Western North Carolina – There is an old military tradition, formed over the U.S. Army’s 246 years of history, that has particular relevance this week. Our nation has now had over 50% of the adult population vaccinated with at least one shot now. We should almost be at herd immunity nationwide now, a huge accomplishment for a nation of our size.
The old military tradition is for U.S. Army incoming commanders, at all levels, to have understanding for any issues that occur in their first 100 days in a new command position. The incoming commander is not to be attributed the successes of the outgoing commander in the first 100 days, nor full blame for the outgoing commander’s mistakes during the “100-days grace” period. President Biden assumed office on January 20, 2021. Today, Thursday, April 29th is the 100-day mark.
Therefore, despite the Biden Administration’s comments since taking office that former President Trump failed the nation in combating the virus, the opposite is the case, unless we wish to throw out and disregard the U.S. Army tradition for commanders. Some may say, “but President Biden is not part of the Army’s command system or history.” But at least some of us would say the President is Commander in Chief of the military, and therefore should be subjected to its history and traditions.
So congratulations to former President Trump and his team for getting us to where we are today! Without Trump’s guidance and leadership, we would still be in the dark days of huge COVID 19 death rates. Even though some states are faced with a recent new surge with virus cases, the death rate is still nowhere near the previous rates, and with over 50% of our adult population receiving the first shot, we will likely bring down the recent surge statistics relatively quickly.
If our nation is to bridge the serious gap between Democrats and Republicans, as President Biden promised, he must not only refrain from making ridiculous claims of success in the war against the virus, but he must recognize and tribute the past command structure with the victory. To do otherwise violates the long-standing history of command succession policy within our Army as well as invalidates President Biden’s claims that he wishes to bring our nation together. Worse, to take credit for an accomplishment deserved by someone else indicates low character. At least that is what we would perceive within the lower command levels, from Company through four-star Army command structures. One cannot expect respect and admiration while violating such basic, long-standing traditions.
Padgett is a retired Colonel, U.S. Army, working in Acquisition and as a Uniformed Scientist with a doctorate in Management. He and his wife run their own consulting business which specializes in teaching U.S. Government Federal Employees Program Management and contracting.