You may know the name Jimmy Doolittle.
Doolittle flew those boxy bi-planes in World War I for the United States, and then barn-stormed throughout the 1920’s, giving thrills by taking risks you would not believe. He led the retaliatory bombing of Tokyo in early 1942, a few months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He played a major role in the Allied victory over the Axis, eventually becoming a General. His autobiography is titled I Could Never Be So Lucky Again.
Doolittle and his wife Joe (that’s how they spelled her name) had two sons, Jim and John, both of whom served in the Second World War.
The general wrote about the younger son:
John was in his plebe year at West Point and the upperclassmen were harassing him no end…. While the value of demeaning first-year cadets is debatable, I was sure “Peanut” could survive whatever they dreamed up. (p. 284)
Later, General Doolittle analyzes his own strengths and weaknesses and makes a fascinating observation:
(I) have finally come to realize what a good thing the plebe year at West Point is. The principle is that a man must learn to accept discipline before he can dish it out. I have never been properly disciplined. Would have gotten along better with my superiors if I had. (p. 339)
“I have never been properly disciplined.” What an admission. It takes a mature person to say that.