I recently read “The Diary of a West Point Cadet” by Captain Preston Pysh, and had the good fortune of meeting the author. Captain Pysh just returned from Afghanistan where he commanded an Apache helicopter company in the 101st Airborne Division providing support for our troops on the ground.
The division commander, Major General John Campbell said, “The 101st Airborne has been at the forefront of that battle, fighting a strong insurgent network that has a sanctuary in Pakistan.” According to the Times Union, “The Army division known as the Screaming Eagles, formed ahead of the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy, has lost 104 men this year — or about 1 in 5 American deaths in Afghanistan. That is close to a toll of 105 divisional deaths in Iraq during a 2005-2006 deployment that was its deadliest year in combat since Vietnam.” Luckily, all the soldiers in Pysh’s command returned home safely.
After reading Pysh’s book, and meeting him, it was apparent that he is not only an incisive student of leadership, but an exceptional practitioner as well. Stephen Colbert recently recognized Captain Pysh’s service, and behind the humor was sincere and deep appreciation for the sacrifice our soldiers are making every day: Shout Out – Preston Pysh. If you’re ever concerned about the dearth of leaders, read Pysh’s book. There are a trove of great leaders coming up through the ranks in our country, and his book will inspire hope.