The General and the Dog Robber
When General Stanley McChrystal was relieved of command last week because of the Rolling Stone article, it opened up a strange new world for this highly decorated and respected military leader.
His chief aide — aka the Dog Robber — a battle tested colonel stayed behind to pack his general’s gear and arrange for his own retirement. The two had served together through four tours, but now a truly dangerous assignment awaited them — civilian life.
The term Dog Robber had its origins in W.W.II, perhaps earlier, and is a highly regarded title bestowed on the chief aide of a general or admiral.
A Dog Robber is expected to deliver anything and everything his General might require, even before asked. A case of Scotch in Saudi Arabia. A tank company magically appearing on the eve of battle. An impossible to find gift/loot for a visiting dignitary. A Dog Robber always delivers.
McChrystal’s Dog Robber earned an MBA at Harvard ten years earlier. Now he would be tested on a truly take-no-prisoners battlefield: business.
A week after his delightful meeting with the President, the General and his Colonel sat down in a suite in Washington’s Four Season’s Hotel.
“Are you sure we can afford this?” the general asked as he looked around the $2,000 a night Presidential suite that his colonel had booked.
“Relax, General, have I ever let you down? This civilian life really isn’t that much different from our Army.“
“Colonel, you saved my life, more than once. Bring me up to speed.”
“To begin with, I’ve been working with the CEO of Korn Flakes International. They’re the leading international executive placement firm. And, playing my gut, I’ve also retained Scott Borax, the hot-shot sports agent. The one who gets his clients those $150 million, no cut contracts. That SOB is tougher than the Taliban. Be happy he’s on our side.”
“Colonel, Korn Flakes makes sense. But, Borax? Did that last mortar shell scramble your brains.”
“General, I have them working together. Plus a couple of other pro’s, too.
“Here’s the big picture so far:
“First, a speaking tour of 25 speeches at $200,000 each. That’s five million dollars! Groups like American Legion, Prudential Life, Amway. You BS ‘em for an hour on leadership or courage under fire, tell some war stories, and they’ll be begging you to come back. It’s one every two weeks, private jet, first class all the way.
“Second, We have a $10 million advance from Viking for your memoirs with the tentative title of THE GENERAL THEY COULDN’T BREAK. And Vanity Fair will pay $250,000 for the chapter on the meeting the President.
“Third, through my business school contacts and Korn Flakes, we’ve arranged four directorships: Corning Glass, Proctor & Gamble, Apple Computer and Caterpillar.
“Also, I think you should do two public service boards. Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Way. Maybe something religious. Are you good with children? Forget it. You pick ‘em.
“Finally, the right job. The key here is timing. GE is a real possibility, but there are so many problems there.
“Then, since you got time and money, there are the defense giants: Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, etc. At least two of their CEO’s should be gone within two years. But, you might have to start as a Senior VP.”
“However, here’s a list of five other great companies that will need a CEO early next year. The money and benefits are great, and each has at least three private jets.”
“Colonel, having me spout off in front of that reporter is the best idea you ever had. With the way the President had my hands tied, we could have never won that damn war anyway.”
Bill Regardie was the founder and publisher of Regardie’s Magazine.