My Colonel Kurtz’ was Colonel Highlander — a larger-than-life bull of an Infantry officer who was my battalion commander in the Republic of Korea (RoK).
He knew all the big kids.
He gave me the best compliment of my professional life. He asked me to extend for a second year under his command in the RoK. English major hockey-bruiser from Norwich, Harvard’s Kennedy School/Government, renaissance bully. He went on active duty when his brother was killed in Viet Nam. His father died while we were on the DMZ together. His codename: The Highlander, for the Kendo sword with which he menaced various bastards, and the twin black flags of death on his HMMWV whip antennae. Man was I shocked one day in 2003 to find him staring back at me from Fox News: