicap if the
newcomer could not go to other Americans who have already worked the
ground, ask them how the thing is done, seek their advice about
dealing with the main personalities, learn from them about the
facilities for processing copy, and soak up everything they have to
say about private and professional procedures. Then as the ropes grow
gradually familiar in the grasp, confidence and nervous energy come
flooding back.

Surely there is a close parallel between this experience and that of
the journeyman moving from the familiar soil of civilianism to the
_terra incognita_ of military life. But there is also the marked
difference that everyone he meets can tell him something that he needs
to know. More particularly, if he has the ambition to excel as a
commander of men, rather than as a technician, then the study of human
nature and of individual characteristics within the military crowd
become a major part of his training. That is the prime reason why the
life of any tactical leader becomes so very interesting, provided he
possesses some imagination. Everything is grist for his mill.
Moreover, despite the wholesale transformation in the scientific and
industrial aspects of war, there has been no revolution in the one
thing that counts most. Ardant du Picq's words, "The heart of man does
not change," are as good now as when he said them in an earlier period
of war. Whatever one learns for certain about the nature of man as a
fighting animal can be filed for ready reference; the hour will come
when it will be useful.

We have emphasized the value of becoming curious, and of asking
questions about what one doesn't know, and have said that even when
the questions are a little on the dumb side, it does no harm. But the
ice gets very thin at one point. The same question asked over and
again, like the same error made more than once, will grate the nerves
of any superior. It is the mark of inattention, and the beginning of
that "tissue of things neglected and things done amiss" which put
Stevenson's oddball character in the ditch. When an officer lets words
go in one ear and out the other like water off a duck's back, to quote
the Dutch janitor, he is chasing rainbows by rubbing fur in the wrong

Ideally, an officer should be able to do the work of any man serving
under him. There are even some command situations in which the ideal
becomes altogether attainable, and a wholly practicable objective. For
it may be said without qualification, that if he not only has this
capability, but demonstrates it, so that his men begin to understand
that he is thoroughly versed in the work problems which concern them,
_he can command them in any situation_. This is the real bedrock of
command capacity, and nothing else so well serves to give an officer
an absolutely firm position with all who serve under him. As said
elsewhere in this book, within the armed establishment, administration
is not of itself a separate art, or a dependable prop to authority.
When administrators talk airily of things that they clearly do not
understand, they are simply using the whip on the team without having
control of the reins.

However, the greater part of military operation in present days is
noteworthy for the extreme diversity and complexity of its parts, and
instead of becoming more simplified, the trend is toward greater
elaboration. It is obviously absurd to expect that any officer could
know more about radio repair than his repairman, more about mapping
than his cartographical section, more about moving parts than a
gunsmith, more about radar than a specialist in electronics and more
about cypher than a cryptographer. If the services were to set any
such unreasonable standard for the commissioned body, all would
shortly move over into the lunatic fringe. Science has worked a few
wonders for the military establishment but it hasn't told us how to
produce that kind of man.

Plainly, there must be a somewhat different approach to the question
of what kind of knowledge an officer is expected to possess, or the
requirement would be unreasonable and unworkable.

_The distinction lies in the difference between the power to do a
thing well and that of being able to judge when it is well done._ A
man can say that a book is bad, though not knowing how to write one
himself, provided he is a student of literature. Though he has never
laid an egg, he can pass fair judgment on an omelette, if he knows a
little about cookery, and has sampled many good eggs, and detected a
few that were overripe.

"He who lives in a house," said Aristotle, "is a better judge of it
being good or bad than the builder of it. He can say not only these
things, but wherein its defects consist. Yet he might be quite unable
to cure the chimney, or to draw out a plan for his rooms which would
suit him better. Sometimes he can even see where the fault is which
caused the mischief, and yet he may not know practically how to remedy

Adjustment to a job, and finally, mastery of it, by a service officer,
comes of persistent pursuit of this principle. The main technique is
study and constant reexamination of criteria. To take the correct
measure of standards of performance, as to the value of the work
itself, and as to the abilities of personnel, one must become immersed
in knowledge of the nature, _and purpose_, of all operations. There is
no shortcut to this grasp of affairs. The sack is filled bean by bean.
Patient application to one thing at one time is the first rule of
success; getting on one's horse and riding off in all directions is
the prelude to failure. All specialists like to talk about their work;
the interest of any other man is flattering; all men grow in knowledge
chiefly by picking other men's brains. Book study of the subject,
specialized courses in the service schools, the instructive comments
of one's superiors, the informed criticism of hands further down the
line and the weighing of human experience, at every source and by
every recourse, are the means of an informed judgment. It was the
scientist, Thomas Huxley who reminded us that science is only
"organized common sense."

Other things being equal, the prospect for any man's progress is
largely determined by his attitude. It is the receptive mind, rather
than the oracle, which inspires confidence. General Eisenhower said at
one point that, after 40 years, he still thought of himself as a
student on all military questions, and that he consciously mistrusted
any man who believed he had the full and final answer to problems
which by their nature were ever-changing.

But priggishness about knowledge is not more hurtful than is the
arbitrary use of it to limit action. _To rule by work rather than to
work by rules_ must be the abiding principle in military operations,
for finally, when war comes, nothing else will suffice. In peacetime,
absolute accountability is required, because dollar economy in
operations is a main object. This entails adherence to rigid forms,
time-consuming, but still necessary. In many of war's exigencies,
these forms frequently have to be swept aside, to bring victory as
quickly as possible and to save human life. In the book, "General
Kenney Reports," that great air commander spoke at one point of a
difficulty in one of his combat groups. "It was a lot of hard-working
earnest kids, officers and enlisted men, who were doing the best they
could under poor living and eating conditions. But their hands were
tied by the colonel in command whose passion for paper work
effectually stopped the issuing of supplies and the functioning of the
place as an air depot should. He told me that he thought 'it was about
time these combat units learned how to do their paper work properly.'
I decided that it would be a waste of time to fool with him so I told
him to pack up to go home on the next plane."

Though this is a tragic example of wrong-headedness, it is by no means
unique. The profession moves ahead, and national security advances
with it, because of men who have the confidence and courage to toss
the rule book out the window when it doesn't fit the situation, and
who dare to trust their own decisions and improvise swiftly.

But in all walks of life, this willingness to take hold of the reins
firmly is by no means common among men in relatively subordinate
positions who can play it safe by falling back on "SOP."

But there is also a far wider vista than that which is to be viewed
only within the services themselves, and its horizons are almost
infinite. The American way in warfare utilizes everything within the
national system which may be applied to a military purpose toward the
increase of training and fighting efficiency. Much of our potential
strength lies in our industrial structure, our progress in science,
our inventiveness and our educational resources. Toward the end that
all of these assets will be given maximum use, and every good idea
which can be converted to a military purpose will be in readiness to
serve the nation when war comes, there must be a continuing meeting of
minds between military leadership and the leaders and experts in these
various fields during peace.

That union cannot be perfected, however, unless there is a sufficient
number of men on both sides of the table who can think halfway into
the field of the man opposite. Just as the civilian expert in
electronics, airplane manufacture or motion picture production needs
to know more about the military establishment's problem and
requirements if he is to do his part, the service officer with whom he
is dealing needs to be informed on industry's resources, possibilities
and limitations if he is to enable the civilian side to do its part
well. The same for science. The same for education, and all other
backers of the fighting force.

An enlightened Englishman, D. W. Brogan, in a book written during
World War II, "The American Character," gave us this thought: "The
American officer must think in terms of material resources, existing
but not organized in peacetime and taking much time and thought and
experiment by trial and error to make available in wartime. He finds
that his best peacetime plans are inadequate for one basic reason:
that any plan which in peacetime really tried to draw adequately on
American resources would cause its author to be written off as a
madman; and in wartime, it would prove to have been inadequate,
pessimistic, not allowing enough for the practically limitless
resources of the American people--limitless once the American people
get ready to let them be used. And only war can get them ready for
that. The American officer can draw then, but not before, on an
experience in economic improvization and in technical adaptation which
no other country can equal."

This is true to the last syllable, and it means in essence that unless
the American officer can think of the whole nation as his workshop,
and along with his other duties, will apply himself as a student,
seeking to understand more and more about the richness and the
adaptability of our tremendous resources, neither he nor the country
will be relatively ready when war comes.

There is a last point to be made on the matter of attitude. The most
resolute opposition to changes in any system usually comes from those
who control them. That is universally true, and not peculiar to
military systems; but the services are foremost in recognizing that,
as a consequence, the encouragement of original thought at the lower
levels is essential to over-all progress.

All depends upon the manner. We can ponder the words of William
Hazlitt, "A man who shrinks from a collision with his equals or
superiors will soon sink below himself; we improve by trying our
strength with others, not by showing it off." They are good so far as
they go, but something new should be added. There is a vast difference
between contending firmly for ideas that seem progressive when one is
reasonably sure of one's data, and the habit of throwing one's weight
around through a mistaken belief that this of itself manifests an
independence of spirit which inspires respect.

Truculence can never win the day. Restraint, tolerance, a sense of
humor and of proportion and the force of logic are the marks of the
man qualified for intellectual leading. Within the services, even
though he has no great rank, there is practically nothing he cannot
carry through, if his proposals have the color of reason and
propriety, and if he will keep his head, keep his temper, and keep his



An admiring contemporary spoke of Paul G. Hoffman, the director of the
European Recovery Program, as "the kind of man who if tossed through
the air would always pick out the right trapeze."

Within any military organization, there is always a number of such
men, enlisted and commissioned. They know how and where to take hold,
even in the face of a totally unexpected and unnerving situation, and
they have what amounts to an instinct for doing the right thing in a
decisive moment.

If it were not so, no captain of the line would ever be able to manage
a company in battle, and no submarine commander would be able to cope
with an otherwise overwhelming danger. These men are the foundation of
unit integrity. The successful life of organization depends upon
husbanding, and helping them to cultivate, their own powers, which
means that their initiative and vigor must never be chilled by
supercilious advice and thoughtless correction.

They will go ahead and act responsibly on their own when given the
confidence, and if they want it, the friendship, of their commander.
But they cannot be treated like little children. The lash will ruin
them and the curb will merely subdue that which needs to be brought
forward. As in handling a horse with a good temper and a good mouth,
nothing more is needed than that gentle touch of the rein which
signals that things are under control.

From where the executive sits, the main secret of building strength
within organization comes of identifying such men, and of associating
one's authority with theirs, so it is unmistakable in whose name they
are speaking and acting. One of the acid tests of qualification in
officership is the ability properly to delegate authority, to put it
in the best hands, and thereafter to uphold them. If an officer cannot
do that, and if he is mistrustful of all power save his own, he
cannot command in peace, and when he goes into battle, his unit
strength will fragment like an exploding bomb, and the parts will not
be rewelded until some stronger character takes hold.

_Command is not a prerogative, but rather a responsibility to be
shared with all who are capable of filling up the spaces in orders and
of carrying out that which is not openly expressed though it may be
understood._ Admittedly, it is not easy for a young officer, who by
reason of his youth is not infrequently lacking in self-assurance and
in the confidence that he can command respect, to understand that as a
commander he can grow in strength in the measure that he succeeds in
developing the latent strength of his subordinates. But if he
stubbornly resists this premise as he goes along in the service, his
personal resources will never become equal to the strain which will be
imposed upon him, come a war emergency. The power to command resides
largely in the ability to see when a proper initiative is being
exercised and in giving it moral encouragement. When an officer feels
that way about his job and his men, he will not be ready to question
any action by a junior which might be narrowly construed as an
encroachment upon his own authority. Of this last evil come the
restraints which reduce men to automatons, giving only that which is
asked, or less, according to the pressing of a button.

There are other men who have as sound a potential as these
already-made leaders, but lack the initial confidence because they
were not constructively handled in earlier years. They require
somewhat more personal attention, for the simple reason that more
frequent contact with their superiors, words of approval and advice as
needed, will do more than all else to put bottom under them. They must
be encouraged to think for themselves as well as to obey orders, to
organize as well as to respond, if they are to become part of the
solution, rather than remaining part of the problem, of command. If
left wholly to their own devices, or to the ministrations of less
thoughtful subordinates, they will remain in that majority which moves
only when told. It takes no more work, though it does require
imagination, to awaken the energies of such men by appealing to their
intelligence and their self-interest, than to nauseate them with dull
theory, and to cramp them by depriving them of responsibility.

Careful missionary work among these "sleepers" is as productive as
spading the ground, and sprinkling a garden patch. When an officer
takes hold in a new unit, his main chance of making it better than it
was comes of looking for the overlooked men. He uses his hand to give
them a firm lift upward, but it will not be available for that purpose
if he spends any of his time tugging at men who are already on their
feet and moving in the right general direction.

In the words of a distinguished armored commander in our forces: "To
the military leader, men are tools. He is successful to the extent
that he can get the men to work for him. Ordinarily, and on their own
initiative, people run on only 35 percent capacity. The success of a
leader comes of tapping the other 65 percent." This is a pretty
seasoned judgment on men in the mass, taking them as they come, the
mobile men, the slow starters, the indifferent and the shiftless.
Almost every man wants to do what is expected of him. When he does not
do so, it is usually because his instructions have been so doubtful as
to befog him or give him a reasonable excuse for noncompliance. This
view of things is the only tenable attitude an officer or enlisted
leader can take toward his subordinates. He will recognize the
exceptions, and if he does not then take appropriate action, it is
only because he is himself shiftless and is compassionate toward
others of his own fraternity.

It is the military habit to "plow deep in broken drums and shoot crap
for old crowns," as the poet, Carl Sandburg, put it. As much as any
other profession, and even possibly a little more, we take pride in
the pat solution, and in proof that long-applied processes amply meet
the test of newly unfolding experience. But despite all the jests
about the Gettysburg Map, we wouldn't know where we're going if we
couldn't be reasonably sure of where we've been.

Therefore, it is as well to say now that from all of the careful
searching made by the armed services as to the fighting
characteristics of Americans during World War II, not a great deal was
learned in addition to what was already well known, or surmised. The
criteria that had been used in the prior system of selection proved to
be substantially correct; at least, if it had faults, they were innate
in the complex problem of weighing human material, and were beyond
correction by any rule of thumb or judgment. Men were chosen to lead
because of personality, intelligence at their work, response to
orders, ability to lead in fatigues or in the social affairs of
organization, and disciplinary record. In combat these same men
carried 95 percent of the load of responsibility and provided the
dynamic for the attack. But in every unit, there was almost invariably
a small sprinkling of individuals, who having shown no prior ability
when measured by the customary yardsticks of courtesy, discipline and
work, became strong and vital in any situation calling for heroic
action. They could fight, they could lead, they knew what should be
done, they could persuade other men to rally around, and by these
things, they could command instantly the previously withheld respect
of their superiors.

Neither the scientific nor the military mind has yet been able to
provide the answer as to how men of this type--so indispensable to the
fighting establishment in the thing that matters most, though lacking
in strong surface characteristics--can be detected beforehand, and
conserved, instead of being wasted possibly in a labor or housekeeping

All concerned recognize the extreme importance of the problem, and
would like to do something about it. What is as yet not even vaguely
seen is the large possibility that the problem might be
self-liquidating if all junior officers became more concerned with
learning all they could about the private character and personal
nature of their subordinates. This does not mean invading their
privacy; but it implies giving every man a fair chance to open up and
to talk freely, without fear of contempt. It means studying the
background of a man even more carefully than one would read a map,
looking for the key to command of the terrain. These are usually
repressed men; many of the foreign-born are to be found among them;
they cover up because of pride, but they are not afraid of physical
danger. Once any man, and particularly a superior, gets through the
outer shell, he may have the effect of a catalyst on what is happening
inside. If such men did not have basic loyalty, they would never
fight. When at last they give their loyalty to an individual, they are
usually his to command and will go through hell for him.

There was an Oklahoma miner named Alvin Wimberley in 90th Division
during World War I. On the drill field, he could do nothing correctly.
He couldn't step off on the left foot; he would frequently drop his
piece while trying to do right shoulder. Solely because his case was
unfathomable, his platoon leader asked that he be taken to France with
the unit instead of separated with the culls. At the front, Wimberley
immediately took the lead in every detail of a dangerous sort, such as
exploding a mine field, or hunting for traps and snares. His nerve was
inexhaustible; his judgment sure. There was, after all, a simple key
to the mystery. Wimberley had led a solitary life as a dynamiter, deep
under ground. He was frightened of men, but danger was his element.
When he saw other men recoil at the thing which bothered him not at
all, he realized that he was the big man, though he only stood 5 feet
3 inches in issue socks.

To know men, it is not necessary to wet-nurse them, and no officer can
make a sorrier mistake than to take the overly nice, worrying attitude
toward them. This, after all, is simply the rule of the well-bred man,
rather than an item peculiar to the code of the military officer. But
it is a little less becoming in a service officer than in anyone else,
because, when a man puts on fighting clothes in the name of his
country, it is an insult to treat him as if he were a juvenile.

In any situation where men need to know one another better, someone
has to break the ice. Where does the main responsibility lie within a
military unit? True enough, the junior has to salute first, and in
some services is supposed to say, "Good morning!" first, though
beating a man to the draw with a greeting is one way to win him.

However, the main point is this: unless an officer has himself been an
enlisted man, it is almost impossible for him to know how formidable,
and even forbidding, rank at first seems to the eyes of the man down
under, even though he would be loath to say so.

Many recruits have such a mistaken hearsay impression of the United
States military system, that it is for them a cause for astonishment
that any officer enjoys free discussion with them. They feel at first
that there is a barrier there which only the officer is entitled to
cross; it takes them a little while to learn better.

