11 April 2014


by Andy Weddington
Friday, 11 April 2014

"The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places." Bryant H. McGill

Are there not consequences for elected and appointed public servants in high office, in any office, who fail in their duties and then fail the truth?

It seems not. 

Where are the true leaders?

An example of failure of duty; failure of truth; and a true leader came to mind yesterday.

If only.

What happened...

The sergeant major said he went to the meeting.

It had been a busy day in the battalion. They were all busy days.

So busy were the days and demands on battalion presence it took headquarters staff - commanding officer; executive officer; sergeant major; operations officer; adjutant; et al. - moving in different directions to cover requirements.

At the end of one chaotic day the commanding officer received a call from his commanding officer.

A social chat it was not. 

The colonel asked why there was not battalion representation at a supporting command meeting (that day).

There was supposed to be.

The lieutenant colonel had been elsewhere - to cover a higher obligation. Neither the executive officer nor operations officer nor adjutant were able to make the meeting. The sergeant major had been tasked.

After hanging up with the colonel, the battalion commander found his sergeant major and asked about the meeting.

The sergeant major said he attended.

He had not.

And for no other reason than he consciously decided not to go.

With that lie, the battalion commander relieved the sergeant major - office cleared that afternoon.




It happened. The rest of the price paid, if any, not known.

The battalion was better off.

What if the sergeant major's duty had been to check on an observation or listening post? Of a unit in combat?

Those are logical thoughts for a Marine.

But they are not so important - the lie is important.

With the sergeant major's relief, a message did more than ripple throughout the unit.

Leadership - confident; swift; decisive.

Within weeks another sergeant major reported for duty.

His presence did more than ripple throughout the unit. 

He was good. 

The battalion was better off.

But the meetings never ended.

End of story.

Now, if only to so directly relieve, and punish, liars - and fools and cowards and the selfish - that hide (and shamelessly and defiantly don't hide) in our country's high places.

But that will require true leaders. 

If only - the world was fair. 

Post Script

I was the operations officer and learned a lot from that battalion commander. I'd follow him anywhere.

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