Letter: Military Experience, Post-Stanford

Hi from 60 years past,

For those who think that the thoughts of a ’49 Stanford MBA matter a whit, bless your brief attention. Please realize that you, too, will not think the same as you travel the road ahead. So, while, unlike you, my hormones, genes, and newly acquired wisdom are not orgasming me toward the battle ahead, I propose to offer a remorseful morsel of experiential advice – advice that I missed at your age, and wish I hadn’t! Advice that I would have angrily refuted 60 years ago.

What’s at the heart of it is that I as a hot-shot Stanford MBA couldn’t in my wildest imagination consider giving a week, a month, or yes, 2 years from my promising career to support the military “function” of my country. You guessed it – I did – and most unwillingly, after 2 years post MBA industrial experience plus a 6 month marriage. This because my WWII ROTC officer training, while dumping me from the military at war’s end, sucked me back into the Korean War during my 25th year on earth.

So, here’s the part you won’t accept either – it was both the best thing (“with hindsight”) that could have happened to me – and to my country. Not because I became a hero, but because I unwittingly gave my Stanford “wisdom” and my 2 years of industrial experience to maintain my country’s military strength – sorry, but if you’re any kind of history buff, you must know it – we won’t survive against some eventual !@#$% enemy if we don’t use our best talents to stay militarily strong. Any future war will be won or lost because of the quality of our military leadership&emdash;not just because of the caliber of our forces. And, oh yes, I matured by about 6 years during my 2 years of “contribution”.

So guys and dolls, if you think the ROTC on campus is some despicable anti-social activity, you, as I did, are likely missing the point, namely that your personal short-sightedness could, sooner rather than later, cause the demise of your taken-for-granted America.

Yup, I’m “too soon old” but not “too late schmart”. I hope some of you are listening.

Roger Josselyn, MBA ’49

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