Attitude (Part 2 of 3)

Hal Moore on Leadership

In early 2021 in Hal Moore’s files, I found a detailed initial outline of what would later grow into the “Hal Moore on Leadership” book. This series of posts pulls from that outline – mostly short paragraphs or bullets.

For more detail, check out the book (click on the image to go to Amazon). The focus of Moore’s life after retirement from the military was on helping and mentoring others along the path to becoming great leaders. 

Turn a minus to a plus

Throughout my career, and my life, I was faced with assignments that on the outset seemed to be off target from where I wanted to be.  Rather than complain about my job and focus on the negative, I searched for the upside and looked for ways to use those assignments to better myself. 

A real downside to the Pentagon was that duty there is a “desk job”.  BUT that minus could be turned into a plus by joining the Pentagon Athletic Club.  It was fully equipped: a swimming pool, handball courts, weights, a steam room, lockers, and a snack bar facility—built underground just outside the 8th corridor about a 50-yard walk from my office.  I tried to get down there daily; played handball or took a run over to the Lincoln Memorial and back.  I kept in great shape and it helped to keep the pressure down in the Boiler Room activity of day-to-day work.

Find the opportunity to grow and excel in every job/task.   Remember that in every task you have the opportunity to impress or not impress someone. 

Camp Crawford Regimental HQIn Japan on Occupation Duty, I was put in charge of a major construction project building and supervising troops barracks, etc. without speaking Japanese or understanding engineering designs. I realized this was a chance to learn a new language, and finally understand the esoteric principles of engineering by applying it hands on.  Here was my task:

  • Construction of Barracks for 2700 troops and Mess (Dining Halls), Kitchens,
  • Living quarters and a dining hall for Bachelor Officers.
  • A Water Plant and Water Supply System.
  • A Sewage Disposal plant and disposal piping,
  • 210 residences for American families,
  • Seven Boiler Houses and facilities to steam heat all buildings, and
  • 14 miles of paved roads with Drainage systems. 

I was an Infantry Lieutenant who had never broken the code at West Point on the cryptic, arcane mysteries of anything dealing with Engineering – except surveying.  So what did I do?  I hired an excellent English-speaking Japanese interpreter to help me supervise the Japanese contractors.  I pulled out my Engineering manuals, which began to make more and more sense as actual construction began and took form.  I began to study spoken Japanese intensely and soon was able to understand and converse to a limited extent in that language, immersed as I was all day with the Contractors.  It was fun!  Then, when it was all built, the General made me the Post Engineer – responsible and accountable for maintenance of several million dollars of Army property.  I did that job for a few months –still a lieutenant–until an Engineer Major took over and I went back to duty with the troops in “E” Co.

Reading List (links to Amazon)

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