Friday, August 17, 2007

5 American "Great Captains"

Many soldiers aspire to the ranks of a Napoleon, Alexander, or Ceasar. Five Americans have arisen in the Post-Cold War era who are some of the greatest in our history. Updated from a January 2005 post:

1). Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf was the first to rise from the doldrums of the Vietnam War, giving America its greatest victory since World War 2. His “Hail Mary” play in the Iraqi desert was a masterstroke of the likes of Rommel or Patton. His leadership of a diverse coalition of nations would have made Dwight Eisenhower proud.

2). Gen. Charles "Chuck" Horner commanded the air forces of Central Command during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm from 1990-1991. Horner rejected traditionalists who wanted an old-style strategic bombing of Baghdad and instead conducted a wildly successful tactical campaign that paved the way for the land invasion.

3). Gen. Wesley Clark is arguably the least of these, who must be counted for his understanding of the new precision warfare first seen in the Gulf. The NATO victory of Kosovo in 1999 was the first war won by airpower alone, and paved the way for future victories ahead.

4). Gen. Tommy Franks led the initial stage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, conquering Saddam's corrupt regime in an astounding 16 day blitzkrieg. Like Alexander the Great, Franks utilized much smaller forces to overcome larger armies. As Napoleon, he maneuvered his troops, always keeping the enemy (and the Press) guessing.

5). Gen. David Petraeus instituted effective training of the Iraqi Army, turning it into a modern fighting force. He then rewrote the Army Counter-Insurgency Manual and is currently applying its lessons as head of Multi-National Forces in the combat zone. Reportedly, Al Qaeda is very upset with the General's effective new tactics, especially now that the Sunni's have turned against the terrorists.