A statue of the inspirational Medal of Honor recipient Vice Admiral James Stockdale (1923-2005) belongs in “The Garden of American Heroes,” a new national monument to be built per Executive Order.  Admiral Stockdale’s motivational example of indomitable patriotism and intrepid leadership occurred when he was America’s senior Prisoner of War (POW) in North Vietnam from 1965-73, all the while braving life-threatening hardships.  The Admiral’s refusal to cooperate with his captors under conditions of torture and solitary confinement was the impetus for a culture of POW resistance that included ways to communicate and govern behavior which strengthened morale, bolstered faith in each other and ultimately improved the chances for survival of hundreds of Americans. I had the honor to meet Admiral Stockdale in September 1979 at a football game in Annapolis.  I was a Plebe (freshman) at the US Naval Academy. The Admiral, a 1947 Academy graduate, recently retired from the Navy and was then President of the Citadel. That he graciously shared a few moments to speak with me on a busy afternoon at a major sports event left me with an enduring impression of his friendly, incisive leadership style which emphasized traits I would later describe as “T3.”  Specifically, TEAMWORK: Admiral Stockdale emphasized - whether in peace, crisis, combat or captivity - individuals must prioritize what’s best for the TEAM ahead of...

In December 1903 aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright invented, built and flew the first successful powered airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  In doing so these leaders inspired the world and set the stage for modern developments in aerospace. The achievement was no fluke. It was years in the making for these self-taught engineers (neither had a high school diploma) and came while numerous competitors were racing to be the first. What set the Wright Brothers apart?  Three characteristics: “Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity®.”   TEAMWORK: These two brothers (each flew their airplane twice on their historic day of accomplishment) blended their complementary academic, inventive and business strengths. We never hear of one overshadowing the other … they shared credit completely. The brothers were also quick to share credit and profits with their own shop employee, Charlie Taylor, who help them build their firs airplane engine, and their sister Katherine who devoted much of her life to assisting the lifelong bachelors. TONE:  Orville and Wilbur were extraordinarily humble, perhaps owing to their upbringing as the sons of a Bishop. They never criticized their competitors, even when they were out-funded or when their rivals suffered significant failures. Their focus was not glory and fame.  They simply wanted to be the first to solve the problem of powered flight.  Upon receiving an award in France, Wilbur...