Leadership Lessons from Dwight D. Eisenhower #1: How to Build and Sustain Morale

by Brett & Kate McKay on May 22, 2012 · 47 comments

in A Man's Life

Dwight D. Eisenhower had unarguably one of the longest and most taxing leadership roles in American history. For two decades, the lives of thousands, sometimes millions, of people and the fate of great nations hung on his decisions.

As Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower oversaw the greatest amphibious assault in history, organizing the largest air and sea armadas ever assembled and commanding 160,000 men in the momentous Operation Overlord.

After the success of that mission helped bring the war to a close, Eisenhower dreamed of going home to a happy and peaceful retirement. Instead, he went on to serve in five more globally pivotal positions: Head of the American Occupation Zone in Germany, Chief of Staff, president of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO, and President of the United States of America.

In each position, Eisenhower achieved great successes and also made mistakes. But whether he was navigating setbacks or achieving triumphs, he led. A self-described “simple Kansas farm boy,” his humor and congeniality—along with that famous lopsided grin—hid a keen and curious mind, an unyielding work ethic, and an ironclad sense of self-confidence. That confidence allowed him to stand tall with the weight of the world on his shoulders and boldly make critical decisions. The word his associates most often used to describe him was trust; people trusted Ike to make the right choices and shoot straight with them. His dedication to principle and his bounding vitality could inspire people to lofty visions, while his aw-shucks humility created a feeling of friendship and intimacy even with those he had never met. These qualities and more won him the affection, loyalty, and admiration of those who served both under him and over him.

“Morale is born of loyalty, patriotism, discipline, and efficiency, all of which breed confidence in self and in comrades…Morale is at one and the same time the strongest, and the most delicate of growths. It withstands shocks, even disasters of the battlefield, but can be destroyed utterly by favoritism, neglect, or injustice.” -DE

Truly, there is much to be learned from the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and so every other week for the next couple months, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the many rock-solid leadership lessons that can be gleaned from his life, particularly his time in the military. While the rest of the articles in the series will be shorter, today we begin with a lengthier exploration of what was perhaps the cornerstone of Eisenhower’s success as a leader: his ability to build and sustain the morale of those under his command. Eisenhower worked his men hard each day, taught them not to cut corners, and pushed them to always do their best. At the same time, he listened to them, inspired them with his own example, and cared for them like a father.

Whether you’re a student body president, a corporate manager, or a coach, these principles will hopefully help you better inspire and bring out the best in those for whom you are responsible.

See and Care for Your Men as Individuals

“You must know every single one of your men. It is not enough that you are the best soldier in that unit, that you are the strongest, the toughest, the most durable, the best equipped, technically—you must be their leader, their father, their mentor, even if you’re half their age. You must understand their problems. You must keep them out of trouble; if they get in trouble, you must be the one who goes to their rescue. That cultivation of human understanding between you and your men is the one part that you must yet master, and you must master it quickly.” –Eisenhower in a speech to the graduating cadets at the Royal British Military Academy, 1944

Eisenhower loved life and he loved people. He believed in the latter’s strengths and was very sympathetic to their failings. Whether he was training a small unit or commanding thousands, he never saw the men as numbers, as push-pins to be moved across a map; rather, he always remembered that each man was an individual with hopes and aspirations of his own, with a family back home that loved him more than anything else in the world.

“I adopted a policy of circulating through the whole force to the full limit imposed by my physical considerations. I did my best to meet everyone from the general to private with a smile, a pat on the back and definite interest in his problems.”

In order to keep this remembrance at the forefront of his mind, whenever he could Ike would slip away from his desk and the big shots who paraded through his office and make his way out to the front lines to meet with the men on the ground. He had a highly developed listening ability, and wherever he went he asked questions. He welcomed complaints, and if it was in his power, he worked to improve the situation. The men enjoyed meeting with the general, and Eisenhower always found himself rejuvenated by these conversations. “I belonged with the troops, he said. “With them I was always happy.”

