Soldier for Life: Leader Lessons From The 12th Sergeant Major Of The Army Jack L. Tilley, by Jack Tilley

MWSA Review
A proven formula for leadership

"Soldier for Life" is more than a memoir of an American soldier who advanced through the ranks to become to most senior enlisted man in the U.S. Army. It also contains real life lessons that benefit managers who lead teams of people in any military and civilian workplace.

Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) Jack Tilley, now retired from the military, began his story as a 17-year-old high school student who joined the Army as something do after graduating from high school. At the time, he had no goal in life. His lessons began with basic training, Airborne School and on into Viet Nam as tank crew member during the intense fighting of the 1968 Tet Offensive. He left the war zone as an escort for the body of his best friend.

Tilley candidly described the emotional highs and lows of his career — from duties as a basic training drill sergeant, tank commander, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, chief instructor, and sergeant major at the battalion, brigade, division, Central Command and Department of the Army levels. Through each of these assignments, SMA Tilley learned and applied critical lessons in working with others; some lessons from his own mistakes, others via sage advice from peers and higher ranking mentors. Essential to earning respect and superior performances from subordinates is through one's personal actions, he wrote, rather than just with authoritarian orders.

During his 35 year tenure as a soldier, Tilley experienced an Army in constant change, the most significant included becoming an all-volunteer force, significantly enhancing educational standards for NCOS, and the controversial adoption of black berets as the standard headwear. As a division command sergeant major, he later served along the Iron Curtain in Germany during the Cold War, with the peacekeeping force in Bosnia during the breakup of Yugoslavia, and in the early years of the Global War on Terror. He was the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army when a commercial airliner deliberately crashed into the Pentagon where he was serving.
Tilley and his co-author, retired Command Sergeant Major Dan Elder, tell Tilley's story in a well-written narrative of an Army and a soldier in transition. Through this book, they share many lessons learned in getting the best results from others working in your organization.
"Soldier For Life" is must reading for every soldier —enlisted, NCO and officer—and every civilian who want to develop leadership abilities that are essential for success.
By Joe Epley, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
This book is more than just an autobiography of Jack L. Tilley, the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army, it is a series of leadership lessons based on selected stories from his more than 35-year career. The last Vietnam veteran to serve in that position from 2000-2004, SMA Tilley was at the Pentagon when terrorists crashed a plane into the nation’s largest "office building" on September 11, 2001. He and his co-author, Dan Elder weave a story beginning with Tilley's enlistment into the United States Army in the summer of 1966, his deployment to Vietnam, his ascension to positions of great responsibility, and describe influential events leading up to his eventual selection and assignment as the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army. Unique to his story are the "Understanding Tilley" segments that close each chapter where Tilley reflects on the chapter events, describes how those events influenced him, as well as explore lessons that the reader can use in their own journey.

ISBN/ASIN: 0996318100
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): Memoir
Number of Pages: 242