Journal: Col Danny R. McKnight, USA (Ret) on Leadership

05 Civil War, 10 Security, Ethics, Leadership, Military
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With a tip of the hat to Marcus Aurelius, who flagged this, we have loaded an original document summarizing the lessons learned on leadership from the “Black Hawk Down” engagement (19 hours of intense combat) and list the highlights below.  Click below for the full document (5 pages).



White House gutted the mission before it started by limiting the force to 450 instead of the normal 600, meaning they went in with 25% less ORGANIC strength and skills than they trained with.

White House gutten the mission before it started by forbidding AC-130 Gun Ships, the absolute core air fire support element of all Ranger missions.


The relative success of the mission was decided at the Platoon Sergeant level, before they ever left fort Bragg.  The quality of all the officers across candidate units being more or less equal, it was the one unit with Platoon Sergeants who had actually been in the shit (Panama) that was selected.  There is no substitute for combat experience.

Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment:

No one in the chain of command objected.  This is an object lesson in the broader meaning of integrity.  It's not just about honor and it most certainly is not about loyalty.  It is about having the moral courage to understand that letting the White House make two well-intentioned by ignorant decisions like that without adamant objection is to betray the public trust and the trust of the Rangers whose chances of success were just cut by 50%–a qaurter of their force and all of their air support.

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