The loss of a mentor

629 Words3 Pages
In the past 12 years there have been over 6500 U.S. lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each soldier lost has their own back-story. With-in those stories you will find the stories of their family, friends, and loved ones. My story is about the first Company Commander I served with in combat, Captain Michael J. MacKinnon. My first experience with Capt. MacKinnon was after transferring to Fort Stewart, GA. I walked through the doors of my unit, known as “The Bandits”. I noticed two soldiers standing outside his office with their heads and eyes strait forward, hands firmly behind their backs and their bodies ridged as boards. I assumed the two soldiers had done something wrong and where waiting to be reprimanded. As I walked past them to hand the clerk my paperwork, I noticed they were both Lieutenants which was odd. Generally, in the Army, officers don’t get treated like new privates fresh from Basic Training. But that’s how man Capt. McKinnon was, there was a standard to uphold and he was going to ensure everyone adhered to it! My next experience with Capt. MacKinnon was during physical training on a very humid Fort Stewart morning while our squad running. About 2 miles in, we were all short of breath and beginning to slow down. Out of nowhere Capt MacKinnon came from behind us and briskly said “nice pace, I’d be impressed if you kept it up for another 2 miles”. Then after about 5 seconds he took off in front of us and after another 30 seconds he was gone from our sight. But that’s the kind of man he was, if you did it in 12 minutes he would do it 11, and then talk trash. But no matter how much trash he talked, he would always back it up. 6 months into our deployment he was sent to take command of a company to t... ... middle of paper ... ...uld hardly speak; tears began to trickle down my check as I took deep breaths to regain my wits. In my mind, these two men absolutely had something to do with the IED that had killed Mike. In that moment I would have been glad to be judge, jury and executioner. Of course that’s not what I did, as U.S. Soldiers we operate under a code of conduct. Mike MacKinnon touched so many lives before he left us, his leadership lives on through the men who served under him. His subordinates have all moved on, most to positions of greater responsibility with in the Army. Those men now pass that same leadership on to their soldiers. I can’t recall where, but I remember someone said; once exposed to greatness it is something that stays with a man. I am in no way claiming to be great, but Mike McKinnon greatness is something that will live on with me for the rest of my life.
Open Document