April 19, 2008
This essay is about the movie U-571 and the examples in leadership sacrifice and team work. A United States Navy submarine crew is left to work together and save themselves when their sub is hit by German torpedoes.
U-571 is a 2000 movie directed by Jonathan Mostow. The movie depiction, although fictional, is loosely based in principle on real events. This film is a fictional account of the capture of a German submarine in 1942 by an American crew, but is based on the historical reality of the Battle of the Atlantic and the secret capture of the Enigma cipher machine from German boats. The film was inspired by several real events: the British seizure of U-110 south of Iceland in May 1941 with an Enigma machine and Hydra cipher; the U-559 in the Mediterranean with a short weather Enigma cipher book in Oct. 1942 that allowed the British to break the new German Triton cipher; the capture of the U-505 by U.S. Navy in June 1944. Matthew McConaughey stars as Lt. Andrew Tyler, the executive officer whose leadership under pressure remains untested. Having just been turned down for command of his own vessel, Lt. Tyler must deal with his own damaged pride and confidence while still performing the duty required of him as a naval officer. He gains the opportunity to prove himself when he, along with 8 of his young sailors, successfully board and take control of the German U-boat. Lt. Tyler learns the truth of the old adage, "He who hesitates is lost." The reason why soldiers train, study, practice, and theorize before the conflict is so that while in the midst of the conflict they may act without hesitation or fear. The
disciplined habits developed at times of peace allow men to act instinctively when the pressure is on. Uncertainty is definitely a part of any type of leadership position. Uncertainty will not be your undoing as a leader. However, your inability to give a clear directive in the midst...
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