[[quoteright:265:[[Webcomic/GirlGenius http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GirlGenius_MenFirst_8987.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:265:Sometimes you even surrender for them.]]

-> ''"I tell you, as officers, that you will not eat, sleep, smoke, sit down, or lie down until your soldiers have had a chance to do these things. If you hold to this, they will follow you to the ends of the earth. If you do not, '''I will break you in front of your regiments!'''"''
--> -- '''[[BritsWithBattleships Field Marshal Sir William Slim]]'''

A [[AFatherToHisMen commanding officer]] insists that his men are the top priority. This is a rich source of conflict, [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption as every commanding officer cares for a different group of men]]. The largest body generally takes overall priority, though a TheMenFirst [[MoralMyopia approach by]] [[WeAreStrugglingTogether the smaller constituent units]] can lead to greater losses overall as per '[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons the Tragedy of the Commons]]'.

Medical attention for the wounded is a high priority -- especially if doctors are trying to treat the officer, and [[GreaterNeedThanMine his injuries are less serious]] -- as is NoOneGetsLeftBehind, but in less critical situations, he keeps on eye on such things as their shelter and food.

He may inform anyone who finds it strange that it is his men who win his battles. This is most likely when an OfficerAndAGentleman is insisting on it for soldiers who are not {{Blue Blood}}s, but any officer who is not AFatherToHisMen may express surprise.

He may insist on getting no help at all if his men can't be helped. Compare InItsHourOfNeed; the commander will retreat if his men can be gotten away.

Note that this does not preclude [[WeHaveReserves ruthless expenditure of his men when necessary]], [[TheChainsOfCommanding just don't expect him to be happy about it]]. However, unlike the GloryHound he will never expend them to benefit himself and he will ''never'' waste them through incompetence as the ModernMajorGeneral or GeneralFailure might. Appeals to him to surrender may be made on the basis of ending his men's suffering, but might not succeed [[TheNeedsOfTheMany if he cares enough for a bigger picture]] which demands a LastStand.

If he is at the top of a chain of command with several ranks between him and the grunts, he will generally insist that his subordinates follow his example -- [[ReassignedToAntarctica or]] [[PunishmentDetail else]].

Lower-ranked soldiers can also insist on help going to others, but that generally falls under ThePowerOfFriendship and GreaterNeedThanMine.

Compare GreaterNeedThanMine. Contrast MoralMyopia; officers who do not fall under this often fall under that. WeHaveReserves is the inverse attitude of this.

Not to be mistaken for the opposite of "[[MenAreTheExpendableGender women and children first]]".



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': [[ColonelBadass Roy Mustang]]. After suffering a massive stab wound and third-degree burns on top of it, he asks that an ambulance be called... for his wounded subordinate.
** He actually does this ''again'' at the end, when he is [[spoiler:rendered blind through no fault of his own, but offered the use of a philosopher's stone to heal his eyes]]. Mustang still insists that [[spoiler:the now crippled subordinate Havoc is treated first.]]
** Also Ling fully believes this, as he believes he cannot be a true leader without supporting his people.
* Hilariously parodied in ''OnePiece'' with Captain T-Bone.
** And played completely straight with Luffy: poisoned, frostbite, beaten nearly to death, he begs whoever he comes across to save Sanji, Nami, or Bon-chan, whoever; never himself. Remember he is the captain and the leader of his men.
* Many version of Optimus from ''{{Transformers}}'' share this philosophy.
* Referenced in ''{{Hellsing}}'' during the second attack on the manor. After the outer defenses are breached, one of Pip's men says that in the movies, this is the traditional time for the captain to make a HeroicSacrifice so that his men can escape. Pip replies that there's no point: none of them are going to make it through the night alive no matter what they do. [[spoiler:Since only three of his men (Two in the OVA) survive, Pip not being among them, he was probably right.]]
** Zigzagged earlier when Sir Penwood orders his men to evacuate, claiming that he would manage the post on his own. They laughingly brush him off, pointing out that he'd have ''no'' clue what he was doing, and instead stay to the end.
* Ben from ''Manga/GingaNagareboshiGin'' has just been poisoned by poison spikes Akame laid in a trap, pricking all the dogs' paws and poisoning them. When Akame ([[MyGodWhatHaveIDone who is horrified at what he did]]) tries to give them the antidote, Ben says to give the herbs to the dogs of Ohu first, saying they need the cure more.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Shades of this in ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'', after [[spoiler:a Cobra attack on the Joes' HQ]], Scarlett hides her (actually fairly minor) wounds, treating herself in the bathroom, and explaining to Ripcord that with all the other dead and wounded, a couple of cuts to the face don't need the attention.
* [[AFatherToHisMen General Waverly]] in ''Film/WhiteChristmas'', as fondly remembered by his former underlings.
-->''"We ate, then he ate. We slept, then he slept."''
* In ''Film/MemphisBelle'', Colonel Craig Harriman might be a [[TheStoic stoic commanding officer]]--but after Army PR Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Derringer accuses him of caring only for results and not the crews, he finally [[NotSoStoic loses his temper]], then has Derringer read from a box of letters ... responses to letters that Harriman personally wrote to the family of men who died under his command.
-->'''Craig Harriman:''' I have twenty-four crews up there. They are ''all'' special to me.
* In ''Film/WeWereSoldiers'', two officers are contrasted. One wants to [[GloryHound win medals]]. The other is both obsessive about both detail and his men; during a forced march, he has his men take off their boots to check for injuries. On finding that the soldier he is examining has a truly squick-inducing burst blister, he tells him to report to the quartermaster for new boots. Hal Moore, the Unit C.O., approves this approach, clearly putting him in this class even before he delivers a speech that assures his men that "when we go into battle, I will be the first one to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together." Interview footage of the real Hal Moore shows that this was based on reality; while asking the American public to appreciate the strength of the ordinary fighting man, he becomes so audibly choked up that he can barely get the words out.
** And of course, when they do go into battle, [[NotHyperbole he is in fact the first soldier off the choppers, and the last one to leave the battlefield at the end.]]

* During UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, there were persistent tales of a ghostly officer who appeared to protect his men.

* In Creator/DanAbnett's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} GauntsGhosts novel ''The Guns of Tanith'', Gaunt involves himself personally in the military trial of a common trooper. When his superiors object, he says the troopers win the battles. His superior finds this a little [[GoodIsOldFashioned quaint]], but - as one of the ''very'' few [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure decent members]] of the high command - is happy to give Gaunt his way.
** At the end of ''Only in Death'', Rawne demands medical attention for his men and orders his officers to start going; he's not leaving until the men are out. When Ludd, being acting commissar, comes back with him, he tells him he can go.
-->''"I'll leave when my duty's done, sir," said Ludd. "Let's get the men out."''
* In Creator/SandyMitchell's Literature/CiaphasCain novel ''Death or Glory'', Cain's first request when they connect with Imperial forces is for medical attention.
** In general, Cain always attempts to look out for wounded men, since this provides the dual advantage of looking like a good commander to his men and a good excuse to keep his head down in the middle of a fire fight.
*** And so that he can avoid death by friendly fire, a very common fate for more traditional Commissars.
** Amberley's footnotes also point out that he follows this trope without even noticing. For example, one time a group of men swarm a tank ([[InsertGrenadeHere yes, like into melee range]]) and instead of using the anti-tank weapon he has a and killing some of them, Cain runs off to save the tank's target directly.
* When rescuing prisoners of war, Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's [[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Miles Vorkosigan]] assures them that ''he'' will be going up in the last shuttle.
--> '''Tung:''' Have I expressed myself yet, Sir, on what a dumbshit piece of grandstanding that is?
--> '''Miles:''' Eloquently, with your eyebrows, a little while ago.
* In William King's ''Warhammer 40000'' novel ''SpaceWolf'', when Ragnar is put in charge of the group that must BringNewsBack, he carries an injured one out. He gives him over to the priests for his injuries to be cared for, and one priest inspects Ragnar's own injuries. Ragnar tells him to care for the other SpaceMarine, and the priest assures him that the man is being cared for and orders Ragnar to accept treatment.
* In Creator/GeorgeMacDonaldFraser's Literature/McAuslan book ''The General Danced At Dawn'', when the title general insisted on inspecting the men's quarters first, because of their priority, the whole inspection went somewhat awry from there. (Something had gotten spilled, and they couldn't clean it up in time.)
* In Creator/JamesSwallow's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} novels:
** Literature/HorusHeresy: ''The Flight of the Eisenstein'', Temeter, seeing Horus's treacherous attack on the Space Marines on planet, refuses to get into the bunkers: "My men first." Since not all of them can make it, he dies with them.
** Literature/BloodAngels: ''Red Fury'', the sergeants Rafen and Noxx are the last men to get on the shuttle to escape a fortress about to fall apart.
* In S.M. Stirling's AlternateHistory novel ''Literature/ThePeshawarLancers'', the King-Emperor ''doesn't get the chance'' to order a doctor to treat badly wounded men first rather than looking at His Majesty's comparatively minor injuries; the doctor takes one glance at the situation and heads for the troops. The [[TheWisePrince King-Emperor]] remarks, "I like that chap's priorities."
* In Rick Riordan's ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', Annabeth manages to stop a tirade from Clarisse by pointing out that she had wounded.
* In Creator/BenCounter's Soul Drinkers novel ''[[Literature/SoulDrinkers Chapter War]]'', Falken stops talking about the battle on the grounds
-->''I have men wounded, I should see to them.''
* Literature/HonorHarrington pulls this in her own series. When trapped on the prison planet Hades, after [[spoiler:having her cybernetic eye burned out, her arm blown off in the escape, and months of starvation, humiliation, and near-torture]], her surviving staff ''still'' have to practically force her into taking her doctor's medical treatment and taking it easy for a change
