Characteristics of Some U.S. Army Generals: An Exploratory Study

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Francis Musa Boakari


Richard Gray


Patricia Watkins


This exploratory qualitative study investigated the relationship between retired Army general officers as they related to seven specific elements. Through interviews, this researcher explored the role of religion, family, mentorship, education, culture, combat, and assignments in the lives of these three men. Structured data analysis and models were provided to display the results of the theme-based research questions. Themes that were important or deemed significant were emphasized. Recommendations to soldiers and educators were made based on the findings. In general, religion, family, and mentorship proved to be the most important elements to these participants in their ascension to the rank of general. Of lesser importance were the elements of education and cultural context. O f least importance were the elements of combat and assignments. All three participants achieved the rank of general and all three had combat experience. A better sense of importance of this element may have emerged if one participant had not been in combat. Another area that seemed insignificant was the element of assignments. One participant placed a great deal of importance on assignments, but the significant element based on the interviews was on how well the job is done and not where the job or assignment was. All the participants shared a common goal of becoming a general. Some of the elements were shared by all three while others were not. Although they took different approaches, all three achieved their goal and had very successful military careers.

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