Thursday, 27 February 2014

2014 - A Distinguished Visit : Captain Martin Reed RD



A DISTINGUISHED VISIT 



Captain Martin Reed RD* 

Life Vice President of SAMA 82



EDUARDO C.GERDING



On February 6th, 2014 Merchant Captain Martin Reed RD* and his wife Denise Donnelly visited Buenos Aires



Captain Martin Reed



Former Merchant Navy Captain Martin Reed (70) was Chief Officer of the P&O liner SS Canberra which played a vital part as a troop ship in 1982.Member of the Royal British Legion. Reed returned to Malvinas in 1984 as Executive Officer of the SS Uganda, which was the 1982 hospital ship. He later commanded several luxury liners. 11



In 2003 Captain Martin Reed was elected Chairman of the SAMA82.



In 2006 he gave a lecture on the South Atlantic Medal Association 82 at the International Colloquium: The Falklands-Malvinas Conflict Twenty-Five years on which took place at Willoughby Hall in Nottingham University. Captain Reed wrote a chapter of the book Hors de Combat: The Falklands-Malvinas Conflict in Retrospect. 4 He became a member of The Nottingham-Malvinas Group. In 2012 Reed was the Merchant´s Navy representative at the RBL Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.


Captain Martin Reed RD* is the Life Vice President of SAMA 82.

Note: Captain Martin Reed was awarded the Reserve Decoration(RD*) It is awarded initially after 15 years unblemished career in the Royal Naval reserve, with the bar being awarded after a further 10 years.


 
















Former Merchant Navy Captain Martin Reed RD* was Chief Officer of the P&O liner SS Canberra during the 1982 Conflict. He is married to Mrs Denise Donnelly Clinical nurse specialist in Palliative care attached to Trinity Hospice in Clapham, London from 1992 - 2003. They live in Dorset. (Photograph taken by the author in Buenos Aires)


SAMA 82

The South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA 82) is the the Charity caring for those awarded the official medal which was awarded to almost 30,000 British service men and women and civilians who took part in the 1982 conflict. Its Royal patron is The Prince of Wales and its National President is Lt General Sir James Dutton.

Other Life Vice Presidents are co founders Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly (Commander of the Surgical team at Ajax Bay) and Denzil Connick(Corporal at the Anti-Tank Platoon of 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment).

Co founder Captain Rick Jolly

Captain Rick Jolly went to medical school at Bart’s in London and qualified in 1969. He became a Royal Navy doctor to 42 Commando Royal Marines. In 24 years of service he completed two tours with the Fleet Air Arm as a Flight Surgeon, Medical Officer recruitment / Officer training in the Dartmouth Training Ship HMS Bristol, and at the Britannia Royal Naval College. As Officer Commanding (OC) Medical Squadron of the Commando Logistic Regiment RM, Jolly was Senior Medical Officer of 3 Commando Bde RM in the Malvinas Campaign of 1982 and commanded the field hospital at Ajax Bay.

Rick Jolly - Doctor for Firend and Foe - Nottingham Malvinas



For his efforts at Ajax Bay he received an OBE in the Queen’s 1982 Honours List. During a visit to Argentina in 1998 Rick was also awarded the Oficial Orden de Mayo by the Argentinian Government, thanks to his efforts in treating wounded Argentine servicemen and drawing attention to the post-war care of Malvinas veterans. As such he is perhaps the only serviceman to have been decorated by both sides of a conflict. He published two books: Jackspeak, a humorous dictionary of British naval slang and usage and Doctor for Friend and Foe. http://www.conwaypublishing.com/?page_id=5428



Before the battle of Trafalgar Nelson wrote a prayer in his cabin, saying: ‘May humanity after victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet.’ As a naval officer those words meant a lot to me so looking after the enemy’s wounded as though they were your own was instinctive.



"People assume you’ve got to hate your enemy but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The only people who know what you’re going through are the people on the other side"



Over the years I’ve been asked what I’d do if I had to choose  who to treat first, an Argentinian or a Brit. My answer was 

always whoever needed attention more urgently. As far as I am concerned you have to be able to look into your soul and like what you find there.



Dr Jolly, the hospital’s senior medical officer, insisted that all his men follow his example. And they were happy to do so, treating the wounded enemy with complete respect as the conflict raged across the Falklands in South Georgia, Goose Green and Port Stanley.



They used to make the sign of the cross prior to an operation and they would be very relieved when they woke up after surgery and found all their body parts were still intact.¨



Dr Jolly’s favourite patient was a terrified fighter pilot, rescued from the freezing waters of the South Atlantic. “His name was Ricardo Lucero,” says Dr Jolly. “He was coming in to attack one of our ships when he got a missile right up his tail pipe. He ejected at the last minute, badly broke his knee and was fished out of the water”. 


An incredible TV documentary has been made to commemorate the actions of Dr Jolly and his men, called Falklands Combat Medics. Dr Jolly, 68, who is now retired and lives in Plymouth, was awarded the OBE in the months following the war. 8


Co founder Corporal Denzil Connick

Mr
 Connick took part in the Battle of Mount Longdon and was wounded from artillery fire losing his left leg and being badly injured in the other. Mr Connick has suffered continuing problems with his leg and had to wait two years to have a benign growth removed from his leg stump caused by his prosthetic leg. 6


Denzil Connick


2 Para are based at Aldershot in Hampshire and form part of 16th Air Assault Brigade, along with the Pathfinder Platoon. 3 Para is located at Dover in Kent. During the 1982 Conflict 2 and 3 Para formed part of 3 Commando Brigade. 2 Paras captured the Darwin/Goose Green isthmus on 28/29th May.3 Paras made a night attack to seize Mount Longdon on 11/12 June. The 3 Paras lost 23 killed and 48 wounded in the battle for Mount Longdon plus 12 wounded before the assault and countless who suffered with their feet- 2 Paras assaulted later Wireless Ridge.(Burguess, J Captain RAMC. My experiences in the Falklands islands war (Operation Corporate)-JR Army Med Corps 153(S1)21-24.



