Quotes - Officers (page 5)

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Hereafter, if you should observe an occasion to give your officers and friends a little more praise than is their due, and confess more fault than you can justly be charged with, you will only become the sooner for it, a great captain. Criticizing and censuring almost everyone you have to do with, will diminish friends, increase enemies, and thereby hurt your affairs. - Benjamin Franklin: Letter to John Paul Jones, 1780

In the East Yorkshire Regiment, the president both proposes and seconds the [loyal] toast. there is a regimental tradition to the effect that in the distant past a vice-president, who had been looking overmuch at the wine when it was red, was not in a fit condition to carry out his part of the normal procedure, so the president did it for him and the custom became established. In the Gloucestershire Regiment the vice president does not respond by saying "gentlemen, the King" but with "The King Mr. President." This recalls an incident in the Peninsula War when only two officers survived a battle unscathed. At dinner that night the senior proposed the toast. but as he was the only other officer present, the junior, as vice-president, seconded by saying "The King, Mr. President and this custom still persists. - Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., "Regimental Customs," The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal: Volume LX (parts 1 and 2), April and July 1950; and Volume LXI (parts 3 and 4) October 1950 and January 1951

Why is it my cavalry officers exude panache, but cannot spell it? - attributed to BGen Reay while Commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

. . . , but the officer also has a far smaller burden of individual responsibility for killing on the battlefield. The key difference is that he doesn't have to do it personally. - Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Killing; The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Little, Brown and Company, 1995

To a significant degree, the social barrier between officer and enlisted man, and between sergeant and private, exists to enable the superior to send his men into mortal danger and to shield him from the inevitable guilt associated with their deaths. For even the best leaders will make some mistakes that will weigh forever upon their consciences. Just as any good coach can analyze his conduct of even a winning game and see where he could have done better, so does every good combat leader think, at some level, that if he had just done something different these men - these men he loved like sons and brothers - might not have died. - Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Killing; The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Little, Brown and Company, 1995

"The spirit of an army lives in its officers," wrote Ruchel; for the moral of the rank and file is the moral of its leaders. - Captain J.F.C. Fuller, Training Soldiers for War, 1914

In order to form character an officer should be given the greatest independence, compatible with the regulations, in training his men; for the greater the independence, the greater will be the responsibility, and the greater the responsibility, the stronger will become the oficer's power of will. To be perpetually supervised, surprised, and shadowed, is to be doubted; doubt destroys confidence and loyalty, and produces fear, slyness, and discontent, which are rapidly transferred from the officer to his men. If those who are ultimately responsible for training consider that regimental officers may fail to inculcate the doctrine upon which the army is to be built, then it is for these to see that this doctrine has become part of their very being before responsibility has been given to them. - Captain J.F.C. Fuller, Training Soldiers for War, 1914

Character is, however, all in all to an officer. "To make officers, first make gentlemen," is a saying attributed to both George Washington and the Duke of Wellington. - Captain J.F.C. Fuller, Training Soldiers for War, 1914

Prestige is the basis of discipline, "for we shall not lead our men by force or by fear, but solely by the prestige which we hold." - from "L'Ame du Soldat," quoted in Captain J.F.C. Fuller, Training Soldiers for War, 1914

Firstly, the officer has got to teach his men to honour their King, country, and regiment; secondly, to honour themselves, which is self-respect. - Captain J.F.C. Fuller, Training Soldiers for War, 1914

One great secret of discipline for officers and non-commissioned officers is for them to know how to make the most familiar intercourse with their men compatible with absolute authority; for if you attempt to keep up discipline by all in authority holding aloof from those under them, you will maintain discipline by fear, and not the true discipline inspired by confidence and affection. To quote Napier . . . . 'Who shall say that the British soldier can only be worked on by fear because he is insensible to honour? Shame on such a thought? Fear is a thing he is most insensible to.'" - Lieutenant-Colonel W. Clark, The Maintenance of Discipline, 43rd and 52nd Light Infantry Chronicle, 1894

A piece of paper makes you an officer, a radio makes you a commander. - General Omar Bradley

"It was indeed seldom that [Southern] officers were guilty of cowardice upon the field of battle; but they were often in the wrong place, fighting as common soldiers, when they should have been directing others." - Lt. General T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson

Rash officers, however brave they might be, could be a sad and bloody drain upon a fine regiment. - Duncan MacNeil, Subaltern's Choice, 1974