But in the continuing relationship, it is the habit of the average
well-disciplined enlisted man to remain reticent, and talk only on
official matters, unless the officer takes the lead in such way as to
invite general conversation. For that matter, the burden is the same
anywhere in the service in relations between a senior officer and his
subordinates, and the former must take the lead if he expects to
really know his men.

Many newly joined officers believe, altogether mistakenly, that there
is some strange taboo against talking to men except in line of duty,
and that if caught at it, it will be considered _infra dig_. There is
always the hope that they will remain around long enough to learn



Other things being equal, a superior rating will invariably be given
to the officer who has persevered in his studies of the art of
self-expression, while his colleague, who attaches little importance
to what may be achieved through working with the language, will be
marked for mediocrity.

A moment's reflection will show why this has to be the case and why
mastery of the written and spoken word is indispensable to successful

As the British statesman, Disraeli, put it, "Men govern with words."
Within the military establishment, command is exercised through what
is said which commands attention and understanding and through what is
written which directs, explains, interprets or informs.

Battles are won through the ability of men to express concrete ideas
in clear and unmistakable language. All administration is carried
forward along the chain of command by the power of men to make their
thoughts articulate and available to others.

There is no way under the sun that this basic condition can be
altered. Once the point is granted, any officer should be ready to
accept its corollary--that superior qualification in the use of the
language, both as to the written and the spoken word, is more
essential to military leadership than knowledge of the whole technique
of weapons handling.

It then becomes strictly a matter of personal decision whether he will
seek to advance himself along the line of main chance or will take
refuge in the excuse offered by the great majority: "I'm just a simple
fighting file with no gift for writing or speaking."

How often these or similar words are heard in the armed services! And
the pity of it is that they are usually uttered in a tone indicating
that the speaker believes some special virtue attaches to his kind of
ignorance. There is the unmistakable innuendo that the man who pays
serious attention to the fundamentals of the business of communication
is somehow less possessed of sturdy military character than himself.
There could hardly be a more absurd or disadvantageous professional
conceit than this. It is the mark only of an officer who has no
ambition to properly qualify himself, and is seeking to justify his
own laziness.

Not all American military leaders have been experts at polishing a
phrase or giving clear expression and continuity to the thoughts which
made them useful in command. But of those who have excelled in the
conduct of great operations, at least four out of five made some mark
in the field of letters. A long list would include such names as U. S.
Grant, W. T. Sherman, Robert E. Lee, John J. Pershing, James G.
Harbord, Henry T. Allen, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, Jr.,
H. H. Arnold, Douglas MacArthur, William F. Halsey, W. B. Smith,
Joseph W. Stilwell, Holland M. Smith, and Robert L. Eichelberger among
many others.

Of them all, it can be said without exception that they acquired their
skill at self-expression by sustained practice which was part of a
self-imposed training in the interests of furthering their military
efficiency. No one of them was a born writer. There is no such thing.
Nor did any one of them owe his abilities as a writer to any other
person. Writers are self-made. But it is a reasonable speculation that
history might never have heard of the greater number of these men had
they not worked sedulously to become proficient with the pen as well
as with the sword. Granting that they had other sound military
qualities in the beginning, an acquired ability to express themselves
lucidly and with force became a touchstone to preferment. The same
thing holds true of their celebrated military contemporaries almost
without exception. Even those who had no public reputation for
authorship, and would have been ill at ease if called upon to speak to
an average audience, knew how to use the language in presenting their
thoughts to their staffs and their troops, whether the occasion called
for a succinct operational order, a doctrinal exposition or an
inspirational message on the eve of battle.

Wherever one looks, the same precept may be noted. It was not
coincidence merely, but related cause and effect, that Ferdinand Foch
was one of the ablest military writers of the twentieth century before
he won immortality on the field of war, that the elder von Moltke was
as skilled with ink as with powder, and that we still marvel at the
picture of the great von Steuben dictating drill manuals far into the
night so that there would be greater perfection in his formations on
the following day. The command of language was one of the main sources
of their power over the multitude.

As it was with these commanders, so it is with leadership at every
level: _Men who can command words to serve their thoughts and feelings
are well on their way to commanding men to serve their purposes._

All senior commanders respect the junior who has a facility for
thinking an idea through and then expressing it comprehensively in
clear, unvarnished phrases. Moreover, even when they are stilted in
their own manner of expression, they will warm to the man whose style
achieves strength through its ease and naturalness. They will quickly
make note of any young officer who is making progress in this
direction and will want to have him around. He is a rare bird in the
services, and for that reason his opportunities are far above the
average. Staff work could not be carried forward at any of its levels
if it were not for this particular talent, and command would lose a
great part of its magnetism.

Toward the building of a career, the best break that can come to any
young man is to have three or four places bidding simultaneously for
his services. There are possibly better arguments than that as to why
perfection in writing should be a main pursuit of the service officer,
such as the sense of personal attainment which comes of it.

Any man who has the brain to qualify for commission can make of
himself a competent writer. Because of natural limitations, he may
never come to excel in this art. But if he has had average schooling,
knows how to open a dictionary, can find his way to a library, is
willing to commit himself to long study and practice, particularly in
nonduty hours, and will finally free himself of the superstition that
writing is a game only for specialists, he can acquire all the skill
that is necessary to further his advance within the military

That is the great difference between writing ability and specialized
knowledge in such fields as electronics and atomic research.

But where should work begin? How about a little practical advice?

The only way to learn to write is to write. That is it--there is no
other secret than hard, unremitting practice. Most writers at the
start are mentally muscle-bound, and poorly coordinated. They have
thoughts in their heads. They think they can develop them clearly. But
when they try to apply a largely dormant vocabulary to the expression
of these thoughts, the result is stiff and selfconscious.

The only cure for this is constant mental exercise, with one's pen, or
over one's typewriter. After a man has written perhaps a half million
relatively useless words there comes, sometimes almost in a flash, and
at other times gradually, a mastery not only of words, but of phrases,
sentences and the composition of ideas. It is a kind of rhythmic
process, like learning to swim, or to row a boat, or navigate an
airplane. When a writer has at last conquered his element, his
personality and his character can be transmitted to paper. What is
said will reflect the force, adaptability, reason and musing of the
writer. In fact, the discipline through which one learns to write adds
substance to thought, whereby one's ideas are given body and
connection. Such common faults as wordiness, overstatement, faulty
sentence structure and weak use of words are gradually corrected. With
their passing, confidence grows. This does not mean, however, that the
task then becomes easy. Though its rewards will increase, good writing
continues to be a strain even to the man who does it well. Many
celebrated men of letters never get beyond the "sweating" stage, but
have to fight their way through a jungle of words, and rewrite almost
endlessly, before finding satisfaction in their product.

This description makes it all seem more than a little formidable. But
what was promised in the first place was that any service officer, who
will accept the necessary discipline, can make himself reasonably
proficient as a writer, and thereby further his professional progress.
What he writes about during the conditioning period makes very little
difference. It might be an operational order one night, a treatise on
discipline the next, a lecture to his men on the elements of combat
the third. Fortunately, the list of topics within the services and
directly applicable to their operations, is practically inexhaustible.
That is a main reason why the military establishment is a better
school for writing than perhaps any other place in our society.

Winston Churchill, whose gift of forceful expression is the envy of
all other writing men, won his literary spurs in his early twenties as
a soldier with the Malakand Field Force. He saw the essential
idea--that to learn English, he had literally to learn, just as though
he had been acquiring Latin or French. As a writer, his main strength
is his employment of Anglo-Saxon, the words of our common speech.

But simply to take regular exercise in composition is not quite
enough. Of it would come the shadow but not the substance. To progress
as a writer, one must become a student of the best things which have
been written by men who understand their craft. A military officer can
do that without going beyond the field of military studies, if that
should be his disposition, such is the richness and variation of
available works in this realm of literature. The purpose at hand is
not only to seek great ideas for their own sake but to make careful
note of the manner in which they are expressed. So doing, one
unconsciously invigorates his own powers and adopts techniques which
the masters have used to great advantage.

To paraphrase what a distinguished journalist once said on this
subject in a speech to young writers: "For an officer it is in the
first place a shame to be ignorant--ignorant, as not a few are, of
history and geography: and in the second place, it is a pity that any
officer should lack a vigor in writing which can be produced through
imitation of vigorous writers."

As to what is best worth seeking, a man can not go wrong by "falling
in love" with the works of a relatively limited number of authors who
kindle him personally. It is all right to widen the field
occasionally, for diversion, for contrast, for sharpening style, and
for balancing of ideas, but strength comes of finding a main line and
holding to it. No man can read a book with sympathetic understanding
without taking from it something that makes him more complex and more

The main test is in this: if you read a book and feel stirred by it,
even though alternately you strongly agree with certain of its
passages and warmly contend against others, something new has been
added. The writer is making you see things. Your own powers of
observation are being made more acute. All good writers are in a sense
hitch-hikers. While going along for the ride, and enjoying the essence
of some highly developed mind, they are not loath to study the
technique by which some other man develops his driving power, and to
make note of his strong words and best phrases for possible future

It is a good habit to underscore passages in books which have
contributed something vital to one's own thought--always provided that
the books have not been borrowed.

Without mentioning names, we can take a cue from a man who some years
ago entered one of the services while still a youth. He had had little
formal education, but he began an earnest study of military
literature, and the search for knowledge whetted his thirst to join
the company of those who could speak to the world because they had
something to say. He read such books as were at hand, and clipped
pieces from magazines and newspapers which had particularly appealed
to him, for one reason or another. Whenever he saw a new word, he
wrote it down and sought the meaning in the dictionary, considering
whether it had a shade of meaning which added anything important to
his vocabulary. This done, he wrote sentences, many sentences,
employing his new words in various ways, until their use became
instinctive. On this foundation alone, he built his career as a
national writer. There was nothing extraordinary about this start and
the ultimate result. Literally thousands of Americans have qualified
themselves for one branch or another of the writing profession by what
they learned to do in military service. Too, an ability to "organize a
good paper" has been a large element in the success of most of the men
who have moved from the military circle into top posts in the
diplomatic service, in education or in industrial administration. Had
they been capable only of delegating this kind of work, their powers
would never have been recognized.

As a practical matter, it is better to concentrate on a few elementary
rules-of-thumb, such as are contained in the following list, than to
bog down attempting to heed everything that the pedants have said
about how to become a writer.

    The more simply a thing is said the more powerfully it influences
    those who read. Plain words make strong writing.

    There is always one best word to convey a thought or a feeling. To
    accept a weaker substitute, rather than to Search for the right
    word, will deprive any writing of force.

    Economy of words invigorates composition.

    To quote Carl Sandburg: "Think twice before you use an adjective."

    It is better to use the adverb because an adverb enhances the verb
    and is active, whereas the adjective simply loads down the noun.

    On the other hand, it is the verb that makes language live. Nine
    times out of ten the verb is the operative word giving motion to
    the sentence. Hence, placing the verb is of first importance in
    giving strength to sentence structure.

    In all writing, but in military writing particularly, there is no
    excuse for vague terminology or phrases which do not convey an
    exact impression of what was done or what is intended. The
    military vocabulary is laden with words and expressions which
    sound professional but do not have definite meaning. They vitiate
    speech and the establishment would gladly rid itself of them if a
    way could be found. Men fall into the habit of saying
    "performed," "functioned" or "executed" and forget that "did" is
    in the dictionary. A captain along the MLR (main line of
    resistance) notifies his battalion commander that he has "advanced
    his left flank" when all that has actually occurred is that six
    riflemen from the left have crawled forward to new, and possibly,
    untenable ground.

    It is better at all times to _rein in_. The strength of military
    writing, like the soundness of military operations, does not gain
    through overstatement and artificial coloring. The bigger the
    subject, the less it needs embroidery.

    For lucidity and sincerity, the important thing is to say what you
    have to say in whatever words most accurately express your own
    thoughts. That done, it is pointless to worry about the effect on
    the audience.

The list of suggestions could be extended indefinitely. But enough has
already been said to stake out a main line for those who have already
decided that this subject deserves their interest.

A majority of the world's most gifted writers would in all probability
be struck dumb if put before an audience; though dealing confidently
with ideas, they lack confidence when dealing with people. The
military officer has need of both talents, and as to where the accent
should be placed, it is probably more important that he should speak
well than that his writing prose should be polished. A unit commander
may permit a clerk or a subordinate to do the greater part of his
paper work, either because his own time is taken with other duties or
because he is awkward at it, but if he permits any other voice to
dominate the councils of the organization, he soon ceases to exercise
moral authority over it.

Of this there is no question. The judgment men take of their superior
is formed as much by what he says and how he says it as by his action.

The matter of nerve is a main element in speaking. When an officer is
ill at ease, fidgety and not to the point, the vote of his command for
the time being is "no confidence," and so long as he remains that
way, they will not change, no matter though his good will shines forth
through other acts.

On the other hand, the military crowd is an extremely sympathetic
audience. It has to be; it is drawing pay for so being. But even if
that were not true, the ranks have a generous spirit and are ever
disposed to give the newcomer an even break. If he meets them
confidently and calmly, measures his words, smiles at his own mistakes
and breaks it off when he has covered his subject, they'll pay no
attention to his little fumbles, and they'll approve him. There is no
better way to pick up prestige than through instruction or discourse
which commands attention, for despite all that is said in favor of the
"strong, silent man," troops like an officer who is outgiving, and who
has an intelligence that they can respect because they have seen it at

As for _how_ an officer should talk to men, his manner and tone should
be no different than if he were addressing his fellow officers, or for
that matter, a group of his intellectual and political peers from any
walk of life. If he is stuffy, he will not succeed anywhere. If he
affects a superior manner, that is a mark of his inferiority. If he is
patronizing, and talks to grown men as a teacher might talk to a class
of adolescents, the rug, figuratively, will be pulled from under him.
His audience will put him down as a chump.

It is curiously the case that the junior officer who can't get the
right pitch when he talks to the ranks will also be out of tune when
he talks to his superiors. This failing is a sign mainly that he needs
practice in the school of human nature. By listening a little more
carefully to other men, he may himself in time attain maturity.

Concerning subject matter, it is better always to aim high than to
take the risk of shooting too low. It is too often the practice to
spell out everything in words of one syllable so that the more witless
files in the organization will be able to understand it. When that is
done, it insults the intelligence of the keenest men, and nothing is
added to their progress. The target should be the intellect of the
upper 25 or 30 percent. When they are stimulated and informed, they
will bring the others along, and even those who do not fully
understand all that was under discussion will have heard something to
which to aspire. _The habit of talking down to troops is one of the
worst vices that can afflict an officer._

There are no dull lecture topics; there are only dull lecturers. A
little eager research will enliven any subject under the sun. Good
lecturing causes men's imaginations to be stirred by vivid images.
Real good is accomplished only when they talk to each other of what
they have heard and sharpen their impressions. Schopenauer somewhere
observes that "people in general have eyes and ears, but not much
else--little judgment and even little memory," which isn't far wrong.
Consequently, competent lecturing entails the employment of every
technique which can be used to hammer a point home. In this way, a
truth or a lesson has a better chance of adhering because it is
identified with some definite image. Simply to illuminate this point,
it is noted that the jests which best stick in the memory are those
which are associated with some incongruous situation. To relate a
pertinent anecdote, to provide an apt quotation from some well-known
authority and to draw upon our own rich battle history for
illustrative materials are but a few of the means of freshening any
discussion and sharpening its purpose. Men are always ready to listen
to the story of other men's experience provided that it is told with
vigor. And insofar as combat is concerned, such teaching is in point,
for what has happened once will happen again.

For his way as an instructor of young infantry officers of the A. E.
F. in 1918, Lt. Col. H. M. Hutchinson of the British Army was awarded
our D. S. M. Officers who sat at his feet at Gondrecourt were unlikely
ever to forget the point of such an anecdote as:

"There will be no 'Stack arms' in my army. It is a thing one sees on a
brewer's calendar--The Soldier's Dream--showing a brave private
sleeping under a stack of rifles which it will take him a good
half-hour to untangle when the call comes to stand to. No, a soldier
had better carry the rifle with him to his meals, have it beside him
always, lavish his care upon it, and in short treat it more like a
wife than a weapon.

"I am reminded of the times in South Africa when we would come to a
country inn where a chap could stop for beer. Well, a soldier would
walk into the place, and immediately he would stand his rifle in a
corner--like an umbrella, you know--'We've arrived!'--and he'd get
well into his beer and a song, say, and suddenly firing would break
out on the inn from four sides.

"It seemed that a Boer had slipped into the entry and picked up all
the rifles and passed them around to his mates in the bushes,
and--well--there you are!"

As a cadet and later as an instructor at Sandhurst, Colonel Hutchinson
well knew the usefulness of the anecdote in catching and holding the
attention of the young. Who could forget the lesson in this, related
at Gondrecourt:

"In my youth I was a dashing ignoramus with clearer ideas than I now
have on the line of demarcation between the officer and his men. They
sent me out to South Africa during the trouble and I brought a
detachment into a country village. It seemed quite unpromising but I
was told of a sort of place 3 miles in the country that you would call
a chateau in France. So I cantered out and spent the night, turning my
men over to a sergeant-major. After a refreshing breakfast along in
the middle of the morning--the late middle of the morning--I rode back
into town, but try as I might I could not locate a single one of my

"Now nothing, you know, is as ineffective in a war as an officer
without his men. Well, I spent the day in agony and it was not until
along at dusk that the first of the blighters straggled in--quite
drunk, all of them, and swearing to a man that they had engaged in
five ferocious battles. It seems that about 2 miles away, in a barn,
they had come on a hogshead of ginger brandy, and had stayed with it
to the bitter end. Need I say that it was a great lesson to me, and
that from then on I was never billeted farther than 15 rods from my

"As a matter of fact, I love ginger brandy."

