Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Animal Care
     None  Antiques & Collectibles
     None  Art Galleries
     None  Attorney - Lawyer
     None  Auction
     None  Auto
     None  Aviation
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Beauty Salon
     None  Campground
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chamber of Commerce
     None  Child Care
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Computer Services
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Duct Cleaning
     None  Electric utility
     None  Equine Services
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Feed Stores
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Financial Services
     None  Fireplace Sales/Service
     None  Flooring
     None  Food Products
     None  Foundation Repair
     None  Funeral Home
     None  Garage Doors
     None  General Contractor
     None  Health Care Facilities and Services
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  Heavy Equipment Rental
     None  Heavy Equipment Sales
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Jeweler
     None  Knitting and Sewing
     None  Liquor Stores
     None  Mortgage
     None  Orthodontist
     None  Painting - Interior/Exterior
     None  Pet Grooming
     None  Pet Sitter
     None  Plumbing
     None  Pole Barns
     None  Portable Buildings
     None  Propane
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Schools
     None  Senior Citizen's Services
     None  Senior Citizens Services
     None  Septic Services
     None  Sheds, Outbuildings
     None  Shipping Services
     None  Specialty/Gifts
     None  Tires
     None  Trash Service
     None  Upholstery
     None  Veterinarian
     None  Web Design
     None  Welding
     None  Windows and Doors
     None  Windshield Repair

"New Year’s Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive."
– Jay Leno  
Contact Us | Advertise | Classified Ad | News Stands | Subscribe  

  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 1 January 2021  

None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?   None FFPD News  
None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness   None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business  
None News From D 49   None People on the Plains   None Pet Adoption Corner   None Pet Care  
None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors   None Wildlife Matters  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
  “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead”
  By Robin Widmar

   On Nov. 10, the United States Marine Corps celebrates its 244th birthday. It seemed appropriate, then, to review a book written by a Marine.
   Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis began writing his book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” long before he was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense. Although Mattis only served 712 days in that role, anyone who expects a juicy political insider’s tell-all tale will be disappointed, because Mattis isn’t talking. He states in his prologue, “I don’t write about sitting Presidents.”
   But that’s not the point of his story, anyway. “Call Sign Chaos” is a combination of memoir, leadership tutorial and military history from the perspective of someone with four decades as a Marine. “My purpose in writing this book is to convey the lessons I learned for those who might benefit, whether in the military or in civilian life,” Mattis explains. Much of the book focuses on his experiences in the Middle East (including Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom I and II) and the different leadership challenges he faced with every assignment.
   Mattis begins by briefly describing his upbringing. His parents believed the world was “not to be feared, but explored,” and he spent time in his youth doing just that. He got into a bit of trouble along the way, but he learned some key philosophies (“You don’t always control your circumstances, but you can always control your response” and “You make mistakes, or life knocks you down; either way, you get up and get on with it”) that would help shape his military career.
   Although he says he did not enjoy college academia, Mattis nonetheless became a lifelong student of history, military operations and leadership. He shares how every phase of his career –- from leading units in combat to overseeing recruitment, working at the Pentagon and commanding the United States Central Command –- provided opportunities to learn from, and be mentored by, people with real-world military and political experience.
   He also voraciously read to learn from great leaders of the past. His narrative is peppered with references to, and quotes from, a wide array of historical figures, ranging from Marcus Aurelius and Sun Tzu to Albert Einstein and Henry Kissinger. Mattis also required his Marines to read in order to further their own knowledge. “Reading is an honor and a gift from a warrior or historian who –- a decade or a thousand decades ago — set aside time to write,” he says. “We have been fighting on this planet for ten thousand years; it would be idiotic and unethical to not take advantage of such accumulated experiences.”
   One thing that comes through in this book is his deep devotion to the Marines he led. Feeling that it was important to never lose touch with those under his command, Mattis regularly visited troops on the front lines. In Iraq, he describes driving hundreds of miles a week to meet with his Marines. “Nothing was more important to me than maintaining the fighting spirit of our troops and their confidence in their leaders on the battlefield,” he says. “By dropping in and getting face-to-face with the grunts, I could get a feel for what the squads were thinking, what frustrated them. Was there anything I could do spiritually or physically to help?” In return, the troops rewarded Mattis with a fierce loyalty. It is clear that Mattis enjoyed each promotion or new position of responsibility just a little less because it took him another step further away from knowing those he led.
   For all of his skills and accomplishments, Mattis also made mistakes along his journey. He acknowledges those errors but does not dwell on them, choosing instead to view them as part of the learning process. “… Be honest and move on, smarter for what your mistake taught you.”
   Mattis does not shy away from frustration over mistakes he felt were made by others in the Middle East conflicts, although his disapproval is professionally stated. One sore spot involved interference in military operations by U.S. diplomatic and political officials in places such as Fallujah, Iraq. “American policymakers were still restricting necessary tactical actions,” he says. He carried out his orders, though, because “Loyalty to your troops, to your superiors, and to your oath to obey orders from civilian authority matters most, even when there are a hundred reasons to disagree.”
   “Call Sign Chaos,” co-written by fellow Marine Bing West, is not for everyone, but it is an interesting and engaging read, packed with insights and nuggets of hard-earned wisdom. The writing style is, like Mattis, direct and efficient. The book includes some of the correspondence he sent to his Marines, maps and a reading list he assembled for a colleague.
   Mattis calls himself “politically independent, guided by history’s lessons and strategic imperatives,” and notes that he has served under presidents from both parties. Following the full text of his resignation letter for the Secretary of Defense position, however, Mattis provides a brief opinion into the divisiveness currently plaguing our country. “I believe we can get over our current malaise of tribalism,” he says. “For the sake of future generations, let us keep the faith.” He closes with the motto adopted by America’s forefathers: “E pluribus unum," which translates to “out of many, one.”
Facebook print this page      

  © 2004-2021 The New Falcon Herald. All rights reserved. About Us | Contact Us | Advertise | News Stands | Privacy Policy