© Copyright 1996-2005
by David H. Hackworth
All Rights Reserved
HEADDQUARTERS. 2D BRIGADE. 2D INFANTRY DIVISION
APO SAN FRANCISCO 96224
MEMORANDUM FOR Second Brigade
SUBJECT Extracts from Colonel Hackworth's About Face
1. The enclosed document has been extracted from Colonel David Hackworth's book, About Face.
2. Colonel Hackworth was one of the Army's most distinguished combat commanders. His achievements in Korea and Vietnam were truly inspirational. What he has to say about preparing soldiers for and leading them in combat should be required reading for all leaders.
3. Colonel Hackworth was also a very controversial officer. The reasons for the controversy come through loud and clear in his book. No military organization can function with or accept the disrespect for higher authority or flagrant disobedience that characterized his service and that permeates his autobiography. Colonel Hackworth would never have tolerated a subordinate who acted in such a fashion.
An officer can be a heroic and successful combat commander, maintain
hisintegrity, and adhere to the courage of his convictions without compromising
his loyalty or creating an atmosphere destructive to the larger organization.
Take to heart the total commitment, driving determination and mission
orientation that are obvious throughout this extract and the book itself.
Draw your own conclusions about the less commendable traits. The book
is absolutely invaluable professional development material in both its
positive and negative
MEMORANDUM FOR THE LEADERS OF' AT1ACK COMPANY
Lessons Learned and Reflections of Colonel David Hackworth from his
book About Face
3. These quotations represent not only the lessons learned from combat situations, but also his reflections on the Army as it revolved from post World War 11 through present day. It provides an insight to what many of us feel, believe, or wholeheartedly disagree with, but rarely put into words. In my personal opinion it is the best small unit infantry book to hit the shelves since Rommel wrote Attacks.
Colonel Hackworth's leadership style is one that was effective and worked
for him. Each of us must examine our own leadership style and determine
what will work for us. His is only one style; it is not the only way
to be a leader. Keep this in mind as you read through these quotations
and try to apply them to your own leadership style.
ROBERT E. MILANI
quotes used in About Face
platoon level, I'd somehow come to assume that on a day-to-day level
we were the ones doing the work, while the company commander just sat
back and took it easy until the operation warning order came. How very
wrong I'd been. The respect I had for (previous company commanders)
only grew as I came to appreciate the heavy responsibility and the great
demands of a job they'd performed so well."
Page 241-242, Col. Hackworth's reflections on defensive operations at the company level during the Korean War...
-"I spent many daylight hours out in my observation post, studying the battlefield. ... thinking, If I were the enemy CO, how would I attack this position? Then I would wargame all the options. How would I maneuver? Where would I set up my supporting weapons? What would be my main attack? when I penetrated, how would I roll up the flanks? Out of all this pondering night after night, came our defensive organization and local counterattack plans."
-"...I'd walk the front line from end to end a couple of times. Id check each position, talk to the troops until I got to know their names and could recognize their voices in the dark, and give quiet, impromptu classes on everything from weapons maintenance to leadership to how to stop homesickness."
-"Every time I walked the line I'd find troopers asleep. One snoozer weakens the whole defense. (If I found a trooper asleep) I'd sneak up and toss the guy on the trench or bunker floor; hed wake up with my trench knife against his throat. "If I were the (enemy) you'd be a dead son of a bitch!" Then I'd bring in the whole chain of command so every responsible leader got into the act; I'd call in the kid's squad and platoon leaders and, on the spot, have them explain why he was sleeping. NCOs and officers started patrolling their sectors like cops on a beat. Finally I came up with the ultimate punishment: habitual sleepers would man the outposts. Nobody would dare screw off there."
