CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Another Press Briefing

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Another Press Briefing

Here's another press conference from earlier in the week. When Chester was a Second Lieutenant at the Basic School, the Commanding Officer was Colonel John Allen. The entire staff seemed to be more or less in awe of him. It was said that when he commanded an infantry battalion on a MEU, and the group that tests MEUs before they deploy would test his battalion, it would solve the problems in one-sixth of the time alloted. He's also a civil war aficionado, to say the least, and part of our training was trips to Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Southern Maryland. Also a very engaging public speaker. He pushed professional reading a great deal -- showing us how to pursue a program of personal professional development via reading. He often quoted one of his favorite civil war historians who said, "There is no excuse for not having a 5000-yr-old mind." And he also introduced us to Kipling, specifically his poem, "Tommy," which contrasts how warriors are viewed by a civilian society at peace versus one at war:
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
Colonel Allen is featured in Tom Clancy's book "Marine," linked in the sidebar. Anyhow, Colonel Allen is now Brigadier General Allen, and is the Principal Director for Asia and Pacific Affairs, and had a hand in planning the current disaster relief:
BGEN ALLEN: Within minutes of our being notified of this crisis, military planners went to work and began to plan how the U.S. military might support the U.S. Government in the process of reducing the suffering and providing relief. Within hours, U.S. military forces were underway and moving to the region.
A Marine Corps officer's world is truly a small one. Folks we know keep turning up all over . . . This is probably not interesting to many others, but thought we'd post anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

BGen Allen was the 'Dant at the Naval Academy for the first one and a half years of my time here. He was a good speaker and could be inspiring, but most thought he tried to turn the Academy into the Basic School a little too much.

January 6, 2005 at 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

<< to pursue a program of personal professional development via reading.>>

Can you expound on this? Spread the knowledge please!
Thanks, keep up the outstanding blog.

January 6, 2005 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a few reading lists out there. Recognizing that this site is from a Marine, the list I know of is from the Air Force
I find this list to be long on history, but short on its willingness to be self-critical. In particular, the books that are in the history section seem to lean on the self-congratulatory side.

This list is more interesting:
Defense in the National Interest is run by the followers (acolytes) of the late Col John Boyd. The focus here is on what they call Grand Strategy, and the reading here are more suited for critical thought.

January 7, 2005 at 6:03 AM  

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