To begin with, the three top attributes for which the selection process filters are "Humility, self-reliance and restlessness." Also "patience and empathy," states Brig. James Roddis. I don't think I've ever seen an American military requirement along those lines. "I need people who are patient and comfortable in their skin," he explains.
One reason he needs emotional maturity, he adds, is "the leader must have the confidence to not have every idea.. . .They have to trust their Lance Corporals and Corporals to run more stuff."
A few other interesting observations in this short article:
"You must be comfortable in leaving tasks horribly unfinished because success, certainly in the initial phases of a task, might simply be being asked back."
" Everything they do must be sustainable. A mature ego is important – do no harm must be the mantra. The worst thing you can do during your task is make your successors' jobs more difficult."
"Leaders in the Specialized Infantry will need to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. They will recognise problems, accept the problems need to be solved, yet also accept that they will not be able to solve them in their own deployment cycle. All this leads to the acceptance that their role is actually laying the foundations for their successor's successor to help the partner force blossom."
"Tactical success is not always the top priority. "During the first few iterations of a mission the most critical task is establishing a relationship." (This made me think of a phrase I hate: "Failure is not an option." I think it really is a way of justifying risk aversion. If failure isn't an option, then you are not taking enough risks. And you may be seeking strategic gains without taking tactical risks, which is a recipe for stalemate or worse.)
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."