Thursday, February 5, 2015

General Victor H. Krulak USMC

General Victor H. Krulak USMC 

From 1962 to 1964, Krulak served as Special Assistant for Counter Insurgency Activities, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; for which he was presented a third Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious service by General Maxwell D. Taylor,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

During this period, American military advisors were providing assistance to the South Vietnamese in their war against the Viet Cong. In September 1963, then Major General Krulak and Joseph Mendenhall, a senior Foreign Service officer, led a fact-finding mission to learn about the progress of the war. Krulak said that the situation was very good and supported President Ngo Dinh Diem, while Mendenhall claimed the opposite, leading Kennedy to famously ask the pair if they had visited the same country. 

In late December 1963, the new president,Lyndon B. Johnson, ordered an interdepartmental group to be headed by Krulak with the purpose of studying OPLAN 34A and selecting from it those targets the United States could hit in North Vietnam with the least amount of risk to its people. This was in keeping with the administration's policy of graduated pressure on the North Vietnamese.[8]

Charles Krulak interview

"You cannot lead by memo, you cannot lead by shouting, you cannot lead by delegation of your responsibility -- you must lead by example." Gen. Charles Krulak, US Marine Corps.

The subject of leadership has been much analyzed, debated, and recorded. Problem is, very few individuals who actually lived it and "get it" shout from the rooftops, and are often drowned out by the many superficial, self-proclaimed experts trying to sell their wares. Too much input is often as bad as too little.

Our special guest, General Charles C. Krulak, the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps, has certainly lived it and "get it." During his 35 years in the Marine Corps, Gen. Krulak served in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, and received numerous medals and decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and Purple Heart. His notable commands are 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines, 2nd Force Service Support Group, Marine Forces Pacific, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC), and of course, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Some say when you become a Marine, you become a leader. So when you are selected to become a leader of Marines, you essentially become a leader of leaders. The responsibility is as great as the honor. Ultimately, as Gen. Charles Krulak exemplifies, becoming means doing, and doing means caretaking and training (enabling) those under your command. In accord with your people, you achieve great results. As Sun Tzu said,"If he commands them by benevolence, and unifies them by discipline, this is called certain victory."

Gen. Krulak's later roles as Chief Executive Officer of MBNA Europe and Director on the Board of Aston Villa Football Club validate that sound leadership principles are applicable to any situation and environment -- and further demonstrate what a true leader he really is. Also, we need to state what a pleasure and honor it was to interview Gen. Charles Krulak. He was kind, upfront, and genuine; he backs his words with timely action. Someone you want to support and go to the ends of the earth for. A kind of leader this world sorely lacks.

Without further ado, we proudly present to you the following interview with Gen. Charles C. Krulak. Enjoy! We understand Sun Tzu’s Art of War is on the Commandant of the Marine Corps' Reading List and so every officer is required to read the book. Why do you think a 2500 year old Chinese book on strategy is relevant in today’s US military and Marine Corps?

Krulak: Sun Tzu remains relevant because his basic tenets stand the test of time. They focus on those areas of conflict that are "timeless". They do not focus on specific tactics or on specific operational issues...they focus on those things that are key to success in any include the business world. The Art of War speaks of leadership as being one of the five critical factors of warfare. What is your philosophy on leadership?

Krulak: The most important leadership trait is to be a man or woman of Character. Here, I define Character as

1) being selfless,
2) having moral courage and
3) having Integrity.

Most leadership traits are "gifts"...either heredity or, if you believe in God, they are God-given. Character is a choice. You choose to be a man or woman of character. Leaders are in the inspiration business and anyone who seeks to inspire must have the character to inspire. What have been your biggest lessons learned while serving in the military that have always seem to help you out or remain true in your life?

Krulak: a. Never worry about who gets the credit...only worry about whether the job gets done. b. Don't be afraid to tell the "Emperor that he has no clothes". c. Tell the truth in all things. Don't worry about looking good...worry about being good. How did you balance your family time and your military career?

Krulak: Work-life balance is a personal decision. Never expect your military or civilian bosses to solve this issue for you. Remember, sooner or later your chosen profession will break your will either pass you over or ask you to retire. At that point, all you will have is your wife and family. If you have treated them badly during your working lifetime, don't expect them to be with you when you retire. They may be there physically, but they probably won't be there emotionally. When you retired from the Marine Corps, how different (or similar) was it entering into the business world at MBNA?

