Moments in Leadership

25 Episodes

By: David B. Armstrong

Moments in Leadership is a podcast where you will hear firsthand about the careers of senior military leaders as they share their own unique and individual experiences. Moments in Leadership will immerse you in real-life stories where you will learn about the challenging situations these accomplished leaders faced and discover the lessons they learned early in their careers that were the most influential to developing their overall leadership style.

LtGen David Furness, USMC – Rather than Yelling and Hazing, Try Focusing on Leadership Through Building Personal Connections, Rapport, and Culture

In this episode of Moments in Leadership, host David B. Armstrong invites LtGen Dave Furness back to the show to discuss various topics related to leadership.


LtGen Furness covers the importance of leadership in making organizations successful and the difference in the interaction between the lieutenants and the captains. LtGen Furness emphasizes that leaders should be frequent in praising their subordinates and building goodwill, loyalty, and commitment. He believes that the best Marine organizations are those where the collective goes above and beyond what's required and that this is achieved by leaders who care about t...

Col Reggie McClam, USMC – Using "MOAS" to Engage with Others About Mentorship, Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Col McClam is a career infantry officer and currently the Commanding Officer of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Col McClam discusses the acronym "MOAS," which stands for Mentorship, Opportunity, Advocacy, and Sponsorship.


This episode is filled with great "Moments in Leadership" that should be heard by every leader, both officer and enlisted, especially by TBS Lieutenants and Midshipmen and Officer Candidates. 


Embedded in MOAS is the importance of performance and how it is the currency by which every leader is evaluated for future potential in the Marine Corps. He pulls no...

LtCol Michael Perrottet, USMC – How Leaders Can Implement the Acronym Hacker into Leading at All Levels

This episode is filled with great "Moments in Leadership" with everything from becoming an aviator, transitioning to a new Type/Model/Series of aircraft, to a FAC tour with a ground unit   to leading a squadron. This episode is extremely valuable to all the leaders in the aviation community because he shares what it takes to perform and what you can expect from combat operations on the ground and in the air.

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1stSgt Shamus Flynn, USMC – From Motor T Mechanic to MARSOC – What Emerging Leaders Need to Know About Setting the Example, Admin, and Awards

1stSgt Shamus Flynn is currently the Inspector Instructor First Sergeant for Weapons Company 1st Bn 23rd Marines in Austin, Texas. Flynn is a prolific user of Social Media and has a considerable following on Instagram, where he shares not only his knowledge but the knowledge of others. What strikes me about him is that he is an early adopter of social media as a leadership tool, and he refuses to cede the space to others who wish to fill it with negativity and misinformation… something the enlisted side of the house, as a whole, is grasping much more quickly th...

The Hotwash – A Leadership Panel of Six Discuss their Opinions of the Past Episodes

While the panel had a lot of different interesting conversations, one of the things that stuck out to me was a conversation halfway through where we talked about setting the conditions for efficiency and discovering the friction points that lead to those inefficiencies.

One of the recent reviews left about the podcast stated that they were amazed at how much actual connection there was between what the company level officers thought should be happening and what the general officers also thought should be happening…

And I agree…leaving the question - what's happening between...

Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr: Top Gun, Gender Equality, & The Best Parts of Commanding a Warship

Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr. is a retired US Navy admiral who serves as the chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. While on active duty, Winnefeld served as the ninth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Listen in to hear valiant leadership stories from his military career, highlighting everything from Naval aviation to commanding Naval war ships.


James sheds light on what it’s like to be a young officer leading people who have serious combat experience, the lessons he learned from working with Colin Powell, and why it’s so importa...

MajGen Dale Alford: Advice and Insights From a 37-Year-Long Career in the Marine Corps-A Follow-up to Episode 14

Just a few hours before he packed up his home and set off to Georgia to retire, Major General Dale Alford sat down with me to offer his final thoughts on his 37-year-long career in the Marine Corps. Listen in as we discuss some of his most noteworthy lessons learned as well as the key things emerging leaders need to know to be successful in their career.


MajGen Alford reflects on the leadership traits and habits he developed throughout his time in the military, the decisions that led to his success (and struggle), and how y...

