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To Be And What Not To Be: A Critical Analysis On Anton Myrer's Once An Eagle

1623 words - 6 pages

I believe you assigned this book for us to read because it is a clear representation of what it means and takes to be a great officer in the United States Army. It has taught me a lot of positive and negative attributes of leadership. Sam Damon represents everything that an officer should be, and Courtney Massengale represents everything that you hope your superiors are not. After reading this book I can ask myself, when encountered with a difficult problem, "What would Sam Damon do?" This book has taught me several very important lessons about leadership.First, I must choose the harder right. I strongly believe that a good officer is one that is not afraid to go that extra mile to ensure the safety and welfare of the soldiers under his command, this is very rarely easier than just doing the minimum. Secondly, a leader must remain calm in all situations. The soldiers under the command of a nervous and indecisive leader will tend to act in the same way, they actually "inherit" some of the traits that their commanding officer portrays, both on the battlefield and in garrison. If a leader even seems indecisive and unsure of him/her self then the soldiers he/she commands will be hesitant about following the orders they are issued, and hesitation on the battlefield does nothing more than cost lives. Next, I'd like to touch on the fact that in the army talent must be promoted. One should not be afraid to promote officers that have greater aptitude than that they possess. If talent had not been promoted, then Sam Damon would not have been able to create such a positive impact on the Army, and a few more soldiers could have lost their lives in combat.One negative aspect of Sam Damon that I personally had a problem with was that he was willingly and able to sacrifice everything for the Army, and he did so. What I mean by this is he put the Army above his own family. I know that families must make sacrifices in times of conflict, but Damon always seemed to care more about the Army than he did his family. I believe that Damon realized this very late in life, and stated it just before he died, "Joey, if it comes to being a good soldier and a good human being - try being a good human being . . ." Of course he was also talking about the fact that war should be avoided at all costs, it is a horrifically, futile act that should only be committed when all aspects of diplomacy have failed. War, however; is often an inevitable approach to achieving peace.Sam Damon wants to do something important with is life. He is tired of being a night clerk in the small town of Walt Whitman, Nebraska. He dreams of going to West Point Military Academy, so that he can be a great leader of men. After his acceptance is delayed, he enlists in the military. As a private he fights in the Mexican War against Pancho Villa, and later he fights in World War I. It is here that I learned Damon's true motivating factor. It is not that he wants to travel the world, or even be someone great; he...

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