** When they finally escape, her government wants to pin a medal on her for it. She identifies the person most crucial to the whole effort and insists they give it to him instead.
** This is used a few times to give characters a sense of nobility. There are leaders in all armies who will do this and leaders in all armies who honestly don't care about the people under their command, as well as everything in between.
* In Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars The Chessmen of Mars]]'', when Gahal's ship is caught in a storm, one of his men is knocked overboard and barely manages to grab hold. On seeing it, Gahal instantly goes to the rescue -- which results in his own fall.
* In SandyMitchell's DarkHeresy novel ''Innocence Proves Nothing'', although Drake would probably be better suited to retreat last from the mutant, Horst says that he's the leader and will be the last.
* In Creator/WenSpencer's ''Endless Blue'', after [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat Turk's loss]], Mikhail carefully locks away [[DrivenToSuicide his gun]] and gives away [[DrowningMySorrows his vodka]] so that he can ensure that he will get his men to safety. [[spoiler:There, he goes for the gun. Fortunately, he's interrupted by Turk.]]
* The Kings and Queens of [[ChroniclesOfNarnia Narnia]] are supposed to be "the first in every desperate attack, the last in every desperate retreat" -- and those of Archenland, too, as the king warns Shasta in Creator/CSLewis's ''The Horse and His Boy''.
--> '''King Lune:''' For this is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there's hunger in the land (as must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your land.
* In Steve Parker's Literature/ImperialGuard novel ''Gunheads'', the colonel of the 98th refused to try to escape a LastStand when the Gunheads arrive. He immediately asks if the tanks can open up a corridor where he and his men can escape.
* [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Imperial Grand Admiral Pellaeon]] makes good use of this trope, in contrast to the [[WeHaveReserves usual Imperial doctrine]]. A combination of looking out for the welfare of his troops, [[KnowWhenToFoldEm knowing when retreat is called for]], and a lack of grandstanding or vanity projects helps him live long enough to, essentially, become top dog by default.
** He learned most of this from [[TheChessMaster Grand Admiral Thrawn]]. While at times he would administer hard discipline on his men (especially when they make ''stupid'' mistakes), when one makes a rather ingenious IndyPloy in an attempt to tractor in Luke's X-Wing? He promotes him despite it failing, and tasks him to find a counter for Luke's maneuver. This causes the entire crew of his ship to follow him to the death.
*** In a later novel Lando Calrissian finds out the worst way that Thrawn's decision paid out: when he tried the same manouver used by Luke, he was tractored in, as the man Thrawn promoted succeeded in his task.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's "Literature/ThePoolOfTheBlackOne", Conan and the {{pirate}}s.
-->''Conan did not leave the gate until he was sure all his men who yet lived were out of the castle and started across the level meadow.''
* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Thud}}'', Vimes, recovering from the Summoning Dark, insists on seeing how his men are doing.
** This occurs in previous books too. In ''Discworld/TheTruth'' Gaspode warns William that Vimes will "[[BerserkButton invent new ways of being angry just so he can try them on you]]" after William drops a particularly nasty scent-bomb in front of Angua.
* In AdrianTchaikovsky's ''[[Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt Dragonfly Falling]]'', after Salma meets some renegade Auxilliens, he deduces that one had been a sergeant, from the way he tried to protect his men.
* In Creator/JohnHemry's ''Literature/TheLostFleet'', this is in the background, with the survivors from lost ships being heavily low ranking. Captain [[spoiler:Duellos]] makes it explicit after his ship is lost.
** In ''Invincible'', Desjani says that the bear-cows must have herd-leaders not officers -- officers would not have broken off from a disabled ship and left the men behind.
* In Creator/ElizabethMoon's ''[[Literature/FamiliasRegnant Hunting Party]]'', Serrano resigned just before the story because she was told that that way, they would not punish any of her men. [[spoiler:They lied.]]
