Many people have knowledge of army values: allegiance, obligation, respect, integrity, truthfulness, individual courage, and unselfish service, but most do not know the application of these values in life. The seven army values are the fundamental qualities of a good soldier and the backbone of the U.S army. Army Values go back in history, and all soldiers must go through detailed training during Basic Combat Training to learn and practice living by these values. All values apply to every soldier equally, be it a senior general, reserve, or guard, and the values are observed whether on or off duty.
Loyalty – to show devotion and allegiance to the army, the soldier’s unit, the U.S constitution, and fellow soldiers. The soldier must recognize that the army exists and that its sole purpose is to defend and serve the nation. Loyalty is an obligation that one gives and receives in turn between the leaders and those they lead. In this case, a soldier should observe and support the chain of command in the army and the outside society. A loyal soldier is devoted to the welfare of his fellow soldiers or unit. Soldiers show their loyalty in different ways, which may be considered a norm, such as simply wearing the army uniform and being proud of it.
Duty – a duty means fulfilling one obligation; the U.S army is involved in a series of tasks, assignments, and responsibilities that are ever in constant motion. The soldier has to accomplish all these tasks and responsibilities to their maximum capability and strive to learn and improve themselves to be the best for the unit and the army. The soldier has not only the responsibility to take care of oneself but also those who are under their care (Suzuki et al, 77). Duty requires impartiality as one is not supposed to be biased when performing their duties regardless of friendships or rank. Duty requires commitment thus a soldier has to perform their duty willingly and diligently at all times.
Honor and Selfless service
Honor – a value that includes all the others. Soldiers demonstrate honor by striving to do the right thing in defending the nation despite being no witnesses to tell the story. As a core value, it is an important factor when it comes to the army’s mission accomplishment of “deploying, fighting, and winning our countries’ wars through providing ready, prompt, and unrelenting…” According to Mike Klein (www.army.mil/article/238212), honor is a commitment to stand by the choices of the action taken in a situation without expectations. Without honor, a lot of time is wasted in supervision (Visot et al, 52). Time is valuable where important tasks have to be accomplished. Honor also defines an individual’s character to others. An honorable person can be trusted more easily without a doubt of betrayal.
Selfless service – the nation’s welfare should come before the soldier’s desire. During service, a soldier has to be willing to perform their duty without expecting any gains or recognition from the accomplishment. The Selfless capacity of every soldier is critical to the whole team. Mike Klein gives an example of selfless service using pieces of a puzzle. He says that these pieces are individual employees who bring forth something different. When one piece misses, the entire puzzle becomes incomplete
Integrity, Respect, and Personal Courage
Integrity – Integrity means being upright and honest to avoid deception of any kind morally and legally. Integrity requires that a soldier adheres strictly to all the other army values and live by them. Soldiers have to build trust among themselves as a unit and as the army. They need confidence in each other as the profession entails many dangers and risks that need someone to have your back on missions and assignments. Through integrity, a soldier’s character is defined, whether good or bad. It also allows for self-reflection and improvement of mistakes made. Integrity builds the ethical behavior of a soldier (Cooper et al. 18).
Respect – is the mutual way of treating others the way we want to be treated. The army consists of teams where each member gives a contribution of something. Soldiers have to appreciate what each one brings as it is the best they can put forward. Respect in the army is practiced regardless of ranks and civilians.
Personal courage – is the control of fear and taking a risk. When you hear about courage, the first thing that crosses your mind is a lack of fear in dangerous situations. For a soldier, personal courage involves a display of endurance, honesty, and commitment while keeping in mind the risk to their safety. Courage is the ability to stand up for what you believe, however controversial the decision may be. Therefore, a soldier should follow their leader in any situation. Moral perseverance is the ability to differentiate right from wrong and overcome peer influence.
The army does exist to serve the people of America to protect, defend, and fulfill the nation’s military responsibilities. Therefore, it must have professional soldiers, who understand the army’s values and practice them with competence. Commanders are responsible for ensuring they are role models of the values that make the backbone of discipline in the army.
Cooper, Adam D., et al. “Mental Health, Physical Health, and Health-Related Behaviors of U.S. Army Special Forces.” PLOS One, 15.6, 2020 ProQuest Apr. 2021
Suzuki, Masako, and Atsuko Kawakami. “U.S. Military Service Members’ Reintegration, Culture, and Spiritual Development.” The Qualitative Report 21.11 (2016): 2059-75. ProQuest.
Visot, Luis Raul. Value Congruence and the Acculturation Experience of Puerto Rican Female Citizen Soldiers: A Narrative Inquiry. Order No. 27739381 The George Washington University, 2020 Ann ArborProQuest.