Content provided courtesy of USAA.
By Chad Storlie
Selecting a military role model is difficult. After all, how do you chose? How do you select factors to choose from to ensure you make a great choice? Do we select a role model based on demographics, their role in the conflict, or if they were on the victorious side? The easiest way to select a role model is to make a choice based on one or several attributes that you like, respect, and want to model your performance along. A great military role model is often a collection of several military leaders to adopt and identify their finest qualities.
Selecting a Military Role Model – The Importance of Versatility. One of the role models that I enjoy learning about is George C. Marshall. During World War II, Marshall was the head of the U.S. Army, based in the United States, and played the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before that role existed. Marshal was extraordinarily versatile. He distinguished himself in World War I, coordinated the American war effort and strategy in the Atlantic and Pacific, and served as the US Secretary of State that helped rebuild the world with the Marshall Plan. His versatility and success in so many roles makes him a great role model.
Selecting a Military Role Model – Look to Change. George Patton is a role model in so many ways. Aggressive, a great tactician, and an even better direct combat leader. Patton is already an inspiration on so many levels. However, one of Patton’s greatest qualities was his openness and willingness to change and new idea’s in the 1930’s. The 1930’s was a time of the Great Depression in America, brutally tight budgets, and a retrenchment in doing things the “old” way. Patton, demonstrated the incredible potential during the Louisiana Maneuvers, a series of large wargames where he demonstrated how tanks and infantry could be used together to create resounding victories.
Selecting a Military Role Model – Take The Right Risks. In the movie Red Tails about the perseverance and professionalism of the Tuskegee Airmen, Gerald McRaney plays US Army Air Corps (Air Force) General Luntz charged with protecting the American Flying Fortress bombers attacking the cities and war industries of Germany. Despite guidance from his officers to not accept the Tuskegee Airmen for bomber escort duty, General Luntz takes the correct risk and backs the Tuskegee Airmen to protect his unit’s members. General Luntz took the correct risk to help protect his unit’s bombers and their vital mission to destroy Nazi German industry.
Selecting a Military Role Model – Determination to Win. US Army Reserve Major Lisa Jaster was the 3rd US Army Ranger School graduate. Being a US Army Ranger School graduate is a great accomplishment, but what makes Lisa Jaster unique is that she refused to quit. Major Jaster spent over six months at US Army Ranger School and went through several re-cycles to complete Ranger training. This determination to win and refuse to quit is what makes a great soldier, businessperson, and educator. The determination to win has and will again overcome a lack of resources.
Select a military role model to inspire and reenergize your military career and / or your civilian career. Military role models hold incredible attributes that can inspire and lead us to even greater levels of performance.