Historical events in the book
This book is about overcoming barriers
Always Leave An Airman Behind: A Real Story of Surviving The Crab Leadership Culture is a story about one Airman's journey from the being poor and homeless to becoming an international award-winning top performer. The story details the journey of this Airman as he climbs the ranks. He discovers the leadership lapses that are prevalent in the service that created a toxic culture of retribution, bullying, and pettiness that is a contributing factor to the growing military and veteran suicide epidemic.
The author was a poor recruit from a family that was devastated by drug abuse. He was saved by joining the military. He went on to achieve high levels of success in the service earning Air Force level awards all the while being bullied within his own unit. His journey details the "crab leadership" he faced at every assignment. He details how the average leaders in units across the service destroyed the careers of Airmen that were not in their social circles. The story follows the evolution of this young recruit into a seasoned leader that fought against the mediocrity that encompassed the senior leadership in his units. He would go on to make a positive impact on thousands of Airmen. But he would eventually be excommunicated from the service due to bullying by high ranking members in his unit.
The author integrates the leadership lessons he used to become an international award winner. This includes leadership lessons required by the Air Force for promotion to the highest ranks in the enlisted tier. He weaves the Air Force core values into each story he tells to explain how each leader that influenced him compared to the Air Force standard of leadership.
This book is a must read for any supervisor or leader who wants to look at life from the perspective of an overachiever. It gives insights on the thoughts a high performing individual maintains about situational leadership. It is also a valuable read for anyone who is struggling with the perils of poverty. It takes a look at how you can change your personal mindset to overcome the challenges and barriers to success that being poor creates.
The author tells the challenges of each journey he faced as he is selected for several special duties that less than 1% of the Air Force was qualified to attain. His story is one of looking for something bigger than himself. The challenges his peers created to attempt to limit his successes.
Finally, this book is about how the Air Force at the lowest levels has completely diverted from the leadership culture it promotes on paper. In turn, the "crabs" have replaced it with a culture of favoritism, bullying, and nepotism that greatly contributes to the suicide crisis in the service. The book details the leadership lapses the author experienced and how they create the culture that pushes Airmen to committing suicide due to the lack of support from the leaders who were charged with protecting them.