This informational essay will inform readers of the seven Army values by defining them, describing their history, and explaining why Soldiers must live by them. Soldiers in the Army swear by these seven Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. The Army values are a way of life for Soldiers, from the minute they swear in they must incorporate them day in and day out, on or off duty. These values are how Soldiers accomplish any mission they are given and why they are held to such a high standard.
The Army has always implemented values and instilled certain codes within Soldiers. In 1995, the seven Army values were adopted and implemented under AR 600-100. General Dennis Reimer posted an article in October of 1995 titled, “Where We’ve Been-Where We’re Headed: Maintaining a Solid Framework while Building for the Future”. General Reimer suggested, “…the Army has always been a value-based organization” (Licameli, 2018).
His first recommendation of the values followed in the Army was “loyalty, duty, selfless service, courage, integrity, respect for human dignity, and a sense of justice” (Licameli, 2018). From General Reimers initial list of values, he adjusted courage to personal courage, respect for human dignity set to respect, and a sense of justice interpreted as honor. “In 2007, the Army decided to adjust FM 22-100 (Army Leadership) where Soldiers are now required to follow the Army values while on duty or off duty” (SFC Philips, 2013). The history of the Army values has played a major part in how the Army is run today.
Each Army value has a specific meaning; one of the seven Army values is loyalty. Loyalty means to stay loyal and true to your country, your unit, and your fellow Soldiers. The official definition of loyalty according to the Army is, “Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers” (Headquarter DA, 2019). Soldiers develop loyalty through trust of fellow Soldiers and leadership.
The Army describes loyalty as a Soldier who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. Duty is defined as “Fulfill your obligations. Doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks. Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities — all in constant motion” (Headquarters DA, 2019).
The third Army value is respect, which is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Some people say that respect is a part of the “Golden Rule”. The U.S. Army defines respect as the characteristic that, “allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty” (Headquarters DA, 2019). Soldiers have the utmost respect for their fellow comrades and their unit. Respect within ranks is necessary to maintain order and Army discipline.
The fourth Army value is selfless service. Selfless service to a Soldier means “put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own” (Headquarters DA, 2019). To carry selfless service, you do not expect anything out of your actions or any type of personal gain. The fifth Army value is honor. Honor is how Soldiers incorporate the Army values. To have honor you, must live by every Army value; you cannot have one without the other. A Soldier’s actions can also be considered honorable.
The highest award our nation can give is the Medal of Honor for extreme acts of bravery. Honor, according to the Army, is to “live up to Army values (Headquarters DA, 2019)”. The sixth Army value is integrity, which is “what is always right regardless if someone is watching legally or morally” (Headquarters DA, 2019). Integrity is being honest, to include being honest with yourself and others. Integrity checks in the Army occur when another Soldier requires you to self-reflect. If fellow Soldiers remind each other to check their integrity, we are all the more likely to do the right thing.
The final and seventh Army value is personal courage. This value means to put your fears aside and to face adversity, you build personal courage by standing up for what is right. Honorable actions are what it takes to build personal courage, whether moral or physical. Risk is part of being a soldier as well. At some point in our career, we may have to put our own safety on the line for the mission or our fellow Soldiers. Carrying these seven values both on and off duty are what makes a Soldier, a Soldier.
The last subject I am going to inform you about is why Soldiers live by these Army values. Soldiers incorporate these Army values every day. From the day they get to basic training, it is drilled into their heads to live by these Army values.
To Soldiers, this is not a way of life; it is life. Without these Army values there would be no standard “The values form the foundation of a culture of teamwork, excellence and respect, which in turn, contributes to a strong and ready Army that can improvise, adapt and overcome” (Headquarters DA, 2018). The military holds Soldiers to a much higher standard than a civilian is and to uphold these standards, they must use these Army values as a guideline. The Army is a disciplined occupation, and these values help instill that discipline.
In conclusion, the purpose of this informational essay was to inform the reader of the seven Army values by defining them, describing their history, and explaining why a Soldier must live by them. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage have been a part of the Army since 1995, and have continued to be the foundation of a Soldier’s dynamic and have served as a guideline to follow regardless if on or off duty. The Army Values were implemented to build character in Soldiers, and as a guideline to uphold the highest standards.
- https://www.Army.mil/values/ (Army.mil)
- https://www.Army.mil/article/101495/ig_recommends_getting_back_to_basics_values (SFC Philips, 2013)
- https://caccapl.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/web/character-development-project/repository/a-brief-history-of-the-army-values.pdf (Licameli, 2018).