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19 Stars : A Study in Military Character and Leadership

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Essay title: 19 Stars : A Study in Military Character and Leadership

19 STARS : A Study in Military Character and Leadership

Puryear, Edgar F. (1971). 19 STARS New York: Presidio Press

19 STARS was written by Edgar F. Puryear, Jr. I do not know much about the author. I completed a thorough search but was unable to find any information. The one thing that I do know of him is that he is fascinated with the study of leadership because he has written other books on it; examples include George S. Brown, General, U.S. Air Force: Destined for Stars, American Generalship: Character Is Everything: The Art of Command, and others pertaining to leadership.

19 STARS digs in dept into the character and leadership techniques of four of America’s greatest generals Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall, and Patton. The book uses testimonies from hundreds of people who knew the generals and gives you better understanding of these great men. The generals’ entire careers including their rise to the top are covered, but it is their time spent in World War II that is really emphasized. This book was written to be informative and to be used as a study guide for future or current leaders.

When George S. Patton, Jr. was just a boy his aunt read to him lots of adventure books which undoubtedly helped to develop his fighting spirit. Patton graduated West Point in 1908 and was number one in drill regulations. Being a soldier was set deep with in his soul. While he was in school he inherited a million dollars, but he refused to resign from West Point. He believed that being a soldier was the highest calling. He was described by his classmates as being very strict and respected by all but not well liked.

Tough, cocky, daring, and proud describe General George S. Patton, Jr. the most successful and unforgettable combat general of WWII. As a second lieutenant Patton was aide to the Chief of Staff of the Army, and became good friends with Secretary of War Stimpson. As a determined young soldier Patton convinced General Pershing to take him to Mexico to capture Pancho Villa. On this trip he impressed General Pershing and later Pershing would assign Patton to command his headquarters troops, because of his enthusiasm and excitement. Patton became a tank expert as HQ Commander. In WWI he received a purple heart for shrapnel wounds acquired in a tank battle.

Patton led by word, example training, discipline, personal leadership and concern for his soldiers. He would talk to troops every chance he could, and give them graphic violent speeches full of profanity to build hatred toward the enemy. Showmanship and looking good in appearance was very important to him. All of his uniforms were tailor made, and he even went to the extent as to have one set that he would never sit down in. Patton would make his men work and train very hard, and he would drive himself even harder. At the end of each training day he would make his officers run a mile, and he would run a mile and a quarter. One of his favorite quotes was “Sloppy soldiers don’t win battles”.(pg.255) Probably the biggest way that Patton inspired his men was by being right on the front lines with them often. This is definitely the kind of leadership trait that made him so great.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the next person discussed. He wasn’t interested in the military, but he couldn’t afford college so he went to West point. He had a don’t care have fun attitude, and he didn’t take the military side of West Point seriously. He was described as being very cheerful, friendly and good humored. This would help bring him far in his career. By the end of WWII he was the highest decorated soldier out of his class of 164 which he graduated 64th.

Eisenhower worked directly under General Douglas MacArhur when he was the Chief of Staff of the Army. He gained much of his knowledge of leading by being around leaders who were making decisions and paying attention as to how they work. At Leavenworth Ike graduated top of his class. Ike’s rising in rank was due to his ability to lead, the opportunity to show that he could lead, an influential superior to observe it (Maj. General Fox Conner), a combination of sponsorship, luck, years of preparation, and hard work.

Ike was known as being a great diplomat. One of his greatest successes was accomplishing allied unity during WWII. He was highly prized as a supreme commander. His ability to unify the Allies was credited to his charm, warm smile, honesty and frankness, strength, and conviction.

As a political leader Ike had to deal with the political concerns that arose from all the allied forces. General Eisenhower’s greatest leadership accomplishment in WWII was holding the reluctant British to their agreement to invade Western Europe. The British wanted the Americans to occupy the entire seaboard of North Africa, and Eisenhower convinced Churchill

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