Lessons in Military Leadership – Part 1



hey guys I want to talk about lessons and military leadership and I'm excited to talk about this I really think it's going to be helpful so if you know any guys going in the military or you're in the military share this with other people I put a lot of thought into it so much so I've even gotten notes preparing usually I do these pretty extemporaneously just kind of go for it but now I don't want to miss anything so really the idea is I want to challenge some of the initial presuppositions of the conventional army drill sergeant do push-ups until you drop and usually that's about all people really know the going tackling this whole issue is I want us to be able to build fearless and efficient warriors that work together as a team now your context maybe you're not even military you're just kind of interested some of this stuff building a sports team or you're law enforcement and building a team as well some of these principals who apply but mine's gonna be a little bit more hardcore than yours because I'm not training dudes for a tickle fight now that this is you're training them to be really good killers so being able to mentally goad someone up to be able to do that in a team environment when the stakes are very very high you can't go about it the political correct sissified way that the United States you know that pervasive political correctness invading every area now it's really frankly in the military and it's very disheartening to me because there needs to be a certain hardening process so soldiers are ready to do great violence against terrible odds now a quick disclaimer my caveat emptor for all you guys is all I really know is Ranger Battalion I don't know how the army works on the Navy or Coast Guard or whatever else I know my specific special operations unit that's really all I know uh-uh and I want to kind of reflect on the time when I was just coming about and how I was treated when I initially arrived at Ranger Battalion all the way to the time we're on a team leader and a squad leader and whatnot and oh how I wish I knew some of this then but I had to go about it a longer way experience is a effective teacher but it's a slow and painful one so being able to learn from other people's mistakes and their experience is a far better way to go through I'm really going to break this down into a couple of different areas two phases break phase break them down rebuild them face and then the initiated brother phase so the first one I wanted to tackle was the breakdown phase and I already alluded to the fact that the cessation of the United States pervading into the military as well where nobody can handle anything and and just feelings and sensitivity and I'm a guy of deep feeling I have certain sensitivities as well but it's kind of like a yeah I love people and I'm sensitive to that and you should be too but if you stumped your toe and you want to cry about it you need to suck it up soldier that's awful I don't want you to flinch if someone's slowly sawing off your arm be tough so the first phase I wanted to go over was to break them phase this is where you really get to see what somebody's built with so as soon as the private would arrive to me and Ranger Battalion I want to test them so I'm going to smoke them like they've never been smoked before push-ups flower cakes whatever you whatever pops into my brain at that time but I want to completely physically annihilate them and then when they're basically laying in a pool of their own sweat I tell them to keep going and really what I'm trying to test is their mental and emotional toughness and this isn't a one-time event I'll observe this over months where you're just constantly crushing and breaking them down now some ponies take longer to break and the point is to break them down so that I can level the building of whatever they were before whoever they were as a person I want to strip down to a solid foundation build that foundation tougher and then build on top of it but the goal isn't to just perpetually haze privates ad infinitum rather it is toward that end goal of making a fearless and more efficient warrior who's going to be part of a collective team I don't want to stay in the breaking phase and some folks some who are selfish and insecure leaders would just Hayes Hayes Hayes because it's a really fun thing to do and am I saying that it's fun to haze privates yeah it's pretty fun to his privates especially when you got yours you're like alright I felt the pain and now it's time do you do as well but um some will say that's mean but it's kind of funny so it's excusable right um anyway there is a necessary breaking down phase this isn't just the physical the physical is the obvious one but really what's more important than just physical toughness is mental and emotional toughness as well I'm interested in the entire person and different people take different ways so for instance I could smoke this private um and he's okay with it but then all of a sudden I could look at another another private beside him kind of somebody who's he's with and as I'm just smoking privates and younger ranking guys what it does also is it helps cleave them together for survival and that's an important thing as a generation that's behind me coming up will now be cleaved together as brothers and so that's an important part of the process let them endure the suck together but especially if all of a sudden you can let's see Joe and John like Joe John was did not have this in order why did you fail John and not help him prepare for this Joe do push-ups and so John who was the one who did it wrong now I'll punish Joe because Joe didn't help John meet the standard and now I'll have John count push-ups for Joe and you can imagine if you were getting annihilated smoked because of something that your buddy did wrong and your buddies counting repetitions psychologically that's hard for people to it tore and dude so just no no no I'll do it outta my no you count him out it's your buddy that failed you he should have squared you away and helped you do this and so I'd have them uh have them do that also just doing fun games have attention to detail types if I had one kid who just couldn't uh couldn't keep up with stuff then just those little tiny details seeing in war combat centers those little fine details are what ends up costing people live so attention to details really really big deal I remember I fired one guy because he went out on a mission with us he was a young private I've given him chance after chance and he went out on a mission with us in Afghanistan and he was pulling security in a different area all night just kind of doing what is it that's what privates are good for in the initial part is and when you're in the break phase I don't care about your feelings private I don't care about your opinions really you're there to pull security where I tell you to and carry heavy things in my tab spec force or I can use the stuff that you've gotten but you're not really a great contributing part of the team you're still being built into something that can be useful so anyway I had him just pulling sectors of fun you know pulling security and different sectors of fire and at the end of the mission we're kind of downloading our stuff and he tipped his rifle up to put it down and I hear this little clink and I knew exactly what that was it meant he forgot to put his firing pin retaining pin that's the silly name that the military gives for a certain cotter pin the hose you're firing pin and then four and I heard it clink down which meant you forgot to put in that pin and that was the last straw that meant if he had had to engage somebody he didn't have a rifle that was going to work and so he risked everyone's life because of that no is unacceptable before that of kind of like the before that they reached that last straw and by the way I did so much paperwork on this guy I still know his full name and his full social security number I can quote it to you right now but anyway I remember just trying to help them learn how to have attention to detail he kept losing stuff so I had him tie his socks to his shoes and his shoes to his his pants Adam ties belts to his pants and then his pants to his shirt and he had to get real creatives but everything he owned and everything he wore at all times had to be tied down to something else and we got really good at knots too but just fun little games that you can play in uniform change games you know you're in garrison back in there