01 May 2017


by Andy Weddington
Monday, 01 May 2017

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself. Plato

Over the past few days several readers - civilian to GOFO (General Officer Flag Officer) - sent along Ray Starmann's recent lengthy 'An Open Letter to General Mattis.'

In short, Mr. Starmann wants to know when our Secretary of Defense is going to turn to addressing the destruction of our force caused by eight years of stupid social engineering. 

It just so happens I am amidst, half-way, reading an oral history of a Marine who served, in command, in three wars. From Private to General, distinguished service is an understatement. 

Throughout reading, it strikes (me) often that this official U. S. Marine Corps publication is more than an "oral history." It is a leadership tome - timeless, common sense leadership. And should be, at a minimum, on the Commandant's Reading List. 

A macro lesson from this Marine was his direct way of cutting through nonsense and stating such in unambiguous words to simplify a problem then apply effective remedies. 

Thus, from that Marine's way, I have been mulling over Mr. Starmann's letter and in particular elements of it addressing women in ground combat.   

How to simplify?

"Suppose we had 15% women? 20% women? My supposing led me to say, I wouldn't be here ..." 

Those were the Marine's comments, on record under oath before the Senate Armed Services Committee (after the oral history), reflecting on his experience as an infantry company commander fighting (the Chinese) out of the Chosin Reservoir (Korea). 

Now, General Mattis may have an impressive service record. But his service, including combat, pales in comparison to the Marine General who spoke those emotional sentiments about brutal ground combat. 

So to keep it simple, a sole question for the soul of Secretary Mattis ...

"Sir, would you, an infantryman (and were you a squad leader, platoon or company commander), be willing without reservation, in brutal door-to-door and hand-to-hand combat, to entrust your life and the lives of your Marines, to a unit comprised of 15-20% women?"

It's no more complicated. 

And the remedy, every infantryman well knows, untangles much of today's mess in the force (that Mr. Starmann detailed).

Plato, like the old general, was a rather astute soul. 

So - General, Mr. Secretary - how about that (soul) talk?

What are you waiting for? 

Post Script

Mister Secretary, though surely you've watched, listened to, and thought about the aforementioned Marine's reflections, the link is again republished for the general public (who should likewise watch, listen, and think):

And more to point, recommend calling on the Marine Corps Historical Division for a copy of the recently published oral history of this Marine. It is the most interesting, enlightening, and educational (and page-turning) non-fiction I've read in decades. Within it rests a blueprint for restoring our force. 

1 comment:

Jijm Bathurst said...

As always, well said Andy. I did not need to guess about whom you were speaking as he is without doubt our (yours, mine, and many others of our vintage) hero. Having said that I never pass on an opportunity to listen one more time to his very clear and to the point advice to congress, only to be ignored years later by those who knew not of what he was speaking. I do not think he had a political bone in his body. I'm sure Bob will come up on line as well for no one knew the man better than he.