Courage Under Fire -a Leadership Discussion

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“Few of us are given the opportunity, even fewer the courage to sacrifice ourselves for the lives of our comrades. In daily life, even as in battle each one of us is mysteriously and irrevocably bound to our fellow man. And yet, it is only in death that the power of this bond is finally tested and proven. And who among us really knows how he might respond when the moment comes?" (Courage Under Fire, 1996) The movie “Courage Under Fire” provides us with lessons many lessons in leadership and overcoming moral and ethical crises.

Set in 1991 during the first Iraq war this film is the fictional story of the first woman to receive a Medal of Honor for heroism in combat. A subplot concerns the destruction of a U.S. Army tank by friendly fire and its effect on the man responsible. The movie explores the role of women in combat, casualties from friendly fire, alcohol abuse in the military, honesty, taking responsibility, redemption, leadership, suicide, and the effect of the macho doctrine of "I can handle it without help" on the marriages of military personnel.

Col. Serling’s abuse of alcohol due to his internal emotional struggle in dealing with his mistakes on the battlefield creates a very believable situation that can realistically happen to a soldier in todays military. Our personnel will benefit from the story and be able to see the effects that alcohol can have on their lives. This storyline also reinforces the concepts of redemption, honesty, and taking responsibility. Col. Serling is only able to face his demons after meeting another soldier who is going through a nearly identical type of conflict.

While investigating whether another leader deserves to receive the Congressional Medal Of Honor (posthumously) he encounters a soldier that is also hiding the truth but instead of owning up to his own mistakes and seeking redemption he commits suicide. Col. Serling is able to learn from the soldier and seeks out his own redemption. The suicide rate...
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