Or this, in which the whole lesson of exactitude in the written
communication is implicit:

"Now on the subject of messages, it might be well to say immediately
that as far as I know no one ever received a written message during a
battle. They may be written, but that I think is as far as it goes.
However, they are occasionally received before and after battles, and
in this connection let me say that it is no earthly good writing
generalities to signify times and places.

"I mean to say, suppose you are writing a message and you write
'Report after breakfast.' Well, to Sergeant Ramrod it might mean
stand-to at 3 in the morning; while to Captain Brighteyes it would
mean, say, 8 o'clock. But to Colonel Blue-fish it would signify some
time after 11, depending quite a bit on how the old fellow felt.

"So it is better to say 7 o'clock in the morning, if that is what you
mean, for after all there is only one 7 o'clock in the morning. And,
by the way, I must warn you chaps against the champagne on sale in the
Cafe de l'Univers down here in the square. It is made in the
basement--of potatoes."

On as simple and basic a thing as continuing liaison between small
units, the Colonel's listeners never forgot his elementary parable:

"One rule is about all a chap can handle in a battle, and as good a
one as any to remember is to keep in some sort of touch with the chaps
to your right and left. If you do this--and I dare say you Americans
will have as much trouble as ourselves in remembering to--then a great
deal of distress to yourselves and all hands will be obviated.

"Now here we have a triangular wood. There is to be an attack, and the
objective is this line beyond the wood. So on this side of the wood at
the hour of attack the Welsh Guards go forward--and on this side,
here, the Inniskilling Fusiliers, and a tremendous battle ensues.
Well, after an hour or two, with not much progress, it is discovered
that the Welsh Guards have been firing into the Inniskilling
Fusiliers, and the Fusiliers have been firing into the Welsh. This is
thought a bit thick, you know, even in the confusion of battle. So
eventually it is stopped."

Some of the experts warn the lecturer who is only a beginner against
the use of humor, commenting that if a joke is unlaughed at, it is
disconcerting to all concerned. The only intelligent answer to that
is: "Well, what of it?" The speaker who is going to cringe every time
one of his passages falls a little flat had best not start. This
happens at times to every lecturer; there are good days and bad days,
live audiences and sour ones. If a man takes his work seriously, it is
hardly within nature for him to harden his emotions against an
unexpectedly dull reaction. But he can keep from ever showing that he
is upset if as a speaker he consciously forms the habit of rapidly
driving on from one point to another.

Thus as to the use of humor in public address, it is not only an asset
but almost a necessity. It is better to try with it, and to fall flat
occasionally, thereby sharpening one's own wit through better
understanding of what goes and what does not, than to attempt to go
along humorlessly. Said William Pitt: "Don't tell me of a man's being
able to talk sense. Everyone can talk sense. Can he talk a little
nonsense?" Even more to the point is the remark of Thomas Hardy that
men thin away to insignificance quite as often by not making the most
of good spirits when they have them as by lacking good spirits when
they are indispensable. Fighting is much too serious a trade to have a
large place for men who are dry as dust.

One of the spellbinders of ancient Greece, we are told, orated on the
sands with his mouth filled with pebbles. In World War I, it was the
custom of many higher commanders to take their officers out for voice
exercises and have them talk through 150 feet of thicket; they were
not satisfied unless the words came through distinctly on the far
side. If, under average acoustical conditions, a military officer
cannot get across to five hundred men, he needs to improve his voice
placement. It is remarkable what miracles can be worked by consistent
exercise of the vocal cords.

The final thought is that it is all a matter of buildup. An officer
can cut his audience to his own size, and strengthen his powers and
his confidence as he goes along. That is his supreme advantage. He can
start with a short talk to a minor working detail and move from that
to a more formal address before a slightly larger group. By taking it
gradually, and increasing his store of knowledge in the interim
period, he will see the time come when he can hold any audience in the
hollow of his hand. This is precisely the routine which was followed
by most of the military leaders who have been celebrated for their
command of speech.



    _Keep it simple._

    _Have but one main object._

    _Stay on the course._

    _Remain cheerful._

    _Be enthusiastic._

    _Put it out as if the ideas were as interesting and novel to you,
    as to your audience._

By abiding by these few simple rules you will keep cool, preserve
continuity and hold your audience.

Instruction is just about the begin-all and end-all of every military
officer's job. He spends the greater part of his professional life
either pitching it or catching it, and the game doesn't stop until he
is at last retired. Should he become a Supreme Commander, even, this
is one thing that does not change; it remains a give-and-take
proposition. Part of his time is taken instructing his staff as to
what he wants done and just as much of it is spent in being instructed
by his staff as to the means available for the doing of it.

Instruction is the generator of unified action. It is the transmission
belt by which the lessons of experience are passed to untrained men.
Left uninstructed, men may progress only by trial-and-error and the
hard bumps which come of not knowing the way.

Need more than that be said to suggest that the officer who builds a
competent skill in this field, so that it becomes a part of his
reputation, has at the same time built the most solid kind of a
foundation under his service career?

The services do not discard that kind of man when the economy pinch
comes and the establishment has to contract. The Reservist, who is
known as a good instructor, is always on the preferred list. In any
period of emergency, such officers move rapidly to the top; there are
always more good jobs than there are good men. Look back over the
lineup of distinguished commanders from World War II! It will be found
that the high percentage of them first attracted notice by _being good
school men_.

Within the services, in all functions related to the passing on of
information, the accent is on "knowing your stuff." The point is
substantial, but not conclusive. It is upon the way that instruction
is delivered rather than upon its contents as such that its moral
worth rests. The pay-off is not in what is said, but in what sinks in.
_A competent instructor will not only teach his men but will increase
his prestige in the act._ There are many inexpressibly dull bores who
know what they're talking about, but still haven't learned how to say
it, because they are contemptuous of the truth that it is the dynamic
flow of knowledge, rather than the static possession of it, which is
the means to power and influence. As technicians, they have their
place. As instructors, they would be better off if they knew only half
as much about their subject, and twice as much about people.

To know where truth lies is not more important than knowing how to
pitch it. Take the average American military audience: what can be
said fairly of its main characteristics? Perhaps this--that it is
moderately reflective; that it is ready to give the untried speaker a
break; that it does not like windiness, bombast or prolonged
moralizing; that it refuses to be bullied; and that it can usually be
won by the light touch and a little appeal to its sporting instinct.
It is the little leavening in the bread which makes all the difference
in its savor and digestibility.

In World War I an American major, name now long forgotten, was given
the task of making the rounds of the cantonments, talking to all
combat formations, and convincing them that the future was bright--no
Boy Scout errand. But wherever he went, morale was lifted by his
words. In substance, what he said was this:

"None of us cares about living with any individual who wants every
break his own way. But when the odds are even, the gamble is worth
any good man's time. So let's look at the proposition. You now have
one chance in two; you may go overseas, you may not. Suppose you do.
You still have one chance in two. You may go to the front, or you may
not. If you don't, you'll see a foreign country at Uncle Sam's
expense; if you do, you'll find out about war, which is the toughest
chance of them all. But up there, you still have one chance in two:
you may get hit, or you may not. If you breeze through it, you'll be a
better man for all the rest of your life. And if you get hit, you
still have one chance in two. You may get a small wound, and become a
hero to your family and friends. Or there is always the last chance
that it may take you out altogether. And while that is a little
rugged, it is at least worth remembering that very few people seem to
get out of this life alive."

There was as simple an idea as any military instructor ever unloaded,
and yet troops cheered this man wherever he went.

Lt. Col. H. M. Hutchinson, of the British Army, already described in
this book as an instructor who made a powerful impression on the
American Army in World War I because of his droll wit, was a master
hand at taking the oblique approach to teach a lesson. Old officers
still remember the manner and the moral of passages such as this one:

"On the march back from Mons--and I may say that a very good army
sometimes must retreat, though no doubt it wounds the sensibilities to
consider it--we did rather well. But I noticed often the confusion
caused by marching slowly up one side of a hill and dashing down the
other. It is a tendency of all columns on foot.

"A captain is sitting out in front on a horse, with a hell of a great
pipe in his mouth and thinking of some girl in a cafe, and of course
he moves slowly up the hill. He comes to the top and his pace
quickens. Well, then, what happens? The taller men are at the top of
the column, and they lengthen their stride--but what becomes of Nipper
and Sandy down in the twentieth squad? Half the time, you see, they
are running to catch up. So the effect is to jam the troops together
on an upgrade and to stretch them out going down--you know--like a

Where then is the beginning of efficiency in the art of instruction?
It resides in becoming diligent and disciplined about self-instruction.
No man can develop great power as an instructor, or learn to talk
interestingly and convincingly, until he has begun to think deeply.
And depth of thought does not come of vigorous research on an
assignment immediately at hand, but from intensive collateral study
throughout the course of a career. We are all somewhat familiar with
the type of commander who, when asked: "What are your officers doing
about special studies, so that they may better their reading habits
and further their powers of self-expression?" will puff himself up by
replying, "They are kept so busily employed that they have no time for
any such exercise." This is one way of saying that his subordinates
are kept too busy to get essential work done.

Research, on the spot and at the time, is vital and necessary so that
the presentation of any subject will be factually freshened and
documented. But its nature and object should not be overrated. The
real values can be compared to what happens to a pitcher when he warms
up before a game. This is merely an act of suppling the muscles; the
real conditioning process has already taken place, and it has been
long and arduous.

Even so is it with immediate research, in its relation to continuing
military study, in the perfecting of instructorship. That which gives
an officer power, and conviction, on the platform, or before a group,
is not the thing which he learned only yesterday, having been
compelled to read it in a manual or other source, but the whole body
of this thought and philosophy, as it may be directed toward the
invigorating of any presentation of any subject. If he forms the habit
of careful reflection, then almost everything that he reads and hears
other people say that arouses his own interest becomes grist for his

Like 10 years in the penitentiary, it's easy to say but hard to do. So
much time, seemingly, has to be wasted in profitless study to find a
few kernels amid much chaff. Napoleon said at one point that the
trouble with books is that one must read so many bad ones to find
something really good. True enough but, even so, there are perfectly
practical ways to advance rapidly without undue waste motion. Consider
this: Among one's superiors there are always discriminating men who
have "adopted" a few good books after reading many bad ones. When they
say that a text is worthwhile, it deserves reading and careful study.

The junior who starts building a working library for his professional
use cannot do better than to consult those older men who are scholars
as well as leaders, and ask them to name five or six texts which have
most stimulated their thought. It comes as a surprising discovery that
some of the titles which are recommended with the greatest enthusiasm
are not among the so-called classics on war. The well-read man need
not have more than a dozen books in his home, provided that they all
count with him, and he continues to pore over them and to ponder the
weight of what is said. On the other hand, the ignorant man is
frequently marked by his bookshelf stocked with titles, not one of
which suggests that he has any professional discernment.

The notebook habit is invaluable, nay, indispensable, to any young
officer who is ambitious to perfect himself as an instructor. Most men
who are distinguished for their thinking ability are inveterate
keepers of scrapbooks and of reference files where they have put
clippings and notes which jogged their own thoughts. This is not a
cheap device leading to the parroting of other men; the truth is that
the departure line toward original thinking by any man is established
by the mental energy which he acquires by imaginative observation of
other men's ideas.

To get back to the notebook, it should be loose-leaf and well-bound,
else it is not likely to be given permanent use. Whether it is kept at
home or the office is immaterial. What matters is that it be made a
receptacle for everything that one hears, reads or sees which may be
of possible future value in the preparation of classroom work. Books
can't be clipped; but short, decisive passages can be copied, and
longer ones can be made the subject of a reference item. Copying is
one way of fixing an idea in the memory. While on the subject of
books, it is all right to quote the classics and to be able to refer
to the great authorities on the science of war. But it is more
effective by far to read deeply into such writers as Clausewitz, Mahan
and Fuller, and to find some of their strongest but least-known
passages for one's self, than to rely on the more popular but
shop-worn quotations which are in general circulation. Such old
chestnuts as, "The moral is to the material as three to one," do not
refresh discourse.

Even so, the classics are only one small field worth cultivating.
Nearly every major speech by current military leadership contains a
passage or two well worth salting away. The writings of the
philosophers, the publications of the industrial world, the daily
press and the scientific journals are goldmines containing rich
nuggets of information and of choice expression worth study and

In fact, the military instructor has the whole world as his workshop.
His notebook should be as ready to receive some especially apt saying
by a new recruit as the more ponderous words uttered by the sages. And
it should contain, not less, comments on techniques and methods used
by other speakers and instructors, which were visibly unusually

Above all, the consistent use of obvious and stereotyped devices and
methods of presentation should be avoided. For the fact is that _no
one has yet discovered the one best way_. In our service thinking, we
tend to get into a rut, and to use none but the well-tried way. For
example, we overwork the twin principles of thought-surprise and
thought-concentration, and in the effort to produce dramatic effect,
we sometimes achieve only an anticlimax. Using the techniques of the
advertising world, the military instructor puts his exhibits behind a
screen, in order to buildup anticipation, and at the appropriate
moment he yanks the cover off. This is perfectly effective, in some
instances. But it becomes a _reductio ad absurdum_ when he is working
with only one chart, or a pair or so of objects. Let's say that he is
talking about one machine gun, and he has one chart highlighting its
characteristics. How much more impressive it would be if they were in
the open at the beginning and he were to start by saying: "Gentlemen,
I am talking about this one gun and what keeps it going. It is more
important that you see and know this gun from this moment than that
you be persuaded by what I am about to say!"

It is a very simple but inviolable rule that where there is an obvious
straining to produce an effect by the use of any training aid, then
the effect of the training aid is lost and the speaker is
proportionately enfeebled. A famous World War II commander said of all
operations: "It is the chaps, not the charts, that get the job done."

What needs to be kept in mind is the psychological object in their
use. The scientists tell us, and we can partly take their word for it,
that people learn about 75 percent of what they know through their
sight, 13 percent through their hearing, and 12 percent through their
other senses. But this is a relative and qualitative, rather than an
absolute, truth. It has to be so. Otherwise, book study, which employs
sight exclusively, would be the only efficient method of teaching, and
oral instruction, which depends primarily on sound impact, would be a
wasteful process.

The more fundamental truth is that when oral instruction is properly
done, the mind becomes peculiarly receptive because it is being
bombarded by both sight and sound impressions. Nor is this small
miracle wrought primarily by what we call training aids. The thoughts
and ideas which remain most vivid in the memory get their adhesive
power because some particular person said them in a graphic way in a
pregnant moment. Our working thoughts are more often the product of an
association with some other individual than not. We remember words
largely because we remember an occasion. We believe in ideas because
first we were impressed by the source whence they came.

The total impression of a speaker--his sincerity, his knowledge, his
enthusiasm, his mien, and his gestures--is what carries conviction and
puts an indelible imprint on the memory. Man not only thinks, but he
moves, and he is impressed most of all by animate objects. Vigorous
words mean little or nothing to him when they issue from a lack-luster

Artificiality is one of the more serious faults, and it is
unfortunately the case that though an instructor may be solid to the
core, he will seem out of his element, unless he is careful to avoid
stilted words and vague or catch-all phrases and connectives. Strength
in discourse comes of simplicity.

But it has become almost an American disease of late that we painfully
avoid saying it straight. "We made contact, and upon testing my
reaction to him, found it distinctly adverse" is substituted for "I
met him and didn't like him." But what is equally painful is to hear
public remarks interlarded with such phrases as "It would seem," "As I
was saying," "And so, in closing," "Permit me to call your attention
to the fact" and "Let us reflect briefly"--which is often the prelude
to a 2-hour harangue.

Not less out of place in public address is the apologetic note. The
man who starts by explaining that he's unaccustomed to public
speaking, or badly prepared, is simply asking for the hook. "To
explain what I mean" or "to make myself clear" makes the audience
wonder only why he didn't say it that way in the first place. But the
really low man on this totem pole is the one who says, "Perhaps you're
not getting anything out of this."

A man does not have to go off like a gatling gun merely because he is
facing the crowd. Mr. Churchill, one of the great orators of the
century, made good use of deliberate and frequent pauses. It is a
trick worth any young speaker's cultivation, enabling the collection
of thought and the avoiding of tiresome "and ah-h-h's."

Likewise, because a man is in military uniform does not require that
his speech be terse, cold, given to the biting of words and the
overemployment of professional jargon. Training instruction is not
drill. Its efficiency does not come of its incisiveness but of the
bond of sympathy which comes to prevail between the instructor and his

Another main point: It is disconcerting to talk about the ABCs, if the
group already knows the alphabet. To devote any great part of a
presentation to matters which the majority present already well
understand is to assure that the main object will receive very little
serious attention. Thus in talking about the school of the rifle, only
a fool would start by explaining what part of it was the trigger and
from which end the bullet emerged, though it might be profitable to
devote a full hour to the discussion of caliber. Likewise, in such a
field as tactical discussion, the minds of men are more likely to be
won, and their imagination stirred, through giving them the reasoning
behind a technique or method than by telling them simply how a thing
is done.

In talk, as in tactics, at the beginning the policy of the limited
objective is a boon to confidence. It scares any green man to think
about talking for an hour. But if he starts with a subject of his own
choice and to his liking, and works up to 15-minute talk for a group
of platoon size, he will quickly develop his powers over the short
course; the switch from sprinting to distance running can be made
gradually and without strain. But it's easy that does it, and one step
at a time.

