In this episode of “The Old Corps Talks” Col Jim “Sgt B” Bathurst, USMC (ret) joins us to talk NCO Leadership. During his career Jim rose from the rank of Private to GySgt and then after he was commissioned, from 2ndLt to Colonel including a deployment to Vietnam where he served as a infantry squad leader and rifle platoon commander.
In this discussion Sgt B discusses the basics of NCO leadership as he learned and practiced it, how NCO Leadership fits in the scheme of a company on a daily basis from dawn til dusk, how it contributes to the functioning of the company as well as the certain link between leadership in garrison and leadership in combat.
SITUATION: in February of 1968 2ndLt Nick Warr was the Platoon Commander of 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines when 1/5 was tasked with clearing the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces that had occupied the “Ancient City” portion of Hue in the Thura Thien-Hue Province of South Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Nick’s platoon would lose 60% of its strength by the end of 1/5’s first day of fighting. The Battle for Hue would be remembered the most violent urban combat that US Forces would participate in during the Vietnam War.
MAPS: the zoomable (just click on them) maps that support this interview are located here.
LESSONS LEARNED: Nick refers to the “Lessons Learned” paper her wrote, you’ll find that paper here.
BOOK: Nick wrote the book “Phase Line Green” based on his experiences during the battle for Hue City, you’ll find it here.
Can you imagine a situation where the things that were discussed in a “small group” meeting about significant issues was leaked on a regular basis to the media? Where your comments were placed into the public record like they were meant for the public? Bushido violations, but all in the realm of “regular order” for our national politicians.
We keep seeing two themes when we look at articles about “what’s wrong with the Navy’s surface fleet?” (1) Sleep deprivation — which we all know is bullshit; and (2) Skippers telling their commanding officers that they are “not mission capable” and pushing back on missions. We’ll explore item #2 with LtCol Rob Schwarz, USMC (ret) — aka “Montana Man” — who was the Executive Officer of Regimental Combat Team-1 (2010-2011) in Afghanistan that had as many as five different battalions operating underneath its umbrella. Is a higher headquarters ignorant of the training and logistical readiness of its subordinate units? Hmmmmmmm.
Geoff Ziezulewicz has covered the Iraq and Afghanistan for Stars & Strips and now writes for Navy Times. He has written extensively about the leadership and operational issues that the U.S. Navy is dealing with today, we’ll talk about those issues.
Click HERE for the entire 3.5 hour PME in one segment
THE SINGLE BEST professional military education experience I ever had happened in July of 1989 while teaching “Tactics” at The Basic School in Quantico, VA. Col Tony Zinni, USMC (who had just finished being the CO of 9th Marine Regiment on Okinawa) gave his “Combat Concepts” pitch at an event that the Marine Corps University sponsored at The Basic School.
Major John Kelly (Head of the Infantry Officers Course at the time, destined to be a General Officer and currently the Secretary of the Dept of Homeland Security) told me I should attend… so I went. I had never heard of Col Zinni at that point in my life. That night Col Zinni was funny, insightful and had a ton of experiences in his career — he was for me a great example of what a professional warrior/scholar ought to be.
This PME changed my life and how I approached my profession.