Courage and Fear: A Primer
"I have only two men out of my company and twenty out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." First Lt. Clifton B. Cates's report on July 19, 1918, reminds us that controlling one's fear is key to success on the battlefield. Cates--a future commandant of the Marine Corps--held, but if his fear had bested him, he might not have been able to think clearly or lead his men successfully, possibly sacrificing his men's lives and the mission.
Medal of Honor recipient and retired Marine colonel Wesley L. Fox writes about his fears in difficult operational and training situations, their effect on him, and he how he handled particular fears. While he focuses primarily on military experiences, Fox's methods of handling the thoughts, actions, and reactions to fear apply to civilian circumstances as well. Fear can bombard us in our daily routine, sometimes in unexpected ways. The more we know about ourselves and how fear affects us, the better able we are to control it and to produce positive results. "If fear is not handled properly and promptly," Fox writes, "it can and will override common sense, good judgment, and the positive decision-making process."
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