Essentially we like to think that it just means to be professional in a professional environment. Although that may be true, there a lot more that goes into it. Honestly the focus is how to be professional in the military and what it means to be a Soldier. The reason being is that we often forget that the army is also a business and with the army being a business we need to present our selves in a professional manner. But to answer the question of “what is professionalism?” Professionalism is the skill, competence, and behaviors that are expected of someone in a profession. Now the next question is, what is a professional? In my eyes a professional is someone who is skilled, polished, and proficient that there job. Also a professional will hold himself or herself to a higher standard than everyone else. They do this because they know that they not only represent themselves but also their companies that they work for. As a professional they must follow the rules and ethics of the organization you represent or are a part of. Also a professional must maintain a sense of professionalism no matter if he or she is on duty or off duty. Now just because the profession may change doesn’t mean that the professional completely changes how that act because they still have to maintain a level of professionalism.
But I cant only define what a professional is without defining what a profession is. A profession is an occupation that requires educational training. Although you must go to school for most jobs that doesn’t mean that they are professions, they may just be trade. The profession was a trade that required education and qualifications that needed to be met. The main difference is a profession is mostly mental work while a trade is just physical work. But this is not always ways the case because the army is a profession but we also do both physical and mental work. The skills and knowledge a Soldier holds is always being put to the test as we go on field missions or go to ranges. When on a field problem we hone our skills, get batter, and better at our job or M.O.S. That’s the field of expertise that each soldier holds and sharpens their skills on. The acronym M.O.S stands for Military Occupational Specialty. So with being a professional and being and experts you would think that’s the army a profession. Then that brings up the question “how is the army a profession and what makes it a profession?” I feel like the army is a profession because as a Soldier we are required to think and make decisions for the mission to be a success.
Also we must complete missions the best way possible, which means coming up with numerous plans and decide which is the best course of action. The fact that we think about what goes on doesn’t make the army a profession. It’s the structure and the professionalism that also makes the army a profession. But often we forget, as a Soldier we must stay professional because we don’t completely understand or realize that we’re not only represent ourselves but our fellow battle buddies, our leaders and our army as a whole. Therefore we must always keep a sense of professionalism no matter what. That means on and off duty. We are 24/7 Soldiers and 24/7 professionals and there’s not a day off for those two things. What does it mean to be a Soldier though? Is it just living the 7-army values? Or is it just following orders? Being a Soldier for the U.S. Army is a combination of things. We are told to always follow the 7 Army values but were also encouraged to go above and beyond just your average Soldier. We’re pushed to become great leaders that’s not only live the army values but also lead Soldiers and help them become great leaders. But to become a great leader you must fully understand each army value and what it means to live the army values everyday. Now army defines loyalty as such. “
Loyalty: 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.” To me there’s a lot more to it and it has a lot more meaning than just that. Bearing true faith trusts your fellow Soldiers no matter the situation. Also it’s the fact that just because we all know what it takes to be a true Solider and we go through that everyday. Each and last one of the Untied States Soldiers volunteered to be apart of this great military force. To protect the freedom the U.S constitution has provided and ways of life the untied states citizens live. The army is more than just a profession, it’s a brotherhood because we form a bond with the people around us because if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be the best army in the world to protect those freedoms, beliefs, and ways of life.
The loyalty stretches all they way from having loyalty to the constitution to just simple things as having trust and loyalty in your leadership in your unit. Loyalty is extremely important because we must have the trust and loyalty to be willing our life down for our fellow Soldiers. You want to know that when your down range and you’re engaging the enemy that your fellow Soldiers to your right and life cherishes your life and theirs enough to make sure that all of y’all make it back to y’all families. But although loyalty is very important it isn’t the most important values in my eyes. “Duty: 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.” Although duty is kind of self-explanatory but the definition did miss a couple important points. Duty is pretty much just fulfilling your obligations. You want to make sure that when fulfilling your duties that you have a plan to complete the mission with the least amount of injuries or casualties and the most effectiveness. Like the definition says above you want to make sure that you complete your task to contribute to the completion of the mission. No matter how little of the task everything counts to make the mission effective.
For example doing PMCS on your equipment over and over makes sure that you don’t miss any deficiencies that have occurred. So that your equipment can ether be fixed or is good to go for the mission. Everyone plays a part for the greater good. Everyone is a part of the mission and with that comes the respect you must give to your fellow Soldiers so that everyone feels apart of the mission. “Respect: 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.” In the army respect is the upmost important because without it everything else fails. Without respect missions can’t be completed effectively. The reason it can’t be completed effectively is that there will be conflict between Soldiers, between Soldiers and leaders, and between leaders and leaders not respecting each other’s decisions.
Also respect is very important because nowadays people think just because they are older they are wiser and that’s not the case. In the army age doesn’t mean anything. That’s because there will be higher rank but also younger than you. You have to respect them because they are your superiors. Respect should be given because we all raised our right hand and took the oath. We all knew that we would be taken from our homes and could possibly be deployed and taken away from our families for deployments or just training. “Selfless Service: 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.”
