General Wilhelm Addresses the CMA Corps of Cadets

By: Casey Robinson on Nov 26, 2021 | Categories: General


On November 9, 2021, Camden Military Academy was honored to host retired United States Marine Corps General Charles E. Wilhelm. General Wilhelm served our nation for 37 years retiring from active duty in 2000 and is the proud grandfather of Cadet Chay Wilhelm who is Company Commander for Alpha Company here at Camden Military Academy.

General Wilhelm spoke directly and honestly to the Classes of 2022 and 2023 about the true role of leadership and how it is quite more than a simple three-syllable word. In fact, the General went on to list fourteen elements of leadership that either interlock or overlap with one another.

“Management,” Wilhelm said, “is for things. Leadership is for people.” After speaking these words he went on to highlight his interaction with Cadet Lieutenant Dominic Mancuso, a senior at CMA and the student body president of the National Honors Society. General Wilhelm was impressed by Mancuso as someone who possesses three essential qualities of being an effective leader. The general presented these qualities with the acronym “H.I.M.,” meaning honor, integrity, and morality. In honesty, leaders are trustworthy and are viewed as fair when dealing with a variety of issues such as situational and personnel. A leader with integrity does the right thing always, even when no one is there to physically watch their actions. A moral leader is one who makes exceptional judgments and does the right thing even when public opinion may not see that decision that same way.

General Wilhelm made the case that leaders not only abide by these essential principles but make sure that they do not abuse their position by humiliating those they lead. “Leaders,” he said, “must praise in public but correct an individual in private.” A leader does not publicly humiliate those who need correction because it is a sure fire way for that person to lose confidence in leadership. He also said that true leaders have something more than just physical courage, they have an overwhelming sense of moral courage and are able to stand up to their leaders and correct them when they are in the wrong.

Finally, General Wilhelm provided examples of his real life heroes, his own parents. He described his father and mother as being hard-working, roll-up-their sleeves, and get-the-job done kind of people. He hailed them and honored them as being a part of the Greatest Generation. His parents had to navigate together the hardships of not only the Great Depression but also World War II. His father joined the military and served during the war while his mother not only took control of the household but also went to work herself. His parents, after the war, raised their children together believing in and living the American dream of being that shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope for all nations. He wondered out loud however if the United States could remain there among all of its current trials and tribulations. He believes so and his fervent hope and prayer is that this generation, these Classes of 2022 and 2023, can pick up the mantle and be the next Greatest Generation.

By: Senior Chief Shields