* In Creator/PoulAnderson's Literature/TimePatrol story "The Only Game in Town", the Mongol commander starts to object to the men sharing the distilled liquor, but stifles it: officers share equally with the humblest of their men.
** In "Arsenal Port", Heim contemplates his motives for keeping on plugging in the wearisome, dangerous and unlikely to succeed journey; one might be this, though he's not sure.
* [[Literature/{{Dune}} Leto Atreides]], in his EstablishingCharacterMoment, orders a Harvester and its load of Spice be abandoned, in order to save the crew.
* In Creator/JohnHemry's ''[[Literature/PaulSinclair Burden of Proof]]'', Paul asks for water after he gets out of the fire-fighting, and only after he gets it sees the sailors looking at it. He asks for them, too, and doesn't drink until they have theirs.
* Asha Greyjoy displays this a few times in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', such as insisting on their free passage home in return for [[spoiler:surrendering to Stannis]]. As a female captain in a very male-dominated society, she relies on her crew's fierce loyalty to her personally, and in turn is an (in [[BodyguardCrush some cases]] slightly [[OedipusComplex Oedipal]]) [[AFatherToHisMen Mother To Her Men]].
* Firestar from ''Literature/WarriorCats'' refuses to eat any herbs in ''Long Shadows'', saying that his Clanmates come first before himself.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* General Hammond of ''Series/StargateSG1'' would often see to it that his people where taken care of before himself. Jack had shades of this as well.
* Commander Adama from ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|1978}}'' fits in this as well.
* In one episode of ''Series/{{MASH}}'', Hawkeye refuses to leave to work for a general, because the men come first. He demands that the general admit it, and the general, with a sigh, does.
** [[TheNeidermeyer Major]] [[JerkAss Frank]] [[EagleLand Burns]] sometimes get yelled by other characters for refusing to treat the most wounded first (or improperly setting up Triage) because the wounded weren't "the right type" (aka Not American)
*** Of course, at the time, the rules actually ''were'' 'friendly wounded first, then prisoners'.
** There was another episode of ''M*A*S*H'' where it was payday, but due to a goat eating the pay, there wasn't enough money to pay everyone. Colonel Potter said that the enlisted men should be paid before the officers, and none of the officers disagreed with him.
** Another episode centered around Major Weems and his visit to the camp to visit his wounded men. He always visited his engineers after getting clobbered in combat and tried to work deals with doctors to get them sent home. [[spoiler: Inverted in that Weems was a closet racist, and 90% of his casualties were African Americans that he sent into harm's way just so he could get them out of his outfit.]]
* In ''Film/TheCrossing'', part of Washington's motivation for making one final attempt to keep his army together is a sense of obligation to them for their loyalty. He also sharply admonishes several officers who are keeping warm inside while their freezing troops prepare to cross the Delaware.
* ''Series/TheOfficeUK'' has a subverted civilian example. David Brent is constantly asserting that he places his staff above all other concerns, including his own career goals, but in reality he's just sucking up to be liked and will secretly sell out his staff to get promoted.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Classic ''{{Traveller}}'' Double Adventure ''Horde''. When General Varnikov is cut off behind enemy lines, he refuses to be evacuated until his troops and the refugees they're protecting are saved.
* Although far more prominent in novels (see the multiple listings under Literature), ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer40000}}'' exemplifies this with the Imperial Guard. While all armies do field their military leaders as "HQ" units, the Guard has several choices to make. Certain builds for the generals are explicitly this (leading from the front with heavy armor so that their lower-ranked riflemen can [[BeamSpam do what they do best]]), and are typically fluffed as the "first in, last out, make sure the men are safe and supplied" types.
** Also, Tau. Ethereal Aun'shi and commander Shadowsun and Farsight are very high profile military oficcers that will engage in close quarter fights (in case of Shadowsun, CQ firefights), deemed by Tau doctrine as recklessly dangerous, to keep the enemy away from fragile troops.

