The Fighting First Sergeant: Walter Pottle and World War II

Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with the saying, "Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them." This would generally seem to be the case, as while many may have heard of General Walter Krueger, commander of U.S. Sixth Army in the Pacific, very few have ever heard of Walter E. Pottle, the first sergeant for …

Drunken Disaster at Harper’s Ferry

On the morning of September 15, 1862, the fate of the Civil War was held in the hands of Union Brigadier General Dixon S. Miles. Those hands were probably shaking slightly that morning, although not from fear, but from the delirium tremens. You see, Miles was a drunk.  A graduate of West Point, Miles had not done his …

Remembering Pain: 9/11 and Collective Memory

Edited September 11, 2016. We were fifteen. The colors in the trees reflected summer, not autumn, although the air held a fall crispness. We were at home, which for us who were homeschooled, meant we were at school. We wanted the work to be done so that we could run off to read, or play computer …

History: The Overlooked Military Discipline

This article first appeared on Point of Decision, August 24, 2015. There are several governing metrics for unit commanders in the Army: physical fitness, marksmanship, and military education. Each Soldier is required to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test, qualify on their assigned weapon, and be trained and proficient in their military occupational specialty. These are the basic …

Remembering the Civil War: Or Forgetting It

April 9th marked the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender of his Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant’s combined Army of the Potomac and Army of the James.  This is fact that we can all agree on regarding the events at Appomattox Court House.  And that’s about it.  Southerners believe that Appomattox should …

On the Future of Army History: Still Lost in the Woods Looking for a Reflective Belt

I recently read a great article from Foreign Policy citing a lack of critical thinking skills on the part of U.S. Army officers, and it stated that a solution lay in a better groundwork in history. First off, anyone who's spent time working on staff at any level can agree to the lack of critical thinking. …