Essay on Band of Brothers in Black Hearts by Jim Frederick

Essay on Band of Brothers in Black Hearts by Jim Frederick

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“Of all the crimes that sullied the record of the United States military in Iraq…the murder of an entire Iraqi family in the village of Yusufiya may rank as the most chilling” (New York Times). On March 12, 2006, after a long and difficult deployment with countless casualties, four soldiers committed atrocities against the civilians who were trying to help. Their actions damaged the reputation of coalition forces and endangered the lives of our brothers in arms by providing propaganda to the enemy as a recruitment tool to impede our mission. 502nd Infantry 101st Airborne Division is a unit that is synonymous with valor, honor, brotherhood and bravery as depicted in the popular HBO series Band of Brothers in which Dick Winters leads his men through some of the most notable engagements during WWII starting with D-Day and ending with the capture of Hitler’s personal home in Eagle’s Nest. The stress level the modern day 502nd endured is comparable to the time spent in WWII. The major difference is the climate of command. Winters led from the front, motivated his men and completed his mission. LTC Tom Kunk failed to rally his men when they were beaten and down. He demoralized his company commanders to the point where they were paralyzed with fear and could not lead their soldiers. Ultimately, Kunk failed to maintain positive command and control of his battalion leading to a failure in the overall mission they had been tasked with. The book Black Hearts is a narrative focused on telling the story of these failures. The author, Jim Fredericks, spent many months researching, interviewing soldiers and reading court documents to write the book. It follows the troubles the members endured, leading to the incident that resulted in four soldie...


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...what happens on an actual deployment or the way a normal unit conducts itself.
The general reception the book received was a recommendation that all Army leaders should read it. Many reviewers of the book claim it is an important read about the failure and lack of leadership in an Army platoon. I definitely agree with the logic that all future Army leaders should read this book to gain insight on what can happen when there is a lack of leadership in a stressful situation. As Joshua Hammer, published in the New York Times, said, “Frederick’s extra¬ordinary book is a testament to a misconceived war, and to the ease with which ordinary men, under certain conditions, can transform into monsters.” Strong leadership is chief in preparing soldiers for the stressful situations they will encounter, and the book showcases a crucial case in which strong leadership was absent.

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