A Model Leader in Crisis
Commander Straker is a man of leadership
Purpose-driven, confrontational, dedicated, compromising were the words to describe Commander Ed Straker of SHADO, Supreme Headquarters of Alien Defense Organization. He built SHADO from scratch. It took him 10 years to construct the command center. In 1970, it began its operation to defend Earth from UFO. UFO came to Earth to attack humans including Straker. He was a disguised director of the film in London known as Harlington Straker on the display board of the movie production. For most part of his work, he lived in the other side of roles. The role in play starred commander in the film set. He had everything in possession to be qualified for directing the SHADO operations. He has been my imaginary leader for a long time during the actual crisis. This essay depicts the eternal human traits for leadership qualifications in crisis.
Straker was an English man in London. He served as a pilot for U.S. Air Force before he became a commander of SHADO in 1980. Before 1980, the aliens from the outer space were detected by civilians several times in the suburban England. But the British government deliberately concealed the fact of external intrusion to Earth because it feared the panic among the public.
He sticks to the original credos. To defend Earth from UFO for public in the world, SHADO kept every single secret to pursue the mission with strict military rule book. he commanded the unit to answer three critical questions, “We don’t know them yet. Who are they? Where they are coming from? Why are they coming to Earth?” He fought against the enemy but protected his own men.
Straker confronted the authority. James Henderson was a superior officer of Straker who served his unit in America before they directed the operators from the top. Henderson came back to London to serve a committee member of International Astrophysical Commission, supporting the defense mechanism with finance, examining the budget request from SHADO, namely from him. Henderson and he often disputed face-to-face over the budget request and its allocation to advance the weapons to combat. Straker often found himself favorable of his decision in the severe content between intelligence.
Straker dedicated his life to SHADO, sacrificing a lot in his family. His wife left him shortly after the new marriage because he came home late from work and forgot his telephone call to his new wife. She had to stay late, reading magazines on the sofa. That was painful for new couples. Even when he returned home late at night, the hard work of SHADO often interrupted new marriage by the urgent calls from his dedicated subordinates, Colonel Freeman and Foster. Foster and Straker had never disagreed with decisions. Freeman and Straker sometimes argued with each other, being brutally honest to Strakers’ cool but dehumanizing decisions. They were not easy decisions.
Straker was a solid man but sometimes revealed his biological nature as a human being. He compromised with himself. Being in the purple wig, an attractive Lt. Ellis sent a battle command to three pilots in the moon base. The base housed interceptors to destroy UFO before it reached the orbit of Earth. From Earth, he often directed Lt. Ellis to send three pilots on battle station and fire the missiles on his order. Lt. Ellis read the trajectory from the computer and confirmed it to him. They worked together to attack the common foe. In a rare occasion on his mission, he was biologically attracted by Lt. Ellis, a very charming cosmopolitan bird on the moon. Her outfit matched her style.
In the drama, every episode was aired on TV on Sundays for the twenty-six straight weeks in 1970 in Tokyo. In my childhood, Straker looked very integrated in crisis. During my subsequent professional career in twenty-six years as business manager from 1984 to 2011, I encountered a series of tough times; the bubble burst in late 1980’s with stock traders going mad, chemical gas weapon spread in the Tokyo subway with passengers suffering, IT bubble burst in 2000’s, the 9–11 terrorist attack in New York, and the Lehman Shock in 2008, and the current state of COVID-19 infection. Each life-changing event, it was a tough time for me to keep it going. These events were very tough to fight against but his leadership style has always been a model for me. Being purpose-driven, confrontational, dedicated, compromising, he was a man of leadership with cool mind and warm heart. Although real Commander Straker, starred by Ed Bishop, had left Earth forever in 2005, I have never left him.