The Responsibilities of Leadership

Lt. Walter Rudin

Walter M. Rudin, USN

The Fourth of July is more than barbeques and fireworks. If you’ve ever attended a parade and heard a fife and drum corps, you’ll understand the how the cadence of those drums embolden hearts and give courage to the men (and now women) going into battle.

My Revolutionary War ancestors were not on the battlefields. They provided support by transporting goods, signing oaths of allegiance, or ministering to the dying.

It wasn’t until World War II that our family had someone in the midst of conflict (that we know). My father was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Jacob Jones in the Atlantic and the Pacific. He saw German periscopes slip into the sea on moonlit nights, he witnessed flotsam pop up after ordering depth charges, and he spent one Christmas Eve on board in the middle of ocean, listening to nurses sing “Silent Night” on a nearby hospital ship.

Men and women need special talents and dedication to be leaders of troops that they will be taking into harm’s way. My great nephew John  is enamored with the Marines Corps. USMC insignia are emblazoned on his Facebook page, bedroom walls, and on his hats, etc. He is currently attending the Marine Military Academy summer camp, learning how to be a strong and confident leader. John’s grandfather, my brother, wrote his grandson a letter last spring about the profound responsibility of military leadership. I proudly share (with his permission) a portion of his touching and articulate message.

March 14, 2013


…Military leadership is different than civilian management. It is both an honor and a burden. Preparing for and/or leading troops into harms way is an awesome responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. It is extraordinary because you may be called upon to lead men and women into combat whereby they risk injury or even death. These brave troops deserve the very best you have to give. They will depend upon your courage, your decisions, and your integrity. They are worthy of nothing less! If you are a good leader, upholding the traditions and values of an organization such as the United States Marine Corps, they will follow you to the Gates of Hell.

Your family, immediate and extended, has a rich and long tradition of military and public service, the Air Force,  the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, education, health care and law enforcement. Our collective spirit resides within you. It will give you the strength and courage to persevere. Military service is not easy, nor should it be. Its elemental purpose is to defend our great Nation and our way of life. Its defense requires men and women with a strong sense of duty, commitment beyond self, personal courage and strength; men and women willing to do violence in our behalf…

Regardless of your chosen path, we love you and are proud of what you have and will accomplish.

Well said, Brother!


About Patti Albaugh

I grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1965. I have a Bachelor's Degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. I am an Emeritus Professor at Otterbein University. In addition to writing creative nonfiction and fiction, I like bridge, genealogy, gardening, travel and Mah Jjong. I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, with my dog Tonto. I am the proud parent of children Justin and Amy and the proud grandmother (NANA) of granddaughters Katherine and Zoe.
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