31 December 2006


New Year's Day, 2007

The first day of the year....
We've watched retrospectives of 2006 on different networks-
One I enjoy is on TCM, the "Turner Classic Movies" old movie network.
At the end of each year they do a review of those involved with movie production that died during the year. It's sometimes easy to forget who died early in the year, and this review is a good reminder.

Various News Channels also do reviews of the major news stories of the year. "Major" means differing things to different people, but it's still nice to be reminded of stories that happened during the previous year.

And then there are the personal stories..... those things that happen to each of us individually, or as a family, that impact us in an important way, but don't affect others much.
A big one for the Greybeard family just came to fruition-
Four and a half years of work behind him, Big Bubba has gotten his Bachelor's degree. His major emphasis is communications, with a minor emphasis in Journalism. He already has two job offers, and accepting either of them will result in his moving a considerable distance from us.

So this year we are conflicted-
We are proud of him for his achievement.
We're proud of him because he's a fine human being.
We're proud of him because his talent has resulted in some folks in the Movie/TV industry taking notice of him and offering him jobs.
But it means he'll be leaving home.
He's always been a home-body.... now the activity we've always heard emanating from his bedroom will be quiet. The "life-support system" he has established there will be packed up and moved across country, leaving space for us to fill as we wish.

Have we properly prepared him for this transition?
How will we deal with "empty-nest syndrome"?
(Not well, I'm afraid.)

Comparisons with my parents, and so many other parents, are impossible to avoid-
Mine sent me off to the care of my Uncle Sam, knowing the conflict in Viet Nam was expanding.
It's hard for me to imagine sending my son off under similar circumstances.... could I handle that kind of emotional transition? God gives us the strength to handle such things, but I sure am glad I'm not facing that circumstance.

The change we face is the result of plans and dreams unfolding as we hoped.
Still, we face the stress that major change in our lives presents.
We need to focus on the positive side of this change.
It's an exciting time for us.

Happy New Year everyone!

28 December 2006

"Tiger Fatigues"

"Greybeard, you have a phone call- line one".

On duty at my EMS job, I was watching TV.
I picked up the phone and pushed the button for line #1...
"This is Greybeard."
"Greybeard, this is 'Larry Rocker'..... remember me?"

..... Quick search of the memory banks-
"I haven't spoken to the only Larry Rocker I know since October of 1969!"
"That would be me!"

No, I couldn't forget Larry....
He was a favorite Crewchief in Viet Nam.
He hailed from Southern California. Larry and I share a love of cars, so we talked alot about what kind of wheels we'd be driving when we got "back to the world."

"Listen Greybeard, my wife is a flight attendant for Blah-Blah Airline, and we're gonna be in your State next weekend. If your schedule permits, I'd love to come visit you!"

"Larry, have you looked at a map? We're six hours from Bigtown!
You realize how far you'll have to drive?"
I wasn't surprised at his response..... "I don't care."

We had a great weekend, reliving old times, telling lies to one another, and catching up on almost 30 years of news.
One of the things Larry talked about was going to Viet Nam Unit reunions.
Had I attended any?

I was always afraid of going....... fearful I'd be surrounded by a bunch of guys reliving Viet Nam experiences, crying in their beer.
Larry said, "I think you'll be surprised".

So when he called a few months later and said our old Company was meeting in Dallas, I talked it over with Sara Jean, and we agreed to make the drive.
My relief valve- we had loved ones in Dallas, so if the meeting went into the pooper, the visit with relatives would make the trip worthwhile.

Larry and his wife Mary Kay met us in the lobby of the hotel.
After our initial greetings they asked, "Have you seen 'Tiger Fatigues'?"
"What? Tiger Fatigues? No, I can't say we have."
"Well, he's here for the reunion, and he's weird lookin'.
He walks with a cane, and he stands out like a sore thumb in his Tiger Fatigues."
The rest of us were dressed casually in civilian clothes.

A few minutes later we spotted him, limping along with his cane.
Tall, lean, and wearing the "thousand yard stare", he WAS a little scary looking.
This was EXACTLY the reason I had avoided these reunions!

Next morning we nervously made our way to the meeting room that organizers had rented for our use. There I ran into Bill, a gunner I hadn't seen since 1969.
We shared stories and enjoyed one another's company.

My lovely Sara Jean is 10 years my junior.
While I was being shot at in Viet Nam, she was 12 years old, not yet worrying about pimples.
When the North Vietnamese turned Saigon into Ho Chi Minh City, she was still just 16.
Her older brother, same age as me, was a Marine Corp Viet Nam Veteran who had been "in country" a little over a year before I got there.
She had never been able to understand the impact the war had made on two of the most important men in her life.

While I visited with Bill and others, she sat quietly at the table and eavesdropped on conversations.
To her immediate right, she heard one guy exclaim, "He's alive?!"
Another guy says, "Yes! He's in a wheelchair, but he's alive."
She overhears the first guy say, "The lower half of his body was gone when we put him in the helicopter."
Then, in tears- "I can't believe he's alive!"

The door opened, and "Tiger Fatigues" limps in.
For a moment, the room was uncomfortably quiet, then conversations returned to normal as he took a seat.
To my amazement, Mary Kay made her way over to Tiger, sat next to him, and engaged him in conversation.

They chatted long enough that I wondered if I needed to rescue her.
I made my way to them and introduced myself to Tiger, then, to give her a chance to escape, I asked Mary Kay if she needed to go up to her room to check on her messages.
"No thanks. I'm fascinated by the stories I'm hearing."

And his story is compelling.
Let me set the stage, so you'll better understand:

You may remember, our unit was a reconnaissance outfit and had a mix of aircraft-
Gunships, Scouts, and Slicks.
While our aircraft were parked, we protected them from enemy rocket and mortar fire by parking them in revetments-
walls of sandbags 5 feet high, supported by ammo boxes or pierced steel planking.
The slicks and Scouts were parked in "shotgun" revetments.....
a wall on both sides, but open at both ends.
The gunships were parked in "L shaped" revetments with the aircraft facing the base of the "L".
This arrangement precluded the off-chance of a 2.75 inch rocket being ignited by static electricity and flying into someone's living quarters.
Hovering out of either type of revetment was difficult.....
the rotor downwash would reflect off the sandbags, causing a great deal of turbulence until you were completely clear of the enclosures.

One morning, "Tiger Fatigues" was helping his best friend, a Cobra Crewchief, launch his Snake on a mission.
The Snake came to operating R.P.M., then slowly came to a hover and started it's sideward slide to get clear of the revetment, while Tiger and his Crewchief friend stood and watched.
Suddenly, one of the rockets accidently fired, and from a distance of about 30 feet, went through the Crewchief's chest.

I can't imagine it...... a rocket almost 4 inches in diameter!
The wound would be ghastly.

Tiger's friend lived long enough to say he was cold.
Tiger ran to the supply room to get a blanket to cover him.
The supply clerk wouldn't give him one....... wouldn't believe Tiger's story.
When he returned, failing to get the blanket, his friend was dead.

It's easy to understand why Tiger looks at the world through a "thousand yard stare".

I came home from that reunion glad we had attended.
Sara Jean returned with a new understanding about her husband and brother.

We drank a lot.
We hugged a lot.
We laughed a lot....
we cried a little, too.

I've been to a few reunions since, but the memories of that first one will always stand out.
Mary Kay stops by here at "Pitchpull" to read and comment now and then.
She needs to know how much I respect the courage it took for her to walk over to Tiger and start that conversation.
Mary Kay..... I'll always love and admire you for that!
I know it was exactly the therapy he needed........
I found out I needed it too.

25 December 2006

The Christmas Effect

I'm at home this Christmas, and it's wonderful.
We work a screwy schedule...... four days with 12-hour shifts, then four days off. So although it would seem I would have a 50-50 chance of being home for Christmas, it sure seems I have worked more than my fair share of Christ's Birthdays. This morning Sara Jean and I discussed how Big Bubba learned to sleep in on Christmas day because his Old Man frequently wouldn't be home to unwrap presents until late morning.
While it's nice to be home, I never resent being at work on holidays.... someone has to do it, and I'm glad to be of service to others in what can sometimes be desperate times for them.

But Christmas is a strange time.
You would think we'd experience a big up-tick in the number of accidents because of all the holiday travel. For whatever reason, it just doesn't work out that way. It might be the additional patrolling done by various State Police. I think folks are less likely to drink and drive if they know somewhere along their travels they could be stopped by a concerned Trooper.

Weather sometimes slows traffic, so even though there might be more accidents, slower speeds mean they are more minor, and less speed means less likelihood of serious injury.

