The Most Important Thing I Learned

Decent Essays
The military is comprised of leaders and followers: this concept of leadership is the foundation of the military, leaders are the decision makers, and followers carry out their decisions. These decision makers are the role models the followers have a great deal of respect for and should admire. A good leader is decisive, has integrity, and leads by example. Being entrusted to lead, to mold the individuals around you into a cohesive unit is a special opportunity and only a few in respects to the total population are commissioned. General Colin L. Powell stated, “The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will…show more content…
After pinpointing the root of the problem, we will discuss both the validity and actions of those whom gave the orders and those whom carried out the orders in My Lai. In the aftermath of the My Lai massacre, twenty-six soldiers were brought up on felonious offenses, only one of which was convicted, Lieutenant William Calley: who was Calley, and how was his influence cemented among his men. Calley, a platoon leader in “Charlie” Company, Calley was tried and convicted of killing twenty-two villagers. Initially in the investigation, Calley’s evaluations portrayed him as “average”; however, as the investigation progressed a more negative light illuminated him. Soldiers in his platoon soon entered reports saying Calley “lacked common sense and could not read a map nor a compass properly” (Wilson). It was also reported that the men in Calley’s platoon shared a common dislike for him and sometimes secretly discussed fragging him. Despite the aversion his men felt towards him, many of the platoon soldiers were reluctant to testify against Calley when the trial began. Numerous troops exercised the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions on the witness stand. As time passed briskly holdouts became sellouts, the first was a soldier in Calley’s unit named Paul Meadio. After being jailed for contempt of court, he agreed to testify. In his
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