LETTER: Leadership qualities

Ken Church

To the editor:

I want to express my support for Mike Griswold. I have known Mike for four years and I have been highly impressed with him. Recently I reached out to three individuals who know Mike much better than I do.

Retired Lt. Col. Chris Springer of St. Louis, Missouri, joined the Fort Leavenworth school board in 2013 when Mike Griswold was board president.

“Mike was all about building a consensus,” Springer said.

“What is the word that comes to mind when you hear the name ‘Mike Griswold?”’ I asked.

“Integrity,” Chris replied. “Integrity leads to great decision making. Mike really listens.”

Next, I called retired Lt. Col. Melia Wiley of North Kansas City, Missouri. Melia worked in the Army as chief of Curriculum Operations at Fort Leavenworth from May 2002 through April 2003, during which time Mike Griswold was her boss. In retirement, Melia was Mike Griswold’s deputy in the U.S. Army Collective Training Directorate.

“Caring. That’s Mike Griswold,” she said. “When my daughter was 16, she told us she was going to have a baby. We had a promotion ceremony for a general coming up. We had four-star generals coming in and I was the planner. It was a mess. Mike sat me down and listened. He could have put me off, told me, ‘compartmentalize.’ But he didn’t. ‘Take care of your daughter. When you are done, come back here and go back to work.’ Mike Griswold had my back. He didn’t look down on me as a person. Once Mike heard me say, ‘We made a mistake.’ ‘A child is never a mistake,’ Mike said.”

In 1997, Ron Coaxum was on active duty at Fort Leavenworth working at the Office of Academic Operations at the Command and General Staff College where Mike Griswold was his boss.

“Integrity. That is the word to describe Mike Griswold,” Ron said to me.

Next, Ron worked for defense contractor Northrop Grumman where Mike Griswold was his supervisor. Their job was to set the training and education specifications for America’s soldiers.

“Our primary focus was to make certain that American soldiers are the best trained, best prepared fighting force in the world,” Ron explained. “Mike Griswold is a meticulous, articulate and visionary leader. He was an honest broker between the government and the contractor. He had to know what the government required. More importantly, Mike Griswold knew that soldiers were relying on him and his team to make sure they had the proper tools to conduct training. Mike was fair but he always held our feet to the fire.”

In under a week, many of us will begin to receive our voting ballots in the mail. I have always believed that the qualities most important in picking a leader are honesty, integrity, compassion, competence and honor. I believe that Mike Griswold embodies all of these qualities. We need great leaders today. We need Mike Griswold.