Why do we serve? There are as many answers to that question as there are Soldiers. It is, and should be and honor to serve our nation and its people. Regardless of our reasons to serve, ultimately we do so to support and defend the ideals our country was founded on. It is up to us, those currently serving, to honor our service. What I mean by that is that we must honor our service by doing the right thing all the time. We must do the right thing when nobody is watching. Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes we feel that it should not be up to us personally to right a wrong we see, or to do the right thing when we are alone. But in order to honor our service, to honor our country, and to honor our Soldiers – it is our obligation to do just that.
When was the last time you walked by a deficiency? What happened, and why did you pass the issue by? Do you know what happens when you walk by a correction without making it? You set a new standard. You set a lower standard. You didn’t honor our Soldiers by helping them meet the Army standard. Leaders and Soldiers must use self-discipline as the cornerstone of their lives. The example we set has second and third order effects that ripple through our post. When one senior NCO or Officer allows music playing at a ridiculous volume to continue – even though the opportunity to stop it is there, we then condone the activity as OK. The discipline to step in and make a correction, the courage to face down issues one by one, and person to person is the bedrock of our ability to Lead.
LEAD your Soldiers. That is an axiom that all Leaders can associate with. But we must first Lead ourselves. How do we do that? The answer is both simple, and concurrently complex. We use self-discipline to guide us, courage to support us, and honor to tie it together. The Army values must be practiced every day. A great place to start or hone your efforts is the Officer’s Creed, the Non-Commissioned Officers Creed, and the Soldiers Creed. All these documents provide an azimuth which can help guide us to this objective. If you want to Lead others in part by providing on-the-spot corrections as mentioned earlier, but are not sure how – see the documents that should guide behavior. The Officers Creed states; “By practicing physical and moral courage I will endeavor to inspire these qualities in others by my example.” The NCO Creed mirrors this by stating; “I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage.” And finally, the Soldiers Creed states; “I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient.” A simple review of our creeds and living them day to day can provide the bedrock for our behavior and serve to help us honor our profession!