"... It wasnt until a short time after this fight, when I put all the Koreans in one unit under a great little Korean liaison sergeant turned line NCO named Chung and got results, that I finally understood how much the damn problem was the Yanks themselves. Most American leaders had given up trying to communicate with the KATUSAs, except through sign language (more often than not obscene) and name calling. The war had made all the UN troops cannon fodder, but the KATUSAs were treated like subhuman cannon fodder, The Americans came and went every nine months; it was the KATUSAs who stayed on these slopes for the duration. And as time passed, we the Americans, were the ones who, through the continued introduction of the green EM and in most cases even greener officers, were becoming increasingly less proficient in our trade. It should have been little wonder that the South Korean soldiers were cool, cunning, and more adept at keeping their heads down than joining in the fray; no wonder, in a jam, that they'd save their own asses and not their US buddies."
Page 248, Lessons learned from the first enemy attack against his defensive positions
-"The major lessons learned concerned sleepers, smokers, and sloppy Procedures. Henceforth, sleepers would have the shit beat out of them by their leaders. Cigarettes, which could be seen for miles, were as good as an engraved invitation to the enemy to "come and get me," so from that moment forward, smoking was prohibited from sunset to sunrise anywhere on the hill. ... there were to be no exceptions, even within the deepest, safest bunkers on the reverse slope. Transgressors would meet the same fate as the sleepers."
-As the company commander, always inspect the tie-in position on your flanks. If not satisfied with the positions of the flank companies, place tactical barbed wire, complete with mines and flares, along your reverse slope if on a hill.
prepare and rehearse counterattack plans in detail.
Page 251, Col. Hackworth on promotions...
I had no power to promote--acting or otherwise--above corporal, I got
the stripes and had the guys sew them on as if they were the real thing.
Authorized, permanent stripes did come down from Regiment each month,
so over time, the guys would, one by one. start getting paid in accordance
with what they were wearing on their sleeves. But in the meantime, my
acting-promotion scheme worked wonders: within days, each man and his
respective unit were functioning like they'd been at it for months.
We were not the best yet, but we were getting there--the sterner the
challenge, said Toynbee, the finer the response--and it impressed the
visitors, too to see all these "senior" NCOs in one little
Page 269, Col. Hackworth on being an infantry company commander...
thing was, you had to look after your soldiers. It was true that a CD's
first priority was the mission, but a conflicting requirement was the
welfare of the men. It was true that the whole purpose of the military
establishment was to get a doughfoot eyeball-to-eyeball with the enemy,
and it was equally true that the troops were the ones who paid the price,
in blood, for a objective secured. These facts made and make an infantry
CO a hanging judge. He has incredible power over the lives and deaths
not only of a faceless enemy but of his own men. Sometimes this power
causes a leader to become hardened: he stops seeing his troops as human
beings. They become faceless assets to him; he becomes afraid to get
close or to feel, instead constructing a concrete barrier in his head
to keep out the guilt and the pain of lives lost at his behest. In the
process he forgets that though he may give the orders, it is the soldier
who makes them happen-or doesn't. He forgets that if you want 100 percent
from a trooper, you have to give him NO percent as a commander. You
have to keep your boys well fed and well clothed whenever possible,
and well trained always. You have to show respect for them, and you
have to remember that every trooper is a priceless asset, not some easily
replaced, numbered part to be abused or wasted."
Page 270, on training
used a hands on approach; we didn't talk about probing for mines, we
probed for them using dummy mines."
Page 273, on artillery and the US ability to supply its forces
Americans really had the best--and best-supplied-artillery in the world.
Tactical skill, the abilities of generals--both came second to our capability
to out-equip and out-shoot our opponents."
Page 275, on mourning over the loss of soldiers
fact is, generally there's no "time out" for mourning on the
battlefield. but it's really no different than the father of ten who
comes home to find his house on fire with all his kids sleeping inside.
He doesn't stop and cry over the first child he finds dead. To do so
would be to sign a death warrant for the other nine. A CO is often in
the same situation. to do anything but continue on would be complete
dereliction of duty, and, in the larger picture, could possibly lead
to even worse carnage among his troops. So you do what you have to do,
and only later, when things settle down, do you allow yourself to grieve."
Page 282, on changing command and leadership style
thing was, when you're with a unit for a long time, it becomes a raging
love affair. Fighter (Company) and I belonged together, and the hand
and glove factor could be seen in the faces and manner of all the troops.
