Friday, March 7, 2014

Great Military Commanders Responses in the Face of Adversity

I love the story of the American commander, General Anthony McAuliffe,  commander of the 101st Airborne Division surrounded by the Germans at Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the bulge during late 1944 who responded to the German ultimatum for surrender with a single word: "Nuts." I have found another similar response which should be remembered, not for its shortness, but its eloquence.

I have been following with great interest the current situation in the Crimea which Russian forces have, without provocation, have decided to occupy. 

The LA Times reported an exchange between the commanding admiral of the Russian fleet and the Ukrainian naval base commander. The story, as reported goes as follows:
A Ukrainian navy sailor looks at the scuttled Russian ship
from the Black Sea shore. 
Photo: AP

Earlier in the week, the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, Adm. Alexander Vitko, visited Ukraine’s South Base, according to the deputy base commander, Capt. Viktor Shmiganovsky. 
“He asked me to invite all the officers and suggested that we collectively take up the Russian military allegiance oath and become part of the Black Sea fleet … promising good pay and a bright future,” Shmiganovsky said in an interview. “He insisted we do that to help protect Ukraine from extremist gangs.”
The officer said his boss, the base commander, retorted: “Comrade admiral, we didn't see any extremist gangs here until you came with your men.” He said the admiral left “in a rage.”
I really think this response says it all. Comrade Admiral--is a direct reference to the days of the oppressive Soviet Union. 

In response, the Russians sank a derelict vessel to trap the Ukrainian navy in its port. 

But the response was elegant and complete.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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