Sep 1, 2021
Part 3: Sacrifice & Service
Written by Craig Vosper, Chief Delivery Officer
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.” - Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964
I was terrified when I arrived at my first unit in the army. I had just spent the last 5 years of my life preparing for this day and I still didn’t feel ready for it. I wasn’t sure if I would have what it truly took to lead the men who I considered to be my heroes.
To add to it this, my first platoon sergeant asked me the day I arrived at the 82d what the “O” meant in my rank (O1 is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army). He then went on to explain that “O” means ‘other’ and that I couldn’t be my soldier’s ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’ in this role. At the same time, my only focus was on ensuring that these soldiers were ready if we were called into combat. I needed to be ready to do whatever was required to achieve that.
Being a platoon leader for the 82nd, and later with the 2nd Ranger Battalion, was the greatest honor of my service. The things I asked these solders to do, even during peacetime, makes anything I ask of folks today seem trivial. The leadership I was surrounded with provided me with significant examples of how to be a good leader; many of which I still attempt to emulate today.
This quote really makes it clear that being a leader is not a role of privilege but one of sacrifice and service. It is a difficult place to be and requires that you can look yourself in the mirror every night and live with the decisions you made during the day.
If you are lucky enough to be in a role like this, take the time every day to appreciate the responsibility and the impact you have on others with every word and action you take. Keep in mind that everyone you lead is looking for you to be an example of confidence, courage, and comparison just like what General MacArthur described!