Leadership by N.K.

Sgt. Eversmann found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place; a man down and bullets flying. Eversmann is the appointed leader of Chalk Four, a squad sized element with specific tasking in the operation Battle for Mogadishu. Eversmann was appointed squad leader for this mission due to his previous experience in Somalia operations. When faced with a decision on how to move the downed soldier, Eversmann froze up. He felt he had no idea what to do, like he had not been trained for this situation, not prepared.

Usually a leader is chosen among their peers because they have elements that stand out for keeping others in-line. The ability to maintain structure and coordinate an attack among many men is no simple task, and is why those who contain that skillset rise among the ranks. However, does this ability to keep men focused translate to an ability to form a complex battle plan that’s foolproof? Most of the time that is the case, and an operation, mission, or task will go smoothly based simply on the focus a leader can put his men to. But what happens when moral is broken? Focus lost? An unprecedented outlier comes into play? Casualties.

This is exactly the situation Eversmann found himself in, unprepared and caught by surprise at a sudden change of events. Ultimately, this would lead him to rush into a risky move, sending multiple members of his squad to escort the stretcher with downed Pvt. Blackburn. This removal of vital assets caused his Chalk to fail in moving to their objective and providing security for other U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force in the area.

When a U.S. Army soldier dies, to the U.S. Government, a highly trained asset is lost. Due to this high risk, the Army tries to appoint leaders who will minimize that loss, but in their tunnel vision, they seem to have forgotten a large piece of leadership that isn’t experience; intuition. A leader who is able to make a plan based off of personal experience is good, but a leader who can do that and react to unforeseen circumstances is great. If the former is in charge, however, a situation can turn south very quickly due to their inability to adapt.

The decision to appoint Eversmann a leader of a Chalk based off of his previous experience rather than proven and trained success was a failure by the U.S. Army command. Due to Eversmann’s hasty action, Pvt. Blackburn suffered extensive internal bleeding, and lost vital signs before corpsman were able to attend to him. In post operation analysis, it was concluded that if Eversmann had secured his position and focused medical attention on Blackburn rather than moving him, he would have survived. This loss of life was due to a lack of leadership training for Eversmann. Ultimately, this could have been avoided if Eversmann went through a proper leadership program.

Sun Tzu said in The Art of War: The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness. To be successful in leading men through any situation, Sun Tzu believes you must have all of these traits. From an interview with SSgt. Williams–a U.S. Army Airborne soldier–”My leaders weighed heavily on strictness and courage, but lacked in sincerity and benevolence.”  He explains how he felt his superiors emphasized their authority to influence soldiers to follow orders, however, he felt they lacked the inspirational qualities that soldiers seeks in a leader. “Wisdom always came freely from my CO(commanding officer), he always sought to teach us a lesson, which I admired.” Williams recounts many times he felt inspired by his CO, but wished it was universal among all of his deployments. “I found my leaders to be super varied in ability, and some had pros that others didn’t and vice versa. However, I never felt I had a good well-rounded superior that could lead us through anything.”

Soldiers risk their lives every day to keep our country safe, and each one that pays the ultimate price is a family member lost, a father, a brother, and uncle. It only seems right to make sure these men who put themselves in harm’s way are lead by the best and brightest, not just the most experienced. Properly preparing our leaders for every situation will not only save lives, but it will push our armed forces toward a quicker, more efficient machine.

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Psychological Damage of War by D.H.

In Hacksaw Ridge we see the portrayal of Pfc. Desmond Doss and the courage he displayed in some of the most brutal combat the world has ever seen. In the pacific theater of World War 2 many heroes were made. Without a gun and all alone he saved 73 American lives and showed the world what courage meant. He later won the congressional medal of honor for his actions and is forever remembered as a hero. Desmond is an example of someone not destroyed by war. War made him a hero and brought out the best in him unlike many others. Doss’s dad, William Thomas Doss, is the perfect example of how people are affected psychologically by war. WWI took his 3 best friends and he survived. This left him with feelings of being not good enough or of being favored for some reason. He became depressed and started drinking. Soon he was an alcoholic and beat his sons and his wife constantly. War took him and ripped his life apart leading him to abuse his family and drink his problems away.  

With bullets flying around him as he descended George Harper was as nervous as he had ever been. When he enlisted as a paratrooper he never imagined being dropped into France out of a plane to fight the nazis. George, my grandpa and my dad’s dad fought in World War II and survived the war. He died in 1998 so I never got a chance to know him but through my cousin and my mom I have heard many stories of him and about him that show how deeply the war affected him. Psychologically he was destroyed. Similar to Pfc. Doss’s dad the war took many of his friends and left him depressed and angry. Jerad Harper, my cousin, told me that George would hear anything about the war or bring it up and he’d immediately be angrier and stop talking. He’d withdraw to his bedroom and stop speaking for a day or even longer.

On gawker.com the people who run the website had veterans of war submit their stories of dealing with PTSD and other traumas caused by war. One veteran wrote, “I committed acts of madness so that I didn’t go mad.” Soldiers have to kill women, men, and even children in order to survive war and it destroys them. Soldiers come home and can not function. They struggle with night terrors, tremors, along with extreme stress and anxiety.

Wars have been fought for centuries and millions have died and even more have ended up with extreme mental disorders. War ruins lives and ruins families. Veterans come back with anxiety, stress, PTSD, and countless other illnesses.

Poem by A.S.

The Christ

The Koran

The Vedic Texts

Why

War, Death it’s all the same

Humans, why can’t they live alongside each other

Gangs, School

Why

Why Can’t we stop the fighting

Is it in our blood

Our drive to survive

When will we find our rightful place

Among the great expanse

A world where understanding is Religion

Passion

Contempt

Ourselves

It’s this, that makes the world the way it is

Ourselves, we are so selfish that we forget the real problem, us

This selfishness, it masks the problem like a thick fog

It connects everyone one of us equally, no matter how “good” society thinks you are

We are all the same

Our only hope is understanding one another