Should Army Captains really be praised for finishing a 12-mile ruck march? (VIDEO)

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”  That was my initial thought after watching a home video uploaded to YouTube showing a young female Army captain collapse over the finish line before collapsing two times just before.  Ugh. Sigh.

I don’t want to point out the mistakes of other people.  I certainly don’t condemn her.  I’m glad she was able to finish what a bunch of other troops couldn’t do after a week long gut check to get her Expert Field Medical Badge.

What I don’t like is the fact that we’re celebrating mediocrity.  Holy smokes, guys!  Should this really be on Fox News and make national headlines?  I think not.

As an NCO-turned commission officer in the Army, I can tell you what a lot of young troops and senior enlisted NCOs were thinking: they wouldn’t want to follow that officer—not to battle, not anywhere.

You see, officers are already down at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to respect. To the troops, you need to gain their trust.  You need to be better and stronger, more violent and at the same time more compassionate than anyone else.  You’re the leader.

Leaders don’t praise mediocrity.  Leaders pave the way for excellence.

This young captain may have been the laughing stock of the battalion, not the hero, as the media narrative suggests.  That was probably made even worse when the office of public affairs (likely) arranged for her to be on Fox News.

What does this video really portray?  Does it mean that the Xbox 360 generation isn’t fit to fight?  I sure hope not.

Does it mean they’ll collapse under pressure?   Does it mean they’ll point the muzzle of their gun at their own face and muzzle the crowd, breaking all kinds of safety rules, like she did?

Or, does it really mean that troops—and especially our current and our future military leaders—are totally inundated by social media, video cameras and YouTube to the point that everything is going to get attention, the good, the bad and the mediocre.

Look, in every march, run or military drill, there’s always been and there always will be, a bunch of troops standing around hollering, screaming, yelling and encouraging someone who’s falling short and falling behind to pick it up and move on.  That’s the brilliance of the military.  You can’t have anyone fail.

This video just shows someone who’s at the back of the pack, the weak link in the chain, getting that kind of encouragement.  Whoever filmed it and put it on YouTube may have done it to show that that this leader isn’t worth the weight in her ruck sack.  Whoever posted it probably did it as slander.

This video is psyops at it’s best and it’s worst.  Psychological Warfare (psyops) shows propaganda.  I believe this defeating and quite pathetic video shows failure.  But with a little twist, it shows that failure is okay.

I say failure because that kind of video should never get to our enemy.

Sure, not all troops can be snake eaters and violent SERE instructors, but for heaven’s sake, people… let’s not highlight poor performance and call it great.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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