From Thanksgiving to just after New Year's we do see an increase in what I can only describe as mental stress problems..... suicides, heart attacks and other cardiac issues. There is high expectation of happiness during the holidays. Sometimes things don't work out exactly the way we want, and the disappointment can be too much for some. And although we see less drinking and driving, I'm sure alcohol consumption at home goes up, with the additional stresses that entails.

For whatever reason, Christmas Eve and Christmas day are normally quiet for helicopter ambulance services. Tomorrow will be another story altogether.... Docs coming back after the holidays will have many patients who need to be transported to tertiary care centers, so tomorrow morning, crews coming in can expect to be busy for several hours, catching up on the backload.

So to all, I hope Christ's Birthday is filled with great fellowship and many smiles.
And if you could, sometime during the day, say a little prayer of thanks for all those performing public service of one sort or another..... servicemen and women, EMS and Law Enforcement personnel, and even those folks that have to be at work to keep the machinery of life working..... powerplants, water purification plants, etc..
It's easy to take these things for granted, because all these folks do their jobs so well.
We are truly blessed, aren't we?
Be safe and well, everyone!

20 December 2006

The Minimum Wage

There's big talk recently about another minimum wage increase.
Blah, blah, blah....
Lotsa heat..... almost no light.
Foolish political games!

I have a market-based solution to low minimum wages:
Control our borders, arrest and deport illegal immigrants!

The laws of supply and demand cannot be repealed......
The pool of laborers willing to work for low wages and NO BENEFITS will quickly dry up. Employers will be
forced to pay higher wages to attract workers to those jobs. (It's already happening in some agricultural states, harvesting some crops.)
As wages for people at the bottom rung of the ladder increase, wages will have to rise all the way up the ladder.
(And as an added benefit, overall health care costs and the crime rate will go down.)

Minimum wages increase!
But does it materially change anything?

19 December 2006

Desilu Update:

FURTHER UPDATE, Wednesday evening:
Both dogs are okay.
Desi is home, listless and drowsy. When he's not interested in a 'treat", ya know something really outta the ordinary is going on.
Lucy is fine. I'll pick her up on my way home from work tomorrow.
Now the question is, how much behavioral change will we notice?

Time will tell.


It's been three months since we found Lucy roaming the streets, trying to get squished. She's a delight, and we wouldn't trade her for the world.

A few points about her, for those of you that care about critters, doggies in particular:

I really felt that training her with Desi would be easier than starting from scratch with her alone.
I was wrong.
She's a smaller dog, so her "pile" is small......
easily identifiable as "Lucy's mistake."
Still, I'm uncomfortable punishing her unless I actually catch her in the act. The problem is that the two of them are so active.....
they irritate one another to death..... hot laps around the living room!
In order to remain sane, you learn to ignore much of their behavior.
Ignoring their behavior results in finding a small pile beneath the dining room table.
Poor Desi...... we point to the pile and ask, "WHAT IS THIS!?"
Lucy wags her tail, cocks her head, and looks dumb. (She really reminds me of Ellen DeGeneres' character "Dori" in "Finding Nemo"!)
Desi knows house poopage is wrong, so he slinks off, afraid he's gonna be punished for her mistake.

She really is Desi's dog. She loves us, but he comes first.

She follows him everywhere, watching what he does, gnawing on his ears, chewing on his tail as they go.
He's a Saint.
He more than puts up with it...... he actually seems to enjoy it.

If she ignores him, he checks on her..... and sometimes instigates a tussle on his terms.

I finally caught her in the act. She squatted in a corner of the living room and I shouted at her as I picked her up in mid-poop. Solid waste landed on a recliner as I paddled her little butt. There's been no pooping in the house since.

I normally get home from work at 7:30 A.M..
Doggies are ready for our normal "one lap around the lot."
We leash Desi only...... so long as he is restrained, Lucy won't go far.
Both squat immediately when we get outside.
Poopage takes a little walkin', in order to get the machinery lubricated.
Funny..... we frequently get formation poopage!
Good Boy! Good girl!

Desi is just over a year old.
The Vet tells us Lucy is probably about 6 months old now. (By the way, on the papers he filled out on her, he decided her major breed type is "poodle".)
After our morning ritual when I get home from work tomorrow, Desi, Lucy and I will drive to the Vet, and both dogs will be neutered.
Desi gets to come home tomorrow night.....
Lucy has to stay the night for observation.

I know it has to be done, but I'm a little scared.
Is it silly to ask for prayers for animals?
If you don't think it's stupid, I'd appreciate it if you'd include them in yours.
I'll update you afterwards.
Thanks everyone!

17 December 2006

Just Plain Cool!

