Major General Herbert Raymond McMaster might be the 21st century Army’s pre-eminent warrior-thinker. Recently tapped for his third star, H.R. is also the rarest of soldiers — one who has repeatedly bucked the system and survived to join its senior ranks.
He initially gained renown as a cavalry commander, earning a Silver Star in 1991’s Gulf War after his nine tanks wiped out more than 80 Iraqi tanks and other vehicles. His reputation grew after his 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, boldly blasted the Joint Chiefs for their poor leadership during Vietnam.
Despite impressive command and unconventional exploits in the second Iraq war, the outspoken McMaster was passed over twice for selection for his first star. I watched senior Army generals argue over ways to end his career. But he dodged those bullets and will soon take over command of the Army’s “futures” center. After years as an outspoken critic, McMaster soon will be in the right place to help build the right Army for the nation.
Barno, a retired lieutenant general, commanded all U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005