Excessive modesty is unbecoming. No matter how firm his sources, or
complex the subject, any instructor should form the habit of adding a
few thoughts of his own to any presentation. It is not a mark of
precocity but of interest when an instructor knows his material, and
its application to the human element, sufficiently well to express an
occasional personal opinion. Since he is not a phonograph record, he
has a right to say, "I think" or "I believe." Indeed, if he does not
have his subject sufficiently in hand that it has stirred his own
imagination, he is no better than a machine.

That leads to a discussion of outlines. They are necessary, if any
subject is to be covered comprehensively. But if they are
overelaborated, the whole performance becomes automatic and dull. A
little spontaneity is always needed. Even when working from a
manuscript, a speaker should be ever-ready to depart from his text if
a sudden idea pops into his mind. It is better to try this and to
stumble now and then than to permit the mind to be commanded by words
written on paper.

Likewise, revision of outline between talks is the way of the alert
mind. A man cannot do this work without seeing, in the midst of
discussion, points which need strengthening, and bets which have been
missed. Notes should be revised as soon as the period is completed.

There are many methods of instruction, among them being the seminar,
critique, group discussion and conference. They are not described here
for the reason that every young officer quickly learns about them in
the schools, and gets to know the circumstances under which one form
or another can be used to greatest advantage.

It suffices to say that their common denominator, insofar as personal
success and ease of participation are concerned, is the ability to
think quickly and accurately on one's feet; the one best school for
the sharpening of this faculty is the lecture platform. Keenness is a
derivative of pressure.

Use of a wire recorder or a platter, so that one can get a playback
after talking, is an aid to self-criticism. But it is not enough. A
man will often miss his own worst faults, because they came of
ignorance in the first place; too, voice reproduction proves nothing
about the effectiveness of one's presence, expression and gesture. It
is common-sense professional procedure to ask the views of one or two
of the more experienced members of the audience as to how the show
went over, and what were its weak points.

There is one hidden danger in becoming too good at this business. Too
frequently, polished speakers fall in love with the sound of their own
voices, and want to be heard to the exclusion of everyone else. In the
military establishment, where the ideal object is to get 100 percent
participation from all personnel, this is a more serious vice than
snoring in a pup tent.

When an officer feels any temptation to monopolize the discussion, it
is time to pray for a bad case of bronchitis.



Inasmuch as most of this book has been directed toward covering the
various approaches to this subject, there is need to discuss here only
a relatively few points which could not conveniently be treated

This is the touchstone of success.

To any officer starting on a life career, it is impossible to
overstate its importance. For the moment, we can forget the words duty
and responsibility. The question is: "How do I get ahead?" And for a
junior there is one main road open--he will strive to achieve such a
communion of spirit with his subordinates that he will know the
personality and character of every one of his men, will understand
what moves and what stops them, and will be sympathetic to their every

This is the main course. The great principles of war have evolved from
centuries of observation on how men react in the mass. It could not be
otherwise than that any officer's growth in knowledge of when and how
these principles apply to varying situations, strategical and
tactical, come primarily of the acuteness of his powers of observation
of individual men, and of men working together in groups, and
responding to their leadership, under widely different conditions of
stress, strain and emotion.

The roots of this kind of wisdom are not to be acquired from book
study; books are a help only as they provide an index to what should
be sought. The sage who defined strategy as "the art of the possible"
(the art of politics has been defined in the same words) wrote better
than he knew. The cornerstone of the science of war is knowledge of
the economy of men's powers, of their physical possibilities and
limitations, of their response to fatigue, hope, fear, success and
discouragement, and of the weight of the moral factor in everything
they do. Man is a beast of burden; he will fail utterly in the crisis
of battle if there is no respect for his aching back. He is also one
of a great brotherhood whose mighty fellowship can make the worst
misery tolerable, and can provide him with undreamed strength and
courage. These are among the things that need to be studied and
understood; they are the main score. It is only when an officer can
stand and say that he is first of all a student of human material that
all of the technical and material aspects of war begin to conform
toward each other and to blend into an orderly pattern. And the
laboratory is right outside the office door. Either an officer grows
up with, and into, this kind of knowledge through reflecting on
everything that he can learn of men wherever he fits himself into a
new environment, or because of having neglected to look at trees, he
will also miss the forest.

By the numbers, it isn't a difficult assignment. The schools have
found by experiment that the average officer can learn the names of 50
men in between 7 and 10 days. If he is in daily contact with men, he
should know 125 of them by name and by sight within 1 month. Except
under war conditions, he is not likely to work with larger numbers
than that.

This is the only way to make an intelligent start. So long as a man is
just a number, or a face, to his officer, there can be no deep trust
between them. Any man loves to hear the sound of his own name, and
when his superior doesn't know it, he feels like a cypher.

As with any other introduction, an officer meeting an enlisted man for
the first time is not privileged to be inquisitive about his private
affairs. In fact, nosiness and prying are unbecoming at any time, and
in no one more than in a military officer. On the other hand, any man
is flattered if he is asked about his work or his family, and the
average enlisted man will feel complimented if an officer engages him
in small talk of any kind. Greater frankness, covering a wide variety
of subjects, develops out of longer acquaintance. It should develop as
naturally and as easily as in civilian walks of life; rank is no
barrier to it unless the officer is overimpressed with himself and
bent on keeping the upper hand; the ranks are wiser about these
things than most young officers; they do not act forward or
presumptuous simply because they see an officer talking and acting
like a human being. But they aren't Quiz Kids. Informal conversation
between officer and man is a two-way street. The ball has to be batted
back and forth across the net or there isn't any game. An officer has
to extend himself, his thoughts, his experiences and his affairs into
the conversation, or after his first trial or two, there will be
nothing coming back.

It is unfortunately the case that many young officers assume that
getting acquainted with their men is a kind of interrogation process,
like handling an immigrant knocking for admission to the United
States. They want to know everything, but they stand on what they
think is their right to tell a man nothing. That kind of attitude just
doesn't wash. In fact, the chief value of such conversations is that
it permits the junior to see his superior as a man rather than as a

An officer should never speak ironically or sarcastically to an
enlisted man, since the latter doesn't have a fair chance to answer
back. The use of profanity and epithets comes under the same heading.
The best argument for a man keeping his temper is that nobody else
wants it; and when he voluntarily throws it away, he loses a main prop
to his own position.

Meeting one of his own enlisted men in a public place, the officer who
does not greet him personally and warmly, in addition to observing the
formal courtesies between men in service, has sacrificed a main chance
to win the man's abiding esteem. If the man is with his family, a
little extra graciousness will go a long way, and even if it didn't,
it would be the right thing.

In any informal dealing with a number of one's own men, it is good
judgment to pay a little additional attention to the youngest or
greenest member of the group, instead of permitting him to be shaded
by older and more experienced men. They will not resent it, and his
confidence will be helped.

It should go without saying that an officer does not drink with his
men, though if he is a guest of honor at an organizational party where
punch or liquor is being served, it would be a boorish act for him to
decline a glass, simply because of this proscription. Sometimes in a
public cocktail bar an officer will have the puzzling experience of
being approached by a strange but lonely enlisted man who, being a
little high, may have got it into his head that it is very important
to buy an officer a drink. What one does about that depends upon all
of the surrounding circumstances. It is better to go through with it
than create a scene which will give everyone a low opinion of the
service. Irrespective of rules, there are always situations which are
resolved only by good judgment. And, of course, the problem can be
avoided by staying away from cocktail bars.

Visiting men in hospital is a duty which no officer should neglect.
Not only does it please the man and his family; it is one of the few
wide open portals to a close friendship with him. It is strange but
true that the man never forgets the officer who was thoughtful enough
to call on him when he was down. And the effect of it goes far beyond
the man himself. Other men in the unit are told about it. Other
patients in the ward see it and note with satisfaction that the corps
takes its responsibilities to heart. If the man is in such shape that
he can't write a letter, it is a worthy act to serve him in this
detail. By the same token when a man goes on sick call, the officer's
responsibility does not end at the point where the doctor takes over.
His interest is to see that the man is made well, and if he has reason
to think that the treatment he is receiving falls short of the best
possible, it is within his charge to raise the question. The old saw
about giving the man CC pills and iodine and marking him duty is now
considerably outdated. But it is not assumed that every member of the
medical staff serving the forces will at all times do his duty with
the intelligence and reverence of a saint.

A birthday is a big day in any man's life. So is his wedding. So is
the birth of a child. By making check of the roster and records, and
by keeping an ear to the ground for news of what is happening in the
unit, an officer can follow these events. Calling the man in and
giving him a handclasp and word of congratulation, or writing a note
to the home, takes very little time and is worth every moment of it.
Likewise, if he has won some distinction, such as earning a
promotion, a letter of appreciation to his parents or his wife will
compound the value of telling the man himself that you are proud of
what he has done.

Nothing is more pleasing or ingratiating to any junior than to be
asked by his superior for his opinion on any matter--provided that it
is given a respectful hearing. Any man gets a little fagged from being
_told_ all the time. When he is consulted and asked for a judgment, it
builds him up.

There is absolutely no point in visiting kitchens or quarters and
asking of the atmosphere if everything is all right. Men seldom
complain, and they are loath to stick their necks out when there are
other enlisted men within hearing. It is the task of the officer to
_see_ that all is right, and to take whatever trouble is necessary to
make certain. If he is doubtful about the mess, then a mere pecky
sampling of it will do no good. Either he will live with it for a few
meals, or he won't find the "bugs" in it.

An officer should not ask a man: "Would you like to do such-and-such a
task?" when he has already made up his mind to assign him to a certain
line of duty. Orders, hesitatingly given, are doubtfully received. But
the right way to do it is to instill the idea of collaboration. There
is something irresistably appealing about such an approach as: "I need
your help. Here's what we have to do."

An officer is not expected to appear all-wise to those who serve under
him. Bluffing one's way through a question when ignorant of the answer
is foolhardy business. "I'm sorry, but I don't know," is just as
appropriate from an officer's lips as from any other. And it helps
more than a little to be able to add, "But I'll find out."

Rank should be used to serve one's subordinates. It should never be
flaunted or used to get the upper hand of a subordinate in any
situation save where he had already discredited himself in an
unusually ugly or unseemly manner.

When suggestions from any subordinate are adopted, the credit should
be passed on to him publicly.

When a subordinate has made a mistake, but not from any lack of good
will, it is common sense to take the rap for him rather than make him
suffer doubly for his error.

An officer should not issue orders which he cannot enforce.

He should be as good as his word, at all times and in any

He should promise nothing which he cannot make stick.

An officer should not work, looking over his men's shoulder, checking
on every detail of what they are doing, and calling them to account at
every furlong post. This maidenly attitude corrodes confidence and
destroys initiative.

On the other hand, contact is necessary at all times. Particularly
when men are doing long-term work, or are operating in detachment at a
remote point, they will become discouraged and will lose their sense
of direction unless their superior looks in on them periodically, asks
whether he can be of any help, and, so doing, gets them to open up and
discuss the problem.

The Navy says, "It isn't courtesy to change the set of the sail within
30 minutes after relief of the watch." Applied to a command job, this
means that it is a mistake for an officer, on taking a new post, to
order sweeping changes affecting other men, in the belief that this
will give him a reputation for action and firmness. The studying of
the situation is the overture to the steadying of it. The story is
told of Gen. Curtis E. LeMay of the Air Force. Taking over the 21st
Bomber Command in the Marianas, he faced the worried staff officers of
his predecessor and said quietly, "You're all staying put. I assume
you know your jobs or you wouldn't be here."

The identity of the officer with the gentleman should persist in his
relations with men of all degree. In the routine of daily direction
and disposition, and even in moments of exhortation, he had best bring
courtesy to firmness. The finest officers that one has known are not
occasional gentlemen, but in every circumstance: in commissioned
company and, more importantly, in contact with those who have no
recourse against arrogance.

The traditional wisdom of addressing Judy O'Grady with the same
politeness as one would the Colonel's Lady applies equally in all
situations in life where one is at arbitrary advantage in dealing
with another. To press this unnecessarily is to sacrifice something of
one's quality in the eyes of the onlooker. Besides, there is always
the better way.



To put it in a nutshell, the moral of this chapter is that when men
are moral, the moral power which binds them together and fits them for
high action is given its main chance for success.

There should therefore be no confusion about how the word is being
used. We are speaking both of training in morals for every day living,
and of moral training which will harden the will of a fighting body.
One moment's reflection will show why they need not be considered
separately, and why we can leave it to Webster to do the

It is the doctrine of the armed establishment of the United States
that when American men lead a personal life which is based on high
moral standards, and when their aim is equally high as to physical
fitness and toughness, under training conditions they will mature
those qualities which are most likely to produce inspired leading and
stout following within the forces.

There is nothing panty-waist about this doctrine. It was not
pronounced to gratify the clergy or to reassure parents that their
sons would be in good hands, even though these things, too, are

The doctrine came of the experience of the Nation in war, and of what
the services learned by measuring their own men. But it happened,
also, that the facts were consistent with a common sense reckoning of
the case.

Let's figure it out. To be temperate in all things, to be continent,
and to refrain from loose living of any sort, are acts of the will.
They require self-denial, and a foregoing of that which may be more
attractive, in favor of the thing which should be done. Granted that
there are a few individuals who are so thin-blooded that they never
feel tempted to digress morally, men in the majority are not like
that. What they renounce in the name of self-discipline, at the cost
of a considerable inner stress, they endeavour to compensate by their
gains in personal character. Making that grade isn't easy; but no one
who is anyone has yet said that it isn't worthwhile. In the armed
services there is an old saying that an officer without character is
more useless than a ship with no bottom.

In the summing up, the strength of will which enables a man to lead a
clean life is no different than the strength of purpose which fits him
to follow a hard line of duty. There are exceptions to every rule.
Many a lovable rounder has proved himself to be a first-class fighting
man. But even though he had an unconquerable weakness for drink and
women, his resolution had to become steeled along some other line or
he would have been no good when the pay-off came.

Putting aside for the moment the question of the vices, and regarding
only the gain to moral power which comes of bodily exercise and
physical conditioning, it should be self-evident that the process
which builds the muscle must also train and alert the mind. How could
it be otherwise? Every physical act must have as its origin a mental
impulse, conscious or unconscious. Thus in training a man to master
his muscles we also help him to master his brain. He comes out of
physical training not only better conditioned to move but better
prepared to think about how and why he is moving, which is true

In military organizations, "setting-up" and other formation exercises
are usually a drag and a bore. Men grumble about them, and even after
they are toughened to them, so that they feel no physical distress,
they rarely relish them. The typical American male would much rather
sit on his pants along the sidelines and watch someone else engage in
contact sports. It's almost the national habit. Despite our athletic
prowess, about 56 percent of American males grow to manhood without
having ever participated in a group game.

But no matter how great the inertia against it, there must be
unremitting perseverance in the physical conditioning of military
forces. For finally, it is killing men with kindness to relax at this
point. If life is to be conserved, if men are to be given a fair
chance to play their parts effectively, the physical standards during
training cannot be less than will give them a maximum fitness for the
extraordinary stresses of campaigning in war.

When troops lack the coordinated response which comes of long, varied
and rigorous exercises, their combat losses will be excessive, they
will lack cohesion in their action against the enemy, and they will
uselessly expend much of their initial velocity. In the United States
service, we are tending to forget, because of the effect of
motorization, that the higher value of the discipline of the road
march in other days wasn't that it hardened the muscles, but that,
short of combat, it was the best method of separating the men from the
boys. This is true today, despite all of the new conditions imposed by
technological changes. A hard road march is the most satisfactory
training test of the moral strength of the individual man.

At the same time, to senselessly overload men for road marching hurts
them two ways. It weakens their faith in the sense of the command,
thereby impairing morale, and it breaks down their muscle and tendon.
Enough is known about the average American male to provide a basic
logistical figure. He stands about 5 feet 8 inches, and weighs about
153 pounds. The optimum load for a man is about one-third of body
weight, the same as for a mule. That means that for a training march,
approximately 50 pounds over-all, including uniform, blankets and
everything, is the most that a man should be required to carry. If he
gets so that he can handle that load easily, over let us say a 10-mile
road march, then the thing to do, further to build up his power, is
not to increase the weight that he carries, but to lengthen the march.
Military men have known that this is the underlying principle for
better than half a century. But the principle has not always been

There is another not infrequent cause of breakdown--the leader who
makes the mistake of thinking that every man's limit is the same as
his own. Some come into the officer corps fresh from the stadia and
cinderpaths of the colleges, in the pink of condition. They take
charge of a group of men, some not yet seasoned, and others somewhat
older and more wind-broke than themselves. They shag them all over
the lot at reveille or take them on a cross-country chase like a smart
rabbit trying to outrun hounds. The poor devils ultimately get back,
some with their corks completely pulled, a few feeling too nauseated
to eat their breakfast, and others walking in, feeling whipped because
they couldn't keep up with the group.

When an officer does this kind of thing thoughtlessly, he shows
himself to be an incompetent observer of men. When he does it to show
off, he deserves to be given 10 days in the electric chair.

_It is the steadiness and the continuity of exercise, not the working
of men to the point of exhaustion and collapse, which keeps them
upgrading until they are conditioned to the strain of whatever comes._
To do it the other way around simply makes them hospital patients
before their time, and fills them with resentment against the service.

In the nature of things, the officer who has been an athlete can fit
himself into this part of the program with little difficulty and with
great credit, provided he acts with the moderation that is here
suggested. The armed services put great store by this. A man with a
strong flair for physical training can usually find a good berth.

