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Boy on the BridgeThe Story of John Shalikashvili's American Success$
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Andrew Marble

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178028

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178028.001.0001

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Mushroom Cloud

Mushroom Cloud

Friday, April 19, 1991—Diyarbakir, Turkey

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Boy on the Bridge

Andrew Marble

University Press of Kentucky

The chapter is set on April 19, 1991, when Operation Provide Comfort (OPC) commander Lieutenant General John Shalikashvili is changing aircraft on a runway in Diyarbakir, eastern Turkey. The chapter overviews both the geopolitics of how the crisis occurred and how the rapidly growing scope and internationalization of the problem led Shalikashvili to take over the international humanitarian mission from the first commander, US Air Force major general Jim Jamerson. The chapter explains how during his career Shalikashvili developed leadership skills of logistics mastery and diplomacy (including during Operation Steel Box and the movement of the VII Corps to the Persian Gulf) as well as turned being an immigrant soldier from a liability to a strength, and in the process developed an international mystique about him. Told through the eyes of OPC staff member US Air Force colonel Eugene J. Ronsick, who thinks it was a mistake to replace the original commander with Shalikashvili, the chapter also demonstrates how Shalikashvili’s persona can quickly change people’s attitude toward him from negative to positive.

Keywords:   Operation Provide Comfort, international humanitarian mission, John Shalikashvili, logistics, diplomacy, Operation Steel Box, movement of VII Corps, career development, Jim Jamerson, leadership

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