wearing BDSM why a change in class age you got a minute and a half to go do that or something else like that no class age let me see that you got a two minutes and 15 seconds good you know and uh what you're doing is basically breaking them down mentally emotionally physically and it's a good edifying process yeah dudes need this as a part of being able to endure all kinds of mental suck one funny story I remember my very first day at range battalion and I had a whole room full of sergeants and you know tabs specforce and they're just kind of like hey who's the new guy let's see what he's made of and so the very first day we packed me for war and so the military has like a special nomenclature for everything and you're not given like a guidebook on what these things are you just show up and he's like all right leps level-4 go and I there's this big pile of stuff in front of me now I'm supposed to go through and find my lips level four and have no idea what this is but I know if I don't dive in and find it immediately before the specforce find it then I owe them push-ups once the sergeant's done smoking me and so it's just kind of like a mess so what do you do you just dive in the pile and you grab stuff and you're kind of like watching their face to play the hotter colder and then you pick something up and you're like did I get it and everything's quiet and then he looks at your like push-ups lavell and he never learned my name you called me Lavelle my name is Lovell John Lovell but anyway push-ups Lavelle and so I would do this who's like right next via 17 panel no can we dime back in the pile you have no idea you hold up like a cable back push off lavetta's my god awesome but the games you play and just how frustrating that old process can be breaks you down wears you down mentally and emotion and it's really important to be able to break someone down seems mean but it's the best thing you can do because you're trying to build something out now because we are moving into such a time of political correctness and sisyphic ation of our armed forces you can't really do what I'm saying as much I don't think hopefully you can at least in solve the but um what it ultimately do is not allow soldiers to be as hardened as they were in the past test and this will be devastating when we actually fight a foreign enemy that's ready to take us to task the second phase is the rebuild phase this is where we're not trying to but we've proven that they've got good character good work ethic they're strong emotionally mentally physically they're doing everything well good job now it's time to kind of ease up show them a little mutual respect and this should be a little bit calmer of a learning environment this should be punished reward if they're doing everything right lay off I'm not smoking them I'm not hazing them and they need to know that you actually are invested in them and you care about them as well this is really really important now in the initial days with a privative I want them to be more afraid of me than an enemy and that's how they'll prevail in combat because they're just what I say is law if I say sprint into that wall without question they'll run and sprint into the wall that's good but they don't you want to stay that way now I want to start making somebody who's being groomed to be part of a brotherhood part of a team with mutual respect and affection because it's my goal that one day that this young private I am growing up would give his life for me and if you keep them in that I'm going to haze you because I hate you stage he'll hate you too and then that's not being part of a nice efficient collective of warriors working together as one so being able to let them know that you have some type of affection in this area you should be teaching them everything this says hey how to PT how to fight how to do marriage in a military context with deployments and reintegration and all that stuff you should be teaching them how to do rest time and in garrison you should be teaching them finance stuff you want the holistic person because a part of a person doesn't go to war the whole person goes to war and somebody's marriage is on the rocks or something else like that you better believe that affects their performance as a member of a functioning combat ready team so you really need to help provide mentorship that's more holistic and they should start feeling your affection for them this really dawned on me um I was a team a squad leader at the time but I went out to a bar with the guys I wasn't a big drink or anything but it just kind of good Asprey de coeur take the guys out and whatnot they're not a bunch of privates a bunch of subordinates with me anyway and I remember I was talking to some military guy in a bar and I guess that my guys that were there with me just kind of watching me interact with this other sergeant or whatever he was he was from some different unit but they were watching they just didn't like the body language at the other guy and so as I'm talking to him this is so cool as I'm talking to him they start just kind of pushing a little bit in front of me and they're like staring him down and I'm kind of engaged in conversation so I don't realize what's happening at first until I'm kind of like boxed out of my own conversation they're like dude guys what are you doing here and I realized that they were protecting me and I thought that was awesome I could kill them all so I don't know either protect no I'm teasing but I'm not really teasing but anyway there they were protecting me I realized that my guys that I put through hell you know had a certain amount of affection for me and they knew I cared about them too and that's kind of like you don't talk about that in the middle are you are you kidding me but um it's absolutely true fear and anger can be good motivators love is going to be the best one and really it's a band of brothers that ends up taking you home and that's what that's what arrives the next thing after you've gone through the break them down phase you've done through the rebuilding phase now they're competent soldiers who are really in the area of they've been through all that they're trained they're good to go now you need to welcome them into a brotherhood they're an initiated brother now which means now it's mutual respect I mean to smoke a you know for a squad leader to smoke a fireteam leader would be wildly inappropriate to treat them like a private or something else like that they're not motivated they've done that and to do that would be very very disrespectful and kind of a breach of brotherhood even there's other ways that you start dealing with it now yeah at this point the initiated brother were all on first names and we're anticipating each other's actions and my big goal and I know that somebody's getting close to initiated brother and moving out of the rebuild phase when they no longer wait for me to command them to do anything they're anticipating my commands they're trying to guess what I might ask them to do next and beat me to the punch so I never do it and when were like room-clearing or doing something else like this this is where it starts feeling like this beautiful choreographed dance where you're just flowing silently you know where everyone's moving and going and it being part of that being part of a team like that is really something that's humbling and pretty special I still out of all the things that I miss from the military that's probably one of the most as being a part of a well-oiled machine where we're all anticipating and cueing off of each other everyone should be cross-training at this point initiated brothers when bullets fly and you forget about GI Bill and patriotism you're fighting for the guy next to you now in having that love that you would die for the guy beside you that's the ultimate goal in leadership so I wanted to craft a more holistic picture of some of the lessons I learned in military leadership because I didn't really have an end goal and because I didn't have an indigo a picture of what I was actually building soldiers for I didn't really have a good progression I had to figure it out and I think back on how much time I wasted when I was just kind of reacting and doing what guys had done to me before so hope this helps guys if you know somebody in the military or serving in any law enforcement unit or sports team or anything else like that share this with them it may help as always it's not good enough just to train hard trained smart see you next time we're your poets

