View Full Version : Leeroy Jenkins and the American way of advising

08-13-2009, 07:15 PM
Interesting analogy; a lot of truth to it.

Let’s do this!
Leeroy Jenkins and the American way of advising
By Capt. Robert M. Chamberlain
The American military has become relatively self-congratulatory of late about our newfound aptitude for counterinsurgency. As the violence in Iraq remains low relative to the charnel house of sectarian cleansing that characterized the peak of their civil war, the military mission in Iraq is shifting decisively toward advising and developing the Iraqi Security Forces. However, just as it took a tremendous shift in mind-set to move from traditional kinetic operations to the more complicated challenges of counterinsurgency, it will take another significant shift to truly master the art of advising.

One of the most important conceptual trends in counterinsurgency in Iraq has been the steady broadening of our intellectual horizons to include tribal leaders, local businesses, infrastructure, demographics, media and more. Sadly, the same cannot be said of our approach to the Iraqi Security Forces. The distance between the two techniques is wonderfully illustrated by a viral YouTube video — a recording of the exploits of a video game player who called himself Leeroy Jenkins. For those of you disinclined to Google “YouTube” and “Leeroy Jenkins,” I will briefly recap.

A group of about 20 people are playing “World of Warcraft,” a popular online game. Players all have separate characters who meet in a virtual world and work cooperatively to accomplish various goals. The video joins this particular group as they are discussing a detailed plan that they will use to advance through the adjacent room. The players geekily discuss their order of attack, spells and probability of success — “32 point three three, uh, repeating of course, percentage of survival” — while one of their party, Jenkins, is briefly away from his computer. Then out of nowhere, Jenkins shouts “Let’s do this! LEEEROOOY JENKINS!!!” and charges in, completely disregarding the planned course of action. Naturally, this approach destroys the meticulous strategy that had been decided upon and the entire party is wiped out in a matter of seconds. Leeroy’s exploits became so popular that he was given his own card in the trading-card iteration of “World of Warcraft.”

The video, which has been viewed more than 10 million times, is analogous to the disparity between the deliberation with which American forces approach counterinsurgency and the blunt ignorance with which they approach advising.

Full Article (http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2009/06/4036672)

08-14-2009, 07:57 PM
Awesome. For those who are ignorant of the video, see here. It has cult status among the younger generation.


Great article, with a lot of truth, I have to digest the implications before comment.

08-14-2009, 08:53 PM
I laugh my ass off everytime I see this.

Probably funny to me because I don't play World of Warcraft. Truth be told, I did try to play it once and I didn't get it.

However, Madden 2010 is out today :)

Rob Chamberlain has written some other pieces for AFJ and FIRES. We were LTs together at Campbell and in Iraq. I'm headed to his BN next month (actually I think he just PCS'd to USMA). He's insanely smart (Rhodes Scholar) and has an extremely unique way of explaining things sometimes. I applaud his effort on this one; the TT experience is one that is sometimes hard to capture with words, IMO. I talked to him about a half dozen times while he was on his MiTT deployment...and I hear a lot of that coming out in the article. Plus he commanded in 1/1 ID, the unit that had the TT mission until recently. I'd hate to speak on his behalf, but I know he had some heartburn with the training; both as a trainee and O/C. From my recent conversation with him, he sounded like a fan of the BCT-A concept.

On a side note, some future BN Commanders from the Pre-Command Course spoke to my small group at CCC yesterday. I asked them their opinion of BCT-A and they seemed pretty clueless about it, but they thought that is the concept the army should have pursued initially instead of random HRC call-ups.

08-14-2009, 11:29 PM
From the wiki article:

When asked about his actions in the video by National Public Radio, Ben Schultz [Leeroy Jenkins] simply responded: "We were drinking 40s and just yelling at each other."

08-15-2009, 09:53 AM
The video is so funny because he chose the worst imaginable place to be uncooperative and overly aggressive. A single player can 'wipe' (kill) his whole team in that place because that place requires maximum discipline. A single wrong step can kill the whole team.

I think that's a poor analogy for advising because a single poor adviser doesn't have that great secondary effect.

The use of the Leeroy Jenkins character in the original text of that Captain was a work of genius, though. It guaranteed a high level of attention.

08-20-2009, 08:20 AM
This may be a little off topic but useful none the less. Another gaming analogy to consider. This youtube clip features a hacker using a soundboard to mimic the player in this game who is responsible for giving out strike orders. It is a good example of disruption and its effect on group cohesion. The first 2.30 is good to watch.


"Time's up. Leeeeeeeerooy Jenkins"

08-20-2009, 01:58 PM
I think that's a poor analogy for advising because a single poor adviser doesn't have that great secondary effect.

I'd beg to differ, based off what I've seen. Especially if said advisor is the MiTT chief.

William F. Owen
08-20-2009, 02:20 PM
Personally, I'm all for a few more Leeeeeerrrrooy Jenkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfSMLR-d8Iw&feature=related) and a little less ".33 repeating of course.. Pretty good plan... Oh my g@d! Stick to the plan!"

No plan survives the orders process and work within the chaos, not against it! :eek:

08-20-2009, 03:25 PM
Interesting analogy; a lot of truth to it.

Full Article (http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2009/06/4036672)
I think I just found a new teaching tool. Thanks to the author and to jkm_101... brilliant!

08-20-2009, 04:46 PM
The US Army adviser writing this: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2009/06/4036672 is to be commended. I do wonder has anyone applied the principles to advising in Afghanistan - which is different from Iraq. Secondly have any coalition members who've done advising written so well?

Alas I fear much of the non-US military writing is behind an official secrecy "wall". There are 'lessons of advising' in the official journal British Army Review, which I shall now have to re-read.


04-24-2010, 10:23 AM
We use this video before every planning session at Squadron...still a classic!