Are we going to replace Adolf Carlson?

I just read an excellent review of one of Tolstoy’s short stories. The reveiw was written by Adolf Carlson.  He was a West Point graduate – class of 1969.  He was an infantry officer and served in Vietnam.  There he was a Platoon Leader and Company Commander.  He had read Tostoy’s story in the original Russian when he was a cadet at West Point.  From the text of the review that he wrote of Tolstoy’s story, it is clear that he, himself, was a keen and sympathetic observer of the Russian people.

I never met Adolf Carlson.  I only know him from this one review he wrote.  He is now deceased, so I will never get the chance to meet him.  While I was reading his story and his review, I wondered, are we, as professors, going to be responsible enough to help another young man follow in Adolf Carlson’s footsteps?  If we aren’t, and already, too many times, we aren’t, then too bad for us and our children and their children.  It will be a much worse world with so many fewer Adolf Carlsons.

Here is the link to Carlson’s review in Amazon.


  1. One of Dolf's Many Admirers & Friends says:

    As only one of Dolf’s multitude of friends and admirers worldwide, I would like to provide just a bit of background information* about this author — an educator and scholar — who, throughout his brilliant and accomplished life, remained a humble and sincere friend to every person he came to know.

    “His education and scholarly achievement is immense. He held a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Boston University, was the Chair of the US Army War College Distance Education Department, and graduated from eight various universities and military courses. He was a visiting lecturer, a historian, and author of many scholarly articles and published a book. He taught classes in US, European, and classical military history at the US Army War College, and it was Dolf’s determined effort that led to the curriculum being accredited for awarding a Master’s Degree in National Strategic Studies. Now every War College student receives this degree upon graduation…

    “In September 1971 Dolf became the commanding officer of C company, 2/5 Calvary, 1st Calvary Division until April 1972 When he escorted the colors back to Ft. Hood, TX…For “Dolf”‘s memories of Viet Nam, as the Last CO of C 2/5 read:

    “Not being one to retire, after his thirty year military career, Dolf continued his life of service by taking his immense education and experience to international schools and former Soviet countries. He was a Senior Advisor to the ministries of defense in several nations and influenced modernization efforts in Ukraine, Zaire, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Lithuania, Romania, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The respect he garnered from his peers and students, wherever he stood, was remarkable…

    “At the time of his death he served as a military advisor in (the Republic of) Georgia (former USSR). He was employed in Ukraine (beginning 2008 to the autumn 2011) and his contribution towards the transition of the Armed Forces of the countries of former the USSR (Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan) should be noted….

    “Medals awarded: Silver Star, 4 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Defense meritorious medal, 4 meritorious Service medals, 3 Air Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army of Occupation medal, 2 national Defense medals, Vietnam service medal with 3 bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, 2 awards of Army Overseas Ribbons, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Unit Award with Palm, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist badge, Ranger Tab, and Joint Chief of Staff Identification Badge.

    “He attended the following military schools: Electronic Warfare Officer, Advanced Infantry officer, Advanced Armored Officer, Command and Staff Officers College, Military Intelligence Officer, Special Forces Officers course, and Armed Forces Staff Officers College. He was awarded a Senior Service Officer’s Fellowship.

    *From information provided by KM on website

  2. John McLean says:

    I served under “Dolf” Carlson when he was a captain in Viet Nam. He was the company commander of C Co 2/5th and I was his XO. He was one of the best officers I knew, in fact one of the best leaders I ever knew. In civilian life there is a not a leader I know that could put a candle to Dolf. He was devoted to his troops and gave credit where credit was due. As such he inspired and motivated. It is a shame there is not such leadership examples that exists in the business world. The next best leader I knew and worked under was Col Wichart who was the 2/5th Bn Commander when I arrived in Viet Nam. After that there was a chemical plant operations manager whom I worked for in civilian life, who was a commander in the Navy in WWII, where he learned his leadership.

  3. Douglas Kingery says:

    I served as Captain Carlsons artillery RTO during his time as Charlie Company 2/5 commander in Viet Nam. To put it simply, he was the greatest man, leader and mentor I have ever known. I hope to see him again someday, in a better place.

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