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Army profession, ethics defined during seminars

Email   Print   Share By Erin Rogers, Sentinel Staff
February 14, 2013 | News
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Col. Jeffrey Peterson, CAPE Director, discusses the Army profession with the more than 300 Soldiers in attendance of the first AP Seminar held at Howze Auditorium Feb. 7. Erin Rogers, Sentinel Staff
The Center for the Army Profession and Ethic’s visit to Fort Hood from U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., began the week of Feb. 4 by holding the Master Army Profession and Ethic Trainer courses, and closed out the week with Army Profession seminars at Howze Auditorium Feb. 7 and Friday.

The MAPET courses are designed to train Army professionals in Army ethics, and for the profession itself to be able to provide their commanders with support on those topics, but courses only reached a select group of Soldiers.

Over the course of two days, five AP seminars took place, reaching more than 1,770 Fort Hood Soldiers and giving them an overview of what was taught in the MAPET courses – CAPE’s mission to generate an understanding for Soldiers to increase their knowledge of the Army profession, to reaffirm their understanding of what it means to be a professional, to recommit to a culture or service and to identify with the Army ethic and culture.

The AP seminars are called “America’s Army – Our Profession,” and the idea is for Soldiers to take away a renewed sense of identity within their profession. Within America’s Army – Our Profession, there are quarterly themes to be presented: standards and discipline; Army customs, courtesies and traditions; military expertise; and they’re closing out the year with a final theme of trust.

“These seminars are important, because over the last 10 years we’ve been extremely busy in two theaters, and at some point, every profession sits back and reflects on what they are doing right and wrong,” Sgt. Maj. David Stewart, senior enlisted advisor for CAPE, said. “It was time for the Army to reflect on this very difficult time asking, “What are we as a profession?

“We’re trying to reinvigorate and renew the discussion – these Soldiers will be expecting a lecture, but this is active discussion,” he added.

Even with the 100-300 Soldiers in attendance at each seminar, active discussion didn’t prove to be a problem for Stewart and Col. Jeffrey Peterson, CAPE director, who co-led the seminars with Stewart.

Stewart said that some of the younger Soldiers haven’t known the Army before 9/11, and haven’t been trained in the Army’s pre-9/11 priority of Army values and morals – due to weapons training and self protection taking priority over ethics because that’s what was needed to survive.

“After going down range and seeing all these horrible things, we still have to be the good guys,” Stewart said.

Command Sgt. Maj Jeffrey Hof, III Corps and Fort Hood Rear-Detachment command sergeant major, told the Soldiers in attendance at the seminars, “It’s the human dimension that truly makes the United States Army the most respectful profession there is – because of our values and morals and what we stand for, that’s why these discussions are important.”

Hof said it’s time to face the facts and realize that after 12 years of war, the Army’s morals, ethical decision making and value systems have broken down.

“There has been atrophy in our value system,” Hof said, “not to the point of mission failure, but we need to get back to the basics.”

Peterson and Stewart led in the active discussion, walking through the aisles at Howze with a microphone for Soldiers to answer questions posed by the CAPE presenters, in between showing videos and sharing stories of true esprit de corps.

“We believe if you get the identity right as an Army professional, you will have the right value set and your behavior will follow,” Peterson said. “If you identify correctly with the Army professional, it won’t matter what other people are doing – your behavior will follow.

“Discipline and adherence to standards are a hallmark of Army professionals,” Peterson said. “They set us apart and build the trust that is the bedrock of our profession and an enabler for mission command.”

Throughout the seminars, the focus was discipline and standards, which was CAPE’s theme this quarter. Everything from how to dress at the Shoppette after hours to sexual harassment and suicide were discussed openly.

“This seminar is beneficial to the Army,” said Sgt. Sidney Thompson, 1st Cavalry Division. “It’s something that needs to be talked about. Some Soldiers might forget how to identify with the Army as a profession, and newer Soldiers might not have learned these topics.”

“My ethic and my conduct is not driven by the failings of another person,” Peterson added. “You have to own your identity.”
 
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