I recently asked some of my website visitors the following question: “Tell me about the best military leader you ever served with and what made them such as great leader?” Here are the responses I received. I think you will find some great leadership nuggets in here.
“General (Major General at the time) J.H. Binford Peay III. He was the commander of the 101st during Desert Storm. His presence while in garrison was one that inspired confidence, and when it came time to deploy during Operation Desert Storm, the fact that he took the whole division as one force was one that brought confidence to me and my peers.” ~ CPT Josue N.
“The best military leader I’ve ever served with was a company commander I had in the 101st Airborne as a CPL. He was very quiet and both technically and tactically at the top of his game. It was clear that his relationship with our First Sergeant was one that any CO should aspire to obtain. His reserved personality made him a little intimidating, but when approached with a problem, he got it solved. He was definitely, “Mission First”, but it was obvious he cared about the soldiers. He drove the unit very hard and we performed very well because of it. It was the only unit that I’ve ever felt completely confident about going to war with, and this was a garrison environment in 1998. It would have been very easy not to focus so much on the war-time mission as much as we did, which I feel is a testament to his leadership.” ~ CPT Patrick D.
“The best military leader I ever had the honor of serving with was LTC Gustave F. Perna, now a Major General. He was my Battalion Commander while I was assigned to the 64th Forward Support Battalion in Fort Carson, Colorado. From the moment I met him, I knew he was great. He really turned around our unit by setting very high standards and leading by example. He forced every officer and NCO to set high standards for themselves and be the best they could be. His philosophy was “Just get it done!” and “Dare to be great!” He taught me the importance of being technically and tactically proficient, holding yourself to the highest standards, and bringing out the best in your people. I am forever grateful to LTC Perna, now MG Perna.” ~ MAJ (former) Charles Holmes, Creator of Part-Time-Commander.com
“Colonel W was the best military leader that I ever served with. He was an enlisted man and served in the Vietnam Conflict. A combat veteran, after four years of enlisted service, he returned to his hometown and college. He joined the National Guard and became a helicopter pilot. When the opportunity presented itself, he returned to Vietnam as a Warrant Officer and flew the Huey Cobra. Six months in country, he was shot down on a mission to relieve an ambushed infantry company. He stayed with the unit for 72 hours in extended combat with the North Vietnamese Army. He received a battlefield commission and remained in the army for another 30 years. Why ? Well, he told me that “it was a calling to be a Soldier and to never leave a fallen comrade.” I know now what dedication is. He has been retired for seven years and is a cancer survivor. ” ~ JPO
“First Sergeant Jerry McKinney is the best military leader I’ve worked with in my 14 years in the army. He was the epitome of the term “Top” as far as First Sergeants go. He was an encyclopedia of military knowledge and had a mental rolodex of past experiences to draw upon. He always had a positive attitude even when things were not going so well. He was harsh at times, but only when necessary. He ensured that all soldiers within our Battery felt like a part of the team. He set high standards for his NCOs but we saw the positive effects that it had on the unit. Everything from our PT scores to reenlistment rates soared with him as our First Sergeant. He also gave a lot of Specialists the confidence to go to the promotion board and become NCOs. I have not met any leader close to him since I met him 13 years ago.” ~ 1LT Moses W.
As I get more responses, I will continue to update this post! Please help us build up this post by leaving a comment to tell us about the best military leader you ever served with and why. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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3 thoughts on “Who Is the Best Military Leader You Ever Served With and Why?”
I’m picking up such great advice from these responses. The importance of being approachable, dedicated, decisive, and trustworthy cannot be overlooked when considering all the desirable qualities of a great leader. I’ve known some great leaders in my day, and continue to meet more all the time, and they’ve all had one thing in common – an infectious passion for greatness. What I really admire about a great leader is the ability to inspire confidence in others.
These are some great examples of leaders in the military. Books that are written about leadership all encompass the central characteristics of true leaders, with high standards and a genuine caring for others being among them. I see both of these clearly represented in the examples shared in the your post. What an honor it must have been to serve with these men!
It was an honor to serve with these great leaders. One person truly can make a difference.