He started off by setting up a battle map and going over the Squadron plans and reiterated Eagle Troop’s role in it. Next, he reminded us that we would succeed because we had superior equipment, we were well trained at both the individual and unit level, and—he emphasized—because we were elite cavalrymen, we were the ones sent into frenzied, uncertain situations bring a sense of order to the chaos to set up follow-on forces for success.
Finally, he said, there was one overriding factor that would mark the difference between success and failure on the battlefield. “Leadership,” he bellowed. “Rommel—who was the commander of the entire German Army in Africa—led from the front. Gentlemen, our men deserve nothing less. There is no substitute for leading this way. I will be up front and I expect you to be there as well!” Days later we saw first-hand the chaos and unpredictability of war—and we witnessed Macgregor and McMaster both living out every word of their combat gospel: at the front, under enemy fire, and in charge!
Daniel L. Davis is a widely published analyst on national security and foreign policy. He retired as a Lt. Col. after twenty-one years in the U.S. Army, including four combat deployments, and is a Foreign Policy Fellow for Defense Priorities and a member of the Center for Defense Information's Military Advisory Board. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.
This article is being republished due to reader interest.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.