When we all took the oath it was the start of our selfless service that was the first act of selfless service we preformed in our military career. At that moment we vowed to protect our country no matter what. Everything we do is in someway shape or form for the citizens of the United States. When in combat we put our leaders and fellow Soldiers safety before our own and our leaders put our safety before their own. We make sure we protect our fellow Soldiers and families. Our own safety is the last one were concerned with. As Soldiers we’re taught to put others needs in front of our own to make sure things get done. Especially during a mission because lets say that I’m done with my task for the mission but someone else is not. I could go over and help them finish their task or take one of their tasks that they have to do after their done with that one so that they have less to do. It makes us a better team and a better army. “Honor: 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.” Honor is living the other 6-army values everyday and encouraging others to do so as well. Doing so will get you a medal of honor but it’s not about the medal. Someone that lives the armory vales do it because it has become their way of life. By doing so you become the most looked up to. Everyone who should strive to be the best Soldier that they can be. We never want to do the bear minimum because the great Soldiers in the past that have honorably over achieved. They made huge sacrifices to get our country and our army in the place we are at today. Some even have given their life for our country and it’s freedoms. Those men and women that have given their life should be honored and remembered everyday and not just at times where there are ceremonies and we recognize those men and women. So to honor them everyday we should be giving our all to live the army values. We should strive for greatness in our jobs and journey to be the greatest Solider we can be, also while becoming a better leader.
One thing that goes hand and hand with honor is integrity, having the ability to do the right thing sat all times when no one is looking or around. “Integrity: 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.” Integrity is also another self-explanatory army value but the definition can be expanded upon. Integrity is very important because you want to trust and believe a fellow Soldier when they tell you something. Or you want that Soldier to be truthful when you ask them something. But it’s not just important in the military but also in daily civilian life too. You wouldn’t want to even talk to someone who is know for having no integrity or just lies a lot because as soon as they begin to talk everything that they are telling you, you believe that it is a lie so you stop listening. We don’t need people we can’t trust in the army because trust is what builds a team. When we go down range we trust our fellow Soldiers to protect us. Also we just trust each other to do something as simple as completing a task like setting up a tent for everyone to sleep in. Integrity gives us the trust that makes us a stronger and better army.
Also it’s having the ability to tell the truth even when you’ve done something wrong. It’s accepting the consequences for your actions and understanding that every action has a consequence. Also integrity ties into the last army value perfectly because integrity has to do with trust in other and trust in you and the last army value goes with that. “Personal Courage: 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.” Personal courage ranges from many things. From being able to have the courage to take charge of a formation to having the courage to go down range and taking out the enemy it all takes personal courage. Basic training itself took a lot of courage and effort to push yourself through things that you had never experienced before. I know that in basic training I was afraid to march a formation or even just talking in front of one.
Also in AIT I didn’t like speaking up in front of the class. It took some digging deep inside myself and finding some courage to be okay at talking in front of crowds. Now when I have to speak in front of a crowd I still get a little nervous and may stumble over words but I know that is only talking in front of my peers. The army helps you a lot with personal courage because your leaders my put you in a leadership position and you have to have the courage to give commands and lead your fellow Soldiers to success on whatever tasks you were given to complete. As a Soldier in the United States Army its important to live the army values not only because it helps us be the greatest Solider we can be but also helps us be a better person. The army is teaching me to be a better leader more and more. With each day is not just another day at work it because you’re always learn something that helps you understand the army way of life.
Also it helps you improve my knowledge for when you get out the army and live my life in the civilian world. This is because you learn things here in the army that you cant learn out in the civilian world. You develop habits and skills for doing them so much over the years of you being in the army. A couple examples are time management and equipment readiness. I know for my self that before the army I had no time management skills at all. Now that the army has taught me to be 15 minuets early I will carry that to my civilian life and never be late for a job. Also backwards planning night before helps improve time management. That’s because if you plan the night before of all the things you starting with how long is each thing going to take. Than think how much time you need for travel and to set up every thing that needs to be set up than you are good to go for the next day. Equipment readiness is just making sure you that you PMCS your equipment before you set out on your mission or task that you need to complete.
The army makes you build skills for your future so that you’re a well rounded and also an expert in your field. So right now as I am new to the army and have much to learn. My main focus is to live the army values, follow the guidance from my great leaders and strive to be a great leader myself. And I strive for that greatness I will encourage and push my battle buddies to do the same. As I strive for greatness I ponder what it means to be a soldier. Is being a soldier just being able to take orders and execute what is told or is it more to that? I believe that being a soldier has much more to do with it than just following orders. Even though we’re told to carry out a mission or task does not mean that we shouldn’t check to see what the plan is or even check to see the mission is. Also never be afraid to give your opinion to your leaders because your idea just might be the best ideas that your leader decided to go with. Being a Soldier means rising to any occasion and giving 100% to completing any task or mission given. It doesn’t matter what obstacles are in your way, you will complete the mission because it’s the upmost important.