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black - How to Perform at Every Rank, Why Courage Can Be Seen More in Peacetime Than in Combat, and How Listening Is a Powerful Leadership Skill

Listen in as we discuss SgtMaj Black's experiences as a young Marine, a new NCO, and in leadership roles as a First Sergeant and a Sergeant Major. Hear him tell the stories of young PFC Black as well as his first experience leading his fellow Lance Corporal peers as a brand new Corporal. Hear about and learn what he did well and what he'd do differently. He sheds light on the importance of the different oaths we take and how they shape our leadership responsibilities. He shares some perspective on taking care of the most junior Marine in order...

Major Tom Schueman, USMC - "No One Wants to Drink Tea With Me" - Leading in Combat, the Philosophy of Command, and New Book 'Always Faithful'

Listen in as we discuss his most powerful moments of combat as a young lieutenant platoon commander, ambushed just moments after stepping out of friendly lines on his very first combat patrol. Hear him debrief himself and learn what he did well and what he'd do differently. He sheds light on how leadership is simple but never easy. He explains how he would adopt a more harmonious approach to company command rather than what he describes as a ruthless drive for "results first." We discuss his new book, Always Faithful – A story of war in Afghanistan, the fall of Ka...

LtGen David Furness, USMC - Navigating the Decline in Marine Discipline, Increasing Marine Corps Retention, the “Basic Daily Routine” and Post-Traumatic Winning

This is a great episode with one of the most experienced combat leaders serving in the USMC today but also a leader with an incredibly diversified career spanning not only recruiting but also tours on Capitol Hill watching the sausage get made.  Listen in as we discuss the most powerful moments of leadership, pride, fear, and influence in David's Marine Corps career. He sheds light on how to make the most out of poor leadership, how to lead Marines that are lacking discipline, his perspective AND reflection on his "Basic Daily Routine" letter to the 2nd Marine Division in 2019, a...

LtGen Karsten S. Heckl, USMC - Addressing Force Design 2030, Death in Aviator/Combat Training, and Risk Assessment

Listen in as we discuss leadership through the lens of Force Design 2030 as it continues to take shape and what this means for the future of the Marine Corps. Personally, I believe changing the Marine Corps to meet our pacing threats is imperative, but others think differently. So, we’re addressing both sides of the debate. 


The U.S. Marine Corps’ updated Force Design 2030 plans continue to make investments in lethality, but with a particular emphasis on loitering munitions and other technology that can add range and precision to what the infantry and artillery communities use to...

MajGen Dale Alford, USMC - Leadership in Combat at Every Rank He Has Ever Held

Book mentioned in this episode (not an affiliate link)
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge(2012-03-12): Books - Amazon

Today, I have Major General Dale Alford, USMC on the podcast. He is currently the commanding general of Training Command in Quantico Virginia, which is not to be confused with training and education command or T com. 

Training Command touches the entire marine corps both officer and enlisted which includes close to 90, regionally aligned formal learning centers aligned under 17 unique O6 level commands with 15 commanded by marine colonels a...

SgtMaj Don Reynolds, USMC - Officer and Staff NCO Relationships: The Good, the Bad, the Right, and the Wrong

On Instagram @norseman_9

SEAC Ramón Colón-López, USAF PJ - The Story Behind the Senior Enlisted Service Member in the Entire DOD

SEAC Colón-López’s only official social media is on Facebook: or tag @SEAC.JCS 


The SEAC’s hashtag is #SEAC4


The Joint Staff resources he mentioned can be found here:


The Bottom Line Up Front with SEAC podcast can be found on all major podcast platforms (Spotify, Apple, Audible, Google, etc.).


Apple Podcasts:


LtGen David G. Bellon, USMC - Commander MARFORRES, “I Almost Didn’t Accept My Commission.”

Lieutenant General Bellon was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1989. Bellon began service as an Infantry Officer with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. He then served as a Judge Advocate with 1st Force Service Support Group. In 1997, he left active duty and joined the Selected Marine Corps Reserve serving six years with 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion in a variety of positions. After 9/11, he returned to active duty for four combat tours in support of both OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). During OIF I, he served as Operations Officer for 4th LAR with both TASK...

Moments in Leadership - Andrew Milburn, Colonel, USMC (ret)

Andy is a Marine infantry and special operations officer and has commanded in combat at every grade. As the commanding officer of the Marine Corps’ special operations regiment, he was selected to lead a multinational task force given the mission of defeating ISIS in Iraq. Andy retired in 2019 as the chief of staff of Special Operations Command Central, the headquarters responsible for the conduct of all US special operations throughout the Middle East. Since retiring, he has written a critically acclaimed memoir "When the Tempest Gathers", and a number of articles for national publications.  He is on the adjunct fac...

