The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the former Soviet Union forced America’s armed forces to redefine themselves and codify their role as a key element of national power. New threats and emerging technologies changed the very character of war and demanded new strategies and an adaptable military to address them.
Jason Q. Bohm began his service to our nation as a Marine at the start of this tumultuous era. He takes the reader on a journey from the turbulent times at the end of the Cold War through the current fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Bohm provides candid and useful historical background as, through a series of personal vignettes and rich operational experience, he describes how Marines translated strategic and operational objectives into tactical actions. In this unique way, he not only tells his story but that of the Marine Corps, and provides an invaluable look at the challenging times confronting Marines.
You’ve spent a career leading our Nation’s Marines, what books would you recommend for a Junior Officer ready go to his or her first operational command?
Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1: Warfighting, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (although not meant to be a book on leadership, I find this book full of practical and easy practices that will make one most effective as a leader), and the United States Constitution.
What is the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader will take from reading about your journey?
First, that it is an absolute honor and privilege to serve our great nation, and second that our young men and women in uniform must be flexible, adaptable problem solvers who may be called on to perform extraordinary tasks under extreme conditions, but they do so with an understanding that anything is possible, particularly when they work together as part of a team sharing a common mission.
In your book From The Cold War to ISIL you state that the most difficult point in your career was during recruiting duty, but it was also your most rewarding. Why do you think that frequently an individual’s most difficult experience is also their most rewarding?
Difficult experiences often push one to their personal limits. They make us look within to determine how much we can endure, while continuing to persevere. They teach us that our personal culminating point is actually beyond what we first believed. This understanding allows one to grow to heights not previously thought possible. When one shares these difficult experiences with others, they create bonds forged in shared hardships the endure for life.
What advice would you have for a mid-career military officer who is considering writing a memoir?
I would first recommend that all military personal keep personal journals of their travels, adventures, thoughts, and pains. Military personnel experience so much. I found it helpful to maintain a journal for future reference once removed from the action. Once compiling my notes, I purposely tried to avoid writing an “I was there book,” but rather intended to make this book about all Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, one that any reader could relate to and draw parallels to their own journeys. An ounce of humility can go a long way. I hope I achieved this with From the Cold War to ISIL.
Who is you target audience for this book?
This book will appeal to many audiences. Military historians and enthusiasts will gain an understanding and appreciation of an era about which there is relatively little written. Veterans will reminisce and reflect on many of the operations, duty stations, and experiences they shared during their selfless service. Military families will recognize and relate to the lifestyle and sacrifices as described. Those currently serving will learn lessons they can apply to current and future operations. Aspiring servicemen and women will gain an appreciation for, and a better understanding of, life as a member of our nation’s all-volunteer force. Americans in general will feel a sense of pride for the many accomplishments achieved by America’s armed forces over the last thirty years as it prepares to confront new challenges in the 21st Century.
What are you reading now?
Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India, 1942-1945, Field Marshall Viscount Slim.
What books had the most impact on you and your development?
Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1: Warfighting, Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller, Burke Davis, Battlefield Leadership, Adolph Von Shell, The Bible.
What is one of the best investments you’ve ever made in your military career?
The interpersonal relationships with others, to include senior mentors, peers, and subordinates. One learns and grows from all people one interacts with. I am a better, more capable leader and man thanks to those I have had the privilege and honor to serve with. The military is a people organization. Invest in others. Do all you can to facilitate their success. You will not only achieve a feeling of satisfaction in helping others but will also find others wanting to help you.
How did your leadership and ethical philosophy develop?
It began as a teenager working at my dad’s business. He started out as a stock boy with a high school education, but through hard work and persistence worked his way up to become the Vice President of his company. I worked back in the warehouse, when my father wore a suit and worked in the front office. However, whenever he had to ask his employees to work overtime on a weekend, he would hang his suit up, put on jeans and a T-shirt, and come work with us back in the warehouse. My dad led by example and I had the honor to see how others reacted to and respected his example. I still carry this lesson with me today and always try and recognize the most junior Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines no matter what situation I may be in. It is through them that we succeed and accomplish our mission
Purchase From the Cold War to ISIL Here
**General Bohm has committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, Marine Corps Association, Marine Corps University Foundation, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and the Semper Fi Fund.
Brigadier General Bohm was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in May 1990 upon graduating from the NROTC Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is currently serving as the Chief of Staff, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO in Oeiras, Portugal.
Brigadier General Bohm had the honour of commanding at many levels. He served as a Rifle Platoon and 81mm Mortar Platoon Commander with the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 5th Platoon Commander with the Fleet
Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company, Commanding Officer, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, Commanding Officer, Recruiting
Station, Charleston, West Virginia, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion,
4th Marines, Commanding Officer, 5th Marine Regiment, Commanding Officer, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, and most recently the Commanding General, Marine Corps Training Command.
Brigadier General Bohm’s staff assignments include: Executive Officer, FAST Company; Operations Officer, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines; Assistant Division Training Officer, 1st Marine Division; G-3 Current Operations Officer, 1st Marine Division.
In the Supporting Establishment, Brigadier General Bohm served as the Director of the Marine Corps Legislative Liaison Office, United States House of Representatives, and Director, Expeditionary Warfare School.
Brigadier General Bohm’s Joint assignments include: Planner, Joint Task Force Skilled Anvil; Strategic Planner, Assistant Executive Assistant to the Director, and Director, Strategic Initiatives Group for the Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) of the Joint Staff.
Brigadier General Bohm participated in the following contingencies and named operations: Operations RESTORE HOPE; UPHOLD DEMOCRACY; FAIRWINDS; SEA SIGNAL; UNIFIED ASSISTANCE; IRAQI FREEDOM; INHERENT RESOLVE; an antiterrorism mission to Bahrain; deployment in support of U.S. Support Group Haiti.
Brigadier General Bohm is a graduate of The Basic School, Infantry Officer Course, U.S. Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College.
Brigadier General Bohm’s personal decorations include: Legion of Merit (2); Bronze Star w/combat distinguishing device (2); Joint Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (2); Joint Service Commendation Medal; Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2); Army Commendation Medal; Joint Service Achievement Medal; Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Combat Action Ribbon (2).
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