4 Lessons of Maverick Thinking from Fallen Heroes

4 Lessons of Maverick Thinking from Fallen Heroes

Experts in their field who have a passion for their craft are Maverick Thinkers. These individuals invest considerable time and energy into their employees so that they too can tap into their passions. Maverick Thinkers also know how to use their employees’ skills and talents to the benefit of everyone—the company and the employee.

Maverick Thinkers attempt to emulate the extremely admirable traits of the fallen heroes of the United States military on a daily basis. This Memorial Day, we honor a few United States’ fallen heroes by learning from their Maverick Thinking.

Steward’s Mate Charles David, Jr.


Charles David, Jr. was a member of the Coast Guard during World War II as a Steward’s Mate. David began his military career shortly after it was apparent that the United States would enter WWII. He was assigned to the Coast Guard cutter, Comanche.

In 1942, he volunteered to help rescue 904 men on the Dorchester after it was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat. Steward’s Mate David volunteered for this mission even though his rank and training would not have required his participation. He was one of only 12 men that volunteered.

The team saved 93 of the 227 survivors from the SS Dorchester, thanks to valiant efforts from Steward’s Mate David. He later contracted pneumonia because of his efforts and died just 54 days later.

Lesson 1: Duty

Duty is one of the Coast Guard’s Core Values. It is also one of the Army’s core values. They explain that there are duties required by law, but the sense of duty for a member of the Army is so much more than that. It is almost a sense of moral or ethical obligation to the Army, their commanding officers, and the United States.

This sense of duty also parallels with selflessness. The service member is not concerned about his or her own safety or well-being—they act because they have a duty to do so.

Employees who exhibit this type of behavior have high dedication to their employer, coworkers, or company as a whole. Maverick Thinking embodies this sense of duty and encourages this type of behavior in others.

Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis


Staff Sgt. Ollis was an Army hero who died in Afghanistan. He was just 24 years old when he passed away in 2013. He was killed in action after throwing himself between another solider and a suicide bomber. He saved the other soldier’s life.

Staff Sgt. Ollis had already served two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. He went above and beyond the call of duty. His leadership, work ethic, and drive inspired those who knew him. They also fondly remember his humility.

The soldier that he saved later named his newborn son “Michael” in the fallen hero’s honor. A Staten Island ferry that is set to be completed in 2019 will also bear his name.

Lesson Two: Lead by Example

Maverick Thinkers are experts in their field. They strive to be the best that they can be, and this inspires others to work harder. Maverick Thinkers like Staff Sgt. Ollis do not necessarily force others to act a certain way—just being around them makes others want to be better.

Maverick Thinkers work just as hard, if not harder, than their employees or co-workers. They are not afraid to get their hands dirty. You can tell what their values are because you see them come out in your daily interactions with them. They lead by example and are an inspiration to those around them.

Private Joe Gandara


Private Gandara was a member of the United States Army during WWII. He joined between 1942 and 1943.

He was in Amfreville, France in 1944 when his detachment took heavy fire. His entire troop was pinned to the ground for four hours. Finally, Private Gandara advanced alone and took out three machine guns before being fatally wounded. His troop was then able to advance after his valiant efforts.

Lesson Three: Never Give Up

There will be times when it may seem like there is no way out or that you have no option but to declare defeat. A Maverick Thinker will consider all of the options before backing down completely. A Maverick Thinker will also act in the best interest of their company or idea, and sometimes that means acting without regard to personal needs or wants.

Maverick Thinkers thrive on innovation, creativity, and personal development. They will find a way to accomplish a goal, no matter the odds.

Second Lieutenant Erwin Bleckley

Second Lieutenant Erwin Bleckley was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWI. He was on a second trip of the day to drop supplies to a battalion that was cut off by the enemy in the Argonne Forest, France. They had already attempted a first trip, but came under heavy enemy fire. They attempted to fly lower to drop supplies more accurately in the second trip.

The plane was brought down by enemy fire from the ground, and 2d Lt. Bleckly died before he could be taken the hospital.

Lesson Four: Providing Others with the Right Tools for Growth

Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. Part of Maverick Thinking is encouraging others to grow both professionally and personally. In this process, effective leaders recognize that individuals need certain supplies to spur growth.

Maverick Thinkers recognize this need and provide the needed supplies. If the right tools are difficult to obtain, then they use innovation and creativity to obtain them.

Remembering the Fallen This Memorial Day

The military has so much to teach civilians who want to be successful both in and outside of the boardroom. We do fallen heroes the greatest honor by remembering what they have to teach us and incorporating these lessons into our daily lives.

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BPI Staff
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