Moments in Leadership - Ron Boxall, VADM, US Navy

Vice Admiral Boxall was commissioned in 1984 and went on to become a surface warfare officer whose time in the navy included the commander of carrier strike Group 3 aboard the USS John C Stennis. He had command of the USS Lake Erie the USS Carney and was the executive officer of the USS Hue city. He served tours as a combat systems officer aboard the USS Simpson and the USS Ramage and was a division officer on the USS Merrell and USS Kinkaid. Currently, he is serving as the director for force structure resources and assessment which is the J8 on...

Moments in Leadership - Mark Brilakis, LtGen, USMC(ret)

Over his career LtGen Brilakis served in a wide range of assignments including artillery tours in 10th Marines, and several other leadership roles and command such as CG 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Deputy CG of III MEF and Commanding General 3rd Marine Division. In this interview, we discuss his time as a Lieutenant, his combat experience in Beruit, and how that moment shaped his leadership philosophy as a General Officer and taught him about the seriousness of the decisions and choices leaders make in this business.

Moments in Leadership - Craig Nixon, BGEN, USA

Retired US Army Brigadier General Craig Nixon discusses the leadership lessons he learned over a 29-year career through combat deployments during Operation Just Cause in December of 1989 where he participated in the airborne invasion of Panama as a Ranger, during the Battle of Mogadishu on October 3rd, 1993 (also popularly known as Black Hawk Down) as a member of Task Force Ranger where he led the rescue effort to secure the crash site of Super 64 piloted by CWO3 Raymond Frank and CWO3 Michael Durant and where Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart were posthumously awarded the Congressional...

Moments in Leadership - Bob 'Boomer' Milstead, LtGen, USMC Part Two

In Part Two of a two-part interview, Retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Bob 'Boomer' Milstead discusses concepts such as in baseball, a .400 hitter is considered for Cooperstown, while a 60% loser will be fired everywhere else. He discusses his "HEP" Principle (Humor, Enthusiasm, Patience), what he learned about giving second chances after some pilots in his command were involved in a fratricide incident, why how he defines a Maverick, and why he considers himself one too. LtGen Milstead strings together lessons from several different experiences to give the listener insight into his personal leadership style which carried him through 40 years of...

Moments in Leadership - Bob 'Boomer' Milstead, LtGen, USMC Part One

In Part One of a two-part interview, Retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Bob 'Boomer' Milstead discusses the leadership lessons he learned over a full career as a Cobra Pilot, ANGLICO Marine, Squadron, and as an Air Group Commander. LtGen Milstead strings together lessons from several different experiences to give the listener insight into his personal leadership style which carried him through 40 years of service as a Marine Officer

Moments in Leadership - Mel Spiese, MajGen, USMC PART TWO

In PART TWO, Major General Mel Spiese discusses the leadership lessons he learned as a Platoon Commander at OCS, his time as Commanding Officer of 2nd Force Recon, and as "Coyote 6" in 29 Palms. MajGen Spiese discusses the most impactful and crystalizing moments of his career through personal stories and reflections on his unique experiences.

Moments in Leadership - Mel Spiese, MajGen, USMC, Part One

In Part One of a two-part interview, Retired Marine Corps Major General Mel Spiese discusses the leadership lessons he learned over a full career as an Infantry Officer. MajGen Spiese strings together lessons from several different commands and experiences which include serving as a Lieutenant alongside some iconic Marines from our generation

Moments in Leadership - Matt Cooper, Col, USMC

Retired Marine Corps Colonel, Matt Cooper, discusses the leadership lessons he learned over an almost 30-year career as an Artillery Officer. Matt strings together lessons from several different commands and combat deployments and discusses the day he was in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City during the April 19, 1995 bombing and was awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for heroism.

Moments in Leadership - An Intro with David B. Armstrong

I'm the host of the podcast, David B. Armstrong and in this initial episode, I provide some quick background for context and answer the first question everyone will have, "Why are you even starting this?". Through a quick story, I'll explain why I think moments we all experience serve to crystalize lessons learned which ultimately string together to form our own unique leadership styles - and it is these moments and lessons that I seek to hear from my guests in the form of their own stories.