Note – The Senior AG Author wishes to remain anonymous.
As Chief of the Adjutant General’s Corps and Commandant of the AG School when he was on active duty, COL (Ret) Rob Manning instituted “Battle Analysis” within the Schoolhouse. It was an outstanding program to capture historical lessons. Officers going through the AG Basic Officer Leadership Course and the AG Captain’s Career Course (AGCCC) contacted many of our AG “Gray Beards” for lessons learned from their Army experiences entailing the full spectrum of military operations.
Remembering back to one AGCCC interview, a young Captain asked me, “Sir, what was the most meaningful job you ever had?” Without hesitation my answer was “Rifle Platoon Leader in Vietnam, it all started there.” Many of our best of the best AG leaders in the Corps cut their leadership teeth as Rifle Platoon Leaders in Vietnam. COL (Ret) Wayne Morris (awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for Valor), COL (Ret) Gary Gresh, and COL (Ret) Art Dupay to name just three. Morris and Gresh are also AG Corps Hall of Fame Inductees. And then there was LTC (Ret) Wilson Ray. Ever heard of LTC (Ret) Ray? I sure have.
LTC (Ret) Ray was a Rifle Platoon Leader in the 1st Infantry Division during the mid-1960s in Vietnam. Later, he like so many other Soldiers branch transferred to the AG Corps in the early 1970s. It was a period when understrength Officer Branches could hand-select from the top talent of the overstrength Combat Arms Branches. LTC (Ret) Ray was not only an amazing Warrior, but along with COL (Ret) Art Dupay, was a “no-nonsense” leader, and the best administrator I have ever known. He also laid down a valuable leadership lesson on a young MAJ in 1985.
This MAJ had just been selected for a Branch Chief job in the old U.S. Army Military Personnel Center (MILPERCEN), now known as the U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC). At the same time, LTC (Ret) Ray was in command of a Personnel and Administration Battalion. During a phone conversation between the two, the MAJ was describing being hand-selected for his current job, and his vast responsibilities as an AG Branch Chief. When the MAJ finished reveling in his own self-importance, LTC (Ret) Wilson Ray asked one question that took the air from the overblown MAJ’s chest and “bore-sighted” his attitude. LTC (Ret) Ray simply asked, “What have you done today, this week, or in the last month that had any positive impact on one Soldier in my Battalion?” There was a long pause… the MAJ had no good answer at the time, but worked even harder from that point forward to have a better answer if asked again.
There is much more to the “Wilson Ray Story” and others like him. All you need to do is ask by leaving a comment to this AGCRA web article.