Leadership / Stupid / Why

Leadership Moment — 28 May 22

Sometimes stupid is necessary.

Mark McMillion
4 min readMay 28, 2022


Photo courtesy of https://www.staveapps.com/who-loves-doing-army-equipment-layouts/

I mentioned yesterday my son is getting ready to go to a JROTC weeklong camp. He’s excited and I’m excited for him. He wants to be a soldier after high school. Through his Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps experience, he’s getting a small taste of that.

Yesterday (May 27th), he had to have his bag packed and turned in to the instructor. After it was verified, they locked it in a storage room. He leaves on June 11th.

What?!?! I spent 22 years in the Army. I’m used to this kind of thing and I understand it. Allow me to explain.

School’s out next week. That means next week is going to be a whole lot of optional. This event occurs after school is out. That means there will be limited communication between now and then.

The instructor could have waited until the 11th. Everyone shows up ready to get on the bus. Then you start checking bags. This kid only brought two pairs of underwear. That kid has three pairs of socks. This one forgot his running shoes. That one didn’t bring his uniforms, or maybe only the pants portion.

The instructor could just say tough and send them home. Then those kids would miss opportunities to experience some completely different and really cool things. They’re going to go rappelling, do water survival training, and learn a little bit of land navigation. Neat stuff and those are things you don’t get to do normally.

For many if not all of these kids, this will be the high point of their summer. For some of them, it may be the only week in the summer where they don’t worry about their next meal or food for tomorrow or other, nastier things. In our community, there are many broken homes and bad domestic situations.

The instructor could have had the kids bring in their bags, inspect them, and then send them home with the kids. He could carefully instruct the students to not unpack them, just put the bag in a closet until the 11th. And some of the kids would do that. Others wouldn’t.

They’d run out of clean laundry and dip into the bag for clean socks. And then forget to replace them later. Or they might show up on the 11th and…



Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.