I have more than 1500 hours in various iterations of the BO 105 shown in this video that lifetime friend Ole Prairie Dog sent.
I had seen this video several times before, but never with the cool background music on this one.

It's obviously a tough, agile bird.
The 105 has a rigid (hingeless) rotor that allows the pilot to do "negative G" maneuvers that would destroy many other helicopters.
The BO 105 was the precursor to the BK 117 I'm now flying in EMS, which principally has the same rotor system and would also be able to do these sorts of maneuvers.

Yeah, a tough bird......
It's comforting to know these aircraft can withstand forces I will never subject them to.

12 December 2006

Coffee, and the Production of Lift-

Sometimes I fly.
Sometimes I sit and try to learn something new.

The other day, I was poking around the archives on Aviatrix's blog and found
this post.
I cannot imagine any pilot that has been at this trade for more than a few months not smiling and nodding as they read her words.
Caffeine isn't part of the aircraft's checklist, but without it,

lift may not occur.

For 14 years, I flew UH-1H "Hueys" with the Army Reserve in an "Assault Helicopter" company. The main mission of the company was to put together a flight of a few Hueys and carry infantrymen from point A to point B... point B frequently being the place where our passengers might be needed to confront adversaries with the baggage they carried with them.

To do our job well, we practiced.
We'd frequently plan what we called a "boondoggle"......
Well ahead of time, we'd plan a trip to some Navy or Air Force Base several hours away, requiring a fuel stop or two, then we'd stop and R.O.N., (remain overnight), and return the next day. Most often, these plans would attract several pilots, and we'd get to practice formation flying along the route.

One trip we planned was to fly to Pensacola Naval Air Station, spend the night in Officer's quarters there, then go to the Naval Air Museum the next day, spend another night in the Officer's quarters, then fly back home. Sixteen pilots expressed interest in making this flight, so 8 Hueys were blocked off for that weekend.

Weather didn't cooperate. Ceilings and visibilities went to pot,

and we ended up landing at an Air Force Base well short of Pensacola. Luckily, we found they had "room at the Inn" for all of us.
We showered, donned civilian clothes,
and made our way to the Officer's Club.

Hangovers were the order of the day when sun came up.

Sixteen pilots showed up at the Operations Office in desperate need of "the Army Aviators Breakfast"-
Cheese crackers with Peanut Butter, and a big cup of coffee.

Coffee was available- in a vending machine next to the machine that sold the cheese crackers. One pilot put in his quarter, and the machine failed to deliver the necessary caffeine.
Another tried, pounding the machine as he inserted his coins.... same result.
This is a real Emergency!

We notified the clerk at the desk and he called the vending machine service number. They announced they'd have someone there to fix the machine right away.
Now we're gettin' somewhere......
our fix was on the way!
We grumbled and shuffled around in the Ops office, yearning for that first cup.
Finally, a Van with the vending company logo approached and parked right in front of the main entrance. Wearing a one-piece coverall uniform, the serviceman got out of the Van, grabbed his tool box, and strode toward the door.
We could feel the relief coming!

He set his tool box down and turned to look at all of us.
He was portly, unshaven, and looked a little like a character from the movie "Deliverance". Seeing how badly we needed our first cup, he smiled and said, "you guys got it bad, don't ya!?"
He had no front teeth.
Where he had teeth, they were yellow-green with dark spots.

He pulled out his keys and opened the machine, saying,
"I bet I know just what's wrong".
Next we heard, "Yep! Look at that! Feed line is blocked."
The nylon tube that delivered the coffee to the cup was blocked with a gelatinous coffee/cream plug.
He put the nylon tube to his lips, took a deep breath, and blew....... Phlewwww!
We could hear a muffled pop, then the sound of air rushing through as the plug was cleared.
He put the tube back in it's proper place, then closed and locked the door. He put a quarter in the machine and selected "coffee with cream". The machine efficiently delivered the product.
He turned to us, and with his Jack-O-Lantern, Yellow-Green gap-toothed smile said, "There ya go fellas...... all fixed!"

At that point we all decided to soothe our caffeine addiction at the Coca Cola machine.

10 December 2006

Crosswind Landing Gear-

In the video at this post
we discussed, in the comments,
the fact that the gear on one airplane looks as if
it is canted in order to absorb the stresses

of landing in a strong crosswind.

One of the neat things about Blogging is how our
blog-family comes up with
answers to questions.


sent me the addresses of a couple of his friends
that flew Boeings for the airlines.
Both responded to my notes....