Captain Martin Reed´s description of the South Atlantic conflict



"We were on the last leg of a three-month world voyage, sailing from Naples to Southampton when we received a strange message: ‘Be prepared for a change of plan".

April 2, 1982, and the MoD was already looking into ships capable of troop carrying.

An advance party of military planners boarded Canberra on an unscheduled stop in Gibraltar on April 4, and by Monday had worked out where to put 2,500 troops.

Mr Reed said: "By Friday evening the swimming pool was a flight deck, we were rigged for refuelling at sea, all troops equipment and stores were on board, and volunteer British crew from all over the UK had replaced our Indian and Pakistani crew".

The liner sailed three days later for the South Atlantic, carrying paratroops, Royal Marine commandos and vast supplies for war.  She later also landed the Welsh Guards and the 5th Infantry division, transferred from the QE2.



I had gone from looking forward to seeing my family
on leave, to sailing my ship towards a war.

On May 6, Canberra sailed south, escorted by the frigate HMS Ardent.

On May 19 the crew transferred troops to the landing ships HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid. The next day a Sea King helicopter crashed with numerous casualties, and Canberra’s new hospital came into its own as the dead and wounded arrived.

Captain Reed said: “Our stadium area, which once hosted passenger entertainment, now had a triage, a resuscitation area and a four-table operating theatre area. And our night club was now a 50-bed recovery ward.” May 21 brought the Battle of Falkland Sound and thrust Canberra right into the firing line.

Mr Reed said: “With no warning an aircraft hurtled toward us, up on its wing tip and pointed straight at us. “We shot, missed and the plane shot over us. As the boys changed ammo, I shot around the back of the bridge, watched the plane disappear and saw my hands shaking.

The vessel was ordered to move away from the islands, which left Mr Reed with mixed feelings. He said: "We sailed with much needed stores still on board, feeling as if we were running away."

“We saw Ardent aground and burning in the distance but made for safety with some terribly wounded men aboard. On June 14 the Canberra had 4,144 Aregentine prisoners on board and hundreds more men in the ship’s company but with a lifesaving capacity of only 3,551. In the 94 days since it had left Southampton they had travelled 27,187 miles, serving 646,847 meals. 11





Captain Reed said: "We saw Ardent aground and burning in the distance but made for safety with some terribly wounded men aboard." 



HMS Ardent was a Royal Navy Type 21 frigate. Built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland. She was completed with Exocet launchers in 'B' position. She was sunk by Argentine aircraft in the Falkland Sound on 22 May 1982. Three Argentine Navy A-4Q Skyhawks of 3rd Fighter and Attack Naval Sqd. hit Ardent with at least two bombs on the stern,a number of unexploded bombs which ripped into the hull, and several near-misses. This mission was carried out from a land base at Rio Grande. Navy aircraft used a dozen 500 lb (230 kg) retarding tail bombs during the attack. The following attack after the first wave of the Argentine Navy Aviation, was done by three A-4Q of the same force. Commanded by Lieutenants Benito Rótolo (3-A-306 on first pane), Carlos Lecour (3-A-305, second) and Roberto Sylvester (3-A-301, last) performs the second stage attack that definitely sinks HMS “Ardent”. One of the bombs launched by Lt. Lecour was the one that exploded inside a fuel storage initiating a fire that caused the sinking.




Captain Martin Reed RD* Life Vice President of SAMA 82 (The South Atlantic
Medal Association 1982) and Brigadier General VGM (R) Segio Fernandez
(Argentine Army) President of AVEGUEMA (Malvinas`s War Veterans
Association). Buenos Aires, February 2014.



Captain Martin Reed and his wife Denise at the museum Brigadier General Juan
Martín de Pueyrredón (1815). (Historical National Monument since 1941) in
Acassuso, Province of Buenos Aires. February 2014. (Photograph taken by the author)



The SS Canberra (The Big White Whale)

SS Canberra was an ocean liner, which later operated on cruises, in the P&O fleet from 1961 to 1997. She was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland at a cost of £17,000,000. The ship was named on 17 March 1958, after the federal capital of Australia, Canberra. She was launched on 16 March 1960, sponsored by Dame Pattie Menzies, GBE, wife of the then Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Menzies. She entered service in May 1961, and made her maiden voyage starting in June. In the 1982 Conflict she served as a troop ship. 

After the war, Argentine pilots claimed they were told not to hit Canberra, as they mistook her for a hospital ship.( Ward, Sharkey (1992). "24". Sea Harrier over the Falklands. Cassell Military Paperbacks. p. 271. ISBN 0-304-35542-9) In 94 days at sea the SS Canberra steamed over 25,000 miles without a mechanical fault, carried 5000 troops into battle, repatriated over 4000 Argentine POWs, treated 172 wounded soldiers and sailors 1, 84 serious operations over 25 days . 11






SS Canberra - Nottingham Malvinas


SS Canberra

The Canberra dealt with 172 casualties, including 90 Argentinians. Their original task having landed 3rd Commando Brigade, was to have remained in San Carlos as PCRS, Primary Casualty Receiving Ship, administering surgical and medical recovery and passing on casualties to the UGANDA.