[[folder: Theatre]]
* In Theatre/TheGentlemanRanker Violet, a nurse, steals Lieutenant Harfords brandy for the men under her care when the hospital runs out. Harford begins to object, but Colonel Graylen overrules him, saying that of course it's the right thing to do.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* On [[spoiler: Panchea]], [[VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution David Sarif]], upon seeing his loyal robotic killing machine come to save him, [[AFatherToHisMen insists that the wounded be rescued first.]]
** Extra points for being probably the ''only'' cyberpunk CEO to put his employees before himself.
* In ''SkiesOfArcadia'', Vyse can pull a moment like this near the game's end when [[spoiler:Ramirez attacks Crescent Isle]]. Vyse trades the {{Mac Guffin}}s that he's collected in exchange for his crew being left alone. Oddly enough, his enemy agrees.
* [[ColonelBadass Polkovnik]] Orlovsky in ''WorldInConflict: [[ExpansionPack Soviet Assault]]'' decides to save the rest of his men after the fiasco in Cascade Falls and deserts. However, [[spoiler:he is killed by [[KnightTemplar Captain Malashenko]], who takes over the command and leads some of his forces to their death in Seattle. Major Lebedjev, though, understands Orlovsky's concern and saves most of his men in the last moment.]]
* A [[Franchise/MassEffect Paragon Shepard]] can be like this - especially at the end of ''Mass Effect 2'' where [[spoiler:you go after your captured crew and, if the right choices are made, you can save them all and have your whole squad survive the mission. Though its possible for a renegade Shepard to do so, its not exactly in character to do so.]]
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Admiral Zaal'Korris vas Qwib-Qwib insists that you rescue his stranded crew and leave him to the geth after he crashes on [[spoiler:Rannoch]]. Incidentally, rescuing the crew is the 'wrong' choice; you need Korris alive to avoid a GenocideDilemma in a later mission. If you decide to abandon his men and rescue him instead, he is at first extremely angry, but later agrees that it was probably the right decision in the long run after he sees the situation back home.
** Also in ''3'', there's a side mission where N7 graduate Captain Riley will lay down her life for her troops while holding the line against husks and variants. Of course, this only happens if you don't send over one of your teammates to provide support.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' Major Strickland of the U.S Marines is a fine example of this. After your team leader is captured he takes over as Nomad's commanding officer and provides support throughout the rest of the game. A very skilled and tough commander he always comes down on the battlefield himself and fights his battles alongside his Marines, he is always the first one on the battlefield and the last to be evacuated. In his final appearance in the game he even takes it so far as to stay behind to provide covering fire so his men can evacuate [[spoiler: leading to his death]], even in the face of extreme danger he takes it all in stride his final words to his men during this exchange are a testament to his status as a Marine:
--> '''Strickland''': I'm a Marine son! I'll walk on water if I have to. Now get off my fucking island while I draw their fire.
* As he lays dying in the end of the Char campaign in ''VideoGame/StarCraftIIHeartOfTheSwarm'', staring up at the Queen of Blades herself, [[spoiler: General Warfield's]] only request is that she let his wounded make it to safety. [[CharacterDevelopment She agrees.]]
* The Warden may opt to do this at one point in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. When the party [[spoiler:goes to rescue Queen Anora from Arl Howe's estate, they are confronted by TheDragon, Ser Cauthrien, and a very large contingent of soldiers.]] All of the options boil down to either fighting or surrendering. The battle is very arduous, especially on higher difficulty settings, and so the player may have the Warden surrender peacefully rather than risk their friends. TheDragon is actually impressed by the tactic, and lets everyone else in the party go free (although if Alistair is present, he insists on staying with the Warden).
** The Inquisitor, in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'', has a similar option when [[spoiler:Corypheus invades Haven. Upon learning that they are the one who the enemy wants, one of the possible dialogue choices allows them to say that they'll give themselves up if it means everyone else will be spared. However, that won't happen (the enemy will kill everyone anyway), so instead the Inquisitor prepares to confront the enemy alone in order to give the others time to escape.]]
* In chapter 3 of ''VideoGame/QueenAtArms'', should Commander Marcus elect to [[spoiler:side with Queen Charlotte]], one of her first concerns is what will happen to the men who have been serving under her. Once she's assured that they'll all be pardoned and sent home, she's on board.

