Officers & Troops: Inevitable, Inadequately & Effectively

“We have verified the inevitable – that inadequately trained officers cannot train troops effectively.”

Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair (1883 to 1944) quoted in 1943 by Khan, McNair, Educator of an Army.

McNair was a US Army officer who served during World War I and World War II. He was the ‘unsung architect of the US Army’ who played the leading role in training US Army ground forces in the US before they were sent to combat.

He concentrated on advanced officer education, using innovative weapons systems; extensive field-testing of doctrine; streamlining for efficiency; realistic combat training, and combined army tactics with an emphasis on mobility of mechanised forces.

He was killed by friendly fire when a Eighth Air Force bomb landed in his foxhole near Saint-Lô during Operation Cobra, which tried to use heavy bombers for close air support of infantry operations as part of the Battle of Normandy (General Eisenhower was so angry at the mistake that he vowed never again to use heavy bombers against tactical targets).


Khan, E.J. (2010) McNair: Educator of an Army. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.


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