A few years later and you’ve already had your company command. You’re in grad school, studying at Michigan. You get a phone call one night, one of the sergeants from your company. He tells you Harvey Moore is dead, killed in a training accident when his Blackhawk flew into the ground.
Harvey Moore. Two time winner of the Best Ranger Competition. Great soldier. Got drunk one night after his wife left him and took his son. You see, staff sergeants don’t make as much money as lawyers, so she left with the lawyer.
He got stinking drunk, though it didn’t take much since he didn’t drink at all before this, and got into his car. Then had an accident. Then got a DUI. He was an E-6 promotable when this happened, and the SOP was a general-officer article 15 and a reduction one grade, which would really be two for him because he was on the promotion list.
But Harvey Moore is a good soldier, and it’s time to go to bat for a guy who, if your company command was any sort of a success, played a significant part in making it so. And you go with your battalion commander to see the CG, and you stand at attention in front of the CG’s desk for 20 minutes convincing him that Harvey Moore deserves a break.
You win. Harvey Moore never drinks again. He makes E-7. And when you change command, he grabs your arm, with tears in his eyes, and thanks you for all you’ve done. Then the phone call.
And you learn about grief.
(Excerpted from a speech that LTC Guy Lofaro (former USMA Military History professor) gave at a company dining-in during 2001. LTC Lofaro also taught at West Point during the mid-1990s.)