In the months before D-Day, Eisenhower made these visits to the troops an even higher priority. He understood that once he issued the order for Operation Overlord to begin, he himself would become powerless; the success of the mission rested with the men who were storming the beaches of Normandy. If they bravely struggled through the Germans’ withering fire, the Allies’ aims would be achieved; if they cowered in the sand, the enemy would triumph. The level of the troops’ motivation could turn the tide.

And so, as June 6 approached, Eisenhower went out to meet as many of his men as possible, visiting 26 divisions, 24 airfields, 5 ships, and a dozen other military installations. He wanted as many of his sailors, airmen, and soldiers to see the man who would be sending them into battle as possible, and to personally speak with as many of his men as he could. When he arrived at a camp or airfield, he’d ask the men to break rank and circle around him. Then he’d offer some encouraging words, shake their hands, and talk to the men one-on-one. Eisenhower did not ask them just about their weapons or training as most generals did, but instead where they were from, what they hoped to do when they got home, and what life was like back in their home states.

Because Eisenhower was unwilling to let himself slip into seeing the men under his command as a faceless mass, their deaths pained him greatly. Some experts had estimated that the causalities of Operation Overlord could reach as high as 70%, and he could envision the news of those casualties reaching each man’s mother, father, wife. In the hours before D-Day was to begin, he was busy doing the job he thought most important to Overlord’s success: once again meeting with his men. He talked with and shook the hands of the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne, and then stood on the roof of the nearby headquarters to salute each plane as it took off en route to France. As the planes soared into the night sky, he thought of the dangers these brave men would soon be facing, and tears filled his eyes

The genuine tenderness Eisenhower felt for his men, and his acknowledgement of the very real, individual repercussions his decisions would cause, greatly increased his anxiety and the burden of his responsibilities. But while it wearied him, it also fueled the excellence of his leadership and the success of his command. Ike was the kind of commander both the men themselves, and their families, hoped they’d serve under. They knew that Eisenhower would not make a decision to send his men into battle if he had not thought long and hard about it and believed the action was absolutely necessary—that he would not play fast and loose with their lives, deciding their fate from inside an ivory tower.

A Leader Must Always Be Optimistic

Eisenhower was not only wearied by having to make decisions that would affect the lives of thousands of men—not to mention the fate of great nations—but also by the many logistical and political problems he had to grapple with every day in running a war. For a decade he worked 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week, keeping himself going with 4 packs of cigarettes and cup after cup of coffee each day. Very soon into that grinding schedule, Eisenhower “realized how inexorably and inescapably strain and tension wear away at the leader’s endurance, his judgment and his own confidence.” “The pressure becomes more acute,” he added, “because of the duty of a staff to present to the commander the worst side of an eventuality.”

But Eisenhower was committed to never revealing the strain he felt to others. Instead, he firmly believed it was necessary for a commander to “preserve optimism in himself and in his command.” “Without confidence, enthusiasm, and optimism in the command,” Eisenhower argued, “victory would scarcely be obtainable.”

“I have developed almost an obsession as to the certainty with which you can judge a division, or any large unit, merely by knowing its commander intimately. Of course, we have had pounded into us all through our school courses that the exact level of a commander’s personality and ability is always reflected in his unit—but I did not realize, until opportunity came for comparisons on a rather large scale, how infallibly the commander and unit are almost one and the same thing.

Eisenhower saw two powerful benefits to being a consistently optimistic leader. First, he was a big believer in the “act-to-become” principle; by acting hopeful around others, the “habit tends to minimize potentialities within the individual himself to become demoralized.” Second, it “has an extraordinary effect upon all with whom he comes in contact.” Reflecting on these benefits brought Eisenhower to a “clear realization:”

“I firmly determined that my mannerisms and speech in public would always reflect the cheerful certainty of victory—that any pessimism and discouragement I might ever feel would be reserved for my pillow.”