Both are Viet Nam Vets,
so I've added new members to my "family". (Thanks TWD!)

"I flew B727's for UPS and B727's /B757's for Northwest
and have several
thousand hours in Boeing products.
The video of the cross wind landings of

Boeings was made at an airport in South America,
can't remember where,
they have high sustained cross winds during
certain parts of the year.
is where Boeing takes their aircraft to test the max
sustainable cross wind
component allowable so they
can validate the engineer's estimates for the

aircraft manuuals. The aircraft are all rigged with
sensors and
instrumentation to measure stress
on various parts of the airframe.
And no,
the gear geometry doesn't adjust for wind component
like the C5 does.

What you see on the video is distortion due to heat
and debris in the wind.

Every time I see that video I have new respect for
Boeing machines.
build a tank, Airbus builds a Humvee."

So there ya have it-
Tough gear, but it doesn't really do anything out of the

ordinary in order to land in strong crosswinds.

08 December 2006

"But It Was Just Sex"

Mid 50's,
Married.... a family man.
At the peak of his career.

He's having more than a little difficulty remaining faithful to his wife.
He gets involved with a woman less than half his age.
His dalliances become public knowledge.
Should he lose his job? After all, "it's just sex. It's his personal business."

Well, if you are President of the United States, you might be able to squirm and keep your job, but Corporate America won't put up with that kind of sleazy behavior!

And the amazing thing-
Apparently this guy actually could say,
"I did not have sex with that woman......"

He no longer works for Pepsi.

05 December 2006

6 Dec.

I nag a lot about history and how we sometimes seem to have learned nothing from it, therefore having to relearn painful lessons.

If I had a time machine, I'd like to go back and experience 6 Dec 1941.
I wonder how many American citizens had any inkling of what was about to happen? Certainly most Americans were aware of the trouble in Europe. But wouldn't it be interesting to find how people felt about the U.S. entering that war? I know a large group wanted no part of the war..... felt it wasn't "our fight". Another large block, including our President, worried about what was happening in Europe, and thought we had to go to war to save Britain and Europe from Nazi dominance. How dissimilar are attitudes today?

I watched a great program last weekend on "The History Channel" that focused on unsolved mysteries surrounding the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. There was some neat stuff about the mini-submarines...... how they may in fact have been more successful than previously thought. If you're interested in the subject,

I recommend you keep an eye out for a re-run of this program.
I believe it was two hours long, and it's worth your time.
(And if you've not been watching the "Dogfight" series on the History Channel, you're missing one of the best depictions of air-to-air combat I've ever seen! They cover dogfighting from WWI to present, with fantastic graphic animation.)

One of the things that stood out about the Pearl Harbor attack is how we're making similar mistakes today-

My EMS flying frequently takes me over a local Air Force Base......

To cross this base, I get permission over the radio:
"##### Tower, Lifeflight 3 is 8 miles East, to flyby midfield, Westbound, at 1500 feet."
"Lifeflight 3..... no traffic reported, cleared to transition as requested."

It's just that easy.
And as I fly across the airfield, I look down and spot 13-707 sized airplanes beneath me, 7 in one row, 6 in another, parked wingtip to wingtip . If I had evil intent, before anyone could do anything to stop me, I could drop an explosive device on the middle airplane in each row, and the ensuing fire might very well involve all 13 airplanes before anyone could do anything to put the fire out.

Similarly, in another town 70 miles away, (this time with a tower that shut down operations just after sundown), I overflew a line of 9 F-16's at the attached Air National Guard Base.
I can only assume many of our aircraft, all across the Nation, are parked similarly.

Some of us think we are at war.
I've commented before on how I worry that our entire Federal Government is packed into one relatively small city, and how much of that Government, including those in the line to assume the Presidency, could be taken out with one relatively small nuclear device. I'd still like to see action taken to spread the Federal Government throughout the Central part of the Nation.
But shouldn't we be on a war footing even when it comes to the small potatoes?
How hard would it be to scatter those aircraft, making it much harder to take them all out with one attack?

Seems like an easy history lesson to me:
Pearl Harbor 101-
"6 December" Americans were pretty naive.
I wonder what advice "8 December" Americans would give us?

03 December 2006

Here It Comes?

Well, maybe. Maybe not. I wish I knew.

Several months back we discussed the insecure economy and market, and talked about buying Gold as a hedge..... just in case.

