As a former Army Infantryman, Chris lived and breathed the Army Core Values. Chris breaks down each value to help prepare you for your life and what it truly means to be a Soldier in the United States Army.
Understanding that everyone joins the military for a myriad of different reasons – however, knowing what I know now about the Army Core Values, versus when I enlisted, is entirely different. In retrospect, living the Army Values after Basic Combat Training (BCT) has reinforced a positive outlook on life. As I look back on my own experience enlisting and BCT, I’m sure I was a lot like you. I understood what the Army Core Values were because we had to memorize them, but not until later did I fully grasp the deeper meaning, and the impact it had on my life.
First, there is an easy way to help memorize the Army Core Values. Trust me, you’ll have to in BCT. Think of the word “leadership,” but spelled, “LDRSHIP,” Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, and your battle buddies. This may sound strange to you right now, but having a battle buddy you can trust comes from giving them something to trust in you. Be there for them and be there for your country. A loyal Soldier is one who supports and trusts their leadership – without question. And as a friendly reminder, when you’re in BCT, don’t question your Drill Sergeant, just do what they say, and you’ll be a lot better off.
Means more than carrying out your assigned tasks – it’s also our moral obligation as members of the military. Even as a veteran, I feel a deep sense of duty to serve, and I’m not alone. There are literally thousands of veteran service organizations (VSO) designed around this sense of purpose. Moreover, the Warrior Ethos are exactly that: I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.
Self-respect is a critical component of this Army Value. It’s knowing you have put forth your best effort in all aspects of life. The Army is one team and each of us has something to contribute. Respect is also what allows us to appreciate the best in the people all around, no matter where we go, or who they are. And not only when in uniform. The Department of Defense has a policy that strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity), or sexual orientation.
Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and others before your own. Selfless service is larger than just one person. Serving our country is doing our duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of everyone to the Army Core Values.
Live up to the Army Core Values and make it a matter of daily living with every choice. Be proud of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, your unit, and being a member of the military.
Do what’s right, legally, and morally. Integrity is a quality developed by adhering to moral principles and the Army Core Values. As your integrity grows, so will the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this Army Value will positively affect your personal and professional relationships, and fundamentally yourself.
Face fear, danger, and adversity – both physically and morally. Personal courage has long been associated with our Army. With physical courage, it is a matter of enduring physical duress, and at times risking personal safety. Facing moral fear or adversity may be a long, slow process of continuing forward on the right path – especially if taking those actions is not popular with others. Unapologetically stand up for what you believe in. You can build your personal courage daily by acting upon the things that you know are honorable.
No matter how long your military career is, you will become part of an elite group of people – less than one percent of the American population serve in the military and less than six percent are veterans. Although, these are called the Army Core Values, the other branches of the military instill these same principles. Fourteen years later, I can say with the utmost confidence that the Army Core Values are sage advice for life.
The burden of our fallen rests on the shoulders of those who continue to serve.
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