Never Esteem or Place Yourself Too Highly Above Your Men—on Whom You Rely

“In a war such as this, when high command invariably involves a president, a prime minister, six chiefs of staff, and a horde of lesser ‘planners,’ there has got to be a lot of patience—no one person can be a Napoleon or a Caesar.”

While Eisenhower was the one man during the war who might have been tempted to put on Napoleon-esque airs, that was far from his style. He saw the whole undertaking as a team effort in which each person, from the lowly private to the Prime Minister, had a vital and indispensable role to play. His job was simply to fit the many disparate parts into one effective whole. It was a heavy job, but he did not feel it made him special. Eisenhower was a man of modesty and humility who hated being singled out for praise and loved to sincerely put the credit on others. It was “GI Joe,” who won the war, he said, not him.

Eisenhower believed that one of the things that destroyed morale was complaints of unfairness or injustice among the men—feelings that could be engendered by seeing that their leader did not give them enough credit and took too many privileges for himself.

“Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends.”

When Eisenhower was stationed in Italy, he took a cruise around the Isle of Capri with some colleagues. When they passed a large villa, he inquired as to whose it was. “Yours, sir,” someone answered. “And that?” Eisenhower asked, pointing to another stately villa. “That one belongs to General Spaatz,” was the answer. Eisenhower exploded: “Damn it, that’s not my villa! And that’s not General Spaatz’s villa! None of those will belong to any general as long as I’m Boss around here. This is supposed to be a rest center—for combat men—not a playground for the Brass!”

These kinds of stories always got back to the troops, and helped win Eisenhower their affection and loyalty.

Keep Your Men Up and Doing

In 1918, during WWI, Eisenhower was assigned to run Camp Colt in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with orders to “take in volunteers, equip, organize, and instruct them and have them ready for overseas shipment when called upon.” Because the men would go directly from the camp to a port to be shipped to the trenches of Europe, Eisenhower was “warned that no excuses for deficiencies in their records or equipment would be accepted;” when they left camp, the men had to be ready for battle.

The men were to be part of the newly-formed Tank Corps, and Eisenhower thought he’d get one group ready for a month, they’d ship out, and then a new group would arrive. But when the government put a temporary halt on shipping out any units except for infantry and machine gun battalions, none of the men at Camp Colt were called up, while new volunteers kept coming in. The number of men at the camp soon swelled to over 10,000, and Eisenhower worried about what all the waiting around would do to the men:

“Once they were competent in basic drill, they would have little to do. With time hanging heavy on the recruits’ hands we could be sure of one thing: morale would deteriorate quickly. I began to look around for a way to instruct the men in skills that would be valuable in combat and prevent the dry rot of tedious idleness.”

So without any orders from Washington, Eisenhower set up a telegraphy and motor school and obtained small caliber cannons on which to train his soldiers. He also got ahold of some machine guns and made the men get so familiar with them they could fire the guns from the back of a moving vehicle and could take the weapon apart and put it back together while blindfolded.

Later, although the brass had told him that the Tank Corps in Europe would have no need for men with training in telegraphy, the War Department requested 64 men with that skill; Eisenhower was ready to furnish them.

Give Your Men the Why Behind What You Ask Them to Do

Because Eisenhower made such frequent trips to the battlefront, he knew the challenging conditions his men were living and fighting under. And he knew that while duty and discipline were essential in keeping the men going, such things alone were insufficient in maintaining morale. There must also be a “deep-seated conviction in every individual’s mind that he is fighting for a cause worthy of any sacrifice he may make,” Eisenhower argued. In other words, the men needed to know the why behind their orders.

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.”

Eisenhower strongly believed that “In this war, more than any other in history, I think that we find the forces of evil arranged against those of decency and respect for human kind…We are on the side of decency, and democracy, and liberty.” And he asked his commanders to express this conviction to their men, to impress upon each individual soldier the idea that:

“The privileged life he has led is under direct threat. His right to speak his own mind, to engage in any profession of his own choosing, to belong to any religious denomination, to live in any locality where he can support himself and his family, and to be sure of fair treatment when he might be accused of any crime—all these would disappear if the forces opposed to us should, through carelessness or overconfidence on our part, succeed in winning this war.”