Blood groups were checked on the British marines bled in Canberra and an error of 2.7 percent was found between the actual group and that stamped on identity discs.The Canberra had two field surgical teams. A limited supply of blood was brought ashore by the Parachute Field Surgical Team from the Norland and by the Naval Surgical Support Team from SS Canberra but the situation was alleviated as the Argentine prisoners volunteered blood donations. (Annals of the Royal College Surgeons of England 1984)



The arrival to Madryn 3

On June 18, 1982 , four days after the end of the conflict, the transport ship ARA Bahía Paraíso of the Argentne Navy left at the Luis Piedrabuena dock to 1,661 men and a day later the SS Canberra did the same with another batch of 4,100 Argentines. This last landing is remembered with great affection, as the soldiers were able to make contact with the population.

The Norland docked, on the 21st , with 1,992 men, and then the ARA Almirante Irizar , bringing on board 956 troops of the Argentine Army.

"It was the day we ran out of bread Madryn" recalled Julio Calvo president of that city´s veterans center .The soldiers arrived asking for a piece of bread , a staple which during the conflict not consumed.

Conscripts who arrived on the continent were brought to the former barracks Lahusen, where the municipal bingo is now situated. They remained there a few hours after which they were transferred to their respective garrisons. "It was then that the neighbors of Madryn made contact with the soldiers, brought them bread and chocolate and opened their doors for them to contact their families by telephone ."


The SS Canberra was withdrawn from service in September 1997 and sold to ship breakers for scrapping, leaving for Gadani shipbreaking yard, Pakistan the next month. She did not give up without a fight however; her deep draft meant that she could not be beached as far as most ships, and due to her solid construction the scrapping process took nearly a year instead of the estimated three months.


Master DJ Scott-Mason

Dennis John Scott-Mason who died aged 81 on November 16, 2010 was Master of the P&O Liner Canberra during the 1982 conflict.He was born at Carshalton Beeches and educated in Pangbourne College before joining Shaw,Saville &Albion as an appretince in the troopship Empire Deben. In 1950 Scott-Mason was transferred to Ranchi of the Peninsular&Orient. He was Master of the 24,000 ton steamship Chusan and later of the school ship Uganda. Scott-Mason attended the maritime tactical course at Woolwich and the senior officer war course at Greenwich. He married to Annie-Marie Grisar, a Belgian, in 1958. 1



Master Dennis John Scott-Mason

Scott-Mason was awarded the CBE  and made ADC to the Queen.  (The Telegraph 01 Dec 2010)


Argentine Army Conscript Milton Rhys

Argentine Army Conscript Milton Rhys´ great-grandfather was William Casnodyn Rhys, a Baptist preacher ,an ultra-nastionalist from Port Talbot. Grandfather was born in the Rio Chubut valley (Patagonia),David Rhys a carpenter. Milton Rhys, a choirmaster is proud of his heritage. His Cwm Rhondda is flawless, his T-shirt a tribute to Wales’s rugby team. Yet, he has never been to Wales and, despite some effort, cannot speak Welsh. His is a split identity, half-Welsh, half-Argentine.(2) At the end of the 1982 Conflict shells landed around Government House, one killing two NCOs and injuring Rhys in the back.


As the British marched into the town, Rhys, a Seventh-day Adventist by upbringing, sought comfort in the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral on Ross Road where he was heard praying by Bronwen Williams a nurse at the local hospital from Cegidfa in Mid Wales. Neither Bronwen nor Milton could speak much Welsh, according to Ioan Roberts in Rhyfel Ni (No to war) an interesting book exploring the experiences of both sides in the Malvinas war (GwasgCarreg Gwalch). 7




Rhyfel Ni: Y Cymry A'r Patagoniaid Yn Y Malvinas: Profiadau Cymreig O Ddwy Ochr Rhyfel Y Falklands / Malvinas- Roberts, Ioan-Published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003 




Note: In 1852 Thomas Benbow Phillips of Tregaron established a settlement of about 100 Welsh people in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Many of these colonists later moved to the more successful colony in Argentina as part of Y Wladfa ("The Colony"). The best known of the Welsh colonies, the colony in the Chubut Valley of Patagonia known as Y Wladfa Gymreig ("The Welsh Colony"), was established in 1865 when 153 settlers of the clipper Mimosa landed at what is now Puerto Madryn. 12 Gaiman is a cultural and demographic centre of the "Y Wladfa" in which Welsh-Argentines are concentrated. Of the 25,000 Welsh speakers in Argentina, many are in the Chubut region, particularly in the original Welsh settlements of Trelew and Trevelin. In the early 21st century, approximately 50,000 Patagonians are of Welsh descent, of whom around 5,000 are Welsh speakers. Print newspapers: Y Drafod, Welsh language newspaper since 1891 and Clecs Camwy, new Welsh monthly newspaper, 2011




The Cathedral and whalebone arch


Rhys was taken as a POW to the SS Canberra where Captain Martin Reed was Chief Officer. The conscript helped as translator. Milton Rhys was seated with hundreds of others in a big room with a big piano, 300 or 400 soldiers. The British told them to organise themselves into those who needed the toilet, the bath and the doctor.

Rhys was astounded when the SS Canberra docked at Puerto Madryn, a few miles from his family home. 9,10




Flying the flag, Milton Rhys left and Carlos Antonio Alcarraz both descendants of Welsh settlers in Patagonia. Photo:Paul Grover-The Telegraph-28 Mar 2012.


