Commemorative Speech Analysis

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Executive Vice President Gordy Bratz, Honorary CSM of the Regiment, Ray Eagan, distinguished members of the 14TH CAV Association, families, friends, and anybody I’ve unintentionally left out—thank you for allowing me the unusual but privileged opportunity to stand before you tonight.
Some of you may be wondering “Why did a 1ST LT get picked to serve as the keynote speaker?” To be fair, I asked myself the same question last week when my Squadron Commander, LTC Miller, informed me directly that I would be attending this reunion in his stead. Though I was excited to get back on the mainland, that excitement was abated by a twinge of anxiety as I thought about what I was going to say. I didn’t have much information to lean on. I knew little
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My grandfather on my dad’s side served in the Air Force during the Cold War as a Tech Sergeant. On my mother’s side my grandfather travelled Europe with Patton and enjoyed a brisk night or two during the Battle of the Bulge, ending his career as a First Sergeant. My dad volunteered for the Army and was able to spend two tours in the tropical paradise of Vietnam finishing his time as a Spec 5. My oldest brother enlisted in the artillery as a forward observer and my older brother joined as an 11B and is now a SFC Green Beret. In short, it was understood that we were expected to serve our country. That being said, that’s not necessarily why I joined in 2004 as a 19D. For me, and likely for some of you, it was about a sense of adventure—a dynamic mix of fear and excitement brought on by the unknown. Some things never change. There was a sense of duty to be sure, given the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but I would have joined anyway just to get out of the Upper Peninsula and into that unknown world of the military. Fast forward to a deployment to Iraq, where like many of you, I learned about losing friends when 9 members of my platoon, ranging from the PL down to the newest Soldier, were killed by a pair of suicide bombers. I also, like many of you, grew from those dark experiences. And on a lighter note, I’m sure many of you can relate to the old adage of, “I’d trust my buddy with my life but not my sister.” Some things…show more content…
Unlike the Infantry, whose missions are often borne from statements, Cavalry missions are borne out of questions that arise during the commander’s military decision making process. Doctrinally we call it “Push” or “Pull” reconnaissance, which is just another way of a commander saying either “I think I have a plan, but go out there and tell me what you see” or “Go out there and tell me what you see because I don’t yet have a plan.” This simple delineation between the Infantry and Cavalry—between a statement and a question—fosters separate cultures and unique identities that often butt heads with each other. Perhaps a few of you in the room have experienced a run in or two with an Infantryman or his squad. The Army calls the relationship between the Infantry and the Cavalry part of a Combined Arms fight—but historically, and often in the barracks Combined Arms often is just another way of describing a boxing match. Some things will never change.
So back to start—what do Alexander Hamilton, Senator Mitch McConnell, Vladimir Putin, the 14TH CAV and a father and son have in common? Here
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