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Insider Blog: A Lesson of Leadership

Posted May 11, 2010

Members of the Kansas City Chiefs received a lesson in teamwork, leadership and accountability from some of our nation's finest at Ft. Leavenworth

Accountability.

Leadership.

Team Building.

Those are just three traits which make up a long list of key characteristics that both football coaches and military officers try to install upon their respective regiments. Even though the military operates on a much more important scale than professional football – one that can ultimately result life and death situations – the sense of mutual respect between these two very different, yet similar organizations, is prevalent when the two come together.

The aspect of admiration between the two leadership groups is just one of the many reasons in which the Chiefs and Veterans of Foreign Wars have entered into a partnership for 2010 and beyond.

“Being in the Army is all about team sports and being a team player is all about getting the job done,” Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr. remarked. “When you look at these professional teams and the players who have dedicated themselves with discipline, integrity and a commitment to their job – they’re a great example of the Army team for how we in the Army need to work as a team to accomplish our mission.

“So many times we talk about what it takes to get our mission done and we take different examples for our soldiers,” Lt. Gen. Caslen, Jr. continued. “Those examples often times end up being examples of what a football team would do.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Chiefs players and front office personnel made the trek northwest to Ft. Leavenworth, KS – home of the oldest active Army post west of the Mississippi River (founded in 1827). In Kansas City’s own backyard, Ft. Leavenworth is a truly unique and amazing military headquarter.

One of the Chiefs stops while at the Ft. Leavenworth campus was a look inside the recently constructed Lewis and Clark Center. This massive building houses the Command and General Staff College, which produces and educates not only our future brigade commanders and generals, but houses an international program consisting of the world’s most elite military leaders as well.

During the Chiefs stay at the Lewis and Clark Center, GM Scott Pioli and members of the defensive line chatted with current and future military leaders from the United States, Australia, Egypt and Bosnia. Essentially, the “CGSC” is a graduate school for the United States Armed Forces and our foreign military allies.

Each of the U.S Army’s active five-star generals is a graduate of the “CGSC,” as well as historical leaders such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton Jr. and Raymond S. McLain. Current Commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (Class of 1983). There’s no doubt that the Chiefs were in the midst of tomorrow’s world influencers during Tuesday afternoon’s visit.

Leadership was the common theme of the day, both from the standpoint of the men and women in uniform and from the men wearing red and gold.

“This is an honor for us,” Pioli told a group of soldiers and their families. “The team (in Ft. Leavenworth) does much more than this (football) team. I don’t mean that disrespectfully for our guys or what we do in our profession, but this team and the things that you accomplish - without you all we can’t do our jobs.

“Without you taking care of our country, we don’t’ have the right or the ability to do what we do,” Pioli continued. “Thank you very much.”

The Chiefs made several other stops across campus during their stay in Ft. Leavenworth, including a visit to the historic Buffalo Soldier Monument where they met with a number of Gold Star Mothers – mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country.

At the end of the day the Chiefs gave out hundreds of autographs, took hundreds of pictures and shook hundreds of hands, but it was the soldiers stationed in Arrowhead’s backyard who made the biggest impact.

Like all good recruiters, Com. Sgt. Maj. Phillip F. Johndrow didn’t let a group of top-notch athletes walk out the door without offering the group an opportunity to join his team at Ft. Leavenworth.

“We meet people all of the time in the airport and they thank us for what we do,” Johndrow said. “I want to tell you that I think you for what you do, because you are not only great football players, but you’re American taxpayers and that pays us to do exactly what we want to do – that’s be on our team. If you guys want to me a part of that team, we can make that happen too; maybe on the weekend or something? HOOAH!”

Tuesday’s visit to Ft. Leavenworth was made possible through the Chiefs partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars – the nation’s largest organization of war veterans. The VFW is headquartered in Kansas City at the corner of 34th and Broadway and the service group is not only instrumental in supporting war veterans, but is also one of the largest aiding services to current military members and their families.

The Chiefs and the VFW will be teaming up for a series of patriotic events, including the Veterans Day themed game at The New Arrowhead (October 31st vs. Buffalo). In addition to supporting troops and their families through a series of events, the Chiefs will also provide care packages to military families overseas.

Look for a video recap of the Chiefs visit to Ft. Leavenworth later this week on kcchiefs.com

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