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Unlike a comprehensive weeding-out process, Air Force force management programs are calculated and well-reasoned, ensuring that our future force will meet America's needs.

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Ideally, and as Hubbard would have it, those Airmen afforded the opportunity to continue to serve will possess a proven track-record for mission success and leadership of Airmen, and a proclivity for dogged self-improvement and meaningful endeavors in their communities. Simply taken at face value, "A Message to Garcia" is a worthwhile reminder to appreciate virtues most Airmen demonstrate daily, such as courageous initiative, faith in one's chain of command, and laser focus on mission essential tasks.

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Sure, Hubbard is off-base when he deduces the cause behind underperformers' failures to oppressive employers and espouses the notion that 'when the cat's away, the mice will play. The piece's best utility is subtle, timeless and has more to do with the individual than his Airmen.

Now Hubbard's challenge to have any of "six clerks within call" complete a simple task is unmistakably geared towards hoping someone else will receive orders, demonstrate initiative, and deliver the mail. The author's skeptical view would have the reader believe that his Airmen would respond with "foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work.

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In reality, so long as an Airman's leader effectively communicates a vision and demonstrates its merit, Airmen will receive the task and execute accordingly. Airmen of various duties and technical specialties ensure the Air Force's efficacy daily.

Demonstrating initiative, Airmen recognize and correct problems within their means and up-channel those they cannot. Excellence in doing the job is ingrained into the American Airman. They were young professionals climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder. Their banter was loud and filled with inadequacies disguised as complaints regarding their transgressions at work.


Reading about the guys who stormed Iwo Jima and at the same time listening to these whiners was not compatible. It was a long time ago and we were in a bad way. I had just heard over the net radio that my CO, Commanding Officer , was down and could not continue command of Kilo Company. Since I was senior, I knew that I would takeover.

Lessons from "A Message to Garcia" never more applicable

The captain told me that a North Vietnamese battalion was circling our position and was poised to attack. My initial responses were a litany of obstacles that we faced. The hero, the man who carried the message, was a young lieutenant in the United States Army, Andrew Rowan. Summoned by President McKinley at the outbreak of the Spanish American War, he was to deliver his message to General Garcia, the commanding officer of the revolutionary forces, notifying him that the Americans were coming. His adventures were beset by obstacles but he managed to make his way through the interior mountains of Cuba and deliver his message.

It was not the sheer courage and indomitable spirit that were at the heart of his adventure. Rowan took the letter and did not ask how, where, why, when, how long, or who will help. The hero is the individual who does his work, who figuratively carries the message to Garcia. Today, it appears as though inattention, indifference, and half-hearted work are the norms and that success is a measure of a myriad of those vacuous tendencies in the vilest among us.