Friday, March 07, 2014

Fullbore Friday

What does a leader do? When are you willing to put yourself and your troops on the line to make a point? How do you, unarmed, give the presence of leadership among your armed opponents?

I give you a leader who simply, is. In another word; stud.

Colonel Yuli Mamchor (L), commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek airbase, leads his unarmed troops to retake the Belbek airfield from soldiers under Russian command in Crimea on March 4, 2014 in Lubimovka, Ukraine.
I may quibble a bit about their historical regimental flag, but that would be a quibble.

The point I was making about presence? This pic captures it.

There is no question who is in control here and who is looked at as the leader. Even among the Russians, the respect is there.

I also want to give a nod to the officer or NCO from Russia here. Another great example of leadership. Whoever he is, BZ to him as well. He has "it."

There is a lot to chew on about this event - and for all leaders to ponder from both the Russian and Ukrainian point of view. If you have not already, if you have an "interesting" career, odds are you will find yourself here. May we all have the character to comport ourselves as Col. Mamchor.

UPDATE: Interesting:

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: Good interview with Col. Mamchur by TheTelegraphUK:
"Yeah, I know," said Colonel Yuli Mamchur, shifting his weight a little uncomfortably from foot to foot. "I get people trying to call at 2 AM," he said. "I'm no hero. I'm a military professional doing his job."
There was never any question of fighting. Faced by what he believes are special forces soldiers, armed to the teeth with machine guns and Kalashnikovs, Col Mamchur, whose name was earlier incorrectly reported as Mamchuk, resolved that no blood would be shed on his watch. "I wasn't going to see my men slaughtered. I decided to negotiate," he said.

But early on Tuesday, the officers and men of the brigade agreed to march behind him, unarmed, back to the occupied aerodrome and demand to be allowed back to work.

"It was a pretty spontaneous decision, to be honest," he said. "It was a gamble. We're soldiers and we have our duty to fulfil. So are they, and they understand that. So I was hoping we could find an understanding," he explained. "We just wanted to get back to work."
The diminutive colonel's daring march led to a dramatic five hour stand-off in which the Russians fired warning shots - their first of the occupation - and his men played football under the noses of Russian machine gunners.
For now, though, Col Mamchur and his men are largely confined to their residential buildings and command centre in the village of Lubymovka. The aerodrome on the ridge above - including the runway, the magazine, and the entire complement of 45 Mig-29 fighters - is under the control of Russian troops who continue, hopelessly, to maintain the official pretence that they are "local self defence volunteers".
"We love it here," said Mrs Mamchur, who was accompanying her husband around his command center on Wednesday. "It's one of the best cities in the world. We love Sevastopol, Crimeans are wonderful. And in all our time here there was never any kind of tension between Russians and Ukrainians and Tatars - it all started now."

Mrs Mamchur, who is herself half Russian, blamed a ceaseless barrage of Kremlin propaganda for creating and stoking artificial tensions between ethnic Russians and others, especially Ukrainians and Tatars, on the peninsula.

"Just look at the local TV - and local TV is already Russian TV, by the way - and we all Banderites, Kiev is full of Fascists, we are occupiers here, there is going to be a genocide of Russians," she said. "And we are all the hostages in the middle of it."

For the Mamchurs, as for many of the service families who live at the Belbek base, the idea of finding themselves in confrontation with Russians - their neighbours, relatives, and for the soldiers previously their allies - is almost absurd as it is frightening.

"It makes no sense. I can't even say whether I am Ukrainian or Russian - it's not a choice any of us can really make. My wife's Belarusian, her mother is Russian. We've all got relatives on both sides," said Col Mamchur. "When all this started we got calls from friends in Moscow who were simply in shock."

"Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are really one slavic people," said the Colonel. "The divisions are only formalities. Whoever gave the order for this operation set brother against brother. It's a crazy situation."

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