Comments about ‘General Petraeus: Top 10 reasons BYU grads make great soldiers’

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Published: Friday, March 26 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Raymond Takashi Swenson

A man who has a PhD and learned all he could about the culture of Muslims in Iraq would surely learn as much as he could about the culture of Mormons at BYU. Besides, the head of the Army ROTC at BYU soldiered with him in the Middle East.

Anyone who wants to know how many Mormons serve in the armed forces should note that BYU has large Army and Air Force ROTC units; that so many young men admitted to the Air Force Academy resigned to serve LDS missions, and successfully returned and excelled, that the Academy now allows any cadet to take a two year sabbattical for study or service (LDS mission, Peace Corps, etc.); of my 2 sons, one served in the Army, and my son-in-law served 6 years at Space Command; that one of the daughters of Mike Young, president of the U of U, attended the AF Academy; that in my 20 years in the Air Force, there were substantial LDS congregations at every major Air Force base, including in Japan; and that the Utah National Guard is the main source of interpreters for the Army.

Raymond Takashi Swenson

By the way, I can personally confirm item #9 about being designated drivers. I filled that role at many military dinners.

Let me also note that I have never encountered prejudice toward Mormons from senior military commanders. All joking aside, commanders appreciate working with people of integrity, the Mormons among them. And they have respected colleagues, fellow commanders, who are Mormons. The story earlier this week noted that the Petraeus visit was set up by retired General Robert Jordan, a soldier-scholar like Petraeus, who was at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University when I was in his ward in Virginia.

I know of at least two members of the Seventy that were retired generals. Other LDS leaders served in various capacities, including President Monson (US Navy in WW II), President Uchtdorff (the modern German Air Force), Neal Maxwell (Army in WW II), Hugh B. Brown (Canadian Army in WW I), Lance Wickman (Army in Vietnam), and Richard G. Scott (a civilian nuclear engineer on the staff of Admiral Rickover).


I think Max Hall helped him with #1. This was funny!


Apparently many others have believed that General Petraeus would make an excellent president. However, there appears to be little chance of that happening.
He was asked in an interview on Fox News if he might someday consider running for president. His answer was no.
He is not into politics. He has purposely not voted since 2000. The reason is so he can avoid a political influence in his decision making, etc.
He wants his entire focus to be on serving his country to the best of his ability.
I think he would be the equal of, or more, of General Eisenhower. Unfortunately he makes his own decisions - independent of me.


very funny, very clever...

Cutie in Az

I think his remarks are very funny and I enjoyed all comments..sure can tell who are biased in their oppinions about the church and BYU.

George Stokes

I watched it all on a replay and he did get serious and did a great job.


The General is a true gentleman, scholar and soldier. His 10 reasons display insight and respect, as well as good humor. We are blessed to have him at the head of our forces overseas.


That is hilarious! How did he come up with these! He must've received help from a Mormon, or is he a Mormon? Way awesome!


As a member of the LDS church I don't think this was offensive, it just wasn't very funny. At all...Maybe his #1, to which I will reluctantly reply "Touch." But how many times do we have to hear jokes about these stereotypes? Let's hear something original, people! If I hear one more joke about green jello...;) And what about those LDS soldiers who attended the University of Utah? Hmmmm? I know a fair few. I don't know about you Y fans, but us U fans require a bit more originality and substance! (Okay, there's my shout-out to my alma mater in their defense.) If we're gonna hear a joke about the Church, make it good! NOT disrespectful, but at least chuckle-worthy and in good taste.

Still, a great message overall regardless of the botched attempt at making a joke. (For which I'm sure he is not at fault.) And his acknowledgement of of our outstanding LDS service-men and -women is very much appreciated. This is purely my opinion on the matter and not an attempt to insult or "hate on" the General. Oh, and "Go Utes!":)


I will have to admit that in boot camp, the LDS soldiers were usually the leaders.

Redleg in Eugene

I truly appreciate his comic remarks. Wish I could have been in the MC to hear the whole thing. We've got to be able to laugh at ourselves once in a while... you've gotta love the "Axis of Evil" though... I'm sure my U of U friends will laugh harder than I did... Thanks General! (class of '79)

Redleg in Eugene

I truly appreciate his comic remarks. Wish I could have been in the MC to hear the whole thing. We've got to be able to laugh at ourselves once in a while... you've gotta love the "Axis of Evil" though... I'm sure my U of U friends will laugh harder than I did... Thanks General! (class of '79)

Spencer R. Clinton

Heber K is typical of all religious people, clinging to their guns and their faith when really most of the worlds disagreements could be solved the smart progressive way. We have to make sure we understand where our enemies are coming from, why we caused them to hate us. It really is our fault.

Just listen to the promises of the caring forward-thinking, leaders, empower them to tax, enable them to redistribute the wealth, and everyone will be just fine... trust us.



an eastern mormon...

witty remarks that were meant for light-hearted ice breaking...there's a time & season for everything under the sun, even a time to laugh! ;)

Dr. J

Great stuff. Nice that he took the time to connect with his audience.


Pretty good, wish I had been there :)

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