Bibliography:
  1. Captain `DJ`Scott-Mason-The Telegraph 01 Dec 2010.
  2. Eckhardt, Marcelo-Homenaje por Malvinas-La balada del soldado solo-(2009):A Milton Rhys. http://www.teladerayon.com/Articulos/Articulo.aspx?id=39769
  3. 3-Evocan el retorno de soldados de Malvinas-Elciudadanoweb, Jun 19,2012 http://www.elciudadanoweb.com/evocan-el-retorno-de-soldadosde-malvinas/
  4. 4-Garcia Quiroga,Diego and Seear,Mike-Hors de Combat: The Falklands-Malvinas Conflict in Retrospect.-CCCP 2009. 20
  5. 5-Grace, Michael L.- The great British liner-The SS Canberra- The last gasp of the British Empirehttp://cruiselinehistory.com/the-great-british-liner-the-sscanberra-the-last-gasp-of-the-british-empire/
  6. 6-Gwent veteran's disgust at MoD compensation move-Campaignhttp://www.campaignseries.co.uk/news/4522449.Gwent_veteran_s_disgust_at_MoD_compensation_move/
  7. 7-Jones,Ivor Wynnie-Opinion:Fortright & Fearlesshttp://www.thefreelibrary.com/Opinion%3A+FORTHRIGHT+%26+FEARLESS.-a0111863285
  8. 8-Payne,Will and Dagnell,Andrew-Incredible story of the Falklands war hospital that treated victims from both side of conflict-Mirror News-Mar 25, 2012.  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/incredible-story-of-thefalklands-war-hospital-771593
  9. Rhys,Milton VGM(Personal Communication)
  10. Tweedie,Neil-The Welsh Argentine who fought the British-The Telegraph-28 Mar 2012
  11. Waite,Debbie-Poppy Appeal: Falklands veteran proud of hisrole in freeing islanders-Oxford Mail -5th November 2012. http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/yourtown/wallingford/100258 99. Poppy_Appeal__Falklands_veteran_proud_of_his_role_in_freeing_islanders/
  12. 12-Welsh settlement in the Americas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_settlement_in_the_Americas

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

2014 - A soldier´s dilemma


A soldiers Dilemma - Notthingham-Malvinas
This article was authorized to be uploaded to my blog by

Col John A. Keenan USMC (Ret)
Editor: Marine Corps Gazette
Marine Corps - Association & Foundation - Notthingham-Malvinas
                             
A SOLDIER´s DILEMMA



by LtGen Victor H. Krulak, USMC (Ret)





Marine Corps Gazette-November 1986

Young officers must strive to keep alive their creative and innotavive energies, and señor officers must encourage and promote this attitude…For both, it is a matter of duty and obligation.



The essence of loyalty is the courage to propose the unpopular, coupled with a determination to obey, no matter how distateful the ultimate decision. And the essence of leadership is the ability to inspire such behavior.

Although this is dogma, it is challenged daily by a double dilemma that has perplexed men-at-arms since warfare began. 

The first part of the dilemma is this: How should a subordinate behave when he has a novel and intested idea, or when he encounters proposals or decisions with which he does not concur? 

And the second part: How should a superior behave in order to elicit the most from the initiative and innovativeness latent in those under his authority?

Take the two elements of the problem in turn:

During a recent lecture at the National War College, one of the students asked the hard question: ¨What do you do when you have an offbeat idea, or when you don´t agree? If you speak up, you risk being branded a maverick. If you remain silent,you`re a hypocrite. If you speak up, your credibility may disappear. If you remain silent, you may lose a fleeting chance to advance your viewpoint. Tell me¨he asked, ¨What do you do ? ¨


The student´s question will face many a professional officer at some time in his career. I say many a professional officer, but not all by any means. The agony of ¨How do I offer a new, and perhaps unpopular, idea?¨or ¨How do I dissent?¨will affect only the creative minds among them. The remainder will have little interest in getting out in front and inviting the hazard of criticism. They will content themselves with life in the dismal world of conformity, where success is measured not in benefit to the state but in avoidance of controversy.


This timid behavior is an outgrowth of periods of peace, where promotion may be sought through a low profile and low risk, in contrast to war, where the rewards come to the leader whose visibility and accompanying risks are high. Another stimulus to prudent silence in today´s peacetime environment is the pernicious tendency for any fitness report marking short of perfect to be interpreted as a signal that the officer suffers some grave professional or personality defect.

All of this reality may be discouraging to the military man blessed with a creative mind. Realistically, however, he has no cause to expect his life to be tranquil, nor does he have reason to expect always to be understood. Marine Maj Earl Ellis was a classic creative mind of the first quarter of this century.Most of his Marine corps peers saw him as an ill-tempered rum pot, but history now regards him as a misunderstood visionary who saw accurately the natre of the 1941-1945 Pacific War long before it happened.
It is in this same sense that Socrates and Plato enjoy far greater reverence today that in their own times. Sun Tzu´s military dicta are more respected now than they were 20 centuries ago. And the same may be said of the writings of Clausewitz and Mahan.

To be sure, these assurances of posthumous applause will give little comfort to the contemporary officer whose initiative and curiosity fall on rocky ground except for one thing. They are a reminder that creative minds of other days, advocating ideas in the face of discouragement and antagonism, won out in the end. And in this there must be solace for the lonely iconoclast.

Almost worse than antagonism, the creative mind is often tested in the furnace of incomprehension. President Grant, when shown Bell´s telephone for the first time asked, ¨But who would want one?¨.And a bishop named Wright, when offered the proposition that man might one day fly through the air,said, ¨For man to try to fly is blasphemy.Flying is for birds and angels. ¨Bishop Wright had two young sons. Their names were Wilbur and Orville. Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers persevered, overcoming the hostility and lack of vision around them, and they became fixtures of history.

