WSJ Articles on Lt. Withers and Col Dowdy

My response to the article ‘For Lt. Withers, Act of Mercy Has Unexpected Sequel’:

What an incredible story.  Talk about humbled and strong.  Mieczyslaw went through hell and buried it in the past.  The difference between a manager and a leader is that a manager does the things right.  A leader knows how to do things right but also does the right thing.  Lt. John Withers was a leader.  He definitely did the right thing.  It didn’t matter whether the two young refugees had diseases or not.  They had already spent time with the soldiers anyways.  Plus, like the article says, the mean had already made the decision for him.  Withers didn’t have a choice.  He would have been on the wrong side of the decision if he had done anything else.  Besides, they two refugees lifted the soldier’s spirits and gave ‘purpose’ to the cause.  Why else were they there besides to help remove Hitler and save the accosted.  I believe that the choice to keep and house the refugees was critical.  I hard to say the situation but that’s the type of key that brings teams together.  It gives purpose to the day and unites the soldiers and gives them a reference point to judge the war by.  It’s a great article and a better story. 

My response to ‘How a Marine Lost His Command In Race to Baghdad’:

General Kelly seems to be very non-committal.  Colonel Dowdy seems to be patient and his style is methodic.  Major General Mattis seems to be intelligent and decisive but moderately disengaged.  If one of the key factors to the mission is speed then Kelly and Mattis should have expressed that clearly.  If you don’t express your opinion or feelings clearly you can’t expect those exact results.  Dowdy was given a choice and a motive.  He made a choice based on his surroundings and completed the mission.  Mattis was frustrated with the way the mission was completed but if that was going to be the case then it’s on him to either be clear or except the results.  Kelly doesn’t seem to be a major player in any of it.  He doesn’t commit to the decision made by either other person and didn’t work with Dowdy in a positive manner.  He was more of a crutch than a support.  I agree with the article when it says that war time decisions are difficult to question because too many factors way in.  My opinion is that Mattis should be clear about his expectations and get out of the way.  His plans sound as if they were solid but he didn’t relay the importance of how he expected the plans to play out.  Dowdy was doing what he thought was right.  He was doing the right thing.  As a leader, he was both looking to do the right thing and complete the mission.  This all sounds like a miscue in communication and method.


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