By the same token, the officer who has shunned sports in school,
either because he didn't have the size or the coordination, or was
more interested in something else, will frequently have an
understandable hesitation about trying to play a lead hand in anything
which he thinks will make him look bad. Of this comes much
buck-passing. There is often a singular courtesy between officers
within a unit, and they'll switch details, just to be friendly. So it
frequently happens that the man who has no great knack at leading in
exercise and recreation gets the mouse's share of it. And thereby the
whole point is missed. For it should be perfectly clear that the man
who has had the least active experience in this field is usually the
one in greatest need of its strengthening effects. His case is no
different than that of the enlisted man. If he has not kept himself in
good physical shape, his nerves will not be able to stand the strain
of combat, to say nothing of his legs.

It can be said again and again: _The highest form of physical training
that an officer can undergo is the physical conditioning of his own
men._ Nothing else can give him more faith in his own ability to stay
the course and nothing else is likely to give him a firmer feeling of
solidarity with his men. Study, and an active thirst for wider
professional knowledge, have their place in an officer's scheme of
things. But there is something about the experience of bodily
competition, of joining with, and leading men in strenuous physical
exercise, which uniquely invigorates one's spirit with the confidence:
"I can do this! I can lead! I can command!" Military men have
recognized this since long before it was said that Waterloo was won on
the playing fields of Eton. Bringing it down to the present, Gen. Sir
Archibald Wavell said: "The civil comparison to war must be that of a
game, a very rough and dirty game, for which a robust body and mind
are essential." Even more emphatic are the words of Coach Frank Leahy
of Notre Dame, an officer of the United States Navy in World War II:
"The ability to rise up and grasp an opportunity is something that a
boy cannot learn in lecture rooms or from textbooks. It is on the
athletic field primarily that Americans acquire the winning ways that
play such an important part in the American way of life. The burning
desire to emerge the victor that we see in our contact sports is the
identical spirit that gave the United States Marines victory at Iwo
Jima. If we again know war, the boys who have received sound training
in competitive athletics will again fight until the enemy has had

Men like to see their officers competing and "giving it a good college
try" no matter how inept, or clumsy they may be. But they take a
pretty dim view of the leader who perennially acts as if he were
afraid of a sweat or a broken thumb. In team sports, developing around
interorganized rivalry, the eligibility of an officer to participate
among enlisted men is a matter of local ground rules, or special
regulations. There is nothing in the customs of the services which
prohibit it. To the contrary, it has been done many times, and is
considered to be altogether within an officer's dignity. Where there
is a flat ruling against it, it is usually on the theory that the
officer, by competing, is robbing some enlisted man of his chance.

Need it be said that in any event, going along with the team, and
taking an active interest in its ups-and-downs, is not only a service
officer's duty, but a rewarding privilege, if he is a real leader? In
this respect, he has a singular relationship to any group that
represents his unit. He becomes part of their force, and his presence
is important not only to the team but to the gallery. It is not
unusual to hear very senior officers excuse themselves from an
important social function by saying, "I'm sorry, but my team is
playing tonight." That is a reason which everybody understands and

As for the ranks, even among those men who have had no prior
acquaintance with organized sports, there is a marked willingness to
participate, if given just a little encouragement. This is one of the
effects of getting into military uniform. As someone said about
gunpowder, "it makes all men alike tall," and provides a welcome
release from former inhibitions. The military company is much more
tightly closed than any other. When men are thinking and working
together in a binding association, they will seek an outlet for their
excess spirits, and will join together in play, even under the most
adverse circumstance. During World War I, it was common to see
American troops playing such games as duck-on-the-rock, tag and touch
football with somebody's helmet in close proximity to the front.
Because no other equipment was available, they improvised. So it is
that in any situation, the acme in leadership consists, not in
screaming one's head off about shortages, but in using a little
imagination about what can be done.

The really good thing about the gain in moral force deriving from all
forms of physical training is that it is an unconscious gain. Will
power, determination, mental poise and muscle control all march
hand-in-hand with the general health and well-being of the man, with
results not less decisive under training conditions than on the field
of battle. A man who develops correct posture and begins to fill out
his body so that he looks the part of a fighter will take greater
pride in the wearing of the uniform. So doing, he will take greater
care so to conduct himself morally that he will not disgrace it. He
will gain confidence as he acquires a confident and determined
bearing. This same presence, and the physical strength which
contributes to it, will help carry him through the hour of danger.
Strength of will is partly of the mind and partly of the body. In
combat, fatigue will beat men down as quickly as any other condition,
for fatigue inevitably carries fear with it. Tired men are men afraid.
There is no quicker way to lose a battle than to lose it on the road
for lack of preliminary hardening in troops. Such a condition cannot
be redeemed by the resolve of a commander who insists on driving
troops an extra mile beyond their general level of physical endurance.
Extremes of this sort make men rebellious and hateful of the command,
and thus strike at tactical efficiency from two directions at once.
For when men resent a commander, they will not fight as willingly for
him, and when their bodies are spent, their nerves are gone.

Looking after the welfare of men, however, does not connote simply
getting them into the open air and giving them a chance to kick the
ball around. The services are pretty well organized to provide their
personnel with adequate sport and recreational facilities, and to
insure an active, balanced program, in any save the most exceptional
circumstance. Too, the provisions made for the creature comforts of
men are ample, experience-tested, and well-regulated.

It is not so much that a young officer needs to have book instruction
about the detail of these things. Such is the system that they can
hardly escape his notice, any more than he can escape knowing where to
get his pay check and by which path he goes to the barbershop.

What counts mainly is that he should fully understand the prime
importance of a personal caring for his men, so that they cannot fail
of a better life if it is within his power and wisdom to lead them to

Once the principle is grasped, and accepted without any mental
reservation, time and experience will educate him in the countless
meetings of situations which require its application.

There are times and situations which require that all men be treated
identically, for the good of organization. There are also occasions
when nothing else suffices but to give the most help, the most
encouragement, the most relief to those who are most greatly in need.
Grown men understand that, and the officer, approaching every
situation with the question in his mind: "What does reason say about
what constitutes fair play in this condition?" cannot go far wrong in
administering to the welfare of those who serve under him.

_It is moral courage, combined with practice, which builds in one a
delicate sense of the eternal fitness of things._

One example: Under normal training conditions, it would be fair play,
and the acceptable thing, to rotate men and their junior leaders to
such an onerous task as guard duty. But if a unit was "dead beat"
after a hard march, and an officer, pursuing his line of duty, walked
among his men, inspecting their blistered feet and doing all he could
to ease each man's physical discomfort, he would then be using
excessively poor judgment if he did not pick out the men most
physically fit to do whatever additional duty was required that night.

But infinite painstaking in attending to the physical welfare of men
is not more important than thoughtful attention to their spiritual
wants, and their moral needs. In fact, if we would give a little more
priority to the latter, the former would be far more likely to come
along all right.

The average American enlisted man is quite young when he enters
service, and because he is young, he is impressionable. What his
senior tells him becomes a substitute for the influence and teaching
that he shed when he left his home or school. That need not mean a
senior in age! _He looks to his officer, even though the latter may be
junior in years, because he believes that the man with rank is a
little wiser, and he has faith that he will not be steered wrong._

Despite all the publicity given to VD, American kids don't know a
great deal about its reality, and even though the greater number of
them like to talk about women, what they have to say rarely reveals
them as worldly-wise.

If an officer talks straight on these subjects, and believes in what
he says sufficiently to set the good example, he can convince his
better men that the game isn't worth the candle, and can save even
some of the more reckless spirits from a major derail.



Nobody ever told the South Sea savage about the nature of air in
motion. He had never heard of wind and therefore could not imagine its
effects. Thus when he heard strange noises in the treetops and there
was a howling around certain headlands, while other headlands were
silent, he could believe only that the spirits were at work. He would
strain his ear to hear what they had to say to him, and never being
able to understand, he would become all the more fearful.

It all sounds pretty silly. And yet civilization is a great deal like
that. We pride ourselves today in saying, particularly within the
western nations, that men and women are better informed than ever
before in the history of the world. What we really mean by that is
that they are overburdened with more kinds of fragmentary information
than any people of the past. They know just enough about many major
questions of the day that either they are driven to the making of
fearful guesses about the unknown, or they try to close their minds to
the subject, vainly seeking consolation in the half-truth, "What I
don't know can't hurt me."

Therein lies a great part of the problem. For it is a fair statement
that if all of the mystery could be stripped from such a complex topic
as the nature of atomic power, so that men everywhere would understand
it, universal fear would be displaced by universal confidence that
something could be done, and society would be well along the road
toward its control.

In World War I, the men who had the least fear of the effects of gas
warfare were the gas officers who understood their subject right down
to the last detail of the decontamination process and the formula for
dichlorethylsulphide (mustard gas). The man to whom the dangers of
submarine warfare seem least fearsome is the submariner. Of all hands
along the battle line, the first aid man has the greatest calm and
confidence in the face of fire, largely because he has seen the
miracles worked by modern medicine in the restoring of grievously
wounded men. The general or the admiral who is most familiar with the
mettle of his subordinate commands will also have the most relaxed
mind under battle pressure.

This leads to a point, which it is better to state here than anywhere
else. In all military instruction pertaining to the weapons and
techniques of war, the basis of sound indoctrination is the teaching
that weapons when rightly used will invariably produce victory, and
preventive measures, when promptly and thoroughly taken, will
invariably conserve the operational integrity of the defense. It is
wrong, _dead wrong_, to start, or carry along, on the opposite track,
and try to persuade men to do the right thing, by dwelling on the
awful consequence of doing the wrong thing. Confidence, not fear, is
the keynote of a strong and convictive doctrine.

In war, in the absence of information, man's natural promptings
alternate between unreasoning fears that the worst is likely to
happen, and the wishful thought that all danger is remote. Either
impulse is a barrier to the growth of that condition of alert
confidence which comes to men when they have a realization of their
own strength and a reasonably clear concept of the general situation.

Man is a peculiar animal. He is no more prone to think about himself
as the central figure amid general disaster than he is to dwell
morbidly upon thoughts of his own death. Left in the dark, he will get
a certain comfort out of that darkness, at the same time that it
clouds his mind and freezes his action. Disturbed by bad dreams about
what might happen, he nonetheless will not plan an effective use of
his own resources against that which is very likely to happen. Only
when he is given a clear view of the horizon, and is made animated by
the general purpose in all that moves around him, does he understand
the direction in which he should march, and taking hold, begin to do
the required thing.

It is almost gratuitous that this even needs to be stated. No high
commander would think of moving deliberately into the fog of war if
he was without knowledge of either the enemy or friendly situation.
Even to imagine such a contingency is paralyzing. But in their nervous
and spiritual substance, admirals and generals are no different than
the green men who have come most recently to their forces. Such men
can not stand alone any more than can the recruit. They draw their
moral strength and their ability to contend intelligently against
adverse circumstance largely from what is told them by the men who
surround them. That is why they have their staffs. They could not
command even themselves if they were deprived of all information.

Toward the assuring of competent, collected action, the first great
step is to remove the mystery. This is a process which must be
mastered in peacetime, if it is to stand the multiplied strains of
war. What mystery? Let it be said that it surrounds the average file
on every hand, even though the average junior officer does not realize
it, while at the same time he himself is completely mystified by much
that transpires above him. For example, we all like to throw big words
about, to air our professional erudition; and we do not understand
that to the man who does not know their meaning, the effect is a
blackout which makes even the simplest object seem formidable. To
illustrate, we can take the word "bivouac," common enough in military
parlance, but rare in civilian speech. When green men are told, "We
are going into bivouac," and they are not sufficiently grounded in the
service to know that this means simply going into camp for the night
without shelter, their instinctive first thought is, "This is another
complex military process that will probably catch me short." Similarly
if told that they are detailed "on a reconnaissance mission along the
line of communications with a liaison function," they could not fail
to be "flummoxed." And if then instructed to take a BAR up to the MLR
and follow SOP in covering a simulated SFC party, they wouldn't be far
from justified if they blew their tops, and ran shrieking from the

These are horrible examples, put forward only to illuminate a fairly
simple point. Exaggerated though they may be, something of the same
sort happens in almost every installation nearly every day. The
difference is only in degree. _Every man in the service has an
inalienable right to work and to think in the clear._ He is entitled
to the why and the wherefore of whatever he is expected to do, as well
as the what and the how. His efficiency, his confidence and his
enthusiasm will wax strong in almost the precise measure that his
superior imparts to him everything he knows about a duty which can be
of possible benefit to the man. Furthermore, this is a two-way
current. Any officer who believes in the importance of giving full
information in a straight-forward manner, and continues to act on that
principle, will over the long run get back more than he gives. But the
chump who incontinently brushes off his subordinates because he thinks
his time is too valuable to spend any great part of it putting them on
the right track dooms himself to work in a vacuum. He is soon spotted
for what he is, and if his superiors can't set him straight, they will
shrug him aside.

These are pretty much twentieth century concepts of how force is
articulated from top to bottom of a chain of command. Yet the ideas
are as old as the ages. Ecclesiastes is filled with phrases pointing
up that clarification is the way of strength and of unity. "All go
unto one place." "Two are better than one." "Woe to him that is alone
when he falleth." "A threefold cord is not quickly broken."
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." "Folly is
set in great dignity." "Truly the light is sweet." Great commanders of
the past have reflected that knowledge is the source of the
simplifying and joining of all action and have pondered how better to
resolve the problem. But it is only in our time that this great
principle in military doctrine has become rooted deep enough to stay,
because the technological complexity of modern war is such as to
permit of no other course.

It is folly to attempt to oversimplify that which is of its nature
complex. War cannot be made less intricate by conjuring everyone to
return to kindergarten and henceforth use only one-syllable words. No
such counsel is here intended. The one thought worth keeping is that
the military system, as we know it, will prove far more workable, and
its members will each become a stronger link in the chain of force, if
all hands work a little more carefully toward the growth of a common
awareness of all terminology, all process and all purpose.

Once pronounced, the object also requires to be seen in due
proportion. The principle does not entail that a corporal must
perforce know everything about operation of a company which concerns
his captain, to be happy and efficient in his own job. But it does set
forth that he is entitled to have all information which relates to his
personal situation, his prospects and his action which it is within
his captain's power to give him. A coxswain is not interchangeable
with a fleet admiral. To "bigot" him (make available complete detail
of a total plan) on an operation would perhaps produce no better or
worse effect than a slight headache. But if he is at sea--in both
senses of that term--with no knowledge of where he is going or of his
chances of pulling through, and having been told of what will be
expected of him personally at the target, still has no picture of the
support which will be grouped around him, he is apt to be as
thoroughly miserable and demoralized as were the sailors under
Columbus, when sailing on and on, they came to fear that they would
override the horizon and go tumbling into space.

Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan wrote of the policy applied at his
COSSAC planning headquarters during World War II: "Right down to the
cook, they were told what had happened, what was happening, along with
their part in it, and what it was proposed to do next."

Paraphrasing Montaigne, President Roosevelt told the American people
during a great national crisis that the main thing they need fear was
fear itself. In matters great and small, the fears of men arise
chiefly from those matters they have not been given to understand.
Fear can be checked, whipped and driven from the field when men are
kept informed.

The dynamics of the information principle lies in this simple truth.
We look at the object through the wrong end of the telescope when in
the military service we think of information only as instruction in
the cause of country, the virtues of the free society and the record
of our arms, in the hope that we will make strong converts. These are
among the things that every American needs to know, but of themselves
they will not turn an average American male into an intelligent,
aggressive fighter. Invigorated action is the product of the free and
well-informed mind. The "will to do" comes of the confidence that
one's knowledge of what requires doing is equal to that of any other
man present.

This is the controlling idea and all constructive planning and work in
the field of information is shaped around it.



Among the ever-pressing problems of the commander, and equally of the
young officer schooling himself to the ways of the service, is the
seeking of means to break down the natural timidity and reticence of
the great majority of men.

This he can never do unless he is sufficient master of himself that he
can come out of his own shell and give his men a chance to understand
him as a human being rather than as an autocrat giving orders. Nothing
more unfortunate can happen to an officer than to come to be regarded
by his subordinates as unapproachable, for such a reputation isolates
him from the main problems of command responsibility as well as its
chief rewards. So holding himself, he will never be able to see his
forces in their true light, and will either have to exercise snap
judgment upon the main problems within his own sphere, or take the
word of others as to the factors on which promotions, rewards and
punishments are based within the unit.

When the block is due to an officer's own reticence, mistaken ideas
about the requirements of his position, or feeling of strangeness
toward his fellows, the only cure for him is to dive head-first into
the cold, clear water, like a boy at the old swimming hole in the
early spring. Thereby he will grow in self-confidence even as he
progresses in knowledge of the character of his men and of human
nature in general.

If an officer is senior, and is still somewhat on the bashful side, by
watching the manner of his own seniors when he gets counsel, and
thawing toward his immediate juniors, thereby increasing his
receptiveness toward them, there will occur a chain reaction to the
bottom level.

The block, however, is not always of the mind and heart. No man can
help his own face, but it can sometimes be a barrier to communication.
One commander in European Theater was told by his Executive that his
subordinates were fearful to approach him because of his perpetual
scowl. He assembled his officers and he said to them: "I have been
told that my looks are forbidding. The mirror reminds me of that every
morning. Years ago I was in a grenade explosion, and a consequent eye
injury and strain have done to me what you have to see every time we
get together. But if you cannot look beyond the face, and judge my
disposition by all else that you see of me in our work together, you
do not yet have the full perception that is commensurate with your

The too-formal manner, the overrigid attitude, the disposition to deal
with any human problem by-the-numbers as if it were only one more act
in organizational routine, can have precisely the same chilling effect
upon men as came of this officer's scowl. Though no man may move
wholly out of his own nature, a cheerfulness of manner in the doing of
work is altogether within any individual's capabilities, and is the
highest-test lubricant of his human relationships.

