Commander Stockdale's Stoic Philosophy

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When searching for an example of who to model one’s character and morals off of the best example is, former Prisoner of War and Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale. Stockdale, a Commander at the time, was flying combat missions over Northern Vietnam in 1965, when he was shot down and captured by the Viet Cong. While in the Viet Cong prison, Stockdale leaned on his training and faith to remain positive. Two items that Stockdale credited were the inspiration he had for a once-Roman slave named Epictetus and the Stoic philosophy. Stoic philosophy is achieving inner peace and enduring pain without complaint. Throughout Commander Stockdale’s time in prison, the coping mechanisms that he used to keep his faith and discipline helped keep his men alive, while reflecting great courage on himself and his fellow aviators. During Stockdale's time in prison like Epictetus before him, he credits Stoicism as his ability to persevere through pain and the terrible conditions imposed on him by the Viet Cong. Stockdale ability to use the Stoicism philosophy assisted him in keeping faith with his fellow prisoners, as well as the Code of Conduct as it states in Article IV, “…If I am senior, I will take…show more content…
If we as Sailors and Marines, can take any part of the examples that Stockdale and his men did before us, it can have positive effects on us if we ever get placed in a similar scenario. The Stoic philosophy is a method that worked for the Roman slave Epictetus and Stockdale, which furthers the assertion that reading ancient philosophy and reading military books can have a positive impact on a leader’s decision making and ability to keep faith when the time gets tough. This topic in my opinion could have also been applied in the recent events in Iran, as the Stoic philosophy states “never to
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