The First Division Fifth Regiment of U.S. Marines had fought fearlessly at the Battle of Jang Jin-ho during the Korean war. They fought at Guadalcanal, Peleliu and Okinawa during the Pacific War. Eugene Sledge, who fought for the Fifth Regiment, in the Peleliu and Okinawa battles, wrote a biography titled “With the Old Breed”.
A commander known as Captain Haldane appears in the book. He is addressed as ‘captain’ by all the soldiers and respected. Sledge witnessed Haldane requesting to fire 10 bombshells to the artillery when he visited the headquarters of the company. The artillery officer inquired the reason for the shelling. Haldane replied that he wanted to let the men know that he consistently cares for the safety of the soldiers. All the men in the company were deeply moved by this comment. A commander who paid attention to everyone in his company, listened to their stories and did his best for each individual. All the surviving officers said that he had been the best commander. Unfortunately, he passed away just before the Peleliu battle ended.
A Korean company was affiliated with the French battalion that fought during the Korean war. The company was led by Captain Mario Goupil. He was a seasoned soldier with 10 years of war battle since the second World War. He was well respected in his French battalion and earned respect of Korean soldiers as well.
He praised Korean soldiers, who everyone was dubious of for their skills, and recommended them in the first battle with China armed forces. He had treated them equally with French soldiers. Unfortunately, Goupil passed away from a mine at the leader’s ridge.
What did both commanders have in common? They respected the soldiers, were kind and did not treat them as means to their own personal success or glory. They sought endlessly what they could do for their soldiers and put them into action. Why do we lack such leaders today? On second thought, we have plenty of them. In fact, we have too many of them, perhaps by God’s blessing. We see too many leaders claiming of their competence during election.