Values The Army Taught Me


US-Army

Image Credit: uswateralliance.org

For the past few years, I have been questioning if I am a good man. I often wondered “What makes a good man?” I also thought that no one in my life had ever shown me how to be a good man, other than being a work-a-holic. You see, my biological father was a total ass and was not part of my life. He eventually passed away when I was 16 years old, but I had not seen him since I was 5. My mother remarried when I was a young child, but my step-father, between being a farmer and over the road truck driver, worked constantly. He did the best he could to help my mother raise me, but he was rarely home.

Then, one day it hit me. I suddenly realized that everything I need to know about being a good man, I learned in the U.S. Army. If I could just do my best to follow the Seven Army Values every day, then I would be an excellent man. The only problem with this was that when I was serving in the Army, I was suffering from an undiagnosed serious mental illness. Even while I was serving, I wasn’t the best soldier or man, because I was literally completely out of my mind. It took years of medication and therapy for me to get everything together, and finally strive to live the life of a “good soldier” or “good man”. Then, I could finally see that I have all the tools I need to be a stand-up citizen, and a man that I could be proud to be.

What are the Seven Army Values? There is an acronym.
LDRSHIP (Leadership).

armyv

Image Credit: army.mil

The “L” stands for LOYALTY
Dictionary.com defines Loyalty as this:
1.
the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments orobligations.
2.
faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
3.
an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like

What does Loyalty mean in the Army?

The Seven Army Values says this about it:

LOYALTY
The first of the Army Values. Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers.
Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. By wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army you are expressing your loyalty. And by doing your share, you show your loyalty to your unit.

The “D” stands for Duty.
Dictionary.com defines Duty as:

1. something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legalobligation.

2. the binding or obligatory force of something that is morally or legallyright; moral or legal obligation.

3. an action or task required by a person’s position or occupation;function:

4. the respectful and obedient conduct due a parent, superior, elder, etc.

5.an act or expression of respect.

6.a task or chore that a person is expected to perform:

7.Military.

a. an assigned task, occupation, or place of service:

b. the military service required of a citizen by a country

What does the Seven Army Values say about Duty?

DUTY
The second of the Army Values. Fulfill your obligations.
Doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks. Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities — all in constant motion. Our work entails building one assignment onto another. You fulfill your obligations as a part of your unit every time you resist the temptation to take “shortcuts” that might undermine the integrity of the final product.

The “R” stands for Respect.
Dictionary.com defines Respect as:
Esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability
What does the Seven Army Values say about Respect?

RESPECT
The third of the Army Values. Treat people as they should be treated.
In the Soldier’s Code, we pledge to “treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same.” Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty. And self-respect is a vital ingredient with the Army value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort. The Army is one team and each of us has something to contribute.

The “S” stands for Selfless Service
Dictionary.com defines Selfless as
Having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame,position, money, etc.; unselfish.

And

Service as

an act of helpful activity; help; aid

THEREFORE:

Selfless Service, according to my belief would be,

Helping others without concern for yourself.

Let’s see what the Seven Army Values say about Selfless Service.

SELFLESS SERVICE
The fourth of the Army Values. Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own.
Selfless service is larger than just one person. In serving your country, you are doing your duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.

The “H” stands for Honor.
Dictionary.com defines Honor as:
Honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.

And, what does the Seven Army Values say about Honor?

HONOR
The fifth of the Army Values. Live up to Army values.
The Nation’s highest military award is The Medal of Honor. This award goes to Soldiers who make honor a matter of daily living — Soldiers who develop the habit of being honorable, and solidify that habit with every value choice they make. Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.

The “I” stands for Integrity.
Dictionary.com defines integrity as this:
Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

The Seven Army Values says:

INTEGRITY
The sixth of the Army Values. Do what’s right, legally and morally.
Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.

The “P” stands for Personal Courage.
Dictionary.com defines Courage as:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

So, I think this speaks for itself when it comes to Personal Courage.

Let’s see what the Army Values have to say about Personal Courage.

PERSONAL COURAGE
The seventh of the Army Values. Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).
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. You can build your personal courage by daily standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable.

What do these values mean to me, and how do they relate to every day life?

It can be summed up like this:

If you commit to something, stick with it until the end. Be of good character, even if it’s not popular. Always stand up for what you believe in. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Be honest, even if honesty may not be in your best interest. Help others. Try to help others, without expecting anything in return. Respect others and their opinions, be open minded but don’t sell out. Stick to your guns, but always have respect. And respect yourself. And finally, it’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let fear run your life or keep you from doing what’s important. Don’t be afraid to take chances. If you have fear, turn the fear into a form of motivation.

 

 

– Michael Carroll

TWITTER: @CatholicArmyVet