Essay on Leadership Failures in Black Hearts by Jim Frederick

Essay on Leadership Failures in Black Hearts by Jim Frederick

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The book Black Hearts by Jim Frederick is an in-depth narrative about the 1st platoon, Bravo Company 1-502nd Infantry 101st Airborne Division deployed to Iraq in 2005. The leadership failures documented in this book range all the way from the general officer level down to the lowest private. LT general Ricardo Sanchez failed to understand the climate his command group was entering as they were deployed into Iraq. From then on the entire leadership failures continued to compound upon each other with improper time to plan. It is customary to have a six month lead time to have a proper battle hand off when preparing to take over an AO from another unit. To compound this problem, the entire time the 502nd was in pre-deployment training, they were preparing for the rigors of urban combat. In reality, they were given six weeks to recon their new area of responsibility and were going to a countryside crafted by the heavens for guerilla warfare. As Colonel Ebel said in the book, “It is not going to be an easy road. They are not even sure of what they have in the area. It just feels bad. We can expect a real fight.”
The book summarizes the struggles that Bravo Company faced from the start even before deployment. The unit was initially sent to JRTC at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and made many tactical errors during their rotation. 1st platoon had many individuals captured from the start, and the leadership automatically decided that Captain Goodwin would be incompetent for the following deployment while LTC Kunk would be difficult to work with for the upcoming year. Once they came out from JRTC, Bravo Company and Charlie Company were both given the toughest missions. Bravo Company was assigned to the most dangerous AO in the so-called triangle o...


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... book to characters in other novels, you begin to see styles of leadership that are used and the effectiveness that they can have on a person’s character and ability to accomplish a mission. I feel as if a constant leadership style was put in charge from the beginning of their deployment that followed the standard that was necessary, then the soldiers would have been unable to commit the crimes they did during their deployment. On the flipside of that coin, I feel as if more competent leaders had existed through the tumultuous time of the deployment, they would have been able to adapt to the situation and control the soldiers they were responsible for no matter how difficult the deployment became. Despite the fact that 11 of 33 original 1st platoon leaders were removed by the end of the deployment a strong leader duo could have prevented the actions that took place.

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