* COL Cole C. Kingseed, U.S. Army retired, showcased Winfield Scott's true greatness and the contributions of his lieutenants during the war with Mexico in his fine July article, "Winfield Scott's Remarkable Lieutenants." Although COL Kingseed mentions Scott's "unabashed egotism," the commanding general was not so self-centered that he failed to give unstinting credit to others, especially his junior officers Like Beauregard, Grant, Johnston, Lee, McClellan, Meade and others who, as COL Kingseed points out, helped make victory possible.
We should also remember that it was Scott's superbly trained forces at the Battle of Chippawa during the War of 1812 that caused the British commander to exclaim, "Those are Regulars, by God!" That American victory by grayclad U.S. infantrymen led West Point, the Virginia Military Institute, and The Citadel to replicate the design for cadet uniforms and - according to Robert Leckie in his seminal work, The Wars of America - it was here that "the esprit of the United States Army was born."
We often write off Scott's Civil War contributions because by 1862 he was so old that he could no longer mount a horse. MG George B. McClellan, a man who truly possessed unabashed egotism, could not wait to send his former mentor off to retirement so he could claim the top spot in the Union Army. Yet it was Scott who designed the Anaconda Plan, which sent the U.S. Navy off to blockade Southern ports and begin the process of isolating and defeating the Confederacy in what became America's first total war and a preview of World War I. Although he was a Virginian, the old soldier stayed true to the Union.
Many thanks to COL Kingseed for highlighting the contributions of this great American during one of the many wars in which Scott participated and for reminding us all of the rich heritage of our U.S. Army.
LTC Kelly M. Morgan, AUS Ret.
'Crush of Requirements'
* In the August issue of ARMY, the "CompanyCommand" article, "The Crush of Requirements from Higher Headquarters" reported, "It is unbelievable how many changes and last minute taskings come down on a daily basis" and "Last minute changes by higher are so out of control that no one believes a long-range training calendar ... is worth the effort."
We were dealing with the same problems more than half a century ago. In the late 1950s I was the executive officer of Company D, 501st Airborne in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. The training schedule that trickled down from division level, with additions from intermediate headquarters, might order us to spend the week, starting Monday the 10th, on the range for annual basic weapons qualification firing. I would book the ranges and trucks we needed, the supply sergeant would order the ammunition and any training aids required, and the mess sergeant would order chow based on feeding us out on the ranges for a week. We would give refresher training on firing positions, windage adjustments on our M 14s and range safety. By Friday the 7th, we would be ready to spend a week on the range starting Monday the 10th. Then, probably late in the day on Friday, "change one" would come down, telling us to cancel the week on the range and go into the field for platoon tactics instead.
My company commander, CFT Edward C. Meyer, went through the chain of command to speak to the division commander, MG William C. Westmoreland, and told him that we were being ordered to do too many things and thus not doing any of them well. He said this was inefficient, was not providing us the training we needed and was bad for troop morale. Fortunately, CPT Meyer had what it took to do that without damage to his own career. The division commander heard him out but responded that Meyer was just a young captain who did not understand the big picture. Nothing changed then, and it appears that it still hasn't.
Both MG Westmoreland and CPT Meyer eventually became Chief of Staff of the U. …