Avery Rowland Saving Private Ryan/Platoon

Saving Private Ryan/ Platoon 

Leaders are bound to face many challenges throughout their leadership experience. Obstacles are often thrown at leaders, and they are forced to make difficult decisions while having keep in mind what is best for their followers. In Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller is faced with a difficult situation when he has to decide whether or not to let a German soldier go or kill him. The other soldiers argued that they needed to kill him so he would not end up getting picked back up by the German soldiers and put back into circulation. Ultimately Captain Miller decides not to kill him but to blindfold him and sent him out into the field. I believe that this was a poor decision because he put the life of the German soldier before the lives of his men and allowed the soldier to be put back into circulation.

Allowing the soldier to walk freely into the hands of the Wehrmacht was a poor leadership decision and put the lives of Captain Miller’s soldiers at risk. After Miller lets the soldier go, he ends up back in the Wehrmacht and kills Captain Miller and another soldier near. Taking the soldier as a Prisoner of war or killing him would have prevented the German soldier from killing Captain Miller and the other soldier. The job of Captain Miller is to lead his men as safely as possible while completing his orders. Letting the soldier go was an unnecessary risk and compromised the safety of Captain Miller’s men. Captain Miller does not kill the soldier because “every man [he] kill[s] the further away from home [he] feels (Saving Private Ryan, 1998).  Captain Miller’s decision to let the german soldier free ultimately puts his ethical dilemmas over the lives of his soldiers and exemplifies his poor leadership decision. 

After watching Platoon, I still believe Captain Miller made a poor leadership decision. In Platoon, the soldiers become violent and end up taking many necessary and some unnecessary precautions. The soldiers burned the village and killed many civilians, which I believe is unethical. Although I think this is unethical it didn’t change my opinion on Captain Millers decision because the soldiers felt that they were taking the proper steps to ensure the safety of the platoon.  Leaders have to be able to put their feelings aside and do what is right for their men, and the mission, something Captain Miller, failed to do. Letting the soldier go to appease his moral dilemmas and ethics put Captain Miller’s men at considerable risk demonstrating the poor quality of his leadership decision.


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