Being a 10th Mountain Divarty warrior in the classroom from the Haiti/Somalia Era takes guts. Dealing with service-connected traumatic brain injury, blast wave trauma and complex post-traumatic stress disorder makes for great difficulty.
Nonetheless, like every mission, we rise to the occasion, climb to glory and achieve honors. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater communications department offered an outlet this week for remembering our post commanding general from the ’95-’97 regime.
For the week of April 3-10, we were tasked with the following questions:
- Power can be defined as “the ability to influence others.” In your opinion, does influencing others automatically quality someone as a leader? Why or why not?
- Describe a situation or experience in which you experienced power or influence by a person in a leadership position. What did this look like? What strategies were used by the leader to influence, and how effective were these strategies? Has there been a time (such as a job or situation) in which you felt the most, or the least, empowered by a leader?
The Outpost 422 Centaur Five Delta Command Driver Response:
Influencing others includes peer pressure. In my opinion, tyranny is a form of influence that qualifies as an act of cowardice.
Peer pressure influences others to take on life risking behavior and is unethical. Gaslighting someone into submission is never viewed as an appropriate end. Aristotle would expect all humans be the ends and never the means.
Peer pressure is a means only social contract. I disagree that influence automatically qualifies someone as a leader.
Maj. Gen. David C. Meade Reflection
When I served with the 10th Mountain Division, I drove a battalion executive officer who taught human factors engineering at West Point.
He introduced me to our post commanding general who had the ultimate power to ruin careers.
Maj. Gen. Meade stood 6’4, who wore his West Point Chief of Staff emblem on his dress uniform with pride.
We 10th Mountain boast our elite status as the Pentagon’s Light Fighters. We are the first to deploy.
His appearance intimidated people and had the power to end a happy day in the motor pool by showing up unannounced.
The strategies used by the leader were an authoritative style requiring all who stood before him to snap to the position of attention before he would say, “as you were,” which translates to “rest in attention.”
The strategies in the military use rank for representing a person’s stature in the military community. You did not dare act inappropriately in front of a two-star general.
In the military, your chain of command is your line of sight. The effectiveness of military rank strategy only applies when you serve in the military.
Off base behavior could constitute punishment, especially if you did not acknowledge a senior ranking officer in public.
The strategies in the military between officer and enlisted are rudimentary dating back to General Washington’s Army.
Still to this day, I show respect for those who are in authority because I respect their position of authority.
For example, I refer to my professors by their courtesy title and never by their first name. This would be the unbecoming of a soldier.
I want my professors to understand they are extremely valuable to me. The strategies taught in the military instilled virtue with my approach to those who are empowered.
My noncommissioned officers on the other hand made me feel least empowered. The enlisted stayed after each day while they went home to their families.
I felt least empowered because the leader is always the last to go home.
That’s why I stayed an E-4 until I got out of the military. I never wanted to be their example.