One of the most well-known and influential anime series ever is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It continues to be the highest-rated anime series on IMDb and MyAnimeList even ten years after its initial premiere. Therefore, it makes sense to assume that it performed a few things effectively, including not limited to its characters, worldbuilding, and storytelling.
One area where the show succeeds is the use of supporting characters, who all get plenty of opportunities to shine throughout the course of the 64-episode run. Olivier Mira Armstrong's The Northern Wall of Briggs stands out among these characters as being very intelligent. Major General Armstrong, who first appears in the series around the halfway mark, immediately establishes herself as an outstanding military commander and one of its most memorable characters. The leadership approach she exhibits has proven successful in contemporary, real-world conflict and can teach young viewers an important lesson.
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Major General Armstrong's History
The heir to the prestigious Armstrong family, Major General Armstrong is the highest-ranking female character in Fullmetal Alchemist. Her direct, no-nonsense attitude is rare among the military leaders of Amestris, who tend to be covetous and self-serving. A great judge of people, Armstrong is quick to assess the qualities of her subordinates and peers. She values competence and character above all else and remains unaffected by flattery or intimidation, as seen when she recruited Major Miles, a soldier of Ishvalan heritage.
Armstrong is introduced in the series as the commanding officer of Fort Briggs. The frontier territory at the northern edge of Amestris is constantly under threat from the vast neighboring country of Drachma. To ensure the safety of the nation, it is paramount that Fort Briggs remains prepared at all times. Despite her outer cold demeanor, Armstrong enjoys a deep loyalty from her soldiers, with each one implicitly trusting her to always act in the best interests of the nation at large and willing to risk their lives while following her command.
Leadership Under Armstrong And Its Consistency With The Extreme Ownership Principle
Extreme Ownership is a best-selling treatise on leadership written by former U.S. Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin based on the lessons they learned while serving in Iraq. The fundamental premise of Extreme Ownership is that the leader of an organization owns the responsibility for the result of every mission. It is the leader's responsibility to do everything realistically possible to ensure a positive outcome. Success in any organization often stems from small, routine practices. This includes recruiting the right people, assigning them the right roles and training them the right way. Expecting great (but realistic) performance from subordinates cultivates excellence across the chain of command.
It can be easily argued that Armstrong is not the greatest tactician shown in the series, with Eastern Headquarters' calculating commander Grumman staking a strong claim for the title. However, Armstrong's leadership goes far beyond the military strategy and tactics employed on the battlefield. It ensures the troops at Briggs function as a cohesive unit. Every soldier is assigned clear responsibilities that contribute to their common goal, be it the defense of the fort or the capture of the Capital. Throughout the battle of the "Promised Day," it is evident that her men are exemplary in every way, epitomizing toughness. Even in her absence and without receiving direct commands from any other leaders, Briggs' men were able to continuously evaluate the situation and work together to help the heroes hold Central.
Armstrong's confidence in her troops is based on a culture of extreme ownership that is fostered throughout Briggs. Each soldier owns their part in the mission and takes responsibility for their actions and their consequences. In a battlefield, where victory is the only path to survival, having a team built and molded by a strong leader can be the difference between life and death. In many ways, Major General Armstrong's leadership was the determining factor of the Battle of the Promised Day.