Friday, June 03, 2011


"We're paratroopers, Lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded."
-Richard Winters

The TV show Band of Brothers was based on a book by Stephen Ambrose (I love all his books) of the same name. That book, in turn, was based on interviews with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Easy company, who were real guys. The movie portrayed some of their heroism in fighting the evil of the Axis powers.

At the website Art of Masculinity, Brett and Kate McKay gathered pictures and quotes from the real Band and created motivational posters out of them. Here are a few samples:

And that, gentlemen, is a sample of how to be a man.

For extra credit, here's a summary of the principles of leadership given by Richard Winters in his excellent book EYOND BAND OF BROTHERS: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters
  1. Strive to be a leader of character, competence, and courage.
  2. Lead from the front. Say, “Follow me!” and then lead the way.
  3. Stay in top physical shape--physical stamina is the root of mental toughness.
  4. Develop your team. If you know your people, are fair in setting realistic goals and expectations, and lead by example, you will develop teamwork.
  5. Delegate responsibility to your subordinates and let them do their job. You can’t do a good job if you don’t have a chance to use your imagination and creativity.
  6. Anticipate problems and prepare to overcome obstacles. Don’t wait until you get to the top of the ridge and then make up your mind.
  7. Remain humble. Don’t worry about who receives the credit. Never let power or authority go to your head.
  8. Take a moment of self-reflection. Look at yourself in the mirror every night and ask yourself if you did your best.
  9. True satisfaction comes from getting the job done. They key to a successful leader is to earn respect--not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character.
  10. Hang Tough!--Never, ever, give up.
Be strong, be true, be humble, and be good.

1 comment:

Philip said...

I'll add three more, learned in two combat tours.

Your rank isn't a reward for having a college degree, for being the best talker, or the most popular, or the most skilled at your job. It's because somebody thought you might be worthy of earning it.

There will come a time and circumstance when, because of your rank and position, you will have to take charge. You may be in an ad where you know no one. It may be a group of staff officers all senior to you. It does not matter. They will look to you to take charge, because it is your duty to do so. You can delegate. But never forget that you are in command.

And there will come a time when someone superior in rank and low in your opinion will need to take charge. You must support them, regardless of what you think of them. Do not challenge or question them in public. Advise, if you must, in private.