They weren't exactly carbon copies of their Old Man, but they'd developed
a certain style, I guess it could be called, from me. If a trooper likes
his CO and the CO wears his hat at a bit of an angle, the trooper starts
wearing his hat like that, too. If the CO acts cocky, confident, and
sure of himself, so do the boys."
Page 302, on NCO justice.
little NCO justice never hurt anyone. ... More than once I had my clock
cleaned by my platoon sergeant; as far as I was concerned, getting the
smart-ass knocked out of you was part of growing up."
Page 308, on training realism
only way to prepare men for combat is to train them in conditions as
close to the real thing as possible. A CO has to be prepared to take
his lumps in training. Soldiers cannot be trained in a classroom then
be thrown onto a battlefield and be expected to cope. ...(while training
off the front line during the Korean War) I'd taken my fair share of
wounded in our Company in the Attack demonstrations--guys hit by shrapnel
from a shell landing a little too close in--but I'd be willing to take
that risk, because I wanted those people to know what it was like to
have a mortar round slam down in front of them and hear machine-gun
slugs snap over their heads. The average 2 percent training casualties
we had were a small premium for an insurance policy that could cover
a whole unit when real shooting started."
Page 316, on knowing your men
your men was a crucial principle of leadership, and that meant not just
their names, but where they were from, what they thought, what made
Page 320, on consumption of alcohol
was a common problem, especially among long-term Regulars. Booze was
cheap and easy to get, and with all the social activities of the peacetime
Army -- "happy hours," officer and NCO parties--it was virtually
an accepted thing. In the military, drinking fell into the same category
as pussy: the more you could put away, the more macho you were among
your buddies. The only problem was that the line between being a stud
and an alcoholic was a fine one, and once crossed was really hard to
Page 357, Col Hackworth's Regimental CO on leadership
believe a young officer should have the room to fail, Captain Hackworth."
- Col. Glover S. Johns
Page 358, First Sergeant advice to the new Company Commander, Cpt Hackworth..
get something straight from the start, Captain." "What's that,
Top?" "You're the skipper. You command the outfit. But I run
it. Don't you forget--I run it."
Page 359, On good Non-commissioned Officers
this time I finally concluded that the Army--if it hadn't had the ongoing
requirement of producing senior officers--wouldn't need good lieutenants,
or even good captains at the company level, as long as it had good sergeants.
I'd probably sensed this all along, but it had taken me sixteen full
years to know it as a military "truth." ... I found that by
giving my noncoms the free rein I'd had as far back as Trieste under
Captain Eggleston. they pulled like hell for me."
Page 361, On training leaders and soldiers for war
took them on long marches in full gear, and reintroduced my Korea policy
of having every soldier's feet examined immediately afterward by his
squad leader, platoon leader, and me. Ail this nuclear battlefield shit
notwithstanding, I still maintained that an infantry trooper's feet
were the mobility of the nation; the kids knew I cared when I squatted
down over their sweaty feet to make sure they were okay, and in the
process I was able to instill my troop-leading style into the young
studs who would be commanding during the next war."
Page 361, on training in peace
more sweat on the training field, the less blood an the battlefield."
Page 362, on teaching classes
gave as many classes personally as I could, not only for the benefit
of the troops, but for myself. I found that the teacher learns as much
as, if not more than. his students, and it also kept my own skills sharpened
to a fine edge."
Page 362, on teaching and training the basics
Johns) taught--and insisted his company commanders teach--things like
terrain appreciation, the knowledge of which was a basic toot of a soldier's
trade: to be able to look at a piece of ground and appreciate the slightest
differences in the contour; to notice how the ground unfolds and be
able to think: there's cover over there--cover, the one essential, providing
protection from direct enemy fire; to recognize a stream line, a gully,
or a treed area as an avenue of approach through which a unit could
move unseen; to understand and identify the best ground from which to
launch or repel an attack. Shoot, scoot, and communicate--the three
"R's" of infantry were when Johns began and worked his way
up. The morning battle drill began with fire and maneuver, one man firing
while his buddy moved, a fire team moving while its counterpart fired.
