General Spaatz advice to Robin Olds near the end of WWII

Your most difficult problem will be the people. In the military, they mostly divide themselves into four major categories: There are the ‘me-firsters,’ the ‘me-tooers,’ the ‘deadwood,’ and the ‘dedicated.’ You are among the minority, the ‘dedicated.’ Stick with them, search them out, and work hard to be worthy of their company. You won’t be popular with a lot of your bosses who act dedicated but really aren’t, and that can make life difficult at times. Beware of the ‘deadwood.’ Most of them mean well, and, in their own way, try hard, are loyal, and are even useful. But too often they’ll botch things up and get you and your outfit into trouble.

Watch out of the ‘me-tooers.’ These guys will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. They borrow thoughts and ideas from others and present them to you as though they were their own. They are the opportunists who look for every avenue to advance themselves, without sticking their own necks out. They ride someone’s coattails and try to make themselves indispensible to the boss. Believe me, they are not to be trusted. You don’t want yes-men around you, but you can’t always avoid them.

The worst and most dangerous are the ‘me-firsters.’ most of them are intelligent and totally ruthless. They use the service for their own gain and will not hesitate to stick a knife in your back at the slightest indication you might stand in their way. They seem arrogant, but don’t be fooled. They are really completely lacking in true self-confidence.

–General Carl A. “Tooey” Spaatz to Robin Olds from Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds

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About Eric Chandler

Husband. Father. Pilot. Cross Country Skier. Writer. Author of Outside Duluth and Down In It.
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