I served in the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea when Colin Powell was a battalion commander and the division was commanded by Henry “Gunfighter” Emerson. It was good, hard duty, a long way from home, and I enjoyed it.
My combat engineer company crossed his battalion across the Imjin River several times during maneuvers when we war gamed attacking north into North Korea. He would speak to the engineer bridge officer when his men crossed. I was the bridge officer several times.
I later spent time with him — including me and him on a long private flight after he was in politics — and always admired him. He was a dedicated soldier and a pragmatic leader.
I didn’t agree with some of his politics, but today is not about politics. He was a good soldier and a better man. He had the timber to be a good President.
I recall his 13 Rules of Leadership:
What made his rules of leadership resonate with troop commanders like me was they were not fancy, were completely pragmatic, and practical.
Rest in peace, General. Fair winds, following seas — we have the watch. Thank you for your service.