Sometimes mistakes do get corrected. Back on March 9th I wrote about the case against Lt. Gen William Caldwell, a very old associate of mine, who was covered by Rolling Stone. The accusation against him was that he had run a rogue operation attempting to brainwash visiting government officials and elected representatives into supporting the mission in Afghanistan. Coming on the heels of the article that forced the removal of Gen McKristol for his, and his staffs remarks denigrating their President.
I spoke in defense of LTG Caldwell because I knew him, and I thought I understood what had taken place. I was right, or at least the Army and of its’ investigators thought so as well. He was acquired of all charges and will continue in his role heading up the training of Afghans for U.S. and NATO commands. This is a big tough, and thankless command for any senior military officer.
The good news here is that a good man had his reputation restored. After all the press comments after the Rolling Stone article I felt he would need a lot of luck to achieve a positive outcome…and he had it. A career of stellar and exemplary service will continue. We are all the better for this outcome.
For everyone else undergoing a trial of their reputation should take notice and heart. Good things can happen to good people – even when a reporter from Rollng Stone is asking you questions. Good can prevail! This time it did. His dad, my former boss, must be smiling from above.
Sherpas leading the party
A while back I highlighted an article I found in the LA Times regarding Sherpas who had relocated to Colorado and were thriving in their new habitats, mainly as business people. What I wanted to do, but failed to do was tell my personal story of my work with real Sherpas, and the reason I adopted the term for The Analog Sherpa Group.
In 1971 I was detailed to the German Alps with the Special Forces group to oversee adventure and mountaineer training for US Army troops. At Bad Tolz I came into contact with 2 Sherpas who had been brought in to teach us about authentic high altitude climbing. As I young Infantry officer who had gone through some of the best training the Army had to offer I thought I had my gear ‘squared away.’ In fact I found out that I knew very little about the mountains, and leading people through the mountains. Our two Sherpas taught us more than any of the official cadre knew combined.
They out climbed us, out carried us…and all with smiles and selfless determination to make sure that everyone succeeded on each trip. They were ever quiet, but always smiling. They taught us everything we needed to climb, and how to smile in the face of adversity. The funny thing was that neither of them spoke English and none of us spoke their language. A single interpreter sufficed to help with the technical words, but their smiles and gestures proved to be the true ‘guiding factor’ we needed to accomplish our tasks and climbs.
They taught me a lot, and I’m proud to claim to be a Sherpa today, if only in business, the message and guiding factors are still the same. Keep moving forward, no matter how heavy the load. Time to rest tomorrow. With that in mind you can accomplish anything.