Colonel Johns liked it to a fighter's "bobbing, weaving, and jabbing"
--we kept the mythical enemy pinned down while we jabbed our way to
close on his position. The Colonel was right there with us to set the
example, and we did it--just as we had with Prazenka in the I &
R--until we got it right. We'd end up black and blue (running, hitting
the ground, and rolling into firing position with full field equipment
on is not without pain), but no one bitched because Johns again and
again reinforced the simple equation: the quicker you get to the ground
and get your weapon into position, the sooner you'll be delivering effective
fire on the enemy and the longer you'll stay alive.
Page 362, strive-to-better-your-best philosophy
was our policy to encourage excellence among the soldiers, particularly
in bayonet training, unarmed combat, shooting, and total physical fitness.
This is what really makes a soldier; if he masters these subjects, he'll
fight." --Col Couch
Page 363, on training his company during peace time
-"D Company trained hard, staying in the field at least four days a week. We never set up tents or any other administrative comforts; instead, we'd form a defensive perimeter or pretend we were on line, tied into another unit. Everything was tactical: steel pots on, faces and uniforms camouflaged, no one bunched Lip, rifles at the ready. Even chow call was done tactically: the mess truck covered with camouflage net, guys well spaced out as they filed through, their weapons at no time more than an arm's distance away. I stressed the basics all along. I'd have one platoon aggress against another and then reverse them, until they were masters of both defense and attack procedures. I wanted each unit trained so well that a PFC could take a platoon and run it. -stressing that it happened regularly on the battlefield, during training exercise I'd tell a platoon leader he was dead and to put one of his PFCs in charge."
without live fire, all tactical training was conducted as close to actual
battlefield conditions as I could make it. When attacking or defending,
I insisted that leaders go through the drill of adjusting artillery
and calling in air strikes, even though neither was avail able on the
training field. I made the leaders pretend they were talking to the
Air Force forward air control or artillery people. Eventually the calling
for fires became an instilled habit, which was the object--just another
tool in the kit bag to be pulled out by second nature as needed on the
Page 370, on relationship with your RTO
always tried to develop my relationship with my RTO on the order of:
Look, man, if something bad's happening, I want to know. If the troops
are unhappy, you've got to tell me. I don't want names, I don't want
you to be a squealer, but things ain't going to improve if I don't know
Page 396, on Col. Glover S. Johns
-"Johns was just a stud and a charmer who knew soldiers and soldiering even better than his namesakes' names, and it was that very thing, his total confidence as a leader of men, that gave us the room to breathe, to fail and to grow."
Quote from General Bruce Clark
organization does well only those things the boss checks."
Page 422, Col. Hackworth, reflections of his time in command
was an NCO in officer's gear. I loved to talk to the troops. More than
that, I loved to listen to them. In everything but training I listened
to their bitches and tried to make their lives a little better. When
it came to training I kept it up until the bitching turned to boasts,
as Colonel Johns had identified in his farewell speech. I had a great
memory for my troopers' names and used that talent to let the boys know
they were not just fac e crowd. wanted to be liked--it was an ongoing-since-childhood
search for approval--but I didn't mind being hated. I took great pride
in both the mark I made on a unit--when I left it was always spirited,
well trained, mission oriented, and infinitely cocky--and, perversely,
in the lower scores on my ERs, which were always in the areas of tact,
tolerance, and discretion."
Page 452, LTC Joseph Rogers on stud leaders..
nice to have studs to hold back by the belt instead of guys who need
to be booted in the ass."
Page 457, Col. Hackworth reflecting on why a junior infantry lieutenant was not trained properly...
hasn't his company commander shown him the right way? Or his battalion
commander? The problem was that these guys were so busy juggling commitments
they didn't have time. Some probably didn't know the basics themselves,
but it was the preoccupation with potential failure--coming up short
on a CMMI, blowing it on an ORT, not getting out an time in a Division
Ready Force alert--that put blinders on many an officer to the needs
of his subordinates."