* In ''GalacticMaximum'', [[http://maximumcomic.com/?strip_id=3 Sarge is bringing one of his men with him.]]
* The current page image is from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', in which [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20120416 the officer is surrendering in order to free his forces from the (offscreen) horrors of Tiny Monster Island.]]
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', when the mercenaries don't have enough money to pay everyone, [[TheCaptain Tagon]] suggests that the officers take pay cuts so all the grunts could get paid. Nobody objects even though they are mercenaries. (On the other hand, the officers do also agree that they're taking a pay cut in order to avoid possibly prompting a mutiny by cutting enlisted pay, which somewhat [[SubvertedTrope subverts the trope]].)
** It could be considered a {{Deconstruction}}, as the men are only put first because they are a mercenary group. No men, means no jobs, which means no money. And if the men mutiny, no men, jobs, money or life.
** It's also played straight multiple times with Tagon demonstrating that when the chips are down he really does care about the people under his command. [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2011-10-16 This]] comic is a good example.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The motto of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst is 'Serve to Lead'
** Also relating to RMAS, inside a guide book for new officers is printed [[http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/ewart-alan-mackintosh-in-memoriam.htm here.]]
** For the British Cavalry, the rule drummed into junior officers was "Horses first, men second, then yourself."
** Though British officers are taught a rather nuanced version of this trope, which is sometimes called "higher morality". It basically runs like this: "Whilst never asking the men to do something you won't yourself do looks good on in the movies, doing dangerous tasks for which you are not best qualified but they are [like minesweeping, for instance] will make you look like a tit and get you killed, thus depriving the men of their commander."
* Alexander Suvorov, likely the best Russian military commander of all time and one of the few undefeated commanders in world history, lived by this principle. In the field, he lived in the same conditions as his footsoldiers (as long as his weak health allowed it) and in battle, personally led the most daring and dangerous charges.
* Lesser example, but during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, General George [=McClellan=] was known for putting the welfare of his troops above anything else, including ''attacking Robert E. Lee''. This caused [[UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln Lincoln]] a lot of consternation; after [=McClellan=] failed to pursue Lee's army after the bloody battle of Antietam, a move that almost certainly lengthened the war, Lincoln fired him. A more well-known and successful general (in terms of actual victories) was Ulysses S. Grant; who was more of the WeHaveReserves mindset and often lost more men than Lee, though the Union was more able to replace losses than the Confederacy.
** The armies had very high death rates when they ''weren't'' fighting, owing to disease. Ending the war quickly saved lives that way.
** General Ulysses S. Grant had the WeHaveReserves attitude precisely because of his disdain for the whole war. He wanted it to end, and fast. Despite popular belief he was far from an uncaring reserve expending butcher. Just ask [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Porter Horace Porter]].
** [=McClellan=]'s lack of strategy also led to one of Lincoln's best quotes ever: "My dear [=McClellan=], if you are not using the Army, I should like to borrow it for a while"
** General Grant's reputation for having a WeHaveReserves mindset is mostly based on the Wilderness Campaign and is not really deserved. Grant was quite careful with his men, as the earlier western campaigns showed. When he had the real option of using more tactical finesse, such as during the Siege of Vicksburg, he could pull off great maneuvers that minimized casualties while winning spectacular victories. In the Wilderness he was trying for a war of maneuver but General Lee wouldn't let him and is the one who turned it into a meat grinder.
*** While Grant did send more troops into harm's way than previous generals, the soldiers did not complain because Grant did something no previous general did: Grant kept them moving forward, never in retreat. Being constantly on the offensive towards Richmond improved morale because it made the troops feel like they were closer to ending the war. Grant also improved the supply lines to where by mid-1864 the Army of the Potomac had every need taken care of: food, clothes, shoes, clean sheets, high-grade rifles and enough ammo for months, the works.
*** Apart from one cut-off regiment that was later found and extracted relatively safely, Grant was the last man to board the final transport during the retreat at Belmont. Why the last? Because he had gone back to try and find that cut-off regiment. Any ruthlessness when it came to troops emerged much later.
* This is basic policy in the United States Marine Corps. USMC officers are trained from the very beginning that the entire Corps is about the enlisted riflemen, who are the ones who do the fighting and win the wars. ''Everyone'' else, including the officers, are only support.
** Not just the officers. This applies at all ranks enlisted. When chow is served, Privates go to the front of the line. [=PFCs=] are next, then Lance Corporals. Your [=NCOs=] stand around watching, making sure the other Marines have eaten first. Then they go through the line.
* ''AlexanderTheGreat'' had an example where his men were desperately lacking drinking water after a forced march through desert. They assembled what they had, in a helmet, and gave it to their commander. Alexander dumped it out on the sand with the line, "There is not enough for everyone, and if I drink, the others will faint." This gave a huge boost to morale: "So extraordinary was the effect of this action," says Arrian, "that the water wasted by Alexander was as good as a drink for every man in the army."