As a further safeguard against making himself inaccessible, the
officer needs to make an occasional check on the procedures which have
been established by his immediate subordinates. At all levels of
command it is the pet task of those "nearest the throne" to think up
new ways to keep all hands from "bothering the old man." However
positive an order to the contrary, they will not infrequently contrive
to circumvent it, mistakenly believing that by this act they save him
from himself. Many a compassionate commander leads an unwontedly
lonely life because of the peculiar solicitude of his staff in this
matter and his own failure to discover what is happening to him. In
this way the best of intentions may be thwarted. There is no sure cure
for the evil but personal reconnaissance.

It is never a waste of time for the commander, or for any officer, to
talk to his people about their personal problems. More times than not,
the problem will seem small to him, but so long as it looms large to
the man, it cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Ridicule,
sarcasm and the brush-off are equally inexcusable in any situation
where one individual takes another into his confidence on any matter
which does not involve bad faith on the part of the petitioner. Even
then, if the man imparts that which shows that his own conduct has
been reprehensible or that he would enlist the support of his superior
in some unworthy act, it is better to hear him through and then skin
him, than to treat what he says in the offhand manner. An officer will
grow in the esteem of his men only as he treats their affairs with
respect. The policy of patience and goodwill pays off tenfold because
what happens to one man is soon known to the others.

In this particular there has been a radical change within the services
during the current century, simply because of broader understanding of
human relationships. In the Old Army, the man could get through to his
commander only if he could satisfy the First Sergeant as to the nature
of his business; this was a roadblock for the man who either was
afraid of the First Sergeant, or was loath to let the latter know
about his affairs. Custom dies hard and this one has not been entirely
uprooted. But the distance we have traveled toward humanizing all
command principles is best reflected by the words of General
Eisenhower in "Command in Europe": "Hundreds of broken-hearted
fathers, mothers, and sweethearts wrote me personal letters begging
for some hope that a loved one might still be alive, or for additional
detail as to the manner of his death. Every one of these I answered."

It is not necessary that an officer wet-nurse his men in order to
serve well in the role of counsel. His door should be open, but he
does not play the part either of a father confessor or of a hotel
greeter. Neither great solemnity nor effusiveness are called for, but
mainly serious attention to the problem, and then straight-forward
advice or decision, according to the nature of the case, _and provided
that from his own knowledge and experience he feels qualified to give
it_. If not, it is wiser to defer than to offer a half-baked opinion.
To consider for a time, and to seek light from others, whether higher
authority or one's closer associates, is the sound alternative when
there is a great deal at stake for the man and the problem is too
complex for its solution to be readily apparent. The spirit in which
this work should be undertaken is nowhere more clearly indicated than
in the words of Schuyler D. Hoslett who in his book, "Human Factor in
Management," said this: "Counseling is advising an individual on his
problem to the extent that an attempt is made to help him understand
it so he may carry out a plan for its solution. It is a process which
stimulates the individual's ability for self-direction."

Family affairs, frictions within the organization, personal
entanglements which prey upon the mind, frustrations and anxieties of
varying kind, the sense of failure and other nameless fears which are
rooted deep in the consciousness of nearly every individual, are the
more general subjects in counseling.

Whatever impairs the man that he wishes to take up with his officer
becomes ipso facto the officer's rightful business. Equally so, on the
positive side, when his only desire is to bring forward something that
he believes would serve the interests of organization, he should be

In either case, the perfecting of counsel develops around two
controlling ideas, stated in the order of their importance: (1) what
is in the best interests of the unit, and (2) what is for the good of
the man. In this particular, the officer as counselor is rarely in the
role of a disinterested party. Unlike the preacher, the lawyer, the
teacher or the best friend, he has to look beyond what is beneficial
simply to the spiritual, mental and moral need of one individual.
There is an abiding necessity to equate the personal problem to the
whole philosophy within which a command operates. _To keep in mind
that every individual has his breaking point is everlastingly
important. But to remember that the unit is also made of brittle stuff
is not less so._

When undue personal favors are granted, when precedents are set
without weighing the possible effects upon all concerned, when men are
incontinently urged, or even sympathetically humored by their
superiors toward the taking of a weak personal course, the ties of the
organization are injured, tension within it mounts and the ranks lose
respect for the manhood of their leaders.

All things are to be viewed in moderation, and with compassion, but
with a fine balance toward the central purpose. Let us take one
example. Within a given command, at a particular time, leaves have
been made so restricted, for command reasons, that there must be a
showing of genuine urgency. One man comes forward and says that he is
so sick for the sight of home that he can no longer take duty. As
certainly as his superior tries to facilitate this man's purpose
because of fear that he will break, the superior will be harassed by
other requests with no better basis, and if they are not granted,
there will be general discontent. On the other hand, suppose another
man comes forward. A wire from home has informed him that his mother
is dying. If the superior will not go to bat on such a case, he will
win the deserved contempt of the same men who were ready to take
advantage of the other opening, but in this instance would seek
nothing for themselves.

To know the record, the character and the measure of goodwill of the
subject is all-important in counseling. It puts the matter in much too
dim a light to say that after the call comes, the officer should check
up on these points so that he can deal knowledgeably with the man.
That is his first order of business within the unit--to learn all that
he can about the main characteristics of his men. This general duty
precedes the detail work of counseling. Under normal circumstances, no
officer is likely to have more than 250 men in his immediate charge.
There are exceptions, but this is broadly the rule. It is by no means
an excessive task for one individual to learn the names and a great
part of the history of the men he sees daily, when not knowing them
means that he has neglected the heart of operations.

What the man says of himself, in relation to the problem, deserves
always to be judged according to his own record. If he has proved
himself utterly faithful, action can be taken on the basis of his
word. If he is known to be a corner-cutter and a cheat, his case,
though listened-to with interest and sympathy, needs to be taken with
a grain of salt, pending further investigation.

World War II officers had to abide by this standard in dealing with
the general malaise which arose out of redeployment. When a man came
forward and said that he couldn't take it any more, and the commander
knew that he had always been a highly dutiful individual, it became
the commander's job to attempt to get the man home. But when a second
man came forward with the same story, and the record showed that he
had always shirked his work, the question was whether he should be
given the final chance to shirk it again. To favor the first man meant
furthering discipline; his comrades recognized it as a fair deal. To
turn back the second man was equally constructive to the same end. In
a general situation of unique pressure, commanders found that these
principles worked.

Many of the problems on which men seek advice of their officers are of
a legal nature; unless an officer is versed in the law, the inquiry
must be channeled to a qualified source. Other problems are of a kind
that use should be made of the home services of such an organization
as the Red Cross. A knowledge of the limits beyond which the help of a
special office or agency must be sought is therefore as important to
the officer-consultant as an ability to give the man full information
about the whereabouts and use of these facilities.

The Red Cross is usually an effective agent in checking the facts of a
home situation and returning the data. But at the end of the line
where officer and man sit together, its resources for helping the
individual (when what is needed mainly is advice on a human equation)
are not likely to be any better than what his military superiors can
do for him. In any time of crisis, the normal human being can draw
strength and composure far more surely from a person he well knows
than from a stranger.

There is this illustration. During World War II, many a man overseas
got word that his home had been broken up. The counselor could talk
the thing out with him, learn whether a reconciliation was the one
most important thing, or whether the man was groping his way, looking
for a friend who could help him see the matter in proportion, and
weigh, among other things, his duty to himself. The Red Cross could
check the facts of the home situation. But the man's readjustment
depended in the main on what was done by those who were closest to

Sooner or later every commander has to deal with some refraction of
this kind of problem. When it comes, moralizing and generalizing about
the weakness of human nature does no good whatever. To call the man a
fool is as invidious as to waste indignation upon the cause of his
misfortune. Likewise, any frontal approach to the problem, such as
telling the man, "Here's what you should do," should be shunned, or
used most sparingly. The more effective attitude can be expressed in
these words: "If it had happened to me instead of to you, and I were
in your same situation, here are the things I would consider, and here
are the points to which I would give greatest weight." To tell any
subject to brace up and be a man is a plain inference that he is not
one. To reflect with him on the things which manhood requires is the
gentle way toward stirring his self-respect. So doing, a counselor
renews his own character. _Also worth remembering is that in any man's
dark hour, a pat on the back and an earnest handclasp may work a small

There is much counseling over the subject of transfer. Herein lies an
exception to a general rule, for in this case the good of the man
takes precedence over the good of organization. No conscientious
officer likes to see a good man depart from his organization.
Nevertheless, the service is not in competition with itself, and it
advances as a whole in the measure that all men find the niche where
they can serve most efficiently, and with the greatest satisfaction.
There are officers who hold to every able subordinate like grim death,
seeing no better way to advance their personal fortunes. This is a
sign of moral weakness, not of strength, and its inevitable fruit is
discontent within the organization. _The sign of superiority in any
officer, at whatever level, is his confidence that he can make another
good man to fill any vacancy._ When it is self-evident that a man can
better himself and profit the service through transfer, it is contrary
to all principle to deny him that right. This does not mean that the
unit's exit door should be kept open, but only that it should be ready
to yield upon a showing of competent proof. It is not unusual that
when the pressure mounts and war danger rises, many a man develops a
sudden conviction that he would be more useful in a noncombat arm. The
officer body itself is not unsusceptible to the same temptation.
Unless the great majority are held to that line of duty which they had
accepted in less dangerous circumstance, the service would soon cease
to have fighting integrity. But it makes no point to keep men in a
combat arm or service who are quite obviously morally and physically
unequipped for its rigor, and it is equally wasteful to deny some
other arm or service the use of a specialist whose skills fill it
particularly. Some of the ablest commanders in our service have abided
by this rule: They never denied the man who had a legitimate reason
for transfer, and they never shuffled off their lemons and goldbricks
under a false label. Though seemingly idealistic, the rule is also
practical. The time wasted in excessive worry over a discard is
sometimes better spent by concentrating on the value of trumps.

Men tend to seek officer counsel when they feel discriminated against
by lesser authority. When that happens, it is the duty of the officer
to get at the facts, and act according to them. Complaints against any
junior are always unpleasant to hear because of their air of intrigue.
Tactlessly handled, without due weighing of the case from both sides,
they turn one blunder into two. But no officer is well-advised if he
believes that his duty automatically is to uphold the arm of a
subordinate when the facts say that the latter is dead wrong. His duty
is to reduce friction wherever it is caused by a misuse of power. This
implies dealing discreetly with the offender instead of directly
discountenancing him.

There are a few broad, common-sense rules which, when followed, will
enable any officer to play his part more effectively in the counseling
of men.

    Privacy is requisite and the interview should not be held at an
    hour when interruptions are likely.

    A listless manner spoils everything, diminishes the force of
    reason and discourages confidence.

    To put the man at ease immediately by some personal gesture is
    more important than observing forms.

    Thereafter the situation is best served by relaxation of bearing
    rather than by tension.

    All excess of expression is a failing, but above all in the man to
    whom another looks for guidance.

    To listen well is the prelude toward pondering carefully and
    speaking wisely.

    No counsel is worthy that has any lower aim than one's own ideals
    of self-respect.

    Early enough is well; quickly done can be quickly undone.

    To refuse with kindness is more winning than to acquiesce

    To note another man's mood, and to become congenial to it, is the
    surest way to engage his confidence.

    Decisions which are wholly of the heart and not of the mind will
    ultimately do hurt to both places.

    No man will talk freely if met by silence, but an intelligent
    question encourages frankness above all else.

    When one man loses possession of himself it is the more reason
    that the other should tighten his reserve.

    Affectation in one's own manner gives the lie to one's own credit
    and destroys it with others.

    To express pity for a man does not serve to restore him and put
    him above pity.

    When a man is so burdened by a personal problem that it shuts out
    all else, he must be led to something else.

    Imprudent tactics can undo the wisest strategy.

While these dispositions have particular value in relation to the
counseling of one's subordinates, they also have some application to
any situation in which men work and commune together. Men at any level
do not mistake the touch of sincerity, nor fail to mark as unworthy of
trust the man who pays only a superficial regard to a matter which
they deem important.

For the officer already burdened with other duties, counseling may
seem like a waste of time, and an activity that more properly belongs
to the chaplain. The wise and understanding "padre" may sometimes
counsel men on their material problems and thereby assist the officer
who is over troops. But so doing, he is committing a trespass unless
he acts with the commander's knowledge and consent. The commander is
the foster father of the men in his organization. When he renounces
this role, he neglects a trust.

That neglect cuts the fighting efficiency of the unit at its root.
Finally, counseling, like all else in military life, has a combat
purpose. Other things being equal, the tactical unity of men working
together in combat will be in ratio to their knowledge and sympathetic
understanding of each other. Whatever the cause, aloofness on the part
of the officer can only produce a further withdrawal on the part of
the man. Finally, the cost comes high. In battle, and out of it, the
failure to act and to communicate is more often due to timidity in the
individual than to fear of physical danger.

Described in cold type, the counseling process probably appears a
little sticky. Actually, it is nothing of the sort. For it has been
going on ever since man became civilized. It is a force in all
organized human relationships, beginning in infanthood and lasting
through old age. Because of the nature of a military group, and
particularly because of the deriving of united strength from
well-being in each of the component parts, there is much more need to
regularize it and to qualify all men in a knowledge of those things
which will enable them to assist a fellow in need of help. But in the
military society, far more than in civil life, confidence is a two-way
street. It would be almost impossible to express the collective
gratitude of tens of thousands of lieutenants and ensigns who in times
past have learned to rely on the friendly counsel of a veteran
sergeant or petty officer, and have usually gotten it straight from
the shoulder, _but with respect_. The breaking-in of most young
officers, and the acclimating of them to their role in a command
system, is due, in large measure, to support from this source. Nor are
senior commanders reluctant to receive moral comfort of this same kind
in periods of crisis.

When the planes of the First Tokyo Raid under Col. James H.
Doolittle, crashed among the mountains and along the sea-coast of
Eastern China, after one of the most valiant strokes in our military
annals, their commander was among the few who had the added misfortune
of coming to earth within the Japanese lines. By fate's mercy, he just
happened to escape by walking between the enemy outposts. Farther
along, he saw the wreck of another of his planes. Then he came to a
third; it was smashed beyond hope. But its crew had already heard from
several other parties. They too had lost their B-25's to the fog, the
night and the crags. Doolittle realized then that everything was gone,
lives saved yes, but otherwise the expedition was a total ruin.

The Commander sat for a long time in the cockpit of the wrecked plane,
terribly depressed, thinking only of how totally he had failed.

At last one of the younger men, Sgt. Paul Leonard walked up to him and
said: "What's the matter, Colonel?"

Doolittle said: "It couldn't be worse. We've lost everything. We've
let the country down."

The kid said: "Why, Colonel, you've got this all wrong. You have no
idea how this looks to the United States. Don't you realize that right
now they're getting ready to make you a general? Why I'll make you a
bet they give you the Congressional Medal."

Doolittle thanked him. He thought it was a nice thing for the boy to
say. That kind of loyalty was worth having in a bad hour. The boy
started to walk away; he could tell that Doolittle didn't believe a
word of it. Then suddenly he turned and came on back.

"Colonel," he said, "I'd like to make a deal with you. Suppose I'm
right about it and you're wrong. So they give you a star and the
Congressional Medal. If that happens, will you agree to take me with
you wherever you go?"

Doolittle made him a solemn promise. Fresh courage came to him out of
the boy's tremendous earnestness.

And of course the boy was right, and the contract was kept, and all
things went well until, by a savage irony, Sgt. Leonard was killed in
the last German raid against Doolittle's headquarters in Europe
shortly before the war ended.



One of the illusions having greatest currency among our people is that
any green member of the fighting establishment is merely an American
civilian in a uniform, and that therefore, his spirit is nourished to
the extent that accommodations and usages of the service most nearly
duplicate what he has known elsewhere.

This belief is especially prevalent during wartime when every mother's
son puts on a new suit; it is natural to think that everything in the
service will better suit the boy if it smells like home. The corollary
of this rather quaint idea is that military organization is therefore
most perfect when it operates in the same way as the civil society.

Earlier in this book it has been suggested that these ideas need to be
questioned on two broad grounds: Do not both of them run counter to
the facts of encharged responsibility, and to human nature itself?

To emphasize it once again, the military officer is not alone an
administrator: _he is a magistrate_. There are special powers given
him by the President. It is within these powers that he will sit in
judgment on his men and that he may punish them when they have been
grievously derelict. This dual role makes his function radically
different from anything encountered in civil life--to say nothing of
the singleness of purpose which a fighting service is supposed to move

Moreover, the military officer is dealing with men who are submitted
to him in a binding relationship which by its nature is not only more
compelling but more intimate than anything elsewhere in society. As
much as the parent in the home, and far more than the teacher in the
school or the executive in business, he is directed to center his
effort primarily on the building of good character in other

One need only compare a few points of advantage and disadvantage to
see why a better balanced sense of justice and fair play is required
of the military officer than of his brother in civil life, and why the
aim would be far too low if the fighting services did not shoot for
higher standards of personnel direction than are common in the
management of American business. Here are the points:

    If any subordinate in the civilian vineyard feels that he is
    getting a bad deal from his boss, and has become the object of
    unfair discrimination, it is his royal American privilege to quit
    on the spot, be he a policeman, a government factotum or a hod
    carrier. He can then maintain himself by carrying his skill into a
    new shop. But an enlisted member of the armed establishment cannot
    quit summarily, and finally, if his commander is just wrong-headed
    and arbitrary, it can be made almost impossible for him to
    transfer out. However bad his fortune, he's stuck with it.

