the US Army

name tapeI’m seriously on a soapbox tonight. I’m not really sorry. That’s just a warning.

I heard someone say the other day that people that join the military are warmongers, that they like to fight and kill. This is an absurd and sorely uninformed notion.

During my time in the military and as a civil servant, I have had the privilege to serve with people in every branch of the military. My favorite are the Marines – their discipline, comraderie and pride really is extraordinary. Of course, I had the most experience with the Army. And I won’t lie – people are people. There are good eggs and bad eggs. I met some awful people in the Army. But I met way more outstanding people. Giving, humble, dedicated, smart individuals working towards improving something bigger than themselves. I thought I’d share some of the things the Army stands for and tries to teach it’s soldiers.

I have a little card that I still carry in my wallet. On one side is the Army Values.

Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiance to  the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other soldiers.

Duty: Fulfill your obligations.

Respect: Treat people as they should be treated.

Selfless Service: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Honor: Live up to all the Army values.

Integrity: Do what’s right, legally and morally.

Personal Courage:  Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).

On the other side of the card is the Soldier’s Code.

  1. I am an American soldier – a protector of the greatest nation on earth – sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
  2. I will treat others with dignity and respect and expect others to do the same.
  3. I will honor my Country, the Army, my unit and my fellow soldiers by living the Army values.
  4. No matter what situation I am in, I will never do anything for pleasure, profit or personal safety which will disgrace my uniform, my unit, or my country.
  5. Lastly, I am proud of my Country and its flag. I want to look back and say I am proud to have served my Country as a soldier.

Of course, everyone knows about the bad eggs. Abu Ghraib and other horrible events. But mostly, military members are being put in terrible positions everyday, usually making the best decisions possible where no good choices exist. They are being asked to make decisions and face situations that most of us will never have to face. A lot of the lower enlisted service members are kids – choosing the military as a stable job and a chance at education where no other choice existed.

If you think there’s not a poverty draft going on, you’re not paying attention.

I would love it if soldiers really could live the Army values. Crap, I would love it if everyone could live the Army values. But when the executive branch can’t even do it, who is the lowest guy on the pole supposed to follow?

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