Veteran Lesson II: Stay In Your Lane (Ten Veteran Lessons for Every Day)
Stay In Your Lane
Military operations orders specify tasks to subordinate units. Each subordinate unit issues its own internal orders within the constraints of what is known as “commander’s intent” from the highest command’s order. The commander expresses his desired end state for a mission, specifying any specific tasks and orders, and identifying any constraints placed upon subordinate commanders. Upon receipt of said order, subordinate commanders craft their own unique operational plan from the framework of the higher order.
A captain receiving an order from his commanding lieutenant colonel has no choice but to obey a lawful order unless he desires a court martial and prison time. It does not matter if the captain thinks his colonel is a horse’s ass, or has different personal or spiritual beliefs. A lawful order is a lawful order.
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain had a seemingly boring task on Little Round Top in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1863. His regiment was to serve as the far left flank of the Union Army, providing security for the main defensive force against an expected Confederate attack. Had Chamberlain resented his assignment and abandoned it for pursuit of glory, directing his soldiers toward the main Rebel offensive, the Union Army would have been routed from the side.