    Nepotism is so general in our business and political life that the
    people who suffer from its effect accept it more or less as the
    working of nature; the results are therefore less destructive of
    efficiency than they might be otherwise. It is common to see the
    boss's nephew or his son get a good spot in the office and then
    rise like a rocket, even though he is a third-rater. And it is not
    less common to see a straw boss in a factory favor the man whom he
    thinks might grease the wheels for him on the outside. But in the
    armed establishment, favoritism on any grounds, and particularly
    on such treacherous grounds as these, will destroy the foundations
    of work and of control.

    The armed establishment has its own body of law. Therein, too, it
    differs from any civilian autonomy except the state itself. The
    code is intended to enable a uniform standard of treatment to all
    individuals in the regulating of all interior affairs. The code is
    not rigid; its provisions are not absolute. It specifies the
    general nature of offenses against society, and special offenses
    against the good of the service. But, except for the more serious
    offenses, particularly those which by their nature also violate
    the civil code, it does not flatly prescribe trial and punishment.
    Military law, in this respect, has more latitude, and is more
    congenial, than civil law covering minor offenders. Rarely
    arbitrary in its workings, it premises the use of corrective good
    judgment at all times. It regards force as an instrument only to
    be used for conserving the general good of the establishment. The
    essential power behind the force is something spiritual--the will
    and conscience of the great majority, expressing itself through
    the action of one or several of their number. Its major object is
    not punishment of the wrong-doer but protection of the interests
    of the dutiful. This view of military law is four-square with the
    basic principle of all action within the armed services--_that in
    all cases the best policy is one which depends for its workings on
    the sense of duty in men toward each other, and thereby
    strengthens that sense through its operations._

Put in these terms, the attitude of the service toward the problem of
correction as a means of promoting the welfare of the general
establishment obviously reposes a tremendous burst in the justice and
goodwill of the average officer. It would be useless to blink the
fact. But there is this to be said unalterably in favor of the
military system's way of handling things: If the organization of the
whole human family into an orderly unit is ever to be made possible,
it will be done only because many men, of all ages and working at many
different levels, develop this faculty for passing critical, impartial
judgment on the conduct and deserts of those whom they lead, instead
of regarding it as a special kind of wisdom, given only to the few
anointed. Nor is that all. Not only the knowledge but the sense of
duty in men is imperfect. In every society are men who will not obey
the law of their own accord. Unless the authority which receives and
interprets the law will also impose it, by force if necessary, the
reign of law soon ceases. Whether an ordered society is to exist thus
depends upon whether there are citizens enough, fixed with a sense of
duty, to obey it and to enforce it.

At first glance, the responsibility seems extraordinarily heavy and
difficult. But with broadening experience, it becomes almost second
nature to an officer quickly to set a course by which to judge
individual men in relation to the affairs of organization, provided
that he has steered all along in the light of a few elementary

Concerning reward, and equally with respect to punishments, no more
pertinent words could be said than those uttered long ago by Thomas
Carlyle: "What a reflection it is that we cannot bestow on an unworthy
man any particle of our benevolence, our patronage or whatever
resource is ours--without withdrawing it, and all that will grow out
of it, from one worthy, to whom it of right belongs! We cannot, I say;
impossible; it is the eternal law of things."

He said a number of important things in this one brief paragraph.
There is first the thought that when any reward, such as a promotion,
a commendation or a particularly choice assignment is given other than
to the man who deserves it on sheer merit, some other man is robbed
and the ties of organization are weakened.

Next, there is this proposition: if, in the dispensing of punishment,
undue leniency is extended to an individual who has already proved
that he merits no special consideration, in the next round a bum rap
will be given some lesser offender who is morally deserving of a real
chance. The Italians have an epigram: "The first time a dog bites a
man, it's the dog's fault; the second time, it's the man's fault."

According to Carlyle, these things have the strength of a natural law.
Nor is it necessary to take his word for it. Any wise and experienced
military administrator will say approximately the same thing and will
tell of some of the bad examples he has met along his way.... The
commander who was afraid to punish anybody and by his indecision
punished everybody.... The lieutenant who had such a bad conscience
about his own weak handling of a bad case of indiscipline that he
threw the book at the next offender and thereby spoiled a good man and
gained the ill will of the company.... The old timer who smarted under
excessive punishment for a trivial offense, broke under it, got into
worse trouble, and became a felon.... The officer who promoted his
pets instead of his good men and at last found that there were no good
men left.... The skipper who condoned a small case of insolence until
it swelled into a mutiny.... The fool who handled every case alike, as
if he were an animal trainer instead of a builder of human character
... and so on, ad infinitum. It is a long and sorry list, but the
overwhelming majority of dutiful executives in the armed services
avoid these stupid blunders by following a Golden Rule policy toward
their men.

If lack of obedience is the most frequent cause of service men being
brought on the carpet, then as obedience is a moral quality, so should
punishment be employed as a moral act, its prime purpose being to
nourish and foster obedience. Before meting punishment, it is
necessary to judge a man, and judgment means to think over, to
compare, to weigh probable effects on the man and on the command, and
to give the offender the benefit of any reasonable doubt. Before any
punishment is given, the questions must be faced: "What good will it
achieve?" If the answer is none, then punishment is not in order.
Punishment of a vindictive nature is a crime; when it is given
uselessly, or handed out in a strictly routine manner, it is an
immoral act.

But when punishment has to be awarded, the case must be handled
promptly, and its issue must be stated incisively, so that there is no
room for doubt that the officer is certain about his judgments. Men
know when they are in the wrong, and even when it works to their
disadvantage, they will feel increased respect toward the officer who
knows what should be done, and states it without hemming and hawing.
The showing of firmness is the first requirement in this kind of
action. It is as foolish to go back on a punishment as to threaten it
and not follow through. The officer who is always running around
threatening to court martial his subordinates is merely avowing his
own weakness, and crying that he has lost all of his moral means. Even
the dullest men do not mistake vehemence and abuse for signs of

To punish a body of men, for offenses committed by two or three of
their number, even though the offense is obnoxious and it is
impossible to put the finger on the culprits, is the act of a sadist,
and is no more excusable within military organization than in civilian
society. Any officer who resorts to this stupid practice will forfeit
the loyalty of the best men in his command. There is no reason why it
should be otherwise.

As a general rule, it is a serious error to reprimand a subordinate in
the presence of any other person, because of the unnecessary hurt to
his pride. But circumstances moderate the rule. If the offense for
which he is being reprimanded involves injury of any sort to some
other person, or persons, it may be wholly proper to apply the
treatment in their presence. For example, the bully or the smart-aleck
who wantonly humiliates his own subordinates is not entitled to have
his own feelings spared. However, in the presence of his own superior,
an officer is always ill-advised to administer oral punishment to one
of his own juniors, since the effect is to destroy confidence both up
and down the line.

It is always the duty of an officer to intervene, toward the
protection of his own men against any manifest injustice, whatever its
source. In fact, this trust is so implicit that he should be ready to
risk his professional reputation upon it, when he is convinced beyond
doubt that the man is being unfairly assailed, or that due process is
not being followed. Both higher authority and civil authority
occasionally overreach; an officer stands as a shield protecting his
men against unfair treatment from any quarter. _But it is decidedly
not his duty to attempt to cheat law or thwart justice for the sake of
his men simply because they are his men._ His job, as Shakespeare puts
it, is "to unmask falsehood and bring truth to light, to wrong the
wronger till he render right."

Finally, the best policy on punishments is to eliminate the frictions
which are the cause of most transgressions. When a ship is happy, men
do their duty. Scarcely anything will cross them up more quickly than
to see rewards given with an uneven hand. Even the stinker who has no
ambition but to duck work can recognize a deserving man, and will burn
if that man is bypassed in favor of a bootlicker or some other

Nothing is more vain than to give a promotion, or any reward, in the
hope, or on the promise, that the character who receives it will hit
the sawdust trail and suddenly reform.

Duty is the only sure proving ground. Men, like motors, should be
judged on their all-around performance. There is no other way to
generate the steady pull over the long grind.



In civilian society, what amounts to a cult has developed around the
idea that the average person has a natural bent for some particular
job or profession, which if thwarted will fill him with those
frustrations which are conceded to be the cause of most of the mental
and moral disorders of mankind.

Therefore if all men could become rightly placed, we would have Utopia

This theory of what humanity mainly cries for is perforce rejected by
the military establishment, for several eminently practical as well as
ideal reasons.

It discounts man, his plastic and impressionable nature, his response
to all that goes on around him and his marked ability to adjust to any
environment. He is not like a bolt fitted into a hole by a riveter,
nor merely clay in the hands of the potter. What he becomes is mainly
of his own making.

Further, the theory does not meet the needs of the situation, since in
the services, as elsewhere, there are not enough better holes to go
around, and no man is ready to say that he is good for nothing but
life as a file-closer.

But the last and main reason why the theory is no good is that it
doesn't square with human experience. A narrow classification system
invites the danger of overspecialization and lessens the team play
which is so indispensable to all military enterprise. It is possible
for the machine to break down totally from lack of interchangeability
in its parts.

We learn much from war, but some of the most obvious lessons are
disregarded. One of the things that it should teach us is the
tremendous adaptability of the average intelligent man, his ability to
take hold of work altogether remote from any prior experience, master
it, and find satisfaction in it, provided he is given help and
encouragement by those who already know.

This is the great phenomenon of war--greater than the atomic bomb or
supersonic flight. Former bookkeepers emerge as demolitions men.
Divinity students become pharmacist's mates. School teachers operate
tanks. Writing men turn into navigators. Woodsmen become lecturers.
Longshoremen specialize in tactics. And all goes well.

Then when it is all over, and everyone gets back in his well-worn
groove, the social scientists explain that these miracles occurred
because under the stimulus of great fear and excitement which attends
a period of national emergency, individuals will sublimate their main
drives, and adjust temporarily to what would be otherwise an onerous
personal difficulty. Sheer poppycock! Normal men do not feel pressed
by fear simply because a state of war exists; their chief emotions
change scarcely at all. These transformations occur only because the
man had the potential all along, and with someone backing him up _and
giving him the feeling of success_, his incentives became equal, at
least, to anything he had known in his peacetime occupation.

That is the long-and-short of it. If our average man couldn't become a
jack of many trades, and a master of several, the United States would
never be able to meet a major war emergency.

For these reasons, service concepts of how men should be fitted to
jobs do not develop around the simple notion that it is all a matter
of putting a square peg in a square hole--which is the one best way to
deny the peg any room for expansion. The doctrine is that _men are
many sided, that they learn their own powers and likes through
experiment, that they are entitled to find what is best for them, and
that having found it, their satisfactions will still derive mainly
from intelligent and interested treatment by their superiors_.

Every officer arrives sooner or later at the point where he has a
direct hand in the placement of men. By way of preparation for that
responsibility he should do two things mainly--learn all that he can
from his superiors about its technical aspects, and in his own
thinking, concentrate on principles to the exclusion of detail.

The fundamental purpose of all training today is to develop the
natural faculties and stimulate the brain of the individual rather
than to treat him as a cog which has to be fitted into a great

The true purpose of _all_ rules covering the conduct of warfare and
all regulations pertaining to the conduct of its individuals is to
bring about order in the fighting machine rather than to strangle the
mind of the man who reads them.

Thus in the assignment of men to work within any military
organization, no amount of perfection in the analysis of skills and
aptitudes can compensate for carelessness in their subsequent
administration. The uniformed ranks are not mechanics, storekeepers
and clerks primarily, but fighting men. This makes a difference. The
optimum over-all results do not come from the care exercised in seeing
that every man is placed at exactly the right job but from the concern
taken that in whatever job he fills, he will feel that he is supported
and that his efforts are appreciated. There is scarcely a good man who
has served long within the profession without filling a half-dozen
roles requiring vastly different skills. And looking back, what would
the average one say about it? Not that he was happiest where the
nature of the task best suited his hand, but happiest where his
relations with his superiors gave him the greatest sense of

That is the human nature of the equation. We can let the economist
argue that what a man puts into a job is largely dependent on what he
takes out of it. And we can let the philosopher answer him that the
fault in his proposition is that he has turned it the wrong way
'round. Regardless of which man has put the cart before the horse,
there are two basic truths which outweigh the merits of the argument.

First. _All human progress has come of the willingness of a man at a
particular time to undertake a job which no one had ever done before._

Second. _The main reward of any job is the knowledge that worthwhile
work has been accomplished._

This last may sound like a corny maxim, but it's true. The reason
maxims become corny is because they're true.

Despite all of the present-day emphasis on paycheck security as the
mainspring of human action, the far stronger force which moves man as
a social being is his desire for a secure place in the respect and
affections of his associates, including his chief or his employer.
Gary Cooper, playing in "The Cowboy and the Lady," used the line, "I
aims, ma'm, to be high-regarded." Except for the few wrong-headed
people, he was speaking for the whole human family.

The man who can get along without wanting or needing words of approval
from other people is fit for a cell by himself, either padded or

Loyalty in the masses of men waxes strong in the degree that they are
made to believe that real importance is attached to their work and to
their ability to think about their work. It weakens at every point
where they consider that there is a negative respect for their
intelligence; the dignity in any work is not inherent in the job
itself but in the attitude of others toward it. Cabinet ministers,
college presidents and industrial magnates will quit their jobs when
they feel they no longer have the confidence of those to whom they are
responsible. That experience is as demoralizing to great men as to the
mine-run. Equally, the feeling of compensation which comes with any
token of recognition is one of those touches of human nature which
make all men akin. If men of genius and good works did not find Nobel
prizes and honorary college degrees highly gratifying, this custom
would have faded long ago. It is as rewarding to them to be called
good at their job as it was to the New Jersey street sweeper who
pushed his broom so diligently that he swept halfway into the next
town before discovering his mistake.

The far inferences of these things should be reasonably clear to every
officer of the fighting establishment. It makes little difference
whether a man is digging a ditch or is working up a loading table for
an invasion: what he thinks about his work will depend in large
measure upon the attitude of his superiors. He will develop no great
conviction about what he is doing except as it is transmitted to him.
_The fundamental cause of any breakdown of morale and discipline
within the armed service usually comes of this, that a commander or
his subordinates transgress by treating men as if they were children
or serfs instead of showing respect for their adulthood._

The requirements of modern war are such that we certainly do not want
to turn out one man exactly like another, or turn the majority into
mechanical men, capable of one set function. But the rule applies to
officers as well as men. The greater freedom which is needed has
nothing to do with social behavior or privilege. It is the freedom to
think boldly and originally for the common good, for, to quote Kant
again: "What one learns the most fixedly and remembers the best is
what one learns more or less by oneself."

Thus in the matter of sizing up men, judging of their capacities and
trying to get them rightly placed, the need is not a formula, since no
formula will work. It is only by keeping principles uppermost in our
thoughts that the greatest measure of common sense will prevail in our
actions. That is what is needed, rather than clairvoyant powers, or a
master's degree in psychology, if the service officer is to handle
personnel efficiently. There are no great wizards in this field: there
are only men who know more about the human nature of the problem than
others because they have had a zest for meeting humanity and have
built a text out of what others have told them.

The job begins by the search for data on the individual--all of the
data that may be obtained. It goes on from that to sitting down with
the subject, getting him to open up and talk freely about himself,
what he has done, what he would like to do with his life, and his
reasons for so feeling, et cetera. But the information from all
sources has to be balanced against one's impression of the outer man,
not just what he says but how he talks, the degree of his
attentiveness, his bearing, his eye, his self-control. The decision is
made on the basis of all these reckonings. This is common sense in
action, and the only alternatives to it are to act upon a hunch or
purely emotional grounds; one might, with better reason, determine
another man's fortune by the flip of a coin.

Let's see briefly how the method works out in practice.

If the record shows that a man is a bad speller, careless about
punctuation, not interested in writing, non-experienced at clerkship,
and something of a rough diamond in his nature, he would be a bad bet
for the administrative side, or in supply work, or in a communications
role, though with a little polishing, and provided that he seems
self-assured and is what we would call a "likeable" man, he might
become a capital leader of a tactical group.

On the other hand, the man who says he had tried in vain to develop a
manual skill, but has always been clumsy with his hands, and is
supported in what he says by the records of his service, isn't
necessarily excluded from becoming a good weapons or demolitions man,
if he seems strong in body and nerve, though he would hardly do for a
mechanic's berth, or a carpenter's assistant or as a radio repairman.
Weapons and demolitions require strength, carefulness and good sense
rather than great dexterity.

Take the man who is uncommunicative, or morose or unusually shy. From
the day that he starts his service, his superiors should do their best
to help him to change his ways; these ingrown men are roadblocks to
group cooperation. But if he does not pick up and become outgiving, he
hasn't the quality of a junior leader and there is no point in wasting
space by sending him to any school or course out of which it would be
expected that duties as an instructor would devolve upon him.

However, there is one word of extreme caution on this point. For as
long as 6 months after entering service, some men are under abnormal
constraint because they are in a new element, and feel a little
frightened inside. Whether this is the case is to be judged best by
getting full information on the man. If the record shows that he had
led his class in college, managed an athletic team, headed a debating
team in high school, been the main wheel in a boy's club or a Scout
troop, or led any kind of group, this is to be taken as a sign that
the potential is there and that he is a sleeper. The most common error
made in the services is that we are prone to underscore that a man was
a lieutenant in a cadet company while taking no note of the file who
had greater prestige in other activities because of his natural
qualities as a leader.

