We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


Do harsh environments produce strength?

When you visit a vineyard, especially in France, one of the shocking things is often how difficult and unforgiving the soil appears. Often, rocky, sloped hillsides that drain water like a sieve, lying exposed to the sun produce the grapes and, thus, the wines of greatest character. In Bordeaux, the sweet wines are the product of what winemakers call “noble rot”. In difficult environments, the skilled winemaker makes magnificent wines.

I recently attended the US Naval Institute’s Honors Night, at which it honors authors of articles and books published by the Naval Institute. I believe that it was in VADM Daley’s remarks that mention was made of the current fiscal situation and looming belt-tightening in the Navy. As I sat, I thought about the recent talk Dr. David Ulbrich gave in the Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series up in Carlisle (you can watch it), which is based on his book on Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the Marine Corps in the lead up to WWII. Lean times in the Marine Corps, yet the source of many of the ideas that formed the framework of the wartime Marine Corps.

I think about Marine boot camp. It is not by gentle guidance that they turn civilians into Marines. It is by forcing them through the crucible that they produce a finely-honed blade.

So, while the money may be tight, I have faith that our military will dispense with nonsense and trivia, concentrate mental effort on the mission and produce the leaders and the guidelines that we will need moving forward.

Of course, it ain’t gonna be easy, but if anyone told you life was going to be easy, they were lying.

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