Respect for Subordinates: Leadership

My recent posts about my early years in Vietnam and my emotions during the fall of Saigon got me to thinking about the guys who worked for me in Vietnam and the relationship we established. The best evidence I have of how that relationship worked is a plaque my guys gave me about a year after the fall of Saigon at a dinner where we all gathered to reminisce. Across the top are the words “Last Man Out Award.” Below that is a brass eagle and the following:

MACV HQS SAIGON, REPUBLIC OF SOUTH VIETNAM

The fall of Saigon will always remain a monumental tragedy in U.S. history. This is to finally recognize your exceptional leadership while safely evacuating all your employees and the closing down amid the danger and chaos of those final days.

[Signed] The Women and Men and Dependents of F46

End of quote. “F46” was our unclassified designator.

That plaque hangs on my “bragging wall,” the spot where I display memorabilia I’m most proud of. I see the plaque—and remember—every day.

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