How-to: Guiding online mentorship
"Drink, Think, Link" from Military Review
Mentorship is as important today as it was in the day of Edwin Forrest Harding, the namesake of the Harding Project. Harding took a manual, in-person approach to mentorship and professional study.
Chip Bircher described Harding’s approach and impact well in From the Green Notebook:
In the fall of 1915, a young lieutenant fresh out of West Point reported to Fort George Wright, Washington for his first assignment.
He soon met Edwin Harding, an older more experienced lieutenant. Harding saw something in the new guy and invited him to join a small group he led in informal discussions of tactics, problem solving, military history, and professionalism.
Armed with the wisdom gleaned from a career filled with mentorship, this young leader would go on to command a division, corps, army, and army group in World War II, rise to the rank of General of the Army, and culminate his career with two tours as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While Edwin Harding would certainly not have taken credit for General Omar Nelson Bradley’s success, there can be no doubt the influence mentorship had on Omar Bradley – both the relationship with Harding and his enduring mentorship under the tutelage of General George C. Marshall.
While in-person mentorship cannot be replaced, platforms like Teams or Discord allow distributed mentorship and professional development. We drafted up some tips on how to use these tech tools to help: “Drink, Think, Link” at Military Review.
Lt. Col. Erik Davis, U.S. Army, has over fifteen years of experience in special operations. He is a Gen. Wayne A. Downing Scholar with master’s degrees from King’s College London and the London School of Economics. His assignments have taken him from village stability operations in rural villages in Afghanistan to preparing for high-end conflict in the First Island Chain. He lucked into more great mentors in his career than he deserved, and he is working diligently to pay those debts forward.
Lt. Col. Nick Frazier, U.S. Army, is a Gen. Wayne A. Downing Scholar with a master’s in foreign service from Georgetown University. He is a 2024 Non-Resident Fellow with the Irregular Warfare Initiative, a joint production between Princeton’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Project and the Modern War Institute at West Point. Since 2014, he has received formal and informal mentorship from his coauthor.