[Mb-civic] The Category 5 General - Washington Post
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Mon Sep 12 03:52:52 PDT 2005
The Category 5 General
There's a Big Job to Be Done in New Orleans. Russel Honore Measures Up.
By Lynne Duke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 12, 2005; Page C01
There's the swagger, and that ever-present stogie. There's the height
and heft of his physique. And that barking voice with its font of
perhaps impolitic obscenities ("That's b.s," he famously asserted on
national TV), not to mention his penchant for not suffering fools, as is
the prerogative of a three-star general.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, 57, is the kind of commander you
don't mess with, you don't cross, who punctuates pronouncements with
barked questions like "Everybody got that?" And he's so steeped in
military culture that he ends his televised sound bites as if ending an
army radio transmission: "Over."
But it's for something far less idiosyncratic, far more visceral, that
the troops on the battered streets of New Orleans hold him in high
regard: He's a soldier's soldier, the man you want in the trenches with
you, the kind of man who'll cover your back.
As he strides through a command center set up outside the shuttered and
storm-battered Harrah's casino here on Saturday, that is why the troops
want to shake his hand, look him in the eye and thank him even as he
thanks them for their work.
He's wrapped his big mitts around the hand of Spec. Amy Firestone, a
member of the quick reaction force from the 1345th Transportation
Company of the Oklahoma National Guard. She served in the dreaded
Superdome, packed with evacuees and mayhem.
"Did you see any murders?" the general asks her sympathetically.
"I seen some stabbings, sir," she confides, her voice dripping with
regret over what she witnessed.
He pats her on the shoulder, saying, "Thank you for being a good
soldier," and palms a 1st Army medallion into her hand as a keepsake as
he moves on to the crowd of troops and cops who have gravitated to him.
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