Countless definitions were posted regarding the meaning of a Soldier. The wordnet, a lexical database for the English language, defines the word as “an enlisted man or woman who serves in an army”. In its simplest term, the soldier is a person (either a man or a woman) who enlisted into the armed forces of a particular country. He/she pledges allegiance to defend or serve the country to protect its welfare from internal or external forces.
A soldier’s loyal allegiance to protect the nation is coupled with core values via the acronym LDRSHP, these are : Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor and Personal Courage. These values are not only statements on how soldiers should behave but serve as their personal identity. These core values define who they are.
The core values and their significance in the present soldier’s life are the following: first and foremost is Loyalty. Loyalty means genuine devotion to a person or other people _it maybe a unit or family or the army. Showing one’s support to a person, superior or even an activity despite its flaws or negative views from peers or subordinates calls for audacity and loyalty. A loyal soldier is one who supports or defends the leadership and stands up for other soldier. He/she will sacrifice for the leader, his country and its people. The US military core value states: “Bear true faith and allegiance to the US Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers.” This shows unquestionable loyalty to its country and its heritage.
Another army core value is Duty. Duty is defined as a work that you are obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons. It means it is a legal or moral obligation to complete assigned task to the fullest of your ability. An army must do what needs to be done without being told to do it. This requires willingness to accept full responsibility for a soldier’s actions. Duty is not time bound such as putting in time to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a day but it is a selfless service to one’s country, unit, family and people. The saying “I regret that I have but one life to give to my country” is an example of an indisputable commitment to duty.
Respect is an important value that an army must possess. The golden rule best exemplifies the idea of respect. In the US soldier’s code, “Treat people as they should be treated.” A soldier is expected to treat other people with dignity and respect. This allows him/her to gain the same treatment from other people. This begins with a basic understanding that each and everyone is worthy to be respected as human beings. A leader of the army will not gain respect if he/she shows superiority over his subordinates. Respecting fellow soldiers means having faith towards them in fulfilling their jobs and duties without necessarily showing them who is the boss.
Selfless Service is beyond a soldier’s consideration of one’s self. The US army pledged to “Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.” The sake of the nation comes first. The priority is always the needs of the country or the people. Serving one’s country is about putting one’s duty above one’s own interest or without having in mind what one can gain. When a soldier takes action it must be for the good of the others and not to increase his/her standing.
Honor is said to be a guide for character and conduct. It is something one earns. As we know, one of the highest military awards is the medal of honors. This is conferred to soldiers who displayed the virtue of living up to the values of the army. Honor starts with knowing what is ethically right and wrong and demonstrating what is right. This should begin with sincerity in one’s actions and maintaining integrity and honesty to one’s daily work as a soldier. It takes a good soldier to bring honor. As Gen. Jackson once said “What is life without honor? Degradation is worse than death.”
As the US army code puts it : “Do what’s right, legally and morally”. Integrity is a virtue a soldier should possess. This is something to be developed by conforming to moral ethics. A good soldier has moral standards and truthful in adhering to these principles both in word and deed. It is not enough to know what is right, but by demonstrating the right makes a soldier earn the trust and confidence of others. Military men of integrity act according to the dictates of the moral ethics and not according to decisions that is convenient for the moment or that temporarily works for a certain situation.
A good soldir possesses personal courage i.e. in physical and moral forms. Bravery is one of the basic characteristic that a soldier must possess. A child when asked about bravery always cites a soldier as an example. This means that courage is attached to the identity of a soldier. Building a noble character of a soldier means developing a physical and moral courage that are required to combat the conflicts and demands in their jobs. It means taking the risks in war despite the fear of being killed. As personal courage is not the absence of fear but it is the ability to face danger and take action on what is needed.
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless,
and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
— Samuel Johnson
Forscom . (2007, June 27 updated). Call to Duty : Army Values. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from http://www.forscom.army.mil/reeng/Army%20Part1%20Values.htm
U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion. (2006, January 18 updated). Army Values Training
for Future Soldier Training Program Soldiers. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from http://www.usarec.army.mil/1stbde/1obn/FS/values.html