Category Archives: For Fun

Captain Dad: On Being a Modern Parent Leader

Parents are the leaders of families. This is not a new concept, and it has been recognized when considering things like parents’ role in leading their kids’ education and upbringing. The tie between parenting and leading outside of the household is also fairly easy to see, and you can check out other pieces that identify the similarities between leading kids and adults (written by a former SEAL), note the boost to leadership parents receive, and list the numerous lessons learned from parenting that are applicable to leadership. Not to be forgotten, The Military Leader ran a piece a couple years ago about this very topic. (A version of that same post also ran on Task & Purpose.)

All of that is to say that the body of literature on parenting vis-à-vis leadership is fairly saturated. But even after reading much of the existing work, I found little mention of some of the comparisons I had in mind. I don’t claim to be a stellar example of either a leader or a parent, but I can certainly see the overlap. So, here’s my contribution to that “scholarship,” with a mind especially to company grade leadership and the help of the TV show Modern Family:

Continue reading Captain Dad: On Being a Modern Parent Leader

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On Running and Leadership

I ran a 10k Monday. I’m not bragging—it wasn’t a special event or a race, just a slow 6.2 miles because I wanted to. (And because of the whole “PTing for fitness in the Army” thing.) I’ll be the first to tell you I’m no PT stud, so it wasn’t a particularly inspiring 10k, but I felt good afterward, and I started to think about some of the ways running is like leadership.

And while I’m not the first to draw the comparison (see this, this, this, this, and this), I argue that there is much about leadership you can learn from running. Some of my thoughts are a stretch, but some might make sense to you. Strap on your PT belt and have a read: Continue reading On Running and Leadership

Garrison Tips for the 21st Century Army Leader!

Today’s Army is one of innovation and technological marvels. While we continue to fight the battles of our day, Army leaders must ensure that troops stay in tiptop readiness form while in garrison.

Follow these tips to be on the cutting edge of our fighting force! Continue reading Garrison Tips for the 21st Century Army Leader!

Guest Post: Why Mustaches Make Better NCOs

Today’s guest post is written by Oren Hammerquist, an Active Duty Army NCO who’s bringing a much-needed enlisted perspective to B&B’s ongoing musings on Army culture.


I grew my mustache on leave and a whim. In fact, wear of a mustache has a much longer tradition in my family than military service. I see it as a hobby and a way to maintain some facial hair. As expected, I returned to both compliment and ridicule. Opinions on mustaches vary widely. Perhaps one day my hobby will grow old. At a minimum, I must wait until people have forgotten I did not used to wear a mustache so they will ask what changed. But this time has not been wasted. I never expected my military mustache would teach me a valuable lesson. Now I know the truth: mustaches make better NCOs. Here are five reasons why.

Continue reading Guest Post: Why Mustaches Make Better NCOs

Translating Corporate Jargon for the Military Audience

During my summertime internship adventure in nonprofit land, I’ve found myself working at what may be the most corporate NPO in existence. This post’s featured photo with the sticky notes on the glass wall? I attended a meeting where we actually did that!

In addition to this clichéd “brainstorm” meeting, I started noticing all of the corporate buzzwords and jargon, writing them down both for my own education and amusement at the fact that the Army isn’t the only workplace enamored with trendy terminology.

What follows are a handful of those terms accompanied by what I think are more-or-less equivalent Army phrases.

Continue reading Translating Corporate Jargon for the Military Audience

Dear DRASH

Dear DRASH,

Since the first time I stepped foot into one of your air conditioned tactical tents as a lieutenant, I knew you were something great. You could be assembled and torn down rapidly. You could provide troops with reprieve from the elements. You could be designed and configured in a variety of ways because of your modularity. You could be a Tactical Operations Center (TOC), sleeping quarters, or even a soft-shell motor pool bay for vehicle maintenance. And thanks to the Army’s Standardized Integrated Command Post System (SICPS) Trailer Mounted Support System (TMSS) fielding, you came in a neatly contained trailer package complete with a generator, lights, environmental control system, and even tables.

You were everything a leader could want in a command post. Plus, you could be accessorized like the world’s most expensive Lego set.

Then, one winter day, we took our relationship to the next level, and I was suddenly signed for several of your TMSS systems. It didn’t take long for the honeymoon phase to wear off.

