In the military context, adhering to a functional set of values and standards is vital for ensuring compliance with the established instructions in soldiers, as well as encouraging them to develop essential values that will guide them through the challenges of the target environment. The specified observation is also true for the military context, where sailors are expected to adhere to rigid instructions in order to maintain safety on board and implement the key naval objectives (Weiss & Castro, 2018). By focusing on honor, courage, and commitment as the cornerstone standards for a naval officer, the Navy’s core values set the premise for increased safety of the team members, adherence to the set objectives, and the security of the state and its citizens.
By fostering the ethical values and principles of courage, commitment, and honor, one will excel at improving the performance of the Navy in general. Indeed, the existing evidence indicates that the focus on courage and honor, as well as the commitment to the goals set by the leader, contributes to overcoming the essential obstacles on the way to meeting the set objectives. Specifically, one should consider the example of the WWII setting, when racism and prejudices obscured the leaders’ perception of African American sailors (Stillwell, 2019). The described situation indicates a lack of commitment to the common goal of fighting for victory, which is only possible in the context of complete trust and collaboration between the troops and the leader (Stillwell, 2019). Thus, the multiple losses that the American Navy suffered as a result of failing to develop the needed integrity and follow the principles of honor due to their racism prove the importance of sacrificing one’s belief for the sake of honor, integrity, and commitment on the battlefield.
Similarly, the importance of honor, commitment, and courage are exceptionally high in meeting the needs of the community. Specifically, the Navy needs to foster the described characteristics in sailors in order to ensure that their decision-making and actions contribute to improving the security of U.S. civilians. According to Stillwell (2019), the role of honor, integrity, and courage of sailors in protecting the community can be illustrated by the focus on the willingness of the commissioned African American sailors to contribute to the victory and safeguard their homeland. Given the adversity and hostility that the first African American sailors had to encounter in the U.S. Navy, with most leaders being predominantly prejudiced toward them, the extent of courage and commitment that the specified African American people showed was truly exceptional (Goldberg, 2020). Likewise, these African American sailors showed impressive integrity and honor by continuing their mission despite the challenges of the highly racist environment of the U.S. Navy at the time.
Moreover, in the long-term context, the stellar performance of the “Golden Thirteen,” namely, their courage, honor, and commitment, affected the perception of African Americans in U.S. society, in general. By demonstrating unwavering commitment to the cause and significant resilience, these sailors showed that African American people’s rights and role in the American community had to be recognized (Stillwell, 2019). Therefore, the promotion of the specified qualities in Navy sailors has also affected the community at large.
Finally, on an individual level, the emphasis on courage, commitment, and honor in the Navy context helped to build an environment where collaboration could be achieved despite the presence of prejudices. It would be a mistake to assume that the courage and honor of the Golden Thirteen warranted their immediate acceptance among the rest of the sailors and defeated racism in the Navy (Lang, 1996). Instead, the path toward equality for African American sailors in the Navy could not be described as fast and effortless; on the contrary, it required multiple changes both on individual and institutional levels. (Stillwell, 2019). However, the Golden Thirteen has managed to launch the process of social change within the Navy setting by demonstrating the exceptional and unwavering courage, commitment, and honor of its members. Overall, the case in question proves that the focus on the values of commitment, honor, and courage allows the shaping of individual values and perceptions to a significant extent, launching a tremendous personal change and promoting further spiritual, emotional, and ethical development.
The focus on the values of courage, honor, and commitment as the fundamental elements of the ethical code of sailors, the Navy promotes rigid adherence to the established standards of practice, effective communication and problem-solving, the safety of the sailors, and the security of citizens. Specifically, by following the specified provisions, Navy sailors succeed at preventing and deterring threats to the security of U.S. citizens and the state in general. Moreover, the promotion of the values in question encourages Navy troops to build the value system and ethical stance that will guide them through the complicated process of decision-making when facing controversial issues in the navy context. By fostering courage, commitment, and honor in Navy sailors, one will create a team of efficient troops capable of making an ethical choice in a situation that requires significant bravery and substantial decisiveness.
Goldberg, D. (2020). The golden thirteen: How Black men won the right to wear Navy gold. Beacon Press.
Lang, C. J. (1996). The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the first Black naval officers by Paul Stillwell. The Oral History Review, 23(2), 113-115.
Stillwell, P. (2019). The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the first Black naval officers. Naval Institute Press.
Weiss, E. L., & Castro, C. A. (2018). American military life in the 21st century: Social, cultural, and economic issues and trends. ABC-CLIO.