What makes a war hero?

#1
I think this is pertinent here as well.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21725468/


ALBANY, N.Y. - An infantryman charges a pillbox in the face of enemy fire. A firefighter rushes up the stairwell of a burning skyscraper as office workers flee. A teacher shields her student from a schoolyard gunman with her body.

Heroes all. But what personal qualities made them heroic?

In the movies, heroes are charismatic rebels played by the likes of Will Smith or Bruce Willis. But researchers who surveyed decorated World War II veterans found not all heroes are cut from the same swashbuckling cloth. Quiet types with a sense of loyalty and selflessness often have the right stuff, too.
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“We often think of the gung-ho, John Wayne ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ kind of hero driven to combat,” said researcher Brian Wansink of Cornell University. “But there’s a whole lot of these heroes that are much more along the lines of that Captain Miller character Tom Hanks played in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ — the reluctant high school English teacher.”

In a paper to be published in the management-oriented journal The Leadership Quarterly, researchers asked 526 World War II veterans who experienced “heavy and frequent combat” to evaluate themselves on qualities such as leadership, loyalty, spontaneity and selflessness. There were 83 men in the group who received a medal for meritorious service or valor — either a Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross or Medal of Honor.
 
#3
Personally, I think it's someone that fully understands the risks involved, and still does it anyway out of duty, self discipline, or to ensure another's safety or well being.
 
#5
The VC/GC association found that the majority of medal winner were older sibliings or poeple that had always looked after others, normally younger than them selves, without having to think or moan about it.

Maybe true heroisum comes from the sense of helping others when it really matters. Thats why the Medics have more gallentry awards than anyone else.
 
#6
Interesting study and will surprise the generation who base their ideas on Hollywood film scripts.

I have heard my Grandfathers WW2 generation say this, the brave boys (and girls) are rarely the gung ho types but more often the less obvious ones.

Reminds me of something I heard Syndey Jarry say about witnessing soldiers dying quietly without making a fuss so their section could crack on with the battle - I'd say that's an act of heroism but not the type of heroism that sells seats in cinemas.
 
#7
It always seems to me when reading their own stories that it is a case of "That is what I am expected to do" or "Just doing my job".

The majority of real heros seem to have an inbuilt sense of what they should do and they actually go and do it despite what ever dangers are around.

How many of us have ever been in a situation where you realise what you ought to do but for what ever reason you hesitate and the moment is gone?

Heros don't hesitate.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#8
Mr_Deputy said:
Reminds me of something I heard Syndey Jarry say about witnessing soldiers dying quietly without making a fuss so their section could crack on with the battle - I'd say that's an act of heroism but not the type of heroism that sells seats in cinemas.

I'd say that is heroism myself.
My father in law, a Chindit who was one of the few who did both patrols once told me the hardest thing for him was leaving a badly wounded colleague in the jungle with a pistol & then later hearing a single shot!
 
#9
What makes a war hero? Well if you want a recipe, first find yourself a war.
 

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