Special Forces Association
Chapter XXIII - 23
LEAD OR GET OUT OF THE WAY


It’s often said that the world is divided up between leaders and followers with leaders being only a small minority. It seems that we have become a country of non-stop political campaigning by people who want to offer themselves to be our leaders (making us then “followers”) in spite of the fact that most have never led anything more important than a parade let alone demonstrated the qualities we want or expect in a true leader.

Dr. Heidi Scott, a well known expert on leadership defines the six traits of a LEADER. He/she is authentic, a visionary, passionate, compassionate, enthusiastic, and a servant of those he/she leads.

What really made General Custer stand out was that he led his troops from the front – not from a distant hilltop. He didn’t always lead wisely but he always led. Obviously that concept went out of fashion when so-called leaders (like Saddam Hussein) wanting to hold on to power found out that you could get yourself killed leading the Charge of the Light Brigade or the 7th. Cav into a hornet’s nest of numerically superior angry Indians.

The motto of the Infantry School is “Follow Me.” I saw this demonstrated in Germany during an exercise when we flew over a flock of sheep. The shepherd was walking in front (breaking trail, etc.) and the sheep followed him in a perfect wedge like the shape of a Delta Dart or Delta Dagger (F-106 or F-102).

I think of Sen. John Kerry and the so-called Swift Boat affair. No leader with 3 band-aid purple hearts would abandon his troops knowing they still had to face 9 months of combat without him.

I think of Governor Pilate giving it to the wishes of a mob rather than exercising justice in handing over Jesus to be crucified. That’s not leadership that’s cowardice.

I think of Moses leading a hardheaded, stubborn nation for 40 years in the Sinai desert. He was willing to give his life for them to satisfy God’s anger and righteous judgment on their actions.

I think of young David, a simple sheepherder facing a 9’ 6” tall professional soldier armed only with a slingshot and a few smooth stones and complete trust in God. He faithfully led his guerrilla band and, for the most part, led Israel as its King. His downfall came when he sent his troops out but stayed back in the palace. He ended up doing the unthinkable for a soldier – he bedded the wife of one of his troops who was a better soldier than he was and then set up his death in battle.

The one person who never let us down as a leader was Jesus Christ. Rather than showing up as a king he came as a servant, setting an example of what a real leader should look like, and ultimately throwing himself on the grenade for all of us who chose to follow Him. His comment to each of us was simply, “Follow Me.”

I wonder how many politicians meet the test? How many of us do? Food for thought.


Chaplain Col. Vahan Sipantzi
26972 Lower Pleasant Ridge Rd.
Wilder, ID  83676
(208) 482-7495