You can see Eisenhower’s desire to only give his men orders, but the why behind their duty in the opening paragraph for his Order of the Day for June 6, 1944:

Leadership Lessons from Dwight D. Eisenhower Series:
How to Build and Sustain Morale
How to Not Let Anger and Criticism Get the Best of You
How to Make an Important Decision
Always Ready



Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen E. Ambrose

At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends by Dwight D. Eisenhower

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robert Palmar May 22, 2012 at 1:16 am

Eisenhower was the greatest American of the Twentieth Century
and one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world.
His design and execution of the D-Day invasion is
beyond legendary and simply astonishing.

Eisenhower was a man’s man in every sense of the term
and studying his wisdom on leadership is a study on
how to be a man and the best man you can be.

2 Pete May 22, 2012 at 2:24 am

Jesus, that was amazing. This is the sort of stuff I joined the army for. As my contract draws to a close all I can say is I wish I had known just a couple of senior NCOs/officers like Eisenhower, it would have made my experience vastly different.

3 Michael May 22, 2012 at 3:26 am

I love articles like this. The ones that teach, with the examples of men who became great, how each of us can be similarly great.

4 Mike May 22, 2012 at 3:26 am

Pete, I agree that this a well written article and showed what a great man DE was. I am a soider stationed in Afghanistan right now. I believe not only is there a generation gap, but a lack of leadership understanding in our higher of our military today. There is more to leadership than sitting behind a desk.

5 Paul May 22, 2012 at 7:10 am

I really enjoyed how this article emphasized some points about leadership that I have learned over the years. I was working a job a few weeks ago as Craft Service (the guys who feed the cast and crew on a film set), and there were several things I noticed between me and some of the bosses I had. Though I was key (head) crafty, I had learned earlier in life that my rank doesn’t exceed my humanity: I’m not better than anyone else. I was able to utilize some of the skills that President Eisenhower utilized successfully to those above and below him. Some of my bosses, however, including the one I answered to the most, did not. The 2 men under me did what he told them to do simply as a matter of him having authority. They did what I asked as a matter of respect. While me and my bosses did butt heads, I tried to respect their position. I know that they were bosses for a reason, but I did not think of many of them as good leaders. These skills are important, no matter what kind of position you are working in. Use these skiills, and things will run smoother. This post is in honor of the 2 that worked under me. We were 3 men who were thrown into a difficult position with little training and no experience. Without them, I would not have made it through. And also, this is in honor of my Pop, who taught me how to be a good leader! Thanks, Pop!

6 Paul May 22, 2012 at 7:14 am

Another thing about this article that I liked was that it also spoke about what I call the “Captain vs the Coach” mentality. In many sports, the Coach can make a call for a play or plan of action, as well he should. But, at times, the Captain of the team may realize something that the Coach does not simply because he is in the game. The Captain is experiencing the same fatigue, stress, and realization of the other team that the Coach is only seeing from a distance. In critical matters, a Captain may actually have more authority over the team than the Coach may. Eisenhower, though he had the rank of a Coach, he had the mentality of the Captain. That is why he was, and is still today, so respected. Thanks for posting this article for us to read!

7 Travis May 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

That does it, I must learn more about Eisenhower.
Great Post AOM, ” Keep’em Flying! “

8 David Y May 22, 2012 at 7:35 am

Thanks Brett & Kate.

Ike is under-appreciated as a leader today. Even many who were around when he was President think he did not do much. Things just happened to work out well. But, by putting his troops during the war and the country during his presidency ahead of himself, he quietly lead to do great things.

9 Brady May 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

This is great. I wish we could get all of AoM in book form. This is one I would highlight and bookmark. Great article.

