Military Leaders fighting War on Terrorism Essay

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Military Leaders Fighting Against Terrorism
Angela S.
Excelsior College

This paper is about two military leaders that have shaped history through their leadership during war. This paper will describe the leadership of General Stanley McChrystal and General David Petraeus and how they have fought the same fight in different leadership styles. The terrorist networks in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation enduring Freedom brought many challenges to our military forces. Both of these leaders were Commanders of US and International forces in Afghanistan and have influenced and inspired soldiers throughout their military careers. This paper will review the leadership characteristics such as education in civilian and military, family history of military careers, and their careers outside the military that continue to lead and inspire, not only troops, but all leaders that require leadership to guide and mentor those that will follow and achieve success. Former Commander of US and International forces in Afghanistan, both General Stanley McChrystal and General David Petraeus served in the United States Army. Military careers at West Point, both Generals experienced college differently and their personalities contributed to their careers after college. The military leadership styles within the Army for McChrystal and Petraeus were more different than the sun and the moon. Family history in the military guided both of these Generals but the route and mechanisms to achieve such success was brilliant and courageous during the Afghanistan War. Finally, the parallel of the expeditious exit from the Army, the end of their military careers, could be argued that their careers ended without honor.

General Stanley McChrystal was the fourth of six children of Mary Gardner Bright and Major General Herbert McChrystal. McChrystal's father was a two-star general who served in Germany during the U.S. occupation after World War II, and later at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The McChrystal household was described by extended family members as "intense," and steeped in military tradition; all of McChrystal's siblings would go on to either join the military or marry into it. Stanley McChrystal attended the United States Military Academy at West Point in upstate New York in 1972. After graduation in 1976, McChrystal began serving in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, moving up the ranks from second lieutenant to executive officer within the span of two years. In 1978, McChrystal was accepted into the U.S. Naval War College in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Special Forces School to become a Green Beret. At Fort Bragg, McChrystal lived an ascetic lifestyle, running 12 miles morning, eating only one meal a day, and often sleeping less than four hours a night. Gaining instruction in unconventional warfare and counter-terrorism tactics, McChrystal developed a fanatical mental database of terrorism and terrorists—data that would serve him well in later years. McChrystal's service as commander of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, no other service was referred to as such a unit so covert that the Pentagon denied its existence for decades. However, under McChrystal's command, JSOC was able to capture Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in December 2003 as well as al- Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006. After much controversial talk of unnecessarily interrogating detainees, in May 2009, McChrystal's military training in special operations and unconventional warfare helped him land the role of top commander in Afghanistan, replacing former General David McKiernan. President Obama believed McChrystal's knowledge of special ops would be an asset to fight against the unconventional tactics of Afghani insurgents. Once in charge, McChrystal insisted that there was a need for more troops; doubting that the U.S. would achieve a major victory in Afghanistan and the new counterterrorism strategy would not