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Leaders, Soldiers challenged to uphold Army Values

Email   Print   Share By Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General
June 7, 2012 | Editorial
The past decade has been challenging in many ways for the Army and all of our great Soldiers. Multiple deployments and conflict in both Iraq and Afghanistan have put stressors on Families, Soldiers and units not seen in the decades prior. Based on what I observe here every day at the Great Place, I am continuously amazed and extremely proud of the resiliency, determination and strength of the American Soldier. The pride, soul and heart of the Army remain very strong, and the core of the Army as a profession is solid as we move forward.

Being a professional Soldier is the most noble and selfless thing that our young men and women can do. That being said, any good organization is a learning organization. After more than 10 years of conflict, it is an appropriate time for self-evaluation as a professional force to confront our weaknesses and build upon our strengths.

Over the past year, the Army has been conducting sensing sessions, focus groups and meetings with Soldiers, civilians and Family members from across the force to assess where we stand as a professional force. One of the key elements of this comprehensive study was to define the

essential characteristics of the Army profession. A few of these characteristics are trust, trustworthiness military expertise and esprit de corps.

First, trust and trustworthiness are fundamental to the long-term health of our Army. These characteristics encompass not only the crucial trust between team members in a unit and the trust between leaders and their subordinates, but also the trust between the Army and the American people. Once lost, trust is extremely hard to regain, which is why we expect the American Soldier to be the pinnacle of integrity and discipline.

Second, our overall expertise as a fighting force has never been better. We have junior leaders with multiple combat deployments who know how to lead in battle. It will be essential in the coming years to retain the lessons learned over the past decade, yet become better prepared as a force for different missions, both home and abroad.

Third, camaraderie and esprit de corps are present in any successful organization. It is this common bond that pushes a team through obstacles and difficulty to achieve success. This bond is built through positive energy and engagement by proactive leaders who are involved and care. Again, this bond is built through trust and integrity.

That being said, we have recently had a disturbing trend here at the Great Place that is not in line with the Army as a profession and subverts the essential trust between leaders and their Soldiers. We have had numerous incidents where Soldiers have been involved in motorcycle accidents, yet they never identified themselves as motorcycle riders, had not completed the prerequisite required training, nor were the respective chains of command aware that these individuals were operating a motorcycle.

This selective disregard with Army/Corps directives and policies does NOT track with the Army Value of integrity, and it shows a complete lack of discipline. I challenge leaders to be more proactive to identify any individual that may be operating a motorcycle yet not complying with Corps and Army policies. Again, the selective disregard for these important regulations is a selfish act and signals a lack of overall discipline. More importantly, we are losing too many of our young men and women to these preventable accidents.

Finally, being a professional Soldier means living according to the Army Values and Ethos every day, whether on or off duty. It means doing the harder right over the easier wrong, even when nobody else is watching. It means making the correction on a Soldier on the weekend in civilian clothes, if necessary. It means being selfless as a leader for the greater success of your unit and subordinates. It is about truly taking care of Soldiers and their Families. This is not a case about getting back to the “old Army,” but instead about adhering to and enforcing standards and policies that we already have in place. It is about properly representing our great Army and nation in order to ensure we maintain a strong bond with the people.

Phantom Warriors! Army Strong!
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