Once an Eagle, a novel by Anton Myrer, traces the career of two Army officers. One, Sam Damon, is an officer of great character, who is steeped in ethics and integrity, and is committed to selfless service to our nation. The other is Courtney Massengale, an officer intent on reaching the highest ranks and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his personal goals. It is the story of the different ways in which they rise to power and how they elect to wield that power. After reading Once an Eagle, Army officers frequently characterized their contemporaries as a “Damon,” which was considered a great compliment, or as a “Courtney Massengale,” the ultimate insult.
Dereliction of Duty, by H.R. McMaster, chronicles decision-making at the highest levels of the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. It shows the deceit, deception and lying involving the President, Secretaries of State and Defense and The Joint Chiefs of Staff. This book sensitized me and the other members of The Joint Chiefs to be on the lookout for individuals who might be motivated by their own agenda. Ironically, almost 40 years later, I learned that similar behavior and agendas were still alive in D.C.”
— General Henry Hugh Shelton, USA (R) 14th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Founder and Executive Director of the Shelton Leadership Center, NC State University