Also not only is the mission the most important but also the personnel is also a very important aspect of the mission. Putting others before yourself is always important in the army because you will not progress very far in your army career. You need people to count on and people will need to count on you. Also if your being selfish and you don’t help someone out in their time of need in return they wont help you out in your time of need. You also never want to be that person that no one can count on to do anything. You want to be reliable and willing as possible but of course you don’t want people to take advantage of your willingness to help with any tasks. The more reliable you are the more your looked at for tasks that need to be done. Then it helps you look good as a soldier when you are more reliable. Another good trait to have as compatibility and by compatibility I mean simply working with others. Its good to be able to work with every one because it’s easier to get the task done. You don’t have to worry about if you like the person next to you or not.
Also it just eliminates issues that can occur while working on the mission or task. Also men women and children look up to U.S. Army Soldiers across the globe. With that being said we must present a professional appearance and manner at all times. When we’re in other countries we have to remember we are ambassadors for the United States and we must act as such. But sadly some of the Soldiers often forget that and act horribly therefore making the United States look bad to the foreign nationals. To appear professional we as Soldiers we must make sure that our uniform is up standard because our uniform is more than just a uniform. As we wake up everyday and put on this uniform we carry the heritage of the brave men and women that have served before us. To be a part of that 1% with those men and women is truly and honor. For a lot of Soldiers it’s a tradition that they want to be apart of and continue. For others it’s just to serve their county and protect the ones they love and hold dear. So doing something as simple as keeping my uniform presentable and clean is the least I can do to pay my respects to our veterans and our fallen heroes. Everything we do as Soldiers is a direct refection of our leadership and ourselves.
So with that being said it is imperative that we don’t let our leaders and ourselves down by presenting a bad representation. Even though the uniform has changed over the years it has never changed its meaning and never will lose it’s meaning. And everyone in this uniform is equal because we all are brothers and sisters in arms. No matter the rank on our chest, background, or M.O.S we are all equal. Before I go more in-depth about what it means to be a soldier, appropriate attire, the seven arm values, and professionalism we should first understand what it a solider is. By definition a soldier is a person who serves in an army. Also it could be defined, as “one who fights as part of an organized land-based armed force”. Solders are a rare breed of human beings that give everything they have to protect the county they serve. Also soldier is to stand up for this country and all that it stands for. When you are willing to give your life to defend life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some believe that superheroes are people flying around fighting crime but to me a soldier is a hero. They fight for millions of people and never ask for a word of thanks. Just simply knowing that the people are free and safe because of what they are doing makes them all the better heroes in my book.
People think that soldiers are just a bunch of people running around shooting things, blowing stuff up, and anything war related when in fact that is not even close to being true, yes some have to do that but there is a lot of other things soldiers do that has nothing to do with fighting but instead helping someone. Although there are five branches of the US military and they all have to do with different aspects of something; they may even despise one another but they all have one mission and one goal so despite their specialties they will fight to defend the country. I am proud to call myself a soldier since it will mean that I will be able to serve my country. To honor those who have fallen and guide those who will follow behind me. As I guide those who will follow behind me I also guide those next to me to success. Making myself a better leader and them better soldiers. Although I am only a PV2 and I am not yet in a leader position. I still am looking for every opportunity that is available to take a leadership position of a task or a mission.
When there are no opportunities available I look at my leaders, learn from them, and look at how they lead. Doing so allows me to hone my leadership skills and incorporate some of their style of leading into my own. As a private just making it out of basic training I learned how to be a better individual and a team player. All the army values are important but only two that really drilled into my head during basic combat training was integrity and discipline. Being an honest person and doing the right thing. This helps in professionalism. Helps you act, walk, and talk in a professional manner. The more I type this essay the more I come to understand that being a soldier isn’t simple to explain and it isn’t easy to be one. Although we are given the tools to become better soldiers, some choose not to follow the guidance. And that’s not the road that you want to go down. Because the army has so much to offer you as far as education, skill building, and life lessons.
Everything in the army is here to set you up for success. There are a vast amount of thing you can do and classes you can take to send you down the career path you want to go so that your ready for that new career once you leave the army. I feel like the army offers that because to give the soldiers more options and a chance to better themselves as Soldiers and just as people. Military bearing is the biggest part of what it means to be a soldier. In which every soldier practice and maintain it to carry good discipline and ethics through their military career. Military bearing is one way that we stay professional. No matter how unprofessional the environment you must always maintain your military bearing. We must keep our military bearing no matter what. That includes on and off duty. It should be stressed about how much we need to keep our military bearing off duty because it seems like that’s when it fades a little. I am not sure why that is, maybe its because we feel like we can act like civilians but that’s not the case. We must maintain professional at all time. We are always soldiers 24/7.