gave the book "The Generals: American
Military Command from World War II to
Today" by Thomas E. Ricks to my father
for Christmas. He read the whole thing
while he was visiting me, then gave it
back and recommended I read it. Ricks
unabashedly admires the leadership style
of General George C. Marshall, who
quickly and unemotionally relieved
underperforming combat generals during
World War II but often gave those
generals second chances. He contrasts
this policy with the institutional norm
from the Vietnam War on, where generals
are rarely relieved for any failures
except public disgrace (as in the recent
case of General David Petraeus). He
quotes Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling,
who during the Iraq War authored a
much-read essay about the failure of
modern generals: "As matters stand now,
a private who loses a rifle suffers far
greater consequences than a general who
loses a war."
lessons in leadership resonated with me,
both because of my military experiences
in Iraq and Afghanistan and my
experiences in surgery.
Alec C. Beekley, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Trauma/Acute Care Surgery
Division of Bariatric Surgery
Jefferson Health System
Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
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honored by patients and families who are
grateful for the care they have received and
have made a charitable gift to the Hospital in
their caregiver’s honor.
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