In the United States Army we are taught to live by the Seven Army Values. They are broken down to us in the acronym ‘LDRSHIP’ which is short for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. We are all taught these 7 Army values repeatedly from day one in the United States Army. First we memorize these values. Then we are trained to live by them. All of these 7 values coincide with each other, and play an important roll in our Army lives. These 7 Army Values also play well into life outside the Army in our personal life. People sometimes do not realize the importance these values have on the way we are viewed by the people who look up to the men and woman who are privileged enough to represent the United States Army by wearing this uniform.
Many people know what the words Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage mean. Unfortunately, sometimes you see our Army brothers and sisters not living up to these values. Soldiers learn these values in detail during Basic Combat Training and from then on most of us live up to them in our every day lives. On the job or off it is our responsibility as soldiers to stick strongly to the Seven Core Army Values. Listed below are the Seven Core Army Values and how they apply to our job in the United States Army. Loyalty is to “Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, and other soldiers.” Bearing true faith and allegiance is believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. To be a loyal Soldier is to support the leadership and trust the actions they take as leaders. Just by wearing the uniform it shows your loyalty and commitment towards the United States Army.
Doing what your told also shows your loyalty to your leadership and your unit. How is Loyalty defined in the Army today? Loyalty is a characteristic that cannot be forced upon a soldier through punishment. Loyalty is developed through trust from other soldiers around you, especially your superiors. Creating trust will enable a soldier to develop loyalty in their unit and their chain of command. Dictionary.com explains Loyalty is defined as, “Characterized by or showing faithfulness to commitments, vows, allegiance, obligations, etc.” (“Loyalty”, 2012, p. 01-01). When you join the military you take an oath and swear that you will bear true faith and allegiance to your country, the President of the United States, and the officers appointed over you.
In summary nothing explains Loyalty better than the Army’s definition “Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, and other soldiers.” Duty is to simply “Fulfill your obligations.” Doing your duty is more than carrying out tasks you are assigned. Duty means being able to complete tasks as part of a team. The U.S. Army is constantly in motion due to the need to complete many missions daily. Assignment after assignment compiled on top of one another is what we do nonstop throughout our army careers. And with all of these responsibilities we need “Duty” to fulfill our obligations as a part of a unit. Without Duty in the work environment we would take shortcuts that could hinder the integrity of the success of a mission.
Every soldier has duties and responsibilities. We need to know what these are and how they apply to us as Soldiers. One of the obligations we need to carry out is to fulfill our duties to standard and to the best of our ability. Duties are general requirements to be performed everyday for the completion of a mission. Duty begins with everything required of you by regulations, direct orders, and law. A duty is an obligation to further a units mission readiness by completing a task given to you. Soldiers are dependent on leadership to make difficult decisions to complete tasks they are given. Junior enlisted soldiers (such as myself) have a duty to obey the lawful orders of superiors. Leaders assume all responsibility for the actions, accomplishments, and failures of their soldiers. Every soldier has a responsibility to perform his or her duties to the best of his or her ability. Also improving their performance is a necessity to make a more stable unit.
Respect is to “Treat people as they should be treated.” Every soldier is responsible for treating other people with dignity and respect. As Soldiers we pledge to treat others with respect and dignity while not expecting anything in return. Respect allows us to appreciate what our Army leaders and Friends do for us. Respect is to have trust that people will fulfill their duties and accomplish what is expected of them. Respecting ones self is an important factor of the Army value of respect. We, the United States Army are one team and we each have something to contribute. What is respect? Respect has numerous forms. It can be self-awareness, character, understanding, trust, honesty, and a positive attitude. Respect must be earned. If someone does not respect himself or herself then they are not able to respect others.
To gain respect you must treat others the way you would want to be treated, as you have heard many times before. If a unit lacks respect it cannot have teamwork and sympathy for the well being of others. It creates devotion to the success of the team. Respect goes both ways up and down the chain of command. A leader must respect his or her soldiers as their soldiers must appreciate the sacrifices and skills their superiors and vice versa. by respecting the people around you with effort, and in time soldiers come to respect each other. Respect grows into devotion towards leaders and peers. When a soldier shows respect to his or her coworkers it creates a bond of trust throughout the unit.
Without it there is no coordination or espirit de corps throughout a unit. Disrespect proves to un glue previous acts of respect and can make for an unorganized and un trustworthy bod of soldiers. If a leader disrespects his or her soldiers he or she can loose all respect and trust of a unit and will create tension within the team. Attitude can also cause the downfall of a unit’s cohesion and can damage morale, which in turn will hurt the mission readiness and combat effectiveness of a unit as a whole. Bottom line is, without respect a unit is ineffective in most circumstances.
Selfless Service is to “Put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates above your own.” Selfless service is not only about yourself but your peers and leaders can affect the way you look at it. Without influences of soldiers around you pushing you to be a more selfless soldier you can become more selfish than selfless. When serving your country, you are loyally doing your duty without thought of recognition. Which is true selfless service. FM 6-22 summarizes selfless service, as “The leader knows that the Army cannot function except as a team for a team to excel, the individual must give up self-interest for the good of the whole.” Duty is often confused with Selfless Service.
Here in FM 7-21-13 the following points show how selfless service and duty are separate from one another: Focus your priorities on service to the Nation. Place the needs of the Army, your unit and your fellow soldiers above your personal gain. Balance the mission, your family, and your personal needs. Accept personal responsibility for your own performance. FM 7-22.7 says “Placing your soldiers’ welfare before your personal desires has always been key to the uniqueness of the American NCO,” which is a good reference to what I think of when I her selfless service. Although honor and selfless service differ, I believe you cannot have one without the other. Honor and selfless service hold one another up, as you will see with the following paragraphs about Honor.
Honor is to “Live up to the army values.” Honor is not just given to you. Honor must be gained through a persons respect loyalty and selfless service. Along with these and other all of the other army values you can achieve honor. A persons honor can be seen through their word. For example, if someone does dot uphold to their word they are not trusted or respected therefor has no honor. The highest military award is The Medal of Honor. This award is given to Soldiers who live up to all of the army values, especially honor and Selfless Service. Soldiers, who show their devotion of being honorable, in my opinion, are the most respected soldiers there are. Honor is summarized as the ability to carry out and live the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in all hours of the day, 365 days a year.
Integrity is to “Do what’s right legally and morally.” Living to morals and doing what is right, is the only way to acquire integrity. Integrity is to not do and nor say anything that deceives others. With more integrity comes more trust. The more integrity one possesses can make a person feel better about them self. It also makes those around you, friends and family, trustworthy of you. Webster’s Dictionary states: “a firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values.” Integrity, to me, is only achieved and goes right along side of honesty and character. Integrity keeps you honest and persuades you to do the right thing all the time. With integrity you want to do the right thing no mater if you’re being watched or alone. You do something because its right, nothing else.
Personal Courage “Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).” Personal courage has always held its place in the United States Army. One type of courage is physical courage, which is enduring physical stress and at times risking injury or personal safety. Mental courage would be to face fears or challenges that you are worried about enduring. Building your personal courage is as easy as standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable on a daily bdasisdictionary.com describes courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”
Without personal courage the United States Army would not exist. In summary the 7 army values is what the army is about. Without the 7 army values we would not have a United States Army. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage are quite possibly the one thing keeping our army strong and resilient to everything the world can throw at us. If everyone lived up to these 7 values the world would be a better place.