On this Memorial Day weekend, this is a fitting reflection on what makes a great leader. Take time to read the whole article.
The genuine tenderness Eisenhower felt for his men, and his acknowledgement of the very real, individual repercussions his decisions would cause, greatly increased his anxiety and the burden of his responsibilities. But while it wearied him, it also fueled the excellence of his leadership and the success of his command. Ike was the kind of commander both the men themselves, and their families, hoped they’d serve under. They knew that Eisenhower would not make a decision to send his men into battle if he had not thought long and hard about it and believed the action was absolutely necessary—that he would not play fast and loose with their lives, deciding their fate from inside an ivory tower.
When Eisenhower was stationed in Italy, he took a cruise around the Isle of Capri with some colleagues. When they passed a large villa, he inquired as to whose it was. “Yours, sir,” someone answered. “And that?” Eisenhower asked, pointing to another stately villa. “That one belongs to General Spaatz,” was the answer. Eisenhower exploded: “Damn it, that’s not my villa! And that’s not General Spaatz’s villa! None of those will belong to any general as long as I’m Boss around here. This is supposed to be a rest center—for combat men—not a playground for the Brass!”
In 1918, during WWI, Eisenhower was assigned to run Camp Colt in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with orders to “take in volunteers, equip, organize, and instruct them and have them ready for overseas shipment when called upon.” […] The number of men at the camp soon swelled to over 10,000, and Eisenhower worried about what all the waiting around would do to the men […]So without any orders from Washington, Eisenhower set up a telegraphy and motor school and obtained small caliber cannons on which to train his soldiers. He also got ahold of some machine guns and made the men get so familiar with them they could fire the guns from the back of a moving vehicle and could take the weapon apart and put it back together while blindfolded. Later, although the brass had told him that the Tank Corps in Europe would have no need for men with training in telegraphy, the War Department requested 64 men with that skill; Eisenhower was ready to furnish them.
God bless our troops and those that lead them!