Best/worst commander

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Pima, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I thought I would start a thread for the cadets that will be going AD in a few short months of actual experience from members of types of commanders they will face. No names needed, just what they were like and how to approach the situation. As much as the cadets believe they have been taught leadership, many times theoretics doesn't match with reality. It might just assist them when they hit the ground!

    For me as a spouse, all I can say is that it is not uncommon for the golden boy/girl under 1 commander become a nothing under the new. The reason is simple, Commanders want to make it their own command, thus, just like corporate they make their own new inner circle. Everytime a new commander comes in just realize a new hand is being dealt at the table.

    As a spouse, I would say the best commander we ever had was Gen. Gould (new supe at the AFA). He was not a micro-manager and understood that the family was integral part of the military members life. When our DD broke his arm and it took almost 3 days to have it set, he called in Bullet to see if he needed any assistance within the military system.

    I'll leave the worst for Bullet. For me it was a deeply religious couple that openly inserted JC or G*d into every speech. I say this b/c Bullets mother is Jewish,(we are not) so when you hear JC, our Lord and Savior it can make people who do not believe in JC feel very uncomfortable. As a military member you defend the constitution which seperates Church and State. As a professional you drop off your personal beliefs at the door when you enter and pick them up when you leave. As a leader you need to lead everyone, that means being sensitive to the beliefs of those that you command inserting religious views does not assist in that function.
     
  2. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    As an NCO the farthest up I ever got in the chain of command for a commander was a Major in command of a detachment. Largest unit I was ever assigned to had about one hundred personnel Officer and enlisted. Don't know what the Officers and wives had to put up with we weren't allowed into those rarified atmospheres. No Commander I remember ever brought personal feelings, issues or religion into Commanders Call. The best of the best were totally dedicated to the mission and made everyone in the detachment aware of our role in the great scheme of things. We were a small cog but we contributed to a big job and the best Commanders let you know it.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The worst commander I ever had was easy. All politics and no concern for the men and women. (Just my opinion)

    The best; would be a tie. Colonel Andy Anderson (Academy Grad) and Lt. Colonel Mary Brown. (OTS). 2 of the best officers the Air Force ever had. People persons. They knew how to be strict, fair, and respectful. They showed the same personal respect for an O-5 as they did for an E-1. And to me, it's your people skills that ultimately make you a good officer. I don't care how well you think you do your job, the military is a team. That's why we're the best. But even though every team has to have a leader/coach; that leader/coach has to understand their team and realize that they are integral in getting the mission accomplished. later... mike.....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2009
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    "The Screamers"

    While on active duty I worked, at different times in my career, for two senior officers, both flags, who were "screamers." They loved to make people squirm in meetings, especially those who wilted under the pressure. I learned to take it on the chin, say "yes, sir, admiral, will do and report back to COS," completely calmly. All the while, I took internal notes that I would NEVER be personally abusive to anyone who worked for me, shoot the messenger, etc., should I have the opportunity to increase in rank, power and earn command.

    For the up-and-comers in the pre-comm population, there are ways to express disappointment in performance results and still get a strong message across during the recalibration, without dripping acid in verbal lacerations. The Academy experience has some variations on that, but once you are an officer, your toolkit becomes more varied.

    One of those officers liked to call people names. He was fond of calling me "Missy" (I was a LCDR, an O-4) and other sexist terms. Although I contemplated filing a formal complaint (one had to pick one's battles carefully back in the day), I didn't --- because he was an equal opportunity name-caller, calling male captains and commanders "p...wood," "a..hole," and so on.

    Oddly enough, the fact that I worked for these two particular people AND got #1 performance rankings and superb fitness reports AND survived without being fired for a complete tour of duty, did more for my professional reputation and post-military networking than any one bullet on my formal written resume. In a weird way, I'm grateful, because I experienced first-hand leadership-by-terror and learned a valuable lesson.

    There was one more flag officer, not a screamer, who could not admit he was wrong. Ever. Even in private discussion with his most senior staff. Would set his course and stick with it no matter the cost. So stiff-necked we weren't sure he could pronounce the words I, wrong and sorry in the same sentence. Cost him his 2nd star. Another good negative example of what not to do.

    Best CO's... happily, that's hard, because I was fortunate to have learned from so many good ones, some spectacularly so. One is CNO right now. Always calm, excellent communicator, fair-minded, open to discussion but decisive, able to prioritize, a natural leader with a good sense of humor who ensured the people who worked for him felt valued.
     
  5. TacticalNuke

    TacticalNuke Administrator

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    Please do not mention names of officers who you thought were your "worst commander". Any such references in this thread have been deleted.

    Thank you.

    -TN
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Thanks TN; My bad.
     

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