Things I’ve Learned 1: Ride With the General

       Like most people, I’ve learned many things from my experiences.  Unlike most people, I’ll share some of them with you in the next few weeks.  

       About 10 years ago I had the opportunity to visit Fort Irwin, home of the U.S. Army’s National Training Center in the Mojave Desert of southern California.  We didn’t go there to play war games, though – a group of training professionals went to observe a military maneuver and the Army’s After Action Review process to see if we could use a similar process in training classes.  The visit quickly brought back memories of my Army days and getting up before dawn for field exercises.  But that’s not the lesson I learned.    

       Traveling to the command center of the maneuver, we rode in Humvees (the Army used to use Jeeps, but now they’ve turned to the trendier Hummer), and I was invited to ride in the General’s vehicle.  I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but it was probably because of my West Point and Army experience.  So we rode out into the desert in the dark, the General’s Humvee at the head of the convoy.  What I didn’t realize was all the dust that those vehicles leave in the air behind them.  And my colleagues in the Humvees following us made sure to tell me about it when we finally reached the command center.  And I didn’t get any of it! 

       So what’s the lesson I learned?  I’ll modify a Mark Twain quote to explain:  “A follower is a person who has done things because they have been done before.  A leader is a person who does things because they haven’t been done before.”  Sometimes it’s right to be a follower and do proven things the proven way.  But sometimes it’s better to step out and try new things and new ways.  That’s what progress and success are all about… 

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back often – I write and post every day!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don,  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!  

And to view updated blogs in real-time, go to or – they’re both great sites! 

RandolphMase, Fiction Writer 

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death in The Cloisters (under construction)

Nathan Hale


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