“A Soldier For All Humanity”: The Teamwork, Tone and Tenacity (T3) Leadership of COL David “Mickey” Marcus

“A Soldier For All Humanity”: The Teamwork, Tone and Tenacity (T3) Leadership of COL David “Mickey” Marcus

Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus was born on this date in 1901 in New York,   the son of Romanian Jewish immigrants.  He was a U.S. Army Colonel in WWII, later Israel’s first General, fighting for the new Jewish State during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.  I first learned of his story after seeing him portrayed by Kirk Douglas in the 1966 movie “Cast a Giant Shadow.” His amazing story and inspirational style emphasized:

  • TEAMWORK: West Point Class of ’24. Lettered in Boxing and Football. After completing active duty, became a lawyer and spent most of the 1930s as an Assistant US Attorney in New York City, prosecuting gangsters such as Lucky Luciano. Commissioner of the NYC Department of Corrections. Returned to active duty following Pearl Harbor. In May 1944, Marcus was permitted by his West Point classmate, General Maxwell Taylor, to parachute into Normandy on D-Day with the first wave of Taylor’s 101st Airborne Division, despite having no paratrooper training.  He took informal command of some of the scattered paratroopers and was in combat for a week. He was then returned to the US where he became principal architect of WWII civil affairs policies, including the organization of War Crimes trials in Germany and in Japan. In 1947, David Ben-Gurion, first President of Israel, asked Marcus to recruit an American officer to serve as military advisor to the nascent Jewish army, the Haganah. He could not recruit anyone suitable, so Marcus volunteered himself. In 1948, Marcus was appointed General (“Aluf” in Hebrew – a title not used in Israel since the Maccabees) and given command of the Jerusalem front (his Operations Officer was Yitzak Rabin), where he achieved a great victory and was tragically Killed in Action. His body was returned to the U.S. for burial at West Point, accompanied by Moshe Dayan.
  • TONE:  Marcus’ grave is the only one in the West Point Cemetery for an American killed fighting under the flag of another country; he was eligible for interment because he was a graduate of the Military Academy who served honorably. His gravestone reads, ”Colonel David Marcus—a Soldier for All Humanity”
  • TENACITY:  Tireless in his pursuit of achieving high-risk missions throughout his life; in and out of uniform. Others were awed by his magnetic personality, quick grasp of situations, phenomenal memory and enormous capacity for work. His bios are full of eyewitness praise for his courage, humanity, integrity, unwavering optimism and ability to inspire confidence in others. 

“I may not be the best man for the job, but I’m the only one willing to go …”   Marcus’ words reflect Isaiah 6:18: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 

Mickey’s wife Emma said of him, “He just never knew how to say ‘no’ when he thought he was needed.”   

May his memory be a blessing.  

– Rear Admiral Paul Becker, USN (Ret) is a motivational and national security keynote speaker.  He is a leadership professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and the CEO of The Becker T3 Group. In 2016, The Naval Intelligence Community established “The Rear Admiral Becker ‘Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity Award for Leadership” in his honor.  To connect with Paul, visit his website: https://TheBeckerT3Group.com

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.