10 Doug May 22, 2012 at 8:24 am

This could not have come at a better time. I will vehemently utilize this when leading the incoming freshmen at our school’s boot camp next year. Thank you Brett and Kate!

11 Jarie Bolander May 22, 2012 at 8:43 am

The story I like best about Ike was during D-day when all the planes were streaming overhead and he saluted each one as tears streamed down his face. The burden of knowing that some would not come home must have been overwhelming.

I really appreciate his “Never Esteem or Place Yourself Too Highly Above Your Men—on Whom You Rely.” attitude. That’s really the key to his success and that of Bradley. Most leaders today just don’t get that.

12 Rob Dyson May 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

What this article makes me think about – especially with an election day going on around here, and with the elections coming up in the Fall – is how far we’ve gotten from greatness. Brave and valiant men fought and died for the ideals of this country. What are those ideals now? Are we, and our elected officials worthy of the commitment and sacrifice of our forefathers? Are we carrying the torch?

13 Brandon May 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

I have been trying to build my ‘Invisible Council’ and articles like this help point me in the direction of possible additions. Please keep it up, and I would love to see your take on other great examples.

14 Greg May 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

If any of you are ever driving on I-70 across Kansas you can stop in Abilene at the Ike museum. It covers his life in Abilene up through his presidency. It is a great stop and worth your time. I live in Abilene and I have been there several times.

15 James May 22, 2012 at 10:17 am

“Optimism and pessimism are infectious…”

Never have more true words been spoken. This reminds me of a quote from the movie “Remember the Titans”, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain”.

An organization, of any type, simply cannot be successful under a cloud of negativity. The most successful leaders in history (whether right or wrong in their quests) always believed with 100% of their heart that victory would be theirs. That attitude, as you mentioned with the troops, truly does become infectious. On the other hand, you have the “leaders” (and in this context, it’s important to note how I wrote that) who seem to be miserable, or feel the need to demonstrate their title unjustly. These are the organizations which ultimately fail, not always through poor decision making, but poor people management.

I am greatly looking forward to the remaining follow ups, as it sounds as if you have a ton of inspiration behind this series.

16 AverageJoe May 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

A great read. The “act until you become” advice reminds me of Tony Robbins: Change your state to change your attitude and energy.

17 Cam May 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

I can’t begin to describe how amazing it was reading this post. I have long been a fan of Ike. I don’t think people today truly realize how incredible our presidents were between FDR-JFK. These men led us through some of the most turbulent (yet historically fascinating) times in world history. Kudos to Brett and Kate for posting this. Men like Ike have unfortunately become an exception in society today rather than the norm. I very much hope that trend is reversed in the future.

18 Andy May 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for the Article AoM and Brett & Kate.
This is a fine article indeed. This dovetailed well with the article about Patton a few months back. I am looking forward to the next installment. I love learning about these means lives and how to emulate them. Leadership, in some ways, has become a lost art. An art I would like to polish and teach by example in my circles of influence.

Thanks again!

19 Helen May 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Great article! I thought when my family lived in Washington DC, we saw Eisenhower’s inauguration, but I couldn’t find anything about it in Grandpa’s history.

20 The Masculinity University May 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Great article. Give them a why. Why should anyone do what you want them to do? People are lead and will die for a strong why.

21 Jim May 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Exceptional leaders lead from the front and are willing to do more than they ask of those who serve under them. This concept was shown in the “Band of Brothers” series when the actor who played Dick Winters ended his combat orders in the field with “Follow me.” Whether the dialog was true to life or not, it was this attitude and devotion to the ordinary trooper that endeared Winters and Eisenhower to those under their command and made them the great leaders that they were.

22 Turling May 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm

“I did not realize, until opportunity came for comparisons on a rather large scale, how infallibly the commander and unit are almost one and the same thing.“

I am a firm believer that the makeup of a Company takes on the personality of its owner/leader. If your owner is screaming, employees will scream at each other. If he’s a pessimist, the employees will be pessimists and so on. I’ve seen this at every job I’ve ever had.

