Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


This is coolbert:

From the autobiography of the great American military man Anthony B. Herbert:

[Anthony B. Herbert was the most decorated American Soldier of the Korean conflict earning four Silver Stars out of Korea , three Bronze Stars with a V, six battle stars, four Purple Hearts and the highest military award Turkey has (because he was fighting alongside Turks at the time). He was wounded 14 times, 10 by bullets, 3 by bayonet, and once by white phosphorus.]

"'Got to get that gun.' The words echoed through my brain. Two, maybe three lousy guys, weighting less than a hundred fifty pounds each, holding up the entire U.S. Army. Bullshit. Life was okay, but not that okay. I scrambled to my feet and raced forward. Another guy came up with me, step for step, and we headed south down the road together, covering the first thirty yards side by side. Then there was a sickening thud of high-speed metal whacking into flesh, as my companion went down beside me just at the moment I spotted the gun position. I was twenty yards out and slightly off to the right, and I managed to get to within five yard of the gun before they spotted me. And into the hole with them, before they could squeeze off a round. They were kids. My bayonet ripped through the chest of the gunner, driving him up against the back wall of the position. Pull it loose, I beat the second man to death with the rifle butt. Bayoneted the third. The took a bayonet in the side myself, from the fourth, as I drove the butt down in the skull, which jerked the rifle from his hands and snapped its bayonet off inside my chest. 'Bastard,' I hissed, and pounded his skull one more time for good measure.

My buddies were streaming past me. I leaped out of the hole and joined the rush. A second later, two Chinese flyweights pounced on my back. I reached back to grab some hair, and picked up a fistful of teeth. I stumbled and fell, and the three of us went down helter skelter. I bounced back up alone and was off again. Flares burst above us, lighting the sky with flame. Grenades were exploding all around, and men were screaming on both sides. Then we were in the midst of the Chinese, and running parallel to the river. The Major tripped in front of me and went down. I reached down to pull him back up. 'Go on, get out . Save yourself' he shouted at me, thrusting his pistol up into my hand. 'Here, take it.'

He was a small man. I yanked him to his feet and threw him across my shoulder. We crossed the river. And were out of it. Some men lifted the major from my shoulders . . . . the Major asked me to write my name down. he was going to put me in for the Medal of Honor [MOH]."

Whoa boy!!!

This is the type of thing we are talking about when awarding the Medal of Honor. Heroism of a nature almost not ever found. At the risk of life, beyond the call of duty, as they say.

Wiped out the Chinese machinegun position, got a BROKEN OFF STUB of a bayonet sticking in his chest, reaches down, picks up an officer and carries him to safety.

Herbert DID NOT get the MOH. He DID deserve it.

Upon retiring from military service, Herbert became a psychologist.

Has very pertinent thoughts on military leadership and decision making.

Read what Colonel Herbert had to say about leadership and decision making.

Herbert on Decision making:

"However, recently, psychologists, have overcome that short-coming in a grand style that should go down as one of the greatest achievements in modern psychology, if not in all of history." [decision making process.]

"There is only a single decision-making process."

"In every decision, the decision maker is faced with answering only five basic questions."

"The first question the decision-maker asks himself, whether leading a frontal assault against a dug-in enemy a mite tougher than anticipated, or sitting in that night club that has just caught fire, is "are the risks too great to keep on the way I'm headed?"

"If the answer is "no", then no sweat."

"But if the answer to your question is "yes", or "baby, there's gotta be a better way", then it's time to progress to question two. "Are there risks in the most readily available alternative, i.e., retreat, or in the case of the fire, making a break for it." If the answer is "no", i.e., that there are no risks, then do it. There's no problem."

"But if the answer to question Two is "yes", then it's time to move on to question Three - "What other alternatives are possibly available?"

"It works best for me at this time, if I ask myself question Four along with Three, i.e., "Do I have enough time, or how much time do I have to explore other possible alternatives?"

"So if there are other alternatives, and there is time to plan, study those alternatives and select one"

"It leads to the fifth question - "Is it over?" If your answer is "yes", then you're finished. But the answer must always, for the leader, be "no", Decision-making is a continuous process. The successful leader faces decision after decision. The risks change with every step of ground covered. It's continuous. Yet, it's easy"

Heavy stuff indeed. When Herbert talks, you should listen!!

Here is the psychologists web site listing the five step decision making process in slightly different form.

From that web site, here are the five steps:

STEP ONE: Decide if there is a problem. If so, describe and understand the problem, see some solutions, and accept the challenge to tackle the problem.

STEP TWO: If you know what the problem is, now decide what you want in the future. What do you value? Set major goals in terms of specific behaviors.

STEP THREE: After deciding to deal with the problem and deciding on goals, it is crucial to think of as many solutions or courses of action as you can. A final decision can not be better than the possibilities considered.

STEP FOUR: Every decision-maker needs to know the psychological forces that block intelligent decisions in order to guard against the pitfalls.

STEP FIVE: Consider carefully each of the alternatives. What are the pros and cons of each choice? How does each choice fit with your priorities? How do you feel about each choice?



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home