Thoughts on Fox Conner

Scroll down to read Part 1 of our new novel,  Where we all Belong.

A Remarkable Mentor named Fox Conner.

You’ve probably never heard of Major General Fox Conner.  He had an outstanding career spanning the Spanish-American War through the post-World War I years.

There are three names marking him as remarkable: Patton, Marshall, and Eisenhower.

Fox Conner evidently had the skill of bonding with young officers as a mentor and friend.

It started with a young officer named George S. Patton. They met on a train before the First World War.  General Conner became a lifetime mentor and friend to Patton, guiding him in what true leadership is.

During WWI, a young officer named George C. Marshall served under Conner’s command.  Once again General Conner taught and modeled what it meant to an American military leader.     General Marshall, who would lead America’s total war effort during WW2, referred to his time with Fox Conner as “life-shaping.”

But Fox Conner’s most memorable mentorship took place in Panama with a young charismatic colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

Eisenhower was at a low point in his life and career. He and his wife Mamie recently lost a child.  Careerwise, the years between the Wars were a desert for career officers like him.

General Conner took Eisenhower and his family under his wing during their three years together in Panama. He put “Ike” on a strict regimen of reading and studying military and world history, as well as military doctrine and planning

Fox Conner showed Dwight Eisenhower how to lead, delegate, and work closely with Allies.

 I don’t need to expand on the pivotal place Dwight Eisenhower played in leading the Allies to victory over Nazi Germany.

After the War, an interviewer asked Eisenhower,  “You’ve worked with the top generals and world leaders.  Who would you name as the greatest one you worked with?

Dwight Eisenhower replied without hesitation.  “Fox Conner.”

Fox Conner. He mentored three of the towering figures of the Twentieth Century.


Mentor.  Now there’s a fine word. It’s defined as “a trusted counselor or guide.”

Mentorship involves taking a younger person under your arm and walking beside them on this part of their journey

Age has nothing to do with it nor does gender or level of education.  Mentorship goes well beyond race and status.

It doesn’t have to be formal. It’s a bond that naturally occurs. Mentorship takes time, presence, and understands that leadership is caught not taught.   

Anyone reading this can become a mentor.

Most of you already are. I’d encourage you to look around for younger men or women who have potential and promise. You might make a world of difference.


If you asked me as a 67-year-old man what has been the most fulfilling part of my life, I’d reply,  “Mentoring and leading younger men.”

I’ve been privileged as a father to three boys, a teacher, coach, principal, camp manager, and an African missionary, to rub elbows with young men.  Many have become lifetime friends. I’ve rejoiced at their successes and wept with them in their setbacks.

 I am a man most blessed.




Curt Iles


8 June 2023

Alexandria, LA


Last week I visited a book club reading my second novel, A Good Place. I’d forgotten what a fun and emotional book it is.  Because I don’t want A Good Place moldering away in some closet, I’ve uploaded the entire book as a PDF.  Click here to download.   Enjoy!


I’m also using my blog as a draft of my upcoming novel, Where we all Belong.   You can follow along at www, will be my first novel set outside Piney Woods Louisiana.  Take a peek. I believe you’ll like what you see.   *Remember, it’s a second draft still missing many parts under the hood. 


You can learn more about Fox Conner through the excellent book, Grey Eminence: Fox Conner as well as Fox’s Wikipedia page.

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