Page 457, Col. Hackworth reflecting on careerism in the early 1960s...
-"...too many officers forget that the primary responsibility was to their troops, and not to the ground-laying of long careers."
Page 487, LTC Moore's action in the Battle of IaDrang (when completely surrounded) ...
the sixth sense he developed over years and years of troop leading experience
and plenty of combat, just as dawn was breaking Moore ordered a controlled
Mad Minute with every available weapon in the battalion blazing. The
net result was the annihilation of an NVA company, cut down in their
attack position just moments before they were set to launch as assault
on Moore's unit."
Page 4929 Col. Hackworth an disciplining two officers for stealing (for the benefit of the unit) ..
you can't do it without getting caught, then don't do it at all!"
Page 498, Col. Hackworth (quoting Mao) on his cunning foe in Vietnam and their ability to hide and move through the jungles...
me a path wide enough to move a mule and I will move an army.
Page 524, Col. Hackworth on taking objectives you didn't mean to keep ...
the main thing I learned at Tuy Hoa was that there was simply no point
in taking an objective you had no intention of holding, no point in
using men when firepower could do the job. Tuy Hoa's battlefields may
have looked like the hedgerows of Normandy, but if (as was the case)
the taking of such objective done by one wasn't ultimately going to
lead you anyplace, and if (as was also the case) you were going to abandon
each objective after you'd taken it, only to take it again and abandon
it again, again and again and again, as the French did before us and
as we were doing now--well, it wasn't worth the life of even a single
soldier. I'd learned."
539, Col. Hackworth on the key to winning the Vietnam
key to the war was the people. Protect the people, make their lives
better, win them and youd have won the war."
Page 547, Quote by Lord Salisbury on experts...
lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life, as
that you should never trust in experts."
Page 550, Col. Hackworth to Gen Johnson the Army Chief of Staff on putting combat experienced officers into the school system after their time in Vietnam...
-"Weren't just not putting our best and most recently experienced combat officers into the schools system, which is where I believe they belong. We're sending them everywhere else to get their tickets punched, as if their careers took priority over the war."
Page 551, Israeli Moshe Dayan quoting Mao in a discussion on the Vietnam War with SLA Marshall and Col . Hackworth. ..
the enemy advances, we retreat. When he excapes, we harass. When he
retreats, we pursue. When he is tired, we attack. When he burns, we
put out the fire. When he loots, we attack. When he pursues, we hide.
When he retreats, we return."
Page 557, Col. Hackworth quotes his first Platoon Sergeant, Steve Prazenka on learning things the right way ...
it right and you'll do it right the rest of your life. Learn it wrong
and you'll spend the rest of your life trying to get it right."
Page 560, Col. Hackworth quote Sun Tzu, while reflecting on the number of friendly fire casualties; booby traps placed by the VC...
subdue the enemy without fighting, is the acme of skill.
Page 595, Col. Hackworth on Vietnam friendly fire casualties
the main problem of friendly fire casualties--unrealistic, over-supervised
training--was never solved, and of the some 58,000 Americans who died
in Vietnam, on the basis our calculations, between 8,700 and 11,600
of them shouldn't have. It was the saga of Willie Lump Lump repeated
again and again, only by now congressional interference and fear of
congressional investigation had weakened the quality of Army training
across the board."
Page 601, A common description of the amount of lying and misleading that went an in the Pentagon-the live sided puzzle palace ...
don't lie but liars figure."
Page 611, Noting Mao on guerilla warfare...
is no such thing as a decisive battle in guerilla warfare
Page 640, reflecting an Shake-n'-Bake NCOs during the Vietnam War
time would prove there were some damn lousy instant NCOs in Vietnam.
But there were some damn good ones, too. The program wasn't perfect,
but it was far better than nothing, and many men did respond to the
philosophy at the root of it: Make men believe they are leaders and
they will become leaders."