** This incident is referenced in the film ''Film/TheFall'', where Alexandria points out that letting everyone have at least a sip would have been a much more practical way of putting his men first than dumping it on the sand and letting it go to waste.
* Sun Tzu, in ''TheArtOfWar'' considered this trope...less than ideal. While a general certainly shouldn't [[WeHaveReserves expend his men needlessly]], being ''too'' nice with them wasn't considered a good idea either because focusing too intently on the plight of the men tends to lead to battles being lost. Cultivating the image, persona, and reputation without actually BecomingTheMask, on the other hand, is encouraged; having soldiers that are willing to die for you has its benefits.
* Non-military example: When Brigham Young was leading the first team of Mormon refugees to Utah under harsh, often desperate conditions, he famously proclaimed that nobody in the camp would go hungry as long as there was food in his wagon.
* Partially TruthInTelevision. Ask any veteran, and chances are they knew at least one or two officers who lived this trope and quite a few who were anything but.
* A non-military, but still famous example, is Shackleton's treatment of his men when they were marooned off Antarctica.
** Exemplified by this quote: "For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, Wilson; for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen: and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time."
** As an example of Shackleton's leadership, the crew had decided to portion out food each day (determining who would get the most to eat that day) by drawing straws. Shackleton ''rigged the draw'' to ensure that the crewmen most in need received the food they needed to survive, and that the officers and himself never received more than the other men.
* In the Air Force Cadets, you line up for food in rank order, lower ranks eat first, higher ranks eat last,although this is the case in all types of cadets, not just Air.
* UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington spent a lot of time looking after his men, organising supplies and the like. A biography of him tells how, in the aftermath of one of the battles of [[UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars The Peninsular War]], he came across a group of officers who had commandeered a house for themselves to rest, leaving some wounded rank-and-file outside. Wellington immediately ordered that the officers get themselves out and the wounded inside. He came back a while later, found it hadn't been done, and cashiered the officers on the spot.
* According to one tale from UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, a line of sailors were waiting in the "geedunk" line (American fighting men were famous for their sweet tooth). Two Ensigns shoved their way to the front. Then they heard a [[FatherNeptune salty voice]] shouting "get back where you belong!" (with a number of sailorly words no doubt). The two ensigns turned to see the impertinent bluejacket who dared insult their exalted status. And it turned out to be [[FourStarBadass Admiral Halsey]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome waiting patiently in line with everyone else]].
* It is difficult to overstate how much this trope made Julius Caesar's career as a general. He was known to have lax but fair discipline in the camp, he would overpay his soldiers and would even give them part of his own personal wealth if they couldn't be paid from the senate or hadn't captured any booty. He would also engage in their hardships with them and never ate, drank or slept while his soldiers were in danger. The amount of trust and fanatical devotion he got as a result was phenomenal and it was what enabled him to (get a map) march them from France to Rome, then to Spain (in record time) to fight a bloody war and back to Italy, then engage in a dangerous winter Mediterranean crossing to the modern Balkans while running a NavalBlockade during which he lost a third of his men, to fight a war against Pompey the Great in which he suffered heavy losses, down to Egypt to resolve a civil war and fight another war in Modern Tunisia, back up and through Syria to Asia minor to fight ANOTHER war, then back across to Spain to fight the bloodiest war of his life. All in about 3 years.
* During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, Japanese propaganda tried to cover up atrocities against prisoners of war by claiming that it was the fault of American officers who had had no compassion on their own men, but refused to surrender until their men were dying of hunger and disease.
* During the desperate retreat from Brooklyn Heights during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution, UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington was on the last boat off.
* The page quote by Slim is demonstrated by one of his subordinates, 'Punch' Cowan of 17th Division. At the end of their retreat from Burma, the ragged survivors were assigned to camp in a ravine (in the rainy season). Cowan furiously seized some buildings in a nearby town to bivouac his sick and injured troops, risking censure to do so.
* Delta Force commander Pete Blaber authored a book titled: The Mission, Men, and Me. The title comes from his junior officer days where his commanding officer taught him that a good Army Officer always cares about the Mission, his Men, and finally himself, in that order.
* UsefulNotes/BernardLawMontgomery did not ''insist'' on a General's Caravan that was, in essentials, a luxury motor home. But he did not refuse one when it was offered and in fact asked for a spare, just in case the first one became inoperable. Out of courtesy, the company manufacturing them offered them to the other senior British Army commanders in the field. The only man to take a look at it when it was offered, and then to refuse it, was Bill Slim. He asked for it to be reassigned to a more ''useful'' purpose, such as a field ambulance, and complained about an inessential item such as this taking up valuable shipping space all the way to Burma when the space might have carried a small tank or a heavy armoured car.
** Field-Marshal Slim was affectionately called "Uncle Bill" by all ranks of Fourteenth Army. Nobody would have dreamt of referring to "Uncle Bernard" in the same way.