From the experiences of these resolute men we may distill the beginnings of an answer to the War College student´s question that set this discussion in motion. 

Call it Rule 1: Believe. Before offering a revolutionary idea, before disagreeing on any matter, large or small, know exactly what you want. Be certain that you believe in it completely.And thern stick with it. 

This is fine as theory, but how would it apply to an officer who has a real life, real tme prblem? Let us take,as an example, any one of the areas upon which there is some disagreement in the Marine Corps today, say the concept of maritime pre-positioning.



Here is an ongoing, formally approved program. It enjoys substantial support. The Marine Corps already has the essential hardware in its possession.It has its operational guidance and is engaged in training designed to make the concept effective.



Under these terms is thee any appropiate way for one who believes the concept is fundamentally wrong to make his views known? Yes, there is.
It is found in the chain of command, the precious mechanism by which all military activity is driven. The dissenter should use it. He should prepare his case throughly, put it on paper and take it to his immediate superior, not with the limited aim of getting his concurrence, but with the more aggressive object of getting the superior to adopt the idea as his own.

This approach may not work. The superior may not be convinced, in which case the next step is clear.Recast the paper,address it to the highest authority involved in the issue, deliver it to the immediate superior with the stated understanding that his forwarding endorsement is likely to be unfavourable.But the key point is this: The idea is now in the open, well developed and well expressed.And somewhere in the chain of command there may just be someone with the interest and perception to take up the cause if it is a good one.

All of this responds to a scenario where there is time for the idea, concept, or disagrrement to be organized and expressed carefully in writing. But how about the more likely situation? That is where, in the course of a conference or meeting an unexpected opportunity arises to introduce a new or contradictory thought. How do you do it? How do you do it and still avoid being labeled as a boat-rocker?

First the obvious, comply with Rule 1. Don´t shoot from the hip. Know your subject and believe in it.Then,be certain that what you say is factual and devoid of emotion and rhetoric. Beyond that, the impact of your effort will be affected decisively by the quality of what you say and the skill with which you say it.

It will also be affected by your superior´s behavior in response to your views. He has very real responsabilities,too, regarding such a dialog, responsabilities that will be explored in detail, later in this essay.

Here then, Rule 2: Express your innovative views in any forum you can find. Express your disagreement with announced policy within the structure of the chain of command. Disagreement with an idea that has momentum and high level support will never be easy, and, of this we may be sure, unless the dissent is accompanied by an alternative,it will be stillborn. If you have no reasonable alternative, your viewpoint is a dead bird.

From this Rule 3 emerges: Include as a part of any disagrrement, an alternatve presented in full and persuasive detail. This applies equally, wether the setting is formal and written or a spur.of-the moment oral dialog, The enthusiastic innovator should not be content to make his disent or crative proposal a wholly private matter. He should hasten to publish his views in order to get his new or variant ideas into the public marketplace of ideas. There is no better way to stimulate discussion and to mature a concept than by publishing it. To be sure, there is a great differen ce between publication of an untested proposition, even it it is likely to generate widespread disagreement, and publication of a direct challenge to a formally anounced decision.

This gives rise to a fourth altogether obvious rule: Publish, by all means, and as much as you like, before a final and formal decision is made. Thereafter, do not challenge the decision publicly.

Be assured that publication under the latter circumstances, however accurate, however well-intentioned, will be taken at face value and viewed as a conscious challenge to authority, which is to say a shortcut to professional disaster.

Case in point:

Col (later Commandant) John A.Lejeune lectured on and published unpopular views regarding the trascendent importance to the United States and the Marine Corps of the creation of a major amhibious capability. Two commandants were unconvinced by his efforts and told him so. But he continued to write and was ultimately successful.

Col(later Commandant)John H. Russell, in the first edition of the Marine Corps GAZETTE in 1916, made a plea that amphibious assault be established as the primary Marine Corps mission. He wrote in the face of much contrary feeling in the Corps, where the more popular idea was to place primary emphasis on service aboard ship and at naval stations ashore.

It should be noted that Lejeune and Russell wrote and lectured on a subject that, while controversial, was one on which no basic decision had yet been made. But now, an example on the other side:

Col Robert D.Heinl, Jr, an officer of unusual perception,served in Haiti for three years , where he had much opportunity to observe the venal and oppressive behavior of President Francois (¨Papa Doc¨)Duvallier. On his departure from Haiti, Heinl accurately described conditions there in an interview with a national magazine. Unfortunately, his portrayal was exactly opposite to the formally stated US position. Because Papa Doc was, officially a US ally, Heinl suffered condemnation from the State and Defense Department. A Legion of Merit, in the works for him, was cancelled and he was officially reproved.

Now, back to the basic question. Having respected all the foregoing rules scrupulously, suppose your viewpoint has still not gotten off the ground. Suppose your idea is rejected.Or suppose your disagreement makes no headway.What then?

A fifth rule, and by far the most important one of all: If you are able to swallow whole your disappontment, if you are able to work, flat out, to carry out a decision with which you do not agree, well and good.Do it. But do not forget your convictions and do not forgo any opportunity to express your contrary views, always in the proper setting.

But if you are unable to countenance the decision as made, do not denigrate it.Do not withhold your best effort to make it wok.Quit, just quit.

Quit and take your ideas and your frustrations into the civilian world where you may complain to your heart´s content and disagree in any forum you choose.

