Military

Military hero shone as CEO

September 4, 2013
After flying 61 combat missions in World War II and winning military honors, Robert McDermott didn’t bask in the glow of his military heroics. Instead, he helped build the Air Force Academy into a model of military education and then shifted to the private sector to become CEO of USAA.

Eisenhower’s toughest decision

August 8, 2013
On June 2, 1944, all the pieces were in place for the largest amphibious assault in world history. Planning for D-Day fell to Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. The only unknown? The weather. How did he make one of the most consequential decisions in history?

Harry Truman’s crucible moment

May 30, 2013

Growing up, no one considered Harry Truman a leader. He was a kid with thick glasses who mostly stayed home, working the farm or reading. But the course of his life changed when he entered the Army during World War I. One rainy night, he faced a moment of true terror.

Air Force leader ‘grateful for the journey’

April 25, 2013
Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the first woman to serve as a cadet wing commander at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the academy’s first female Rhodes Scholar, has been nominated to become its first female superintendent.

Get the stuff right

March 25, 2013
Chuck Yeager turned 90 in February but refuses to slow down. “While I’m not gonna run no marathon, I still hunt and fish and fly,” says the guy who broke the speed of sound with a rocket plane in 1947.

Real heroes spurn a hero’s welcome

December 6, 2012
A combat veteran of World War I, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright was posted to the Philippines in 1941. Forced to surrender after being overwhelmed by Japanese forces in the battle for Bataan Peninsula, he spent more than three years in captivity. He anxiously asked the commandos who finally found him what had been on his mind all that time: Was he considered a disgrace?

Jefferson’s crisis communiqués: a model

November 29, 2012
The wartime letters of Thomas Jefferson to George Washington and other Revolution leaders offer a vivid glimpse into the mind of a great leader in a time of crisis. Most of them contain four key elements.

Robert E. Lee: anatomy of a bad decision

October 18, 2012
Most historians say that Robert E. Lee’s decision to head the Confederate army was inevitable. Not true. Lee was almost equally devoted to the United States and to his home state of Virginia. Two trunks of recently retrieved family papers show how hard he suffered in choosing sides …

Rewriting the book, Gen. Petraeus-style

July 12, 2012

In 2005, Gen. David Petraeus understood that the U.S. military’s “seek and destroy” strategy against insurgents in Iraq wasn’t working. So, he rewrote the book … literally. At the heart of his new strategy lie three paradoxes relevant to leaders in all settings who face a formidable challenge (or enemy):

How grit and firepower won at Verdun

May 24, 2012
French commander Philippe Pétain’s actions at the Battle of Verdun show it’s not just brains but guts that make a leader. For much of the late 1800s, military fashion had it that élan and the bayonet would win wars. Pétain found that notion ridiculous. He said firepower was the key to modern warfare. It didn’t take long for his doctrine to prove right.