Leadership and Loss
9 months ago
There is one, single thing that moved me the most during the France Tour to honor the selection of the World War I Unknown Soldier.
I wandered around all those First World War grave markers and saw nothing but US Army Privates; rarely a Corporal, Sergeant or a Lieutenant...but mostly Privates. Those poor souls had no training, no leadership and no time to acquire even a rudimentary knowledge of combat. They got to France a few weeks or months before being thrown into a trench to wait for massive frontal assaults with poorly executed senior and local intelligence, engineer and artillery support.
Certainly, there were potential small-unit combat leaders among those Privates. What carnage on a grand scale. It screamed to me that the Army lacked enough experienced NCO and officer leadership to recognize good, combat leaders among that vast array of Privates and promote them to Corporal or Sergeant. It was leadership….again.
Then I walked through the cemetery at Omaha. I couldn’t help but notice all the PFC’s, Corporals, Sergeants, Lieutenants. But by 1944 there had been some time to develop those instincts among the NCO/officer corps to recognize those junior leaders and, in my mind, the results speak for themselves.
COL (Retired) William King
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Did you know?
Is it true after two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as Guard of the Tomb, that there are only 600 presently worn, and that the Guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin?
The Tomb Guard Identification Badge (TGIB) is awarded after the Sentinel passes a series of tests. The TGIB is permanently awarded after a Sentinel has served nine months as a Sentinel at the Tomb. Over 600 have been awarded since its creation in the late 1950's (on average 10 per year). And while the TGIB can be revoked, the offense must be such that it discredits the Tomb of the Unknowns. Revocation is at the 3rd Infantry Regimental Commander’s discretion and can occur while active duty or even when the Sentinel is a civilian. The TGIB is a full size award, worn on the right pocket of the uniform jacket, not a lapel pin.