The Edmond Sun


May 17, 2013

HEY HINK: Some people just are not cut out for command

EDMOND — Recent headlines cause me to remember an incident that occurred on an army base some years ago. Warning here: I’m taking some liberties with names and details, but the basic outline of events is accurate.

A certain company commander, let’s call him Captain Duntz, had command of a motor pool on a large army base in the continental U.S.

One night, a Battalion First Sgt. made a surprise inspection of Captain Duntz’s company and found the enlisted man assigned to fire watch, asleep at his post. Sometime later, a utility truck in the motor pool threw a rod because someone neglected to make routine checks on the vehicle’s oil levels. A scheduled inspection of the motor pool mess hall found gross breaches of Army regulations and the mess hall was alarmingly unsanitary. Battalion review disclosed that Captain Duntz’s company consistently ranked near the top in numbers of soldiers going AWOL.

In evaluation of overall Battalion proficiency, Captain Duntz’s motor pool ranked consistently near or at the bottom.

One afternoon, Captain Duntz was summoned to Battalion headquarters. After an exchange of salutes, the battalion commander asked, “Captain Duntz, what’s the problem with Company X?”

Captain Duntz launched into a litany of denials, complaints, justifications and excuses. Army regulations were unduly burdensome. He didn’t know regulations were being ignored. The enlisted men assigned to this company were duds. His NCO’s had it in for him. Battalion inspectors were unfair, eetc.

The Battalion Commander heard him out and then said, “Captain Duntz, let me clarify. When I asked ‘what’s the problem with Company X,’ I was really asking, who is in command of Company X?” Blushing, Captain Duntz muttered, “I am Sir.”

The Commanding Officer continued. “In case you didn’t know, let me tell you something about command. One of your main jobs as commander is to keep these problems off my desk. Army regulations may be burdensome, but it’s your duty to see they’re carried out. The men in your company may be duds, but command requires that you make do with the personnel assigned to you. If you’re NCO’s are incompetent or disloyal, it’s your job to find out why and fix the problem. As for the unfairness of Army inspectors, every military man from the top down has to take that into account and compensate for it. Captain Duntz, I might be inclined to overlook one or two of these problems — even three. But when my attention is called to a single commander this many times for this many reasons, I can only draw one conclusion. Captain Duntz, you are simply not cut out for command. You are dismissed.”

Let me tell you why Captain Duntz is on my mind. This country has been wracked by demoralizing, embarrassing and tragic scandals for several years now. We have seen the nation held up to ridicule when members of our Secret Service become embroiled in sleazy disputes with prostitutes. We’ve been outraged to find that representatives of our government actually have been proactive in placing firearms in the hands of ruthless murderers.

We have been heartbroken when an upstanding young officer is killed in the service of his country and the murder weapon may have been placed in the hands of the killer by our own government. We have grieved when four of our brave countrymen die at the hands of terrorists and we agonize over the possibility that they might have been saved with the exercise of decisive command. We are bewildered by the fact that their deaths are surrounded by a thick fog of misrepresentation and CYA doublespeak.

We are appalled by the fact that the Internal Revenue Service is exploiting its enormous power to decide which taxpayers will receive the benefits of the law and which taxpayers will be denied those benefits based solely on expressions of political opinion disapproved by “the Bureau.”

We are stunned to learn that federal enforcement officers have launched a fishing expedition against a respected news organization and its reporters justifying this behavior by asserting “It’s all in the interest of national security.”

We have, of course, heard the litany of denials, excuses and justifications. We, as citizens, have delegated command to the President. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, old, young, white, black, Latino, Native American, Asian — whatever — you have a right to expect the person in command to keep these types of problems out of our headlines. And by out of our headlines, I don’t mean buried. I’m remembering the words of our Battalion Commander. Some people are just not cut out for command. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.


MIKE HINKLE is an Edmond resident and retired attorney.

Text Only
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results