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MAG-29 focuses on combat leadership

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200551811356
Story by Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (May 18, 2005) -- Field grade officers and top enlisted personnel in Marine Aircraft Group-29 were given a professional military education class on combat leadership at the Station Officer’s Club on May 6.

Lieutenant Gen. James F. Amos, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, was invited to speak to the “War Eagles” leaders about military tactics and lessons learned during Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II, and was the culmination of a series of classes that were designed to challenge MAG leadership, said Col. Mark D. Mahaffey, MAG-29 commanding officer.

“The intent was to provide guidance and direction to field grade officers to help them see the world a bit differently,” said Mahaffey. “It exposed them to future issues they’re going to deal with and exposed them to issues they might face as squadron commanders and maybe flag officers someday.”

Amos related insight about fundamental topics that face senior leadership during combat operations including preparing for casualties, operational flexibility and core Marine responsibilities of being a rifleman.

“Every Marine is a rifleman. The MAG is closer to the ground community and needs to understand that it really comes into play,” said Amos. “Everyone rides on convoys, even me. We need to know how to shoot, and not just for pizza boxes or crossed rifles, but to kill.”

Amos detailed his tricks-of-the-trade, including the use of a “Red Cell,” comprised of a group of retired Marines hired to think like the enemy and probe allied forces for potential weaknesses.

He also covered the complex question of courage versus foolishness, and when it’s proper for a pilot to put his aircraft in danger from a command standpoint.

“Being courageous and manly does not equal losing an airplane,” said Amos. “There’s a time to ride into the gates of hell, but it’s not as often as you think.”

The PME helped the Marines understand the reasons why something happens when you’re out there, doing that, and you don’t realize that it’s because a larger piece of the overall pie is moving, said Sgt. Major Wiiliam H. Bly Jr., MAG-29 sergeant major.

“From the general’s standpoint, he sees the bigger picture,” said Bly. “Sometimes, we’re focused on our small piece of the pie, and he helped to shed some light on those issues.”

Amos has made a career of leading in combat situations, through multiple levels of command, and it was important to get his perspective on those concerns and learn to trust in yourself as a leader, said Mahaffey.

“You need to trust in your instincts and learn to become comfortable with the decisions that you make,” said Mahaffey.


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