A Story About the Military That Had the Most Powerful Pull Quote We Ever Published

By Jack Limpert

On this Memorial Day weekend, the Washingtonian’s website posted the most important military story ever published in the magazine. Headlined “Where Have All the Warriors Gone?” it was written by Nick Kotz with much of the reporting done by the students in his investigative reporting class at American University. Published in July 1984, it won the National Magazine Award for Public Service.

The story’s deck: “Great Military Leaders Have Always Had Guts, Toughness, Daring. But Now Our Armed Services Are Led by Men Who Act More Like Corporate Managers Than Soldiers. Could MacArthur Make General Today? Could We Win a War?”

Accompanying the story’s posting was background on it reported by Harrison Smith, an editorial fellow at the Washingtonian. Asked about the challenges of working with a journalism class on a big story, I said, “The key for us was knowing Nick was a great reporter—it gave us the confidence that the result of any reporting project he ran with students was going to be highly professional and something we could be proud of.”

What’s not included in the story’s web posting are the pull quotes that ran with it. As an editor, I always emphasized the power of good pull quotes and picture captions to lure readers into a story. With this story there was a pull quote that for me was the most powerful and memorable we ever published. It was from Dandridge Malone, a tough Army colonel described in the story as “virtually a cult figure among the informal cadre who seek a tougher, more effective military.”

“Soldiers cannot be

managed to their deaths.

They must be led there.”




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