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March 08, 2005

General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (Ret)

This is the third post about presentations given by speakers at the YPO Inventing Your Future Markets event.  To see other posts about this event just look for the Category "YPO Inventing Your Future Markets, March 2005" in the Categories section on the right.

General Krulak began his 35 year career in the Marines on the ground in Viet Nam.  His stories about leadership under fire with people dying all around him came across as sincere from a man who seemed to care very much for his people and who had come to believe that war is a terrible thing to be avoided at almost any cost.  He commented on the current war and said that it is impossible to fight ideas with guns.

He finished his career as Commandant of the Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  In an interview where he announced his retirement, he said he was going to go surfing.  Apparently that didn't last long, because he went on to be a leader at MBNA, holding several positions including Senior Vice Chairman and CEO of MBNA Europe.

He continues to draw on his military career for leadership lessons.  Apparently in the Marines, a leader has control of a Tactical Area of Responsibility, or TAOR.  Everything in it belongs to the leader who owns that TAOR.  No matter what happens, good or bad it belongs to that leader, no excuses.  I have a saying "Leaders give credit and take responsibility" and I believe the General would agree with that.  He would not want to hear one of his leaders blaming a member of their team for causing the team to fail to meet an objective.

He said that "The only thing you own is your integrity and you, and you alone, can give it away.  Once given away it is very hard to get it back."  He defines character as selflessness, great moral courage, great integrity.

Someone in the audience asked him what his greatest failure was.  He said it was having a singular, laser focus on his career early in his career to the exclusion of everything else including his family.  Fortunately he says he figured that out before it was too late and he turned it around.  The interesting thing is that he said that when he put more balance into his life, his career took off.

Finally he said that even in battle there is always time to think it through.  Even if it causes turmoil as people around you are demanding a decision.  He said that being a decisive leader has nothing to do with time.

It's impossible to know someone in such a short time, but I left the presentation feeling that General Krulak is a good man.  I might disagree with some of his politics, but I believe he's a good man with good lessons to share and it was a pleasure to hear him speak.

March 8, 2005 in YPO Inventing Your Future Markets, March 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

who are you too judge if a general in the marine corps is a good man?

Posted by: Tim | Aug 6, 2005 2:53:56 PM

That was just my impression from a very short presentation. I tend to assume people are good until I see evidence otherwise.

Posted by: Terry Gold | Aug 6, 2005 3:28:05 PM

Terry - how do I get in contact with him. I would like to book him for a speaking engagement.

Posted by: Matt | Aug 28, 2006 2:30:27 PM

The General is a great, honourable and distinguished man. USA must be very proud of him.

Posted by: Ian | Mar 12, 2007 6:30:18 PM

THE GENERAL WAS MY COMMANDANT.I MUST SAY HE WAS AND STILL IS A GREAT LEADER.IT WAS AN HONER TO SERVE UNDER A GREAT LEADER.HE PRESENTED AN AWARD TO MY COMPANY COMMANDER ANOTHER GREAT LEADER LT.COL JD ALFORD.GENERAL KRULAK WAS ALWAYS THANKING THE NCO'S.I LIKED THE FACT THAT SUCH A HIGH RANKING OFFICER UNDERSTOOD HOW THE JOB GOT DONE.HE WASN'T AFRAID TO GIVE CREDIT TO US JUNIOR MARINES.ANYHOW HE WAS AND I'M SURE STILL IS A FANTASTIC LEADER AND A INSPIRATION TO ME..

Posted by: TRAVIS | May 24, 2007 8:41:23 AM

Nine years ago as a last ditch desperate move to obtain medical compassionate assistance for my uncle and hero, a decorated Marine veteran of the Korean War, I contacted General Krulak on a whim. I was always told by my uncle that a Marine always will help another Marine regardless of rank or reason. Much to my excitement was a note from General Krulak advising me of certain contacts and to follow up on those for necesssary assistance. As time went by my uncle's cancer finally took over and he passed away. In appreciation for the kindness and assistance shown to our family by General Krulak I advised him of my uncle's passing. He responded with a note of condolence. I will never forget his generosity and kindness to us.....he demonstrated in every sense the true meaning of once a Marine always a Marine and the compassion a Marine has for another Marine. I will remember him till my last breath.

Posted by: Larry Flocchini | Oct 8, 2007 3:44:25 PM

I was a Navy Corpsman for the General in Golf Company 1965 Viet Nam. At that time he was Golf Company XO. I am writing a book and would like to ask General Krulak a couple questions. I did know him personally. What an honor it was to serve under his command. My wounds and injuries etc. were a small price to pay for the honor of serving my country. How can I contact him.

Robert Lane

Posted by: Robert Lane | Jun 28, 2008 12:38:26 PM

Dear Gen. C.C. Krulak, USMC (Ret.)

Sir:

I am a former EO-3 Seabee and was a military convoy driver who delivered needed supplies to the forward area encampments during DS/DS 90-91. I was injured while on an overnight convoy to KIBRIT, Saudi Arabia the night of December 26, 1990, by small arms fire near the AO north of Tapline Road near Kibrit. I am in need of assistance with any additional documentation about this convoy being fired upon.
Sir, you gave orders the morning of December 27, 1990, to your subordinant officers of the 8th Marine Engineers..." Do Not travel to Kibrit at night, the arab forces in the area will shoot at you!" This record is the only verification of the situation I have been able to find about Kibrit.
I am asking if you gave those orders after hearing about the overnight military convoy of Dec. 26, 1990 being fired on? I also ask you to visit my webpage at: www.desertveteransearch.com , and that you please contact me if you can be of any assistance to me in this matter.
I may be only a former Navy Seabee heavy equipment operator but, I am the son of a Marine, and both of my twin sons are Sgt.s serving in the Marines. Therefore, with all due respect... May GOD bless the U.S. Marine Corps.

Semper Fi!

V/R
EO-3 George Kernaghan
Alfa Co. NMCB-24 90-91
gekernaghan@yahoo.com
www.desertveteransearch.com

Posted by: George E. Kernaghan, EO-3 NMCB-24 | Mar 13, 2009 7:29:56 PM

Dear Gen. C. C. Krulak, USMC (Ret.)

Sir:

I am stiil searching for any of the night patrole Marines, and the Navy Corpsman who was with them, who saved my life and witnessed the incedent near the AO of Kibrit on the night of December 26, 1990 when a military convoy was hit by small arms fire. I am in need of any additional documentation about this convoy being fired upon, or letters from any eyewitnesses or officers who had knowledge of the incedent.
If you can be of any assistance in this matter please, contact EO-3 Kernaghan via the information provided on the Desert Veteran Search webpage: www.desertveteransearch.com . Thank you.

Semper Fi!

EO-3 George Kernaghan
Alfa Co. NMCB-24 90-91

Posted by: George E. Kernaghan, EO-3 NMCB-24 | Mar 13, 2009 7:43:19 PM

Dear Sirs:

I am asking for any and all assistance with regard to contacting Mr. C.C. Krulak, USMC ret. i am asking him to please look over my website page (www.desertveteransearch.com), the supporting document letters, and my contact information.
The "Desert Veteran Search" website is the reason I am in need of the Marines, again. If anyone can help me in locating Mr. Krulak, I would be very gratefull.

Semper Fidelis

Sincerely,

EO-3 George Kernaghan
NMCB-24 Alfa co. 90-91
military convoy driver

Posted by: George E. Kernaghan, EO-3 NMCB-24 | Mar 25, 2009 3:54:40 PM

Don't know if you remember me General but we attended the US Army's Command and General Staff College together. My wife and I used to play a good deal of racquetball with you. Little did I know that the guy hitting me in the back of the head with the ball was a future Commandant of the Marine Corps. I am proud to have known you Sir. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of knowing General Krulak, I can assure you he is a good man.

Posted by: Les Colegrove | Jul 3, 2009 6:34:05 AM

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