Three examples:

First, RADm James H. Doyle, USN, was designated as attack force commander for the amphibious landing at Inchon, Korea, in September 1950. He was strongly opposed to making the attack at Inchon because of the immense hydrographic and logistic problems. He had an alternative idea for a landing about 30 miles away that,to his mind, made better sense. He presented his dissent and his alternative in powerful terms to Gen MacArthur who was unmoved. Doyle bit the bullet. He set about, with total commitment, to make the chancy Inchon attack a success. It was, and in no small measure because of his professionalism and dedication.

Second, in 1947, at the height of the defense reorganization debate, Marine BGen Merritt A.Edson found himself in serious disagreement with the stated positions of both the President and Secretary of the Navy. Having failed officially to alter matters, Edson knew exactly what to do. He quit, retired, and immediately made his contrary view known both in print and in congressional testimony, something he could not have done properly and honourably in uniform.

A third, and contrasting example at the end of World War I, the strategic employment of air power was little understtod and less appreciated in the War and Navy Department. Bgen Billy Mitchell, with a distinguished combat record, was well positioned to be the principal spokesman for strategic air power. Faced with an official policy with which he did not agree, Mitchell, while still in uniform, published articles, wrote a book, and made spec hes condemning the judgement, competence, vision , loyalty, and motivation of those senior officials who opposed his views. He was court-martialed and convicted. Here was an able man with a good idea, but he handled it improperly and suffered accordingly.

We have addressed at some length the problems of the innovative or questioning subordinate and have laid down some rubrics concerning his behavior. Now, how about the corresponding problem, that of the superior who must deal with these situations as part of his responsability? We must begin by acknowledging that his obligation is far greater, far graver, than that of a subordinate who feela that he has a good idea or has some cause to disagree.

However important the quality of creativity is in the subordinate, it is even more important in the superior. If he has a strong instinct to innovate, if he is willing to speak up and to write for publication himself, it is likely that he will be an affective vehicle for nourishing the ideas of his subordinates.

We should emphasize that not all creative ideas are good, however stubbornly they are held. But not all of them are bad either, and the superior who has the precious ability to discriminate between the two and the receptivity of mind to contemplate the new or the contrary idea is a man of great value. Conversely, the leader who does not possess those sovereign gifts is a continuing impediment to progress.

Once I heard two generals talking about LtCol (later Gen)Merrill B. Twining. One said: ¨Well, the trouble with Twining is that he is always upsetting things with some new idea or other¨. What a wonderful tribute!. What greater praise could one seek than to be identified as the man who is guilty of ¨ upsetting things¨ with new ideas?



And the general who found Twining´´s creative behavior odious, how about him? It could be that he was not thinking, just rearranging his prejudices for the benefit of his audience. Or it could be that he had been misled by Ecclesiastes 1-18 ¨To increase knowledge only increases distress¨. But the sadder likelihood is that he was professionally long dead, frozen stiff under the icy hands of custom, convention, conformity, and timidity, a hazard to his Corps and best replaced.

And from this something fundamental begins to emerge. No amount of originality, logic, eloquence, or passion on the part of a subordinate will prevail if the superior lacks the wisdom to stimulate disagreement or the elasticity of outlook to contemplate a novel proposition. Nothing good is going to happen if he does not possess the quality of inspiring initiative among those under his authority and the willingness to pursue every potentially god idea to its conclusion.


Should there not be a reflection of these qualities in the remarks required on the fitness reports of senior officers? Something like, to what degree does this officer have:



¨The ability to understand, and the willingness to evaluate new ideas?¨; and


¨The ability to stimulate initiative and creativity in subordinates?¨

Here, them, is the fabric of Rule 1 for superiors Because you probably don´t know it all, and because your subordinates represent a valuable source of ideas, make it your duty to bring their ideas and crticisms to the surface where all may analyze and evaluate them.

Nurturing this rule to full flower requires much more than the plain statement than the commander is receptive to an idea or two, providing it is really good. It requires a dynamic approach that encourages criticism, rewards innovation, and deals mercilessly with the bureaucratic quicksand that is likely to smother a novel concept.

An example once, when I was a captain commanding a .50 caliber antiaircraft machinegun battery, one of my sergeants brought me what he believed was a good idea. The .50 caliber antiaircraft machinegun was incapable of hitting anything because of its great vibration an essentially useless weapon.

The sergeant bolted one firmly to the bed of a light truck on the theory that the truck springs would set up a harmonic with the rate of recoil of the weapon, neutralize the vibration, and thus add to its accuracy.

It worked. With innocent enthusiasm I wrote a letter, with statistics, photographs, and diagrams advancing the idea. Nothing happened. Inquiry of the staffs at intervening headquarters revealed that no action had been taken. The idea had been swallowed, digested, and buried by the bureaucracy.

That is, it had been buried until a fortuitous day when the commanding general chanced to drive by at the same time we were firing our truck-mounted device at target balloons.

You can guess the result. He became interested. The papers were disinterred from their bureaucratic crypt, and the idea given a good, and successful, testing. The general was indignant that this inefficiency had taken place, but he seemed to miss the point that the fault was his in the first place for tolerating a system where such things could happen.

So, here we have Rule 2 for superiors: Clear a path. Make sure that the road to the top is wide open for ideas, opinions, and criticism, and that everyone knows that initiative is respected as a precious military jewel.

It is told that in 1862 Stonewall Jackson, leaning against a tree and staring down the Shenandoah Valley, was asked by one of his staff officers what he was doing. He is supposed to have replied: ¨I´m trying to figure out what the Yankees are up to .If anyone in this army thinks he knows, tell them to come up here and see me¨. Jackson was clearing a path.



Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson - Nottingham-Malvinas
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and one of the best-known Confederate commanders after General Robert E. Lee. Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history . Stonewall Jackson had an eary ¨open-door¨policy. (National Portrait Gallery)


Marine Gen Keith B. McCutcheon, as an air wing commander, once said, ¨If anybody has an idea that will make this outfit better, my door is open. Just one thing, when he comes, I want all of the intervening commanders to come with him¨. McCutcheon too, was clearing a path. In addition, he was demonstrating to his subordinate commanders the importance he placed on free communication and on the chain of command.

Encouraging initiative presupposes an understanding, by seniors and juniors alike, that innovation is imprecise, that error and false starts must be expected, that to try and fail is much to be preferred to never trying at all.

And there is Rule 3 for superiors: Protect your subordinates as they make their mistakes. Don´t attempt to run your command as if there were such a thing as a zero defects military society. If you do, your unit, however large or small, will be a hollow shell comprised of timid men who, when the battle challenges their initiative, will collapse under the pressure. And it will be more your fault than theirs. Furthermore, if your own superior implies that you should try to run your command on a no-defects basis, have the integrity to take issue with him.
In World War II, while recovering from a wound, I was assigned as the Marine Corps logistic chief, 29 years old, innocent, ignorant, and full of ideas.

One idea was an amphibian cargo trailer, intended to be towed ashore by an amphibian vehicle. Under my prodding, we bought 700 of them at $12,000 each. For a lot of reasons, they did not work out well. Very few ever used in combat. Eight million dollars and change went down the drain. In the ensuing recriminatory flap, my superior BGen G.C. Thomas, insinuated himself quickly into the issue, declared that progress is made only those who are willing to accept a few mistakes along the way. I was chagrined at having done badly, but my initiative was kept alive by my superior, for whom my respect grew immeasurably.

Finally, a word about the virus of hypocrisy. Battles have been lost, opportunities missed, and reputations ruined where subordinates busied themselves telling the commander what they believed he wanted to hear rather than what they knew to be true. The sycophant is one of the great devils of the military world. He has an extraordinary capacity to survive, indeed to prosper a melancholy condition that is less a product of his own ability to ingratiate himself with his superior than it is a measure of the weakness of the superior himself. 

It becomes quickly apparent when a commander would rather hear his own views played back than risk hearing ideas that may in some way be repugnant to him. This egotistic behavior will cause the opportunists immediately to set about making themselves agreeable rather than useful. 

Unless they are very lucky, both the flawed commander and the patronizing subordinate are headed for trouble, the former led into poor decisions and the latter put to the guillotine by the first no-nonsense commander he encounters. 

Adolf Hitler and his immediate clique of advisors are the classic example. Hitler had a passionate determination to invade Soviet Russia and capture Moscow. Many of his military advisors, skilled professionals who understood the hazards of time, space, weather, and the nature of the Russian psyche, were overpowered by the Fuehrer´s lunatic personality. They chose to agree with him rather than risk confrontation. Their stripes meant more to them than their self-respect, and the consequent disaster for the Nazis changed the face of Europe. 

Similarly, Hitler was determined to invade England. His military commanders knew they had neither the requisite logistic support nor the ability to maintain air superiority over the English Channel. Nevertheless, they avoided confrontation by endorsing a flawed plan and proceeding to waste valuable resources and time building a fleet of invasion craft they knew could never be used. 

So here is the fourth and final rule, one for those superiors who want to avoid being led into trouble by sycophantic subordinates: Make very clear that you will not tolerate patronizing behavior on the part of your subordinates. Emphasize that their minimum duty to you, to your institution, ad to their country is an honest and fearless expression of their best thinking the innovation and dissent of which we spoke at the outset. And then, by your day-to-day conduct , make plain that you mean it. 

Let me conclude with a respectful genuflection to valor and esprit. These, the two great intangibles in warfare, have often provided the precious difference between defeat and triumph. Their importance must never, in any way, be denigrated. 

But in the great battles, at Cannae and Lepanto, at Tannenberg and Tsushima, at Cape St.Vincent, Chancellorsville and The Marne, we must acknowledge that a creative mind fashioned the setting for victory in each case. It was a mind that could think beyond the moment of crisis and see beyond the horizon of battle that set the scene for bravery and leadership to work their wonderful magic. 

It is this disciplined military mind, harnessed, directed, and encouraged, that can nourish innovation, inspire fruitful dissent and, in the end, dissolve the dilemma that created this discussion in the first place.




LtGen Victor H.Krulak - Nottingham-Malvinas

LtGen Victor H.Krulak Marine, autor, stateman began his career in the Marine Corps in 1934 after graduating from the US naval Academy. Gen. Krulak, a native of Denver, received his appointment to the Naval Academy before finishing high school. He received a waiver to bypass the Marine Corps height requirement of 5 feet 6 inches. Standing barely 5 feet 5 inches tall, he was jokingly nicknamed Brute by his academy classmates. The moniker stuck, reinforced by his direct, no-nonsense style. 

He served during a period spanning three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam in a variety of posts, including commander, 2d Parachute Battalion at Choiseul (1943), chief of staff, 1st Marine Division in Korea (1951), direector,Marine Corps Education Center (1957),commanding general,Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego(1959),special assistant for counterinsurgency and special activities,Joint Chiefs of Staff(1962),and commanding general,FMFPac (1964).He retired from activity duty in 1968. 