These are only a few average samples of personnel handling, and of
elementary reasoning. As Mother Goose might say, if the list had been
longer, the case still wouldn't have been stronger. Far more
profitably, we can dig a little deeper into the subject of principles.

In two senses, every decision as to the placing of men in the armed
service is a moral decision, and therein it differs from average
civilian responsibility. What is best for the man has always to be
measured against the ultimate security and fighting objects of the

For example, it is dead wrong, even in time of peace, to commit
tactical leadership to the hands of the man whose moral force clearly
falls short of what is required on the field of war, no matter how
congenial he may be. And it is just as wrong to let a blabbermouth
work his way into security channels, even though the hour is such that
he can do no immediate harm.

What importance should be attached to a man's estimate of his own
capabilities? It is always pertinent, but it is by no means decisive.
This is so for two reasons, the first being that the majority of men
tend to over-sell themselves on the thing they like to do, and the
second, that very few men know their own dimensions. Almost
consciously, men resist the thing that they do not know, because of
premonitory fears of failure. When the Armored Force School was first
organized in 1941, a private from a unit stationed in Georgia was
arbitrarily assigned to take the radio course. He protested, saying
that he did not like anything about the field and therefore had no
talent for it. But his commander sent him along. Within 1 week after
arriving at Fort Knox, he was operating at a faster rate than any man
in the history of the Army. Every service could tell stories of this
kind; they are not miracles; they are regular features of the daily

At the same time, the man who volunteers for a particular line of
duty--especially if it is a hard duty--already has one mark in his
favor. The fact that he wants to do it is one-half of success. Before
turning him down, there must be a substantially clear showing that he
lacks the main qualifications. It must be a _compelling_ reason,
rather than the overweening excuse that it is more convenient to keep
him where he is. In any case, he should be thanked for coming forward,
and earmarked as a good prospect for the next likely opening.

There is a slack saying in the services that "the good man never
volunteers." That is an outright canard. The best men still do.

In job placement, mistakes are inevitable. Any authority in this work
will say so. Every experienced man who has had conspicuous success in
picking the right men, and in getting scores of individuals started up
the right ladder, will also shudder a little as he recalls his
particularly atrocious blunders. Outward appearances are so greatly
deceiving! The prior estimates placed on men are so frequently highly
colored or outright dishonest!

As to the making of mistakes, it is just not enough to comment that
they have value, provided one has sufficient breadth to learn from
hard experience. What is vastly more important is that the mistake,
once made, will not be needlessly compounded. That is a normal, human
temptation. The attitude, "I don't care if he is a chump; he's my
chump," has nothing in its favor. Yet it becomes a point of pride in
some men that they will not admit their judgments are fallible.
Consequently, having chosen the wrong man for a given responsibility,
they will sustain him there, come hell or high water, rather than make
public acknowledgement of error.

With what result? Mainly this, that for the sake of the point, they
win, with it, the contempt of their other subordinates. For there is
something very childish about this form of weakness, though it is a
failing not unknown in many men otherwise qualified for high
responsibility. To put it plainly, _no man_ has the moral right to
suffer this upon any organization he is professing to serve.

The advice of one's subordinates, as to the placement and promotion of
men with whom they are in close contact, is not to be followed
undeviatingly. Men play favorites: they will sometimes back an
individual for no better reason than that they "like the guy." Too,
each small group leader, even the best one, will work to advance the
interests of his own men, because so doing is part of his own buildup.
Unless decisions are made from a central point of view, the
subordinate who talks the most convincingly will get an extra portion
of favor for his men, and jealousies will wrack the organization.

There is one last point. No officer can progress in fitting men to
jobs except as he becomes better informed about job requirements. This
is an essential part of his education. There is no administrative
technique which is separate and apart from knowledge of how basic work
is performed in the fields which have to be administered. A great many
officers resist this truth, but it is nonetheless valid.

What is eternally surprising in the fighting services is how the
aggressive questing for knowledge continues to pay large dividends,
and leads, in the average case, to a general forgiveness of one's
little sins and vices.



The command and control of men in combat _can_ be mastered by the
junior leaders of American forces short of actual experience under
enemy fire.

It is altogether possible for a young officer his first time in battle
to be in total possession of his faculties and moving by instinct to
do the right thing, provided that he has made the most of his training

Exercise in the maneuvering of men is only an elementary introduction
to this educational process. The basic requirement is a continuing
study, first of the nature of men, second of the techniques which
produce unified action, and last, of the history of past operations,
which are covered by an abundant literature.

Provided always that this collateral study is sedulously carried
forward by the individual officer, at least 90 percent of all that is
given him during the training period becomes applicable to his
personal action and his power to lead other men when under fire.

Each service has its separate character. The fighting problem of each
differs in some measure from those of all others. In the nature of
things, the task of successfully leading men in battle is partly
conditioned by the unique character and mission of each service.

It would therefore be gratuitous, and indeed impossible, to attempt to
outline a doctrine which would be of general application, stipulating
methods, techniques, etc., which would apply to all Americans in
combat, no matter in what element they engaged.

There are, however, a few simple and fundamental propositions to which
the Armed Services subscribe in saying to the officer corps what may
be expected of the average man of the United States under the
conditions of battle. Generally speaking, they have held true of
Americans in times past from Lexington to Okinawa. The fighting
establishment builds its discipline, training, code of conduct and
public policy around these ideas, believing that what served yesterday
will also be the one best way tomorrow, and for so long as our
traditions and our system of freedoms survive. These propositions are:


When led with courage and intelligence, an American will fight as
willingly and as efficiently as any fighter in world history.


His keenness and endurance in war will be in proportion to the zeal
and inspiration of his leadership.


He is resourceful and imaginative, and the best results will always
flow from encouraging him to use his brain along with his spirit.


Under combat conditions he will reserve his greatest loyalty for the
officer who is most resourceful in the tactical employment of his
forces and most careful to avoid unnecessary losses.


He is to a certain extent machine-bound because the nature of our
civilization has made him so. In an emergency, he tends to look around
for a motor car, a radio or some other gadget that will facilitate his
purpose, instead of thinking about using his muscle power toward the
given end. In combat, this is a weakness which thwarts contact and
limits communications. Therefore it needs to be anticipated and
guarded against.


War does not require that the American be brutalized or bullied in any
measure whatever. His need is an alert mind and a toughened body. Hate
and bloodlust are not the attributes of a sound training under the
American system. To develop clearly a line of duty is sufficient to
point Americans toward the doing of it.


Except on a Hollywood lot, there is no such thing as an American
fighter "type." Our best men come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.
They appear from every section of the Nation, including the


Presupposing soundness in their officer leadership, the majority of
Americans in any group or unit can be depended upon to fight loyally
and obediently, and will give a good account of themselves.


In battle, Americans do not tend to fluctuate between emotional
extremes, in complete dejection one day and in exultation the next,
according to changes in the situation. They continue, on the whole, on
a fairly even keel, when the going is tough and when things are
breaking their way. Even when heavily shocked by battle losses, they
tend to bound back quickly. Though their griping is incessant, their
natural outlook is on the optimistic side, and they react unfavorably
to the officer who looks eternally on the dark side.


During battle, American officers are not expected either to drive
their men or to be forever in the van, as if praying to be shot. So
long as they are with their men, taking the same chances as their men,
and showing a firm grasp of the situation and of the line of action
which should be followed, the men will go forward.


In any situation of extreme pressure, or moral exhaustion, where men
cannot otherwise be rallied and led forward, officers are expected to
do the actual physical act of leading, such as performing as first
scout, or point, even though this means taking over what normally
would be an enlisted man's function.


The normal, gregarious American is not at his best when playing a
lone-handed or tactically isolated part in battle. He is not a
kamikaze or a one-man torpedo. Consequently, the best tactical
results obtain from those dispositions and methods which link the
power of one man to that of another. Men who feel strange with their
unit, having been carelessly received by it, and indifferently
handled, will rarely, if ever, fight strongly and courageously. But if
treated with common decency and respect, they will perform like men.


Within our school of military thought, higher authority does not
consider itself infallible. Either in combat or out, in any situation
where a majority of militarily-trained Americans become undutiful,
that is sufficient reason for higher authority to resurvey its own
judgments, disciplines and line of action.


To lie to American troops to cover up a blunder in combat rarely
serves any valid purpose. They have a good sense of combat and an
uncanny instinct for ferreting out the truth when anything goes wrong
tactically. They will excuse mistakes but they will not forgive being
treated like children.


When spit-and-polish are laid on so heavily that they become onerous,
and the ranks cannot see any legitimate connection between the
requirements and the development of an attitude which will serve a
clear fighting purpose, it is to be questioned that the exactions
serve any good object whatever.


On the other hand, because standards of discipline and courtesy are
designed for the express purpose of furthering control under the
extraordinary frictions and pressures of the battlefield, their
maintenance under combat conditions is as necessary as during
training. Smartness and respect are the marks of military alertness,
no matter how trying the circumstances. But courtesy starts at the
top, in the dealing of any officer with his subordinates, and in his
decent regard for their loyalty, intelligence, and manhood.


Though Americans enjoy relatively a bountiful, and even luxurious
standard of living in their home environment, they do not have to be
pampered, spoon-fed and surfeited with every comfort and convenience
to keep them steadfast and devoted, once war comes. They are by nature
rugged men, and in the field will respond most perfectly when called
on to play a rugged part. Soft handling will soften even the best men.
But even the weak man will develop a new vigor and confidence in the
face of necessary hardship, if moved by a leadership which is
courageously making the best of a bad situation.


Extravagance and wastefulness is somewhat rooted in the American
character, because of our mode of life. When our men enter military
service, there is a strong holdover of their prodigal civilian habits.
Even under fighting conditions, they tend to be wasteful of drinking
water, food, munitionment and other vital supply. When such things are
made _too_ accessible, they tend to throw them away, rather than to
conserve them in the general interests. This is a distinct weakness
during combat, when conservation of all supply is the touchstone of
success. The regulating of all supply, and the preventing of waste in
any form, is the prime obligation of every officer.


Under the conditions of battle, any extra work, exercise, maneuver or
_marching which does not serve a clear and direct operational purpose_
is unjustifiable. The supreme object is to keep men as physically
fresh and mentally alert as possible. Tired men take fright and are
half-whipped before the battle opens. Worn-out officers cannot make
clear decisions. The conservation of men's powers, not the exhaustion
thereof, is the way of successful operation.


When forces are committed to combat, it is vital that not one
unnecessary pound be put on any man's back. Lightness of foot is the
key to speed of movement and the increase of firepower. In judging of
these things, every officer's thought should be on the optimistic
side. It is better to take the chance that men will manage to get by
on a little less than to overload them, through an over-cautious
reckoning of every possible contingency, thereby destroying their
power to do anything effectively.


Even a thorough training and long practice in weapons handling will
not always insure that a majority of men will use their weapons freely
and consistently when engaging the enemy. This is particularly true of
Americans. In youth they are taught that the taking of human life is
wrong. This feeling is deep-rooted in their emotions. Many of them
cannot shake it off when the hour comes that their own lives are in
danger. They fail to fire, though they do not know exactly why. In
war, firing at an enemy target can be made a habit. Once required to
make the start, because he is given personal and intelligent
direction, any man will find it easier to fire the second and third
time, and soon thereafter his response will become automatic in any
tactical situation. When engaging the enemy, the most decisive task of
all junior leaders is to make certain that _all_ men along the line
are employing their weapons, even if this means spending some time
with each man and directing his fire. Reconnaissance and inspection
toward this end, particularly in the early stages of initial
engagement, are far more important than the employment of weapons by
junior leaders themselves, since this latter tends to distract their
attention from what the men are doing.


Unity of action develops from fullness of information. In combat, all
ranks have to know what is being done, and why it is being done, if
confusion is to be kept to a minimum. This holds true in all types of
operation, whatever the service. However, a surfeit of information
clouds the mind and may sometimes depress the spirit. We can take one
example. A commander might be confronted by a complex situation, and
his solution may comprise a continuing operation in three distinct
phases. It would be advisable that all hands be told the complete
detail of "phase A." But it might be equally sensible that only his
subordinates who are closest to him be made fully informed about
"phase B," and "phase C." All plans in combat are subject to
modification as circumstances dictate; this being the case, it is
better not to muddle men by filling their minds with a seeming
conflict in ideas. More important still, if the grand object seems too
vast and formidable, even the first step toward it may appear doubly
difficult. Fullness of information does not void the other principle
that one thing at a time, carefully organized all down the line, is
the surest way.


There is no excuse for malingering or cowardice during battle. It is
the task of leadership to stop it, by whatever means would seem to be
the surest cure, always making certain that in so doing it will not
make a bad matter worse.


The Armed Services recognize that there are occasional individuals
whose nervous and spiritual makeup may be such that, though they erode
rapidly and may suffer complete breakdown under combat conditions,
they still may be wholly loyal and conscientious men, capable of doing
high duty elsewhere. Men are not alike. In some, however willing the
spirit, the flesh may still be weak. To punish, degrade or in any way
humiliate such men is not more cruel than ignorant. When the good
faith of any individual has been repeatedly demonstrated in his
earlier service, he deserves the benefit of the doubt from his
superior, pending study of his case by medical authority. But if the
man has been a bad actor consistently, his officer is warranted in
proceeding on the assumption that his combat failure is just one more
grave moral dereliction. To fail to take proper action against such a
man can only work unusual hardship on the majority trying to do duty.


The United States abides by the laws of war. Its armed forces, in
their dealing with all other peoples, are expected to comply with the
laws of war, in the spirit and to the letter. In waging war, we do not
terrorize helpless non-combatants, if it is within our power to avoid
so doing. Wanton killing, torture, cruelty or the working of unusual
and unnecessary hardship on enemy prisoners or populations is not
justified in any circumstance. Likewise, respect for the reign of law,
_as that term is understood in the United States_, is expected to
follow the flag wherever it goes. Pillaging, looting and other
excesses are as unmoral where Americans are operating under military
law as when they are living together under the civil code. None the
less, some men in the American services will loot and destroy
property, unless they are restrained by fear of punishment. War looses
violence and disorder; it inflames passions and makes it relatively
easy for the individual to get away with unlawful actions. But it does
not lessen the gravity of his offense or make it less necessary that
constituted authority put him down. The main safeguard against
lawlessness and hooliganism in any armed body is the integrity of its
officers. When men know that their commander is absolutely opposed to
such excesses, and will take forceful action to repress any breach of
discipline, they will conform. But when an officer winks at any
depradation by his men, it is no different than if he had committed
the act.


On the field of sport Americans always "talk it up" to keep nerves
steady and to generate confidence. The need is even greater on the
field of war, and the same treatment will have no less effect. When
men are afraid, they go silent; silence of itself further intensifies
their fear. The resumption of speech is the beginning of thoughtful,
collected action, for self-evidently, two or more men cannot join
strength and work intelligently together until they know one another's
thoughts. _Consequently, all training is an exercise in getting men to
open up and become articulate even as it is a process in conditioning
them physically to move strongly and together._


Inspection is more important in the face of the enemy than during
training because a fouled piece may mean a lost battle, an overlooked
sick man may infect a fortress and a mislaid message can cost a war.
In virtue of his position, every junior leader is an inspector, and
the obligation to make certain that his force at all times is
inspection proof is unremitting.


In battle crisis, a majority of Americans present will respond to any
man who has the will and the brains to give them a clear, intelligent
order. They will follow the lowest-ranking man present if he obviously
knows what he is doing and is morally the master of the situation, but
they will not obey a chuckle-head if he has nothing in his favor but
his rank.


In any action in which the several services are joined, any American
officer may expect the same measure of respect from the ranks of any
other service as from his own, provided he conducts himself with a
dignity and manner becoming an American officer.

For all officers, due reflection on these points, relating to the
character of our men in war, is not more important than a continuing
study of how they may be applied to all aspects of training, toward
the end that we may further strengthen our own system. This is the
grand object in all military studies. That service is most perfect
which best holds itself, at all times and at all levels, in a state of
readiness to move against and destroy any declared enemy of the United



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    W. F. P. Napier--History of the War in the Peninsula (6 vols.) 1828.

    James R. Newman--The Tools of War, 1942.

    Frederick Palmer--America in France, 1921.
                      John J. Pershing, 1921.

    George S. Patton, Jr.--War As I Knew It, 1947.

    Thomas R. Phillips--Roots of Strategy, 1940.

    Frederick Pile--Ack-Ack, 1949.

    Fletcher Pratt--Ordeal by Fire, 1935.
                    Road to Empire, 1939.
                    The Marine's War, 1948.
                    Navy: A History.

    Leonard Rapport and Arthur Northwood--Rendezvous With Destiny, 1948.

    Roland Ruppenthal--Utah Beach to Cherbourg, 1947.

    W. T. Sherman--Memoirs, 1886.

    Robert E. Sherwood--Roosevelt and Hopkins, 1948.

    Milton Shulman--Defeat in the West, 1948.

    Holland M. Smith--Coral and Brass, 1949.

    E. L. Spears--Liaison 1914, 1930.
                  Prelude to Victory, 1939.

    Joseph W. Stilwell--The Stilwell Papers, 1948.

    Alfred Vagts--The History of Militarism, 1937.

    Yorck von Wartenburg--Napoleon as a General.

    Archibald Wavell--Allenby, 1941.
                      Generals and Generalship, 1941.

    John W. Wheeler Bennett--The Forgotten Peace, 1939.
                             Munich: Prologue to Tragedy, 1948.

    Kenneth P. Williams--Lincoln Finds a General, 1949.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2" ***

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