Loyalty | Duty | Respect | Selfless service | Honor | Integrity | Personal courage
“Army Values” is not merely a phrase for how members of the Army should act; they are who we are. We emulate the seven Army Values because they are the standard for behavior, not only in the Army, but in any ordered society.
Army Values received their impetus from the Army’s Character Development XXI initiative and have been part of the initial-entry training scene since July 1998, when dogtags and thousands of posters representing loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity and personal courage (the seven core Army Values) were distributed worldwide to the field down to company level. The Army designed color posters depicting each of the seven core values, while an eighth poster features all the values.
In Training and Doctrine Command, drill sergeants and instructors teach IET Soldiers how to be warriors, but in TRADOC the sense of the Army as a values-based institution also begins. Every member of TRADOC – Soldier and civilian – is responsible for living and mentoring others in the Army Values.
The Army’s seven core values and their importance in today’s Army are:
Loyalty is the faithful adherence to a person, unit or Army. It is the thread that binds our actions together and causes us to support each other, our superiors, our family and our country.
Supporting a superior or a program even though it is being openly criticized by peers or subordinates requires courage and loyalty. A loyal intermediate would try to explain the rationale behind the decision and support the decision maker. When we establish loyalty to our Soldiers, the unit, our superiors, our family and the Army, we must be sure the “correct ordering” of our obligations are being accomplished and not the easiest. There is no clear rule as to which comes first. Sometimes it will be the service, sometimes the family and sometimes the Soldier.
Open criticism and being disloyal to leaders, Soldiers and the Army destroys the foundation of the organization and results in diminished mission accomplishment. However, loyalty should not be confused with blind obedience to illegal orders. We all take the oath to obey the orders of superiors appointed over us “according to law and regulations.”
Duty is the legal or moral obligation to accomplish all assigned or implied tasks to the fullest of your ability. Every Soldier must do what needs to be done without having to be told to do it.
Duty requires a willingness to accept full responsibility for your actions and for your Soldiers’ performance. It also requires a leader to take the initiative and anticipate requirements based on the situation. One Soldier may think that duty means putting in time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Another may believe that duty is selflessly serving their country, unit and Soldiers within the unit. Duty means accomplishing all assigned tasks to the best of your ability. The quote “I regret that I have but one life to give to my country” is an example of an unquestionable commitment to duty.
You may be asked to put the nation’s welfare and mission accomplishment ahead of the personal safety of you and your Soldiers. Soldiers and leaders must have a deep commitment to duty and what is best for the unit and the Army. This will ensure that you make the right decision when it really counts.
Respect is treating others with consideration and honor. It is the ability to accept and value other individuals.
Respect begins with a fundamental understanding that all people possess worth as human beings. Respect is developed by accepting others and acknowledging their worth without feeling obligated to embrace all their ideas. An example of lack of respect is when a Soldier approaches you and offers a better way to get a job done, instead of showing the Soldier respect, you tell her, “You’ll do it my way because I am the boss!”
All of us possess special skills and adhere to certain values. Without respect for all other individuals, there would not be a cohesive and team-oriented Army.
Selfless service is placing your duty before your personal desires. It is the ability to endure hardships and insurmountable odds because of love of fellow Soldiers and our country.
Placing your duty before your personal desires has always been key to the uniqueness of the American Soldier. As citizen-Soldiers, we claim our service to the nation, state and community to be an especially valuable contribution. Imagine a unit where the value of selfless service was not instilled. The unit receives a call to active duty and has only two weeks to deploy. Instead of the unit working as a cohesive team in preparation for deployment, many Soldiers start to actively seek ways to avoid deployment. Remember, the selfless Soldier does not make decisions and take actions designed to promote self, further a career or enhance personal comfort.
For leaders, the age-old phrase of “mission, men and me” still rings true today. Selfless service is the force that encourages every Soldier. It is critical to the esprit and well-being of military organizations. By serving selflessly while on and off duty, we greatly enhance our value to our fellow citizens.
Honor is living up to the Army Values. It starts with being honest with oneself and being truthful and sincere in all our actions.
As Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said, “The untruthful Soldier trifles with the lives of his countrymen and the honor and safety of his country.” Being honest with oneself is perhaps the best way to live the Army Values. If something does not feel right to you, or you feel you are having to compromise your values, then you need to seriously assess the situation and take steps to correct or report the issue. Pressures that can challenge our ethical reasoning include self-interest, peer pressure, pressure from subordinates or pressure from superiors. If a superior asks you to look good on an inspection by “doctoring records,” you should, based on the Army Values, challenge his request.
Honor is defined as living up to the Army Values. Maintaining respect, consideration, integrity, honesty and nobleness will ensure that you and your military organization will reflect great honor for your fellow Soldier, the nation, state and local community.
Integrity means to firmly adhere to a code of moral and ethical principles. Every Soldier must possess high personal moral standards and be honest in word and deed.
Living and speaking with integrity is very hard. You must live by your word for everything – no buts, no excuses. Having integrity and being honest in everything you say and do builds trust. For example, your artillery crew accidentally damages an expensive artillery round of ammunition. This will result in an AR 15-6 investigation. Instead of telling the battery commander you damaged the round, you decide to stretch the truth and tell him the round was defective. When the battery commander discovers the truth, he will question your integrity from that moment on.
Integrity is the basis for trust and confidence that must exist among members of the Army. It is the source for great personal strength and is the foundation for organizational effectiveness. As leaders, all Soldiers are watching and looking to see that you are honest and live by your word. If you make a mistake, you should openly acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward.
Physical courage is overcoming fears of bodily harm while performing your duty. Moral courage is overcoming fears of other than bodily harm while doing what is right, even if unpopular.
It takes special courage to make and support unpopular decisions. Others may encourage you to support slightly unethical or convenient solutions. For example, your battalion commander has asked you to change an upcoming training date for the convenience of the battalion headquarters staff. Although it will be an unpopular decision with the battalion commander, you stick to your scheduled training dates to support your Soldiers. Do not compromise your professional ethics or your individual values and moral principles. If you believe you are right after sober consideration, hold to your position.
Practicing physical and moral courage in our daily lives builds a strong and honorable character. We expect and encourage candor and integrity from all Soldiers. Taking the immediate and “right” actions in a time of conflict will save lives.
note: excerpted from http://sill-www.army.mil/atc/Values.htm,
with TRADOC commanding general’s quotes gathered from speeches on
the TRADOC public Website, http://www.tradoc.army.mil/index.html.)
The 7 Army Core 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).