The Oath

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“My fundamental duty is to serve humanity…” We all stood. “All rise and raise your right hand”..The clatter of the old wooden auditorium seats clapped and banged as the entire academy stood as one. “Repeat after me..”, said the Chief officer in attendance. The thunder of male voices rang through the auditorium. Our families sat […]

Random Thoughts and Four Parallel Lines

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I’ll allow I’ve been busy lately. Going back to school. Self-improvement, …or maybe self-destruction, …not sure yet. But I’ve had this topic on my mind for months and wanted to get it out to you. Pour a cup and sit yourself down… Its been that time of year for us. Twice a year our department […]

Know What You’re Doing…Its Expected

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“Leaders have to be knowledgeable and proficient all the way around, day and night and in all areas. That knowledge, or the lack thereof, is easily read by all followers. My basic point with being tactically and technically proficient is that leaders must know their job, know their people, and be physically involved with them; […]

Leading Firemen and Chasin’ Kinks

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So I get a call from a young brother on the other side o’ the country. We’ve broken bread together a coupla’ times and he’s the kind of Jake you just naturally take a liking to. He’s all fired and up and rarin’ to go, just askin’ for a little leadership to light the way. […]

Leadership: HoldFAST..

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“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent […]

A Requiem: The Gray Building Fire

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“The blaze was a stubborn, dangerous and heavy smoke fire–but every man faced this with the highest courage that men can attain. There was work to be done, and these brave men did that work without a look behind..” from the Firemen’s Grapevine. Nov. 15th 1939 The Gray Building Fire, Los Angeles, Ca. 1939, courtesy […]

Investing Time: Know Your People

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“Spend quality time with the team, learning who they are and what motivates them.” — Lt. Col Hal Moore, USA Ret. Old Man Winter keeps crackin’ on here in the North. I’m lookin’ forward to Spring. Had a garage fire the other night. Two snowmachines (snow mobiles for those of you down in America), caught […]

Rocket Propelled Fire Engines and Leading Up In Front

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“You young men of the department today will perhaps see fire apparatus propelled or driven by a rocket, and many new evolutions to fight fires. In time to come the lessening of fires by fire resisting material will cut your work down. Yes, we men of 1909 have lived to see rapid advances in fire […]

Character in Leadership

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Move over a skosh, hot Joe comin’ through! Man,..its cold up here in the North today! Say, a fella’ I know was discussing fire service leadership, and you know me, I’ll allow that is right up my alley! So we sat and brewed up some thoughts together and this is what spilt out: Before we […]

Know Yourself

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Ok, the Joe is hot..lets evaluate the probie’s coffee skills. I have with me the FDNY Probationary Firefighting Skill – Coffee Making check sheet, obtained from Brother LeBlanc. We can check things off while Probie makes another pot and we talk a little about my favorite topic, ….”Leadership”. I promised I’d continue with Leadership Principles […]

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Ben Fleagle

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A Warrior Poet

I am a Warrior Poet of the American Fire Service. My objective here is to keep the spirit of our heritage alive as our profession is attacked by the modern world. Please join me and we’ll walk a bit together, perhaps smoke a stogie or two and share a strong cup of joe. Take a seat on the tailboard. We’ll blend together, share our hearts and minds, and become like brothers. Leatherheads, sewn with sturdy thread, woven into the filigree that marks us as firemen.


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