Page 647, Rudyard Kipling's poem about soldier discipline
were rotten 'fore we started--we was never disciplined: We made it out
a favour if an order was obeyed. Yes, everylittle drummer 'ad 'is rights
an' wrongs to mind So we had to pay for teachin'--an' we did'
Page 648-656, Col. Hackworth reflecting on taking over a screwed up battalion in Vietnam and what he did to fix it ...
On the state of soldier discipline when he took over
-"Grenades weren't taped, and when a unit moved out, most of the gunners wore their ammo Pancho Villa-style, the ideal way to guarantee a weapon jam sometime down the track, when dirty, dented cartridges were inserted into their M60s."
-"From the outset I realized that to make this unit an effective military force I'd have to implement about a thousand changes. So I figured we'd start with five a day--little things, basic things like "wear your steel pot" and "clean and carry your rifle at all times," -and "ammunition will not be worn Pancho Villa style."
-"Anything you can carry twenty-four hours a day," I intoned, "is gone on the next chopper."
On command and getting things the way you wanted them.
-"Command is not like hopping back onto a bicycle, and after two and a half years away from it I was rusty, and actually scared I'd screw up."
-"For the first month I was with the unit I refused to crack a smile. And by constantly demanding professionalism from everyone, just about everything I did pissed somebody off. I did some wholesale firing of personnel (all told throughout the tour, some forty-nine lieutenants, eight captains, and two majors, following the "there are no bad units, only bad officers" philosophy of General Cleland)..."
-"Simultaneously, I started establishing SOPs that would not only keep the troops alive, but also give them, for the first time, the feeling that they were in charge of their situation. not at the mercy of the VO or their insidious booby traps."
-"The SOFs included such things as every officer having to read Mao's Little Red Book (how could we beat an enemy if we made no attempt to know what made him tick?) and 100 percent stand prior to dawn, dusk., and sometimes in the middle of the night, any of which might occasionally be augmented with a Mad Minute."
best way I knew to shape up the 4/39 was by day-to-day personal example,
by Slowly but constantly tightening the screw. For example, I sacked
on the spot the 0 Company Commander who let a group of VO slip past
his unit one night because he didn't want to give his position away.
That kind of behavior bred cowardice and fear. On the other hand, if
my people were maneuvering for three VO in the trees and the unit commander
said there were a lot of mines in there, I'd tell him to pull back.
I might bring in artillery or mortar fire or even an air strike, but
I wasn't going to lose any legs for a couple of VO. I was into fighting
hard, but not at the expense of bleeding troops; the fact that I walked
with the platoons put me in the good graces of a lot of the men, but
my stock rose even faster when word got around that I wasn't a butcher."
when they pissed me off, I had to admit there was something I liked
about the draftees who didn't want to be there and made no bones about
it. I like draftees in general, even with the attendant problems. Historically
draftees have kept the military on the straight and narrow. By calling
a spade a spade, they keep it clean. Without their "careers"
to think about, they can't be easily bullied or intimidated as Regulars;
their presence prevents the elitism that otherwise might allow a Regular
army to become isolated from the values of the country it serves. Draftees
are not concerned for the reputation of their employer, the Army (in
Vietnam they happily blew the whistle an everything from phony valor
awards to the secret bombings of Laos and Cambodia); a draftee, citizens'
army, so much a part of the history of America, is an essential part
of a healthy democracy, one in which everyone pays the price Of admission."
Page 759-760, on Command Style, briefings, meetings, daily AAR during combat operations
-"For one thing, I insisted that all participants feel free to question and to challenge me to think rather than Yes-sirring their way into my good books. This brought new vitality to the proceedings and fresh ideas to our operations, not to mention keeping me on my toes."
-"Now it was closer than anything to the Israeli way of doing things. I was still the boss and the final decisions were mine--and everyone knew it--but all in all there was less emphasis on the Mickey Mouse, more on listening to subordinates and being open to good recommendations."