Maurice Vega

27 Responses

  1. Son of a bitch didn't you were born without a beard you look like a little kid did you lie about your age to get in?

  2. 🚀Starship Troopers fans/ Veterans 🕷
    I re-did the audiobook 📚 w sound 🔊 💥 effects and voice acting! 🎤 8.5 hours. Please 🙏🏼listen 👂 and SHARE!!!
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  3. This is hilarious I love how blunt u are but should I be watching this… i feel like I’m cheating the system

  4. Love what you be done here. Retired 11B and I can tell you that I hate civilian life because after you come home you realize there's no structure anywhere. No brother hood and no concern for the person next to you. That's what's wrong with America now days. Keep preaching brother. God Bless you and yours.

  5. I wonder how much of that applies to civilian apprenticeship, which is by and large completely absent in the trades these days. I see some of the best project managers in construction are ex-military.

  6. What is the deep deep deep meening of a warrior?
    Is to kill people take over land and resorsis and giving it to his leaders and nation!

  7. John I am glad you said that there is a purpose to the hazing. As I learned as a fraternity member in college this was something that was often missed by many of the members…and what often caused someone to die. As a slightly older private with college under my belt when I arrived at 1st Battalion, my team leader proceeded to put me through exactly what you described. While doing pushups on the wall locker he explained to me exactly why he was doing this to me (he probably did not do this for all his privates), and how he thought every leader should work their way up from the bottom before they took the rains: a team leader, a squad leader, and then determine if they wanted to be a platoon sergeant or platoon leader. I respected him for this.

  8. I don't need to be fucking "broke down". I've always been ready to comitt violence and this needs to be understood CLEARLY!

  9. Pat Mac says something I really like, similar to "experience is something you receive shortly after you needed it"

  10. Off the wall question. At any time during that hardening process is the question ever brought up about a national disaster or other martial law scenario where soldiers may have to fight Americans in our own country? I for one have thought that most military person's would not attack US. But maybe after Katrina I hold precaution. Just a thought.

  11. IDK about you guys but I would never have any respect for a "leader" that just barks orders. In a team that is no You're going to do this, it's all about we're going to do this.

  12. John, this was so enlightening for me. I’m a newly promoted SGT, coming from forcecom to MEDCOM unit. My soldiers have a lot of problems with attention to detail, and keeping their military bearing. Thank you for some wonderful insight on how to best fix these junior enlisted of mine!

  13. Listening to you talking, and thinking about life and god. God is basicaly just a seargent, he loves you, but he will put you trough hell to build you up and build your love for your brothers.

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