In the various messes the officers of the Peshawar garrison were at breakfast behind the Times of India, preparing in leisurely fashion for another day of Frontier heat and dust while they listened with half an ear to the loud shouts, distant shouts, of the drill-sergeants already at work on the regimental parade grounds. As they drank coffee or chewed-after the kidneys and bacon- toast and marmalade, those officers were concerned with many varied things : Company orders for the day, defaulters, exercises, a visit to their Colonel for a reprimand or compliment, an appointment (with or without parental approval) with the pretty daughter of a Staff Major; or just in many cases the staving off of the boredom of another long Indian day until military tradition allowed, once the sun was low, an over-indulgence in alcohol. - Duncan MacNeil, Subaltern's Choice, 1974

Officers . . . wanted the prestige of being associated with a 'good" regiment, preferably one with its senior officers nearing retirement age. This way they stood a better chance at early promotion. "Good" meant dashing uniforms, decent postings to comfortable peacetime quarters, amiable companionship, acceptance into the highest levels of society, plus a variety of interesting soldierly activities throughout the year to prevent boredom. During wartime men might serve their King and Country, but they died for their regiments. - from "The Making of a Warrior", Land Force Staff Course handout.

The officers' mess. Everything revolved around the mess. Mess dinners. Mess social events. Mess bar. It was every regiments' central gathering place for exchanging ideas, jokes, scandals and complaints. There were happy messes, sad messes, stuffy messes and casual messes. But there were no nonalcoholic messes in the Canadian or British armies. - from "The Making of a Warrior", Land Force Staff Course handout, 1998.

You must realize from the outset that, to the Regimental Officer, there are only three types of General. If you point out faults as you see them, you will become known as a Surly Blighter. If you refrain from doing this, but write tactfully to the C.O. later, suggesting that he rectifies certain points, you will be types as a Smiling So-and-So. If you fail to notice anything wrong at all you will be regarded as a Silly Old Fool. Assuming, therefore, that you feel capable of avoiding the last title, and have no wish to be credited with the second, you are stuck with being a Surly Blighter. This means that you must find something wrong to comment on. - "Notes for Visiting Generals," by "T", The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Vol. LXXXVI, April 1963 and July 1963

Genghis Khan said of one of his officers--"No man is more valiant, no man has rarer gifts, but as the longest marches do not tire him, as he feels neither hunger nor thirst, he believes that his soldiers do not suffer from such things. That is why he is not fitted for high command. A general should think of hunger and thirst, as he may understand the suffering of those under him, and he should husband the strength of his men and beasts. - "Leadership and Morale," by Wing Commander S.G. Tackaberry, RCAF, Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. XV, No. 1, October 1937

I think it is true that the average Air Force officer has never quite appreciated his responsibilities in what the Army would be called regimental duties. - "Leadership and Morale," by Wing Commander S.G. Tackaberry, RCAF, Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. XV, No. 1, October 1937

It is nothing but common sense for a junior officer to be tactful toward superior officers and especially so toward his commanding officer. He should always carefully observe the rules of military courtesy down to the minutest detail. If his commanding officer has special likes or dislikes concerning certain rules of discipline or camp regulations, the junior officer should use his best efforts to see that such rules are observed. But in this connection we must realize that tact is certainly not to be confused with flattery, or with "boot-licking" or "apple-polishing." - "Military Leadership," The Infantry School Mailing List, Vol XXVI, July 1943

The military uniform makes a man conspicuous in the eyes of civilians. An officer's uniform, and his position of authority, make him conspicuous not only in the eyes of civilians but also in the eyes of his men. He, therefore, must be doubly careful about his dress, his carriage, and his behaviour. He is looked upon by his men as an example of what is right and correct. - "Military Leadership," The Infantry School Mailing List, Vol XXVI, July 1943

An officer should, at all times, be dignified in his conduct. Dignity is nothing more than the avoidance of coarse behaviour. It requires the control of one's emotions. To be profane, boisterous, or "loud-mouthed" is to be coarse. An officer who makes a spectacle of himself by being loud, or by losing his temper on slight provocation, quickly loses the respect of his men. - "Military Leadership," The Infantry School Mailing List, Vol XXVI, July 1943

A dependable officer is one who considers official orders as sacred. He enforces them to the letter in spirit and fact. Whether he agrees or not, he will not criticize his superiors or their orders in the hearing of others. When an officer is convinced of an error, he should present his views in a dignified, respectful manner to his next superior. - "Military Leadership," The Infantry School Mailing List, Vol XXVI, July 1943

The single most important quality in a professional military officer is the ability to innovate. - Robert R. Leonhard

The morale of any army suffers when the common soldiers feel that they are being treated less well than their officers. - Geoffrey Regan

Commissions will not make you leaders; they will merely make you officers ... you can become leaders if you possess the proper attributes. - Maj Christian Bach

I beseech you to be careful what captains of Horse you choose, what men be mounted: a few honest men are better than numbers ... If you choose honest godly men to be captains of Horse, honest men will follow them ... - Oliver Cromwell: Letter to Sir William Springe, September 1643

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