-"I also implemented a Word and Thought for the Day program to open each morning's Proceedings.
officers were encouraged to let their hair down and have fun during
the proceedings. They had to have their shit together--if they didn't,
they knew I'd nail them-
Page 760, on relaxing of standards and discipline (beer in the barracks, no KP, long hair, sideburns) to ease the woes of Army draftees during the Vietnam War.
-the Army got rid of the offending traditions, it did not replace these traditions with anything that fulfilled their basic and essential function, i.e., to instill and maintain discipline
the Army expected its men to be effective on the battlefield, even to
stay alive on the battlefield, discipline had to be the number-one priority.
Page 765, Col. Hackworth quoting Mao on training the Vietnamese to fight for themselves when the US would no longer be in Vietnam ...
a men a fish and he eat one meal: teach a man to fish, he can eat forever
766, Field Marshal Wavell an maintenance and upkeep of
more mechanical become the weapons with which we fight, the less mechanical
must be the spirit which controls them.
Page 783, In his interview with tissues and Answers" about the Vietnam War and his emotional involvement ...
just have seen the American nation spend so much of its wonderful, young
men in this country. I have seen our national wealth being drained away.
I see the nation being split apart and almost being split asunder because
of this war, and I am wondering to what end it is all going to lead
Page 784, on moral character
you don't like something, don't snivel or whimper about it. Sound off--express
your views--be prepared for the consequences."
Page 803, Napoleon on insubordination
may only be the evidence of a strong mind."
Page 811, reflections of his time in the Army and service to the country ...
have brothers all around the globe, comrades-in-arms for whom distance
and time have meant nothing in terms of the love and friendship we share
to this day, forged in conditions I pray our sons and grandsons never
have to experience themselves."
813, Secretary of the Army, Stanley Resor to Col. Hackworth on writing
sure it's constructive and not just another vindictive attack on a system
already suffering mighty blows. Think it out. You could make a great
Page 820, On the Army awards system during the Vietnam War and in the future ...
-"The awards system in the US Army needs a major overhaul if it is to have any meaning. The gross inflation of the system during the Vietnam War, particularly regarding high decorations for bravery for division CGs, ADCs, brigade and battalion commanders, had an incredibly negative impact on morale at the fighting level then, and surely cannot go over much better now or in the future."
a warrior risks his life and is awarded a medal, a commander/manager
must not get the same medal for fighting his unit well or for just being
there. Instead, there should be a combat commander's award. which would
recognize a CO's "job well done" without making a joke out
of the combat awards that real fighters should have the right to wear
as badges of honor."
Page 821-822, Col . Hackworth on training.
"You tell'em what you're going to tell 'em; then you tell 'em; then you tell 'em What you told -'em." -Tim Grattan
-"Training for war must be realistic at all costs."
-"Training casualties, tragic as they may be, must be accepted as an occupational hazard in the tough and dangerous business of soldiering. The emphasis on safety at the expense of realism may keep Congress and Mrs. Lump Lump at bay, but it sets up the soldiers it presumably is protecting for failure by stunting their growth and inhibiting their confidence in themselves and their supporting weapons."
training must be scheduled to last extended periods of time in conditions
as close to the battlefield as possible. Soldiers must discover for
themselves that war is not a series of canned problems with a limited
range of responses, but a human encounter where the unexpected always
happens and flexibility is the key."
Books as mentioned by Col. Hackworth:
-Military Men by Ward Just -A Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall -The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo by Col Glover S. Johns -Guidelines for the Commander by Gen Bruce Clarke
Articles as mentioned reading by Col. Hackworth:
-"Automatic Ambush" in Infantry by Col Hackworth -"Vietnam Primer" by SLA Marshall and Col Hackworth -"Observations of a Platoon Leader" in Infantry by LT Pat Graves
* Movies mentioned for training purposes by Col. Hackworth:
"The Battle of San Pietro" by John Houston
Basic Philosophy of Soldiering
Strive to do small things well
* Be a doer and a self-starter--aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader--but you must also put your feet up and think
* Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.
* Never be satisfied. Ask of any project, How can it be done better?