23 Matthew May 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Long time listener, first time caller here. Thank you for another great article. I’ve read your blog for a couple years now and I have been very inspired. I link to your site often in my own blog, including in today’s post inspired by this article. Thank you again for all you do.

24 Andres May 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Eisenhower was a man’s man in every sense!!

25 Amjad May 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

Awesome article.

26 valon May 23, 2012 at 11:45 am

Great Article, was not very familiar with Eisenhower but kept hearing of his doings. Definitely looking forward to followup writings.

27 Chase M. May 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

This helps to prove it does not take someone who believes themselves extraordinary to achieve extraordinary things. Eisenhower was a humble, modest man how simply did what he had to do and ended up saving the world. Very inspirational, these are the sort of articles that make me think about what I am doing in life, and how I can strive to be one day counted among great men.

28 R J Vincent May 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

If anyone wants to know how to lead, read up on Dwight D. Eisenhower. I’ve read about his leadership in WW 2 and I’m amazed at how he was able to pull it off, given the difficulty of the situation and some of the egos he had to deal with (Patton & Montgomery come to mind).

29 minuteman May 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I agree that Ike was a great leader, but as an ex army officer I don’t believe that you can become a great leader by study, as he says in one of the quotes above. Study certainly improves the skills of people with the leadership personality, but I don’t believe you can take someone who is not the right personality type and make them a leader through training. I have seen this many times with my brother officers and NCOs.

30 RSWEAR May 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government….He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces.

It is yet to be addressed….

31 Austin Lehman Adventures May 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Great article. I loved that you were able to take out quotes and lessons that could be applied to any job leadership position, rather than just focusing on military concepts. I feel that most jobs, the upper level management doesn’t have time to care about their employees…If they took a moment to meet them, they could probably solve a lot of workplace issues and lower turnover!!

32 Jon May 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Good lessons in here. I’m really hoping for follow-up lessons from the life of General Douglas MacArthur after this series is done…

33 Jim May 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I passed this on to a member of our School Board to pass on from there. This is an example of true leadership wheather your in the Military or Business or even in an Educational setting. This is rare these days. I am lucky to have been both in a position of leadership and used this same style and been in a position where I wish my boss had this style. I am blessed now to work for a company that follows some of these principles.

34 Rob Flax May 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Once again, fantastic post. Great inspiration.

35 jsallison May 26, 2012 at 12:21 am

Okay, Pete. It appears that you’ve been exposed to what R Lee Ermey would describe as Jackwagons. Do not take counsel of your fears. Do not expect your current leadership to live up to the past. Hell, when I was in 2AD Patton’s son was the CG, so what. In my 20 years in the Cavalry (okay 18+ years out of 20, so there) the further away from my span of control my leadership was, the more pessimistic I was about their consideration of my current situation, with good reason.

You are a resource to be expended at need. The question is, do you trust them to make that call? In general, except for the Carter years I trusted my chain of command to make that call. Although BillyJeff, the absolutely dumbass arkansas cracker is damn lucky nothing blew up in his face…

If you don’t have that trust, get out, now, today. As soon as you legally can.

Being in the American military it is *all* about trust. Which certain parties in this country are working overtime to destroy both in the military and civilian spheres.

36 Justin May 26, 2012 at 1:49 am

Loved this article. The print button at the bottom of the article goes to a 404 page, but the one on the side of the page works.

37 Lacy de la Garza May 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I am floored not only by his conviction, but by his inability to do anything but act on it.

What a rare quality these days, in anyone. May God grant rest to his soul.

38 Pat Ryan May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Eisenhower was a great leader. It would be interesting to see where his moral compass would point him in this day and age where the ideals and aims of the military he knew and helped shape have been degraded and corrupted. His leadership would probably manifest itself in a very different way today.