Inventorying you is a pain in the ass, and what the hell is a “gusset” anyway? When your endcap rods break, the tents suddenly become saggy messes that can’t keep in the cold or hot air from the ECU.

And everyone who didn’t have you wanted to borrow you. I get it, for all the cool reasons mentioned above. But you always came back worse off than you left (though you probably left in bad condition anyway).

I always marvel at how a group of motivated soldiers can break camp and pack up at lightning speeds once someone hollers “ENDEX,” but marvel turned to alarm when I learned how easily parts could break on you if done carelessly and too fast.

My point, DRASH, is that I love and hate you at the same time.

Someone else is signed for you now, and I’m okay with that. Going through your things before you started your relationship with a new commander was painful and arduous, and afterward I didn’t miss you one bit. Good riddance.

But now, it seems like all I can remember are the good times. Remember that time there was a bad storm in the field, and that old raggedy GP large partially collapsed on a bunch of sleeping troops (luckily no one was hurt)? You remained perfectly intact, proving your worth and providing shelter for the night shift.

Or how about that time you became my unit’s home away from home for Operation Key Resolve in South Korea? Snow piled up by the foot, but you gave us a dry and warm place to work and only asked that we knock the snow off the roof every once in a while.

I know we’ll run into each other again one day, DRASH. We’ll spend time together, I’m sure, and maybe we can even be friends. But we’ll never have the same relationship as when I first signed for you and your pages of COEI and BII.

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Thanks for everything,
A former commander


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Batman v Leadership, Part 2: The Bad

In Batman v Leadership, Part 1, I discussed five leadership traits of The Batman that represent some of his good, positive leader qualities. But anyone familiar with the Dark Knight’s M.O. knows his techniques, actions, and demeanor are often at odds with what we’d want our kids to take away as healthy behaviors.

Continuing and concluding my two-part look at some of Batman’s leadership characteristics, I now bring you some of the Caped Crusader’s less desirable qualities from which we might be able to learn and avoid ourselves.

Continue reading Batman v Leadership, Part 2: The Bad

Batman v Leadership, Part 1: The Good

Full disclosure up front: I’m a Batman fanboy nerd. He is my all-time favorite comic book hero – a masked vigilante who fights crime, injustice, and evil with his wit, training, preparation, and bottomless bank account. He doesn’t have super powers, and yet he’s a card-carrying founding member of the Justice League and a proven fighter capable of going toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel himself.

But like any man, the Caped Crusader is not without his flaws. Starting with this post and finishing with the planned second part, I will discuss a handful of the Dark Knight’s leadership traits, first good, then bad. What lessons can leaders glean from the World’s Greatest Detective? How many more nicknames for Batman can I use?! Keep reading to find out!

Note: I won’t post any spoilers for the movie. In fact, I’m going to stick mainly to the comics.

Continue reading Batman v Leadership, Part 1: The Good

23 Hilariously Fake Military Clickbait Headlines – #9 Will Have You Seeking Legal Counsel!

Clickbait, according to Urban Dictionary, is an “eyecatching link on a website which encourages people to read on.” It’s not an uncommon tactic to use a strange claim or an attention-grabbing phrase to direct traffic to some content online, and I’ve even seen it directed to military blogging posts.

So just for fun, I decided to use my Twitter feed to float some completely fake, unclickable clickbait headlines for made-up military blog posts. I took the click out of clickbait, but maybe you’ll still get a laugh out of some of these:

Continue reading 23 Hilariously Fake Military Clickbait Headlines – #9 Will Have You Seeking Legal Counsel!

#BourbonOfTheMonth – February 2016

Welcome to the inaugural #BourbonOfTheMonth blog, all hashtaggy for the interwebs. The idea here is to live up to half of this blog’s name by introducing a delicious new bourbon every month. I’ll share my thoughts on the selection while I divulge my utter lack of fine taste and reveal my shameless absence of any kind of sophisticated bourbon knowledge.

I generally won’t include my impressions on the flavor or “nose” or whatever—just assume it tastes like delicious burning. But I will try to bring a little background to the booze in a way that a normal review may not.

Continue reading #BourbonOfTheMonth – February 2016