* Don't over-inspect or over-supervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit from the errors and not make them in combat.
* Keep the troops informed; telling them "what, how and why" builds their confidence.
* The harder the training, the more troops will brag.
* Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage--four of the most important aspects of leadership.
* Showmanship--a vital technique of leadership
* The ability to speak and write well--two essential tools of leadership
* There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.
* Have consideration for others.
* Yelling detracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them
* Understand and use judgment; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discuss and argue your point of view until a decision is made, and then support the decision wholeheartedly.
* Stay ahead of your boss.
by Colonel Glover S. Johns
The Tragic Story of Willie Lump Lump
After WW 11, a boy named Willie Lump Lump enlisted in the Army. He went to Fort Benning to take his infantry training, sixteen weeks of sweat and tears and lots of punishment, to turn him into a hardened soldier. Along about the seventh week of training, a sergeant stood up in front of his class and said, "Gentlemen, I'm Sergeant Slasher, and today I'm going to introduce you to the bayonet. On guard! With that, the sergeant went into the correct stance for holding the bayonet. "On the battlefield," he continued, 'you will meet the enemy, and there will be times when you will need this bayonet to defeat the enemy. To KILL the enemy! Over the next weeks you'll be receiving a twenty-hour block of instruction on the bayonet, and I will be your principal instructor."
Willie Lump Lump went back to the barracks, deeply upset. Man, that was so brutal out there today, he thought. The war is over. We're living in peace and tranquillity, and still the Army is teaching us how to use these horrible weapons! "Dear Mom," he wrote home. "Today the sergeant told me he's going to teach me how to use the bayonet to kill enemy soldiers or, the battle field.'
Willie's mother was shocked. She got right on the phone: "Hello, Congressman DoGood? This is Mrs. Lump Lump. I want to tell you what's happening down at Fort Benning, Georgia. Here it is, 1949, and they're teaching my baby to kill with a bayonet. It's uncivilized! It's barbaric!"
The Congressman immediately got on the horn. "Hello, General Playitright at the Pentagon? This is Congressman DoGood. I understand the Army is still giving bayonet training."
"Yes, we are."
"Do you think it's a good idea? I don't think it's a very good thing at all. It's even somewhat uncivilized. 1 mean, really, how many times does a soldier need his bayonet?"
Not very often, sir, it's true. Actually, I was just reviewing the Army Training Program myself, and I was thinking that the bayonet is a pretty obsolete weapon. I agree with you. I'll put out instructions that it's going to stop
The next day, seven hundred miles away: "Gentlemen, I am Sergeant Slasher. This is your second class on bayonet training--" the sergeant was interrupted by a lieutenant walking purposefully toward his across the training field. Stand easy, men."
out," the lieutenant whispered.
A year later, PFC Lump Lump, the model soldier, deployed to Korea with the 1st battalion, 23rd Regiment, 2nd infantry Division. He was standing on a frozen hill and the Chinese were coming it him--wave after wave after wave. Willie stood like a rock. Resolutely, he shot the enemy down. Suddenly he realized he was out of ammunition. He looked at his belt--not a round left. He saw a Chinaman rushing toward his. He remembered the first class on bayonet training. He reached down and pulled his bayonet out of his scabbard. Shaking and fumbling, he tried to fit it an the end of his weapon, but by that time the Chinese soldier was standing over him, with a bayonet of his own.
The Secretary of the Army signed his thousandth letter for the day: "Dear Mrs. Lump Lump; It is with deep regret that I must inform you that your son, PFC Lump Lump, was killed in action 27 November 1950."
Heartbroken, Mrs. Lump Lump wrote to some friends of young Willie's in the company. "Now?" she asked. "Why???" "Willie wasn't trained," they wrote back. 'He didn't know how to use his bayonet." Now Mrs. Lump Lump was not only heartbroken, but outraged. She didn't even bother to call Congressman DoGood. She barged right into his office.
she cried and screamed. "Why wasn't my son trained for war?"
training soldiers receive daily is in their own best interest.