On a different battlefield, in mid July 2003, Saddam‟s notorious sons were still evading US
special ops forces. An informant had failed a polygraph three times and some intelligenceagency elected to disregard anything else the fella had to say. One seasoned special operator,with a keen sense of intuition, opined the informant was simply too nervous to ever pass a poly.The operator told his commander that he believed the guy. He was telling the truth.Within hours, the murderous sons of the former President of Iraq were being hauled down twoflights of stairs wrapped in bed sheets and thrown into the back of a waiting civilian van. Ace of Hearts, Uday Hussein, and his brother, Ace of Clubs, Qusay, were hiding in the house in Mosulafter all.
DF Leadership Secret #4 - Admit Mistakes with Confidence
We all do it. We fumble something important and instinct tells us that maybe we weren‟t at fault.
Or maybe the blame can be shared with a couple others. Mistakes are the stepping stones tosuccess, but a good
special operator learns from other peoples‟ mistakes and never makes the
same mistake twice. But as a leader of high-performance teams most eyes are on you. A fouled
shotgun breach can easily be fixed with a spinning mule kick…and nobody is the wiser. But
theleader that sends one of his assault teams to the wrong target building is a true liability. Ithappens, your men expect it. But they also demand two things. One, that you own up to it assoon as the post-mission hot wash begins, and two, that you lear
n from it and don‟t screw it up
again. Selection is an ongoing process, particularly for the leaders.In a short note to President Clinton in the fall of 1993, former Delta Commander andcommander of Task Force Ranger MG Bill Garrison took full responsibility for the disaster inMogadishu, Somalia. Never mind that the Clinton administration denied multiple requests for AC-130 gunships and armored vehicles from Garrison himself. A month or so later, on a hot autumn day on a remote parade field at Ft. Benning, GA, Garrison
told the 700 members of the 3rd Ranger Battalion that we were as close to America‟s Foreign
Legion as you could get. He went on to say that our job was to fight the dirty little wars thatnobody else wanted, was capable of, or could stomach. He finished by telling us that if wecouldn't handle the potential consequences of the business, or if our families couldn't, then weneeded to find alternative employment. Nobody expected Garrison to shoulder the blame, buthe did it anyway, and still to this day he is considered to be one of the finest leaders ever tocommand Delta Force.
DF Leadership Secret #5 - Find Your Maverick...or Grant.
When the future of the Union was in doubt and the Confederacy was giving it to the Yanks,President Abraham Lincoln turned to the unrefined, abrasive, results-oriented General Ulysses
S. Grant. Grant‟s leadership turned the tide and ensured the Nor
th won the Civil War.Four modern day superstar special ops leaders - GEN (R) Stan McChrystal, BG Scott Miller,COL (R) Pete Blaber, and MG Bennet Sacolik, - at some point in their black ops career, turnedto one man as their Grant. Year after year, commander to commander, maverick warrior LTC
(R) Jim “Serpico” Reese, a stand
-out Ranger and Delta officer, quite possibly would have madeGrant appear wanting when it came to working through chaos, calming nerves, and demandingthe best out of subordinates.