Q: Almost everybody who served under General Curtis LeMay speaks very highly
of his leadership quality. Can you comment on that?
JE: He has such a reputation for being an iron-ass, a tough, hard, thoughtless
man...If you really knew him, you knew that he was-- inside, he was a real
softy. He loved the guys that worked for him and flew for him. He suffered
deeply when they didn't come back from missions. And he knew that incompetence
is what killed people. And I think that's why he was so completely intolerant
of incompetence at any kind, at any level.
Q: Why is General Curtis LeMay so important and significant in this
JE: Several things. He was about the only
man that had the knowledge of bombardment operation, the leadership ability to
put together an organization like SAC [Strategic Air Command] and make it work,
and the personal honor and dignity to do it properly, for the good of his
country, and to instill the people that worked for him -- instill in them the
agreement with what he's doing, the understanding of what he's doing...
He's a very special guy to me. And I was never very-- real close to him. He
knew my name; I worked for him; I ran units for him. But I was never an
intimate of his. And boy, I sure liked that man. I honored and respected him,
and I'd have done anything in the world that he wanted me to do. And he was a
kind of a guy who wouldn't ask me to do something that was wrong. It's a good
thing. He was a very key man to have in that position at the time, and I know
of nobody that had the--this collection of internal integrity and understanding
of the weapons and tools that he had to work with.
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