Now this, from Tennis.com:
Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf just sold their home in the San Francisco area for $20 million.
This is the second highest sale price for a home in their county, yet it's bad news. How can this be?
The highest price paid for a home in their county was $23 million, when they bought this same home a few years back.
So much for Real Estate bein' a "sure thing"!

A personal story:
In 2000, I bought a piece of property in a prime location.
If..... IF I had been smart enough to sell it last year during a window that opened for about 6 months, I could have sold it for four times what I paid.
Now I'm not sure I'd even get a nibble if I put it on the market.
Buyers are taking a "let's wait and see" attitude, watching to see if there is a bottom in sight.

I'm hearing rumblings about A.R.M.'s and "interest only" loans.
Some so-called "experts" are taking on the Chicken Little role, announcing the sky is gonna fall. I have no crystal ball, but I'll repeat the mantra I live by:
"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."
So, be prepared.
For several reasons, gold still looks like a secure buy.

01 December 2006

Good Enough?

Big egos......
In my career I've been exposed to a lot of them. I own and cultivate one myself, but I think being aware of it tempers it somewhat.
It takes a pretty big ego to be a pilot, thinking your skills are good enough to take the lives of others in your hands.
It also takes a bit of ego to Blog, hoping someone will read your stuff, then agree or disagree strongly enough to punch that comment button and respond. A really big ego can cause problems when those comments are negative!

I think people in general are of the opinion that military officers have some of the biggest egos in the world. As a retired Army Officer I'm not an objective judge, so I won't approach that discussion. But I will tell you, I've met supervisors in my civilian life that could go head-to-head with most of the egos I dealt with before I retired from the military.

The title of my post today refers to an essay posted on the wall behind the desk of one of my last military bosses. He looked enough like H.R. Haldeman, the guy in the picture above, to be his twin brother. Same haircut. Same behavior.........
Ego the size of the Astrodome.

The essay was centered behind his desk, with its title in letters big enough to be read the instant you walked into his office that said, "Beware of Good Enough!"
The essay warned that if you were satisfied with "good enough", you'd be buried by competitors that weren't satisfied with just good enough.
The essay was thought-provoking.
My initial reaction was, "Why isn't good enough, good enough?"
I hated working for this man. He was a first-class jerk. The essay posted on his wall said everything you need to know about him.

A couple years ago, I read a basic engineering book on "How things work".
The book went into detail about several common, everyday things most people work with daily, starting with paper clips, working its way through beverage cans, fax machines, and bridges. It went into great detail about engineering details, how the design of things evolve as cheaper, more efficient ways are found to do the job. But it also discussed how over-engineering something, (making it more than "good enough"), would result in it weighing too much, or being wasteful of resources and not economically competitive in its market.
I immediately thought of my old boss and wanted to mail him the book!

The phrase "Good Enough" pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
As an example, if you are in the market for a quality automobile, you won't go shopping at your local Yugo dealership....... a Yugo isn't "good enough" for you.

But if you are searching for reliable, economical transportation.....
something that won't cost a fortune to insure and maintain.......
there are literally dozens of automobiles you'll need to consider before making your purchase. They meet your needs and are "good enough."
(But does it come in Fuschia?)

But let's get back to my old boss and his attitude-
What was he telling those of us that worked for him, putting that essay in such a prominent place? From the little I've said about him, you obviously can't judge his character. But I'll tell you this- I thought he was a poor leader. I think he wanted his subordinates to fear him.
He succeeded.
And although he always accomplished his mission, I believe those of us that worked for him, seeing him broken down along the road, would have looked the other way as we drove by.

I've been a manager of one thing or another for over 40 years. I've studied the leadership techniques of a lot of people during that time, and I've learned a little something from most of them. I tend to agree with the old saying that "you draw more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

Here's the leadership style I personally find most effective. See if you agree, or have anything to add:
-Don't ask others to do something you wouldn't do.
-Share as much of the "Why something needs to be done this way" as you can, and be open to suggestions about getting the job done more efficiently.
-Lead in such a way that employees want to do what you ask.
-Use negative reinforcement only as a last resort. When you have to lead negatively, try to find out why positive reinforcing techniques aren't getting the job done.
-Praise all involved for a job well done.
-Share "attaboys" when they are given.

And always be aware that when something is "good enough", it is good enough!
An employee that does work that is good enough is worthy of praise.
Not realizing that may result in that employee moving on, being replaced with someone that does substandard work.
Just make certain you know what is "Good Enough" before you start the job!