Before his retirement from the military after 34 years in 1968, he was considered a strong candidate for commandant, the top Marine post that his son Charles attained in 1995. After leaving the military, Gen. Krulak worked for Copley Newspapers, serving at various times as director of editorial and news policy and as news media president of Copley News Service. He retired as vice president of The Copley Press Inc. in 1977 and then contributed columns on international affairs and military matters for Copley News Service. 


A tenacious critic of the government's handling of the Vietnam War, Gen. Krulak wrote in the book “First to Fight” that the conflict could have been won only if the Vietnamese people had been protected and befriended and if enemy supplies from North Vietnam had been cut off. As an author, Gen.Krulak has written scores of articles on matters of national security and international affairs and has published three books: Organization for National Security, University of the Third Age, ad the highly acclaimed First to Fight ,which joins General Krulak´s personal experiences with a contemporary view of the Marine Corps and the forces that have contributed to the institutional survival. Reviewed in the November 1984 (GAZETTE, First to Fight was branded ¨the Marine book of the year possibly the Marine book of several years¨ 


Lt. Gen. Krulak, a decorated veteran of three wars, died of natural causes in 2008 at the Wesley Palms Retirement Community in San Diego. He was 95. (Gonzalez,  Blanca..Marine Corps legend Gen.Victor Krulak dies at 95. U-T San Diego. (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2008/Dec/30/n27313165445-bn30krulak/?#article-copy)


First to Fight - Nottingham-Malvinas

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

2014-Command at sea isn´t everything

This article was authorized to be uploaded to my blog by

Janis Jorgensen,

Manager, Heritage Collection-US Naval Institute.


Command at Sea isn´t everything
by

Commander Robert S.Mackenna, US Navy



The fiscal year 2001 Commander Command Screening Board met from 12 December through 19 Decem­ber 2000. Their commission, unknown to them, was to determine my fate — or so I believed.


It was my fourth and final chance to get the ultimate job: command at sea. My first opportunity came in January 1998, one month before I reported as executive officer of the Ponce (LPD-15). I went through the motions of en­suring that my record was up to date and my photo was current, but I knew this first chance was little more than a formality. I was neither surprised nor disappointed at my name's omission from the list of lucky ones. The sec­ond look came 11 months into my tour. I then was a newly selected commander with a shipyard period, a training cycle, a couple of exer­cises, a change of command, two fitness reports, and a command qualification under my belt. The board's meeting date was circled in red on my calendar, right up there with my wedding anniversary and the birthdays of my children. I was very optimistic, right up until the moment I scrolled down the alphabetically arranged list of selectees -- and found no McKs. How could that be? But, hey, next year probably was my turn, right?


With another six months as executive officer, a couple of months in the Adri­atic during the Kosovo conflict, and an­other fitness report, I was a shoo-in. Then, right in the middle of a day­dream, in which I was walking up the brow to the familiar sound of four bells, there came a rude awakening. Once again, the McKs were skipped. Crest­fallen was not an apt description of my feelings. Devastated might be a bit too much, but it was closer than crestfallen. A little bit of self-doubt began to creep in, a little bitterness perhaps, and defi­nitely some jealousy of those chosen ahead of me.

As they say, time heals all wounds, and after a couple of weeks I looked ahead with great optimism to my last look, which was bound to be my turn. One out of every five commanding officers, including my last one, is chosen on this opportunity. It was time to order the cake, break out the cham­pagne, and practice the change-of-com-mand speech. This year was going to be different. 

My outward confidence, however, belied my inner doubt. The day the board results were due, I was on Christ­mas vacation at a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps surrounded by my fam­ily. As much as I wanted to let sleeping dogs lie and enjoy the vacation, I needed to know. After locating the re­sort's internet cafe, I went to the Bu­reau of Personnel website and found the answer I feared would be waiting for me. My last-second three-pointer had clanged off the rim. 


Was I disappointed? Absolutely! My destiny had been stolen from me. I had earned the right to command at sea, and now it appeared that it was not going to happen. Nonetheless, I was able—in the week after my vacation— to take stock of my situation with a certain level-headedness. Here is what I came up with:




  • Life is not always fair, but this process is as fair as it possibly can be. I received four looks just like the rule-book says, and unfortunately I was not selected. I believe that I, like many oth­ers, deserved to be selected, but not everyone can get to the next level. The officers who were selected certainly are deserving, and I offer them my congrat­ulations and best wishes for success.
  • My career is a very important part of my life, but it is not what defines me, and it is not who I am. My roles as a father and a husband are far more important. If I had to choose to reach the pinnacle of only one role in my life on earth, it would be my relationship with my family. My role as a father, however, requires me to set a good example for my children. One way I choose to do that is by excelling at an honorable profession. Another way is by accepting defeat gracefully. I will demand no recounts. 
  • I love being an officer and leader in the world's finest navy. There still are sailors to be led, young officers to be developed, and adventures to be experienced.
  • Success does not come from a job title. It comes from doing whatever we are supposed to be doing, when we're supposed to be doing it, to the best of our abilities.
  • The board that met in December did not determine my fate or destiny. My destiny was determined long ago, and not by any board. My wife keeps telling me that everything happens for a rea­son, and I'm starting to believe her. I am looking forward to finding out where it all leads. But for now, I will keep enjoying every day. So I guess I have come to closure with this greatest of disappointments. Dreams die hard, but they are replaced with other dreams, equally as attractive and motivating. I'll begin working to­ward those today.

Earning the command at sea pin 
can be  the pinnacle of a career
but it shouldn't be the sole measure 
of  the worth of an officer.
Commander McKenna is a surface warfare officer stationed in the Netherlands as an amphibious advi­sor to the Royal Netherlands Navy.