Krulak: I did not act any differently as Chairman and CEO of MBNA, Europe Bank, Ltd. than I did as Commandant of the Marine Corps. Literally, I did NOT change my leadership style at all. Tell us more about your current interest in the English football club, Aston Villa!

Krulak: I became interested in football when I came to the UK in 2000. In 2003, Randy [Lerner, MBNA Chairman and Cleveland Browns owner] and I talked about his buying a Club. We looked at several and did not feel that any possessed all the attributes that we were looking for. In 2006, we looked again and found AVFC for sale. This Club had it all...tradition, ethos, great park, great fans, and tremendous potential. We both agreed that this was the one.

[End of interview]

Victor H. Krulak dies at 95; retired Marine lieutenant general

LA Times 

Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Victor H. "Brute" Krulak, celebrated for his leadership in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and for his authoritative book on the Marines, "First to Fight," died Monday at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. He was 95 and had been in declining health for several years.

 Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Victor H. "Brute" Krulak, celebrated for his leadership in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and for his authoritative book on the Marines, "First to Fight," died Monday at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. He was 95 and had been in declining health for several years.

In a career that spanned three decades Krulak displayed bravery during combat and brilliance as a tactician and organizer of troops.

"Brute was very forgiving of young Marines who made mistakes," said retired Col. G.I. Wilson, a combat veteran. "But he was hell on senior officers who preferred careerism and bureaucracy over decisive action. He detested those who lost sight of looking after their enlisted Marines and young officers."

Born in Denver on Jan. 7, 1913, Krulak was a 1934 graduate of the Naval Academy -- where he picked up his nickname, a jest on the fact he was 5 foot 4. As a junior officer he served in Marine actions in Central America, where his views on counterinsurgency were formed.

In World War II, as a lieutenant colonel, he led a battalion in a weeklong battle as a diversionary raid to cover the invasion of Bougainville. Although wounded, he refused to be evacuated. For his bravery he was awarded the Navy Cross.

Under heavy fire from the Japanese, the Navy sent patrol boats to evacuate wounded Marines. Krulak befriended one of the young commanders, John F. Kennedy. Decades later the two shared a drink of whiskey in the Oval Office after Kennedy was elected president.

After World War II, Krulak held several key jobs, including commander of the 5th Marine Regiment and later chief of staff for the 1st Marine Division during the war in Korea. Later he served as commander of the Marine boot camp in San Diego and, from 1962 to 1964, as special assistant for counterinsurgency to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As commanding general of Fleet Marine Force Pacific he made 54 trips to Vietnam.

His ideas about mining Haiphong Harbor and relying on small unit actions in South Vietnam to win the support of the populace clashed with the strategy of Army Gen. William C. Westmoreland, commander of all U.S. troops from 1964 to 1968. He opposed Westmoreland's decision to establish an outpost at Khe Sanh, which resulted in one of the bloodiest sieges of the war.

Krulak had hoped to become Marine Corps commandant, but President Johnson in 1968 nominated Gen. Leonard Chapman Jr. Krulak retired and began a second career as an executive for Copley newspapers and as a columnist. He retired as an executive in 1977 but continued to write.

In 1984, his book "First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps" was published, examining the history and culture of the Marine Corps. It remains on the official reading list for Marines and has been said to carry the DNA of the organization that prides itself on being the worst enemy that a foe of the United States can imagine.

"The Marines are an assemblage of warriors, nothing more," Krulak wrote. He called on Marines to maintain a "religious dedication" to being ready to "go and win -- and then come back alive." He disdained Pentagon bureaucracy and, even as he celebrated the Corps' history, he called for Marines to "remain on the cutting edge of the technology that will keep its specialty effective."

Bing West, former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and author of books on Marines in Vietnam and Iraq, said Krulak "was legendary for the depth of his intelligence."

In a 2007 speech to the Marine Corps Assn., Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised Krulak for "overcoming conventional wisdom and bureaucratic obstacles thrown in one's path." Among other things, Krulak advocated that the Marines form a special forces unit when other Marine leaders opposed the idea.
All three of Krulak's sons served in Vietnam: Charles and William as Marine infantry officers, Victor Jr. as a Navy chaplain. After retiring from the Marines, William followed his brother into the Episcopal clergy.

Charles, as a general, served as Marine commandant from 1995 to 1999, and followed in his father's footsteps as an innovator and champion of the enlisted man. Along with his sons, Krulak is survived by four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Krulak's wife, Amy, died in 2001. Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Jan. 8 at the chapel at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

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