39 Georgiaboy61 June 1, 2012 at 3:43 am

Dwight Eisenhower – unlike his contemporaries such as Patton and MacArthur – did not see combat in WWI, and regretted this lack deeply. However, he turned his misfortunate to an advantage by becoming a different kind of officer during the war – a coalition builder and leader of leaders.
No less than Winston Churchill said that if it hadn’t been for Ike’s leadership, the Anglo-American coalition to defeat Hitler might not have survived the difficulties it faced. As CIC, Ike made mistakes – his complete trust in the CIA proved disastrous at times – but his leadership in the 1950s marked a decade many people now remember fondly. He was a much more effective and wise leader than he is today given credit for. We could his like again.

40 Jeff June 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

Great article! I’m not in the military, but am a manager for a local non-profit. I will definitely be taking notes from this series! Thank you!

41 Chapman June 5, 2012 at 12:32 am

I am a cadet at Texas A&M University and will be commissioned as a 2nd Lietenant in the Army in about a year, so these articles about DE have been invaluable! I’m learning as much as I can about leadership in order to be a good officer, so keep’em coming.

42 mah-10 June 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

It is interesting the Eisenhower is so revered as a great leader, which he undoubtedly was. However, if you look over his career, he was never assigned a leadership position in a line unit. I know the whole blessed army was a combat unit but he was always in an administrative position of some sort as he progressed through his career. He stated that was one of his great regrets. He was certainly a great polictician and decision maker which helped him with the huge tasks and responsibilities he had in WWII and as President.

43 R Bolvin June 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Great story, too bad it’s untrue. Eisenhower was berated for being out of touch throughout the North Africa campaign, keeping to Gibraltar instead of finding out what was going on at the front. He could have found MGen Lloyd Fredendall’s bunker 60 miles behind the lines, out of touch with his troops, and the Kasserine Pass debacle might have been prevented. Only George Marshall kept Ike from loosing his command. He was in Algiers when he could have been on the spot during the Sicilan campaign. FDR wanting Marshall in Washington made Eisenhower the Overlord commander by default. He wasn’t prepared for fighting through the Normandy bocage . Patton would have planned for the bocage, but he was left out of Overlord planning, and didn’t arrive to command troops until the army fought through the hedgerows to open ground. Lack of preparation lengthened the fight there. Failing to close the Falaise Gap allowed thousand of Germans to fight again. The fighting through the Hurtgen Forest shows his detachment. If he had been there, he never would have insisted to fight the Germans there. Even he would have recognized the terrible terrain his army would have to fight through. He was more a corporate commander than a leader of troops, seldom actually seeing any front lines.

44 Rob October 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I was stationed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower as my first ship. I hated it at the time. We called it the Iketraz, or cell block 69. (CVN-69). Reading this, I’ve come to realize what a remarkable man and leader he was. I see now that its been a privledge to serve on the ship that bears his name. No longer will I call it the Iketraz. In fact I feel rather small for being so stupid.

45 Benjamin Campbell June 25, 2013 at 4:46 am

As Douglas MacArthur once said in regards to Dwight Eisenhower: “Best secretary I ever had”

46 Charles E. Murphy June 27, 2013 at 6:30 am

The Process I’m wrapped up in, Started In 1954. I was Born On August 13th 1953. Eisenhower Was President and the Decision was Made the “Study Hypnosis, The Kid Was Assumed to Be Sick.” Here I am June 27th 2013. I’m Looking at my 60th Birthday. I’ve Been Dealing with the Work at Hand; What is Hypnosis?
Eisenhower Let the Work of the Will County Judge Continue and I have Been Dealing the Whole Hypnosis Thing All My Life. We are All Experts Now. We Are All Geniuses Now. We Have Learned a Thing Or Two. It Does Look Like It’s Time To Move On. 6/27/2013 N6:23am.cm.

47 Andrew Low October 5, 2013 at 7:23 am

Thank you for this article,the heroism and humilty are really moving.

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