NCO- "No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommisioned Officer, a leader of soldiers...I know my soldiers and will 'always' place their needs "above my own"...I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and "never" leave them "uninformed..."
From the Creed of the Non Commissioned Officer
Many soldiers join the military for many reasons, and as a soldier I will tell you that most of the reasons I've observed are not patriotic.
When I first joined the Army I joined because I had a daughter to support and the economy was going down the drain. I needed stability in my life, and assurance that my family's needs would be met. I was desperate, and the best possible life for my children is always the utmost on my list of priorities. My daughter needed financial, and more importantly, medical support, so I decided to join the armed forces to provide for my child all that I felt she needed.
When I first spoke with the Army Recruiter, (Air Force people were out on a late lunch that day), I told him I didn't want to be an infantry man. I told him my reasons for wanting to join, and then I asked him if there were any job offers in the Army for a Human Resource Specialist. I also asked him if it was at all possible to have a job that was less likely to deploy than others. (I didn't want to leave my daughter for long if this could at all be avoided.) The recruiter told me that the job I was asking about was the least likely to deploy to Iraq. He went on to tell me that I would be provided with housing for my family, college paid for, the best medical and financial means, and that I would be working nine to five just like any civilian job. I was sold... I was young. I was naive.
I was placed in the delayed entry program; five times a week I would run with my Army Recruiter and he would do pushups and set ups with me, but I did not yet have to leave my family for BASIC. The Army Recruiter seemed motivated to better prepare me for BASIC, and he was trying to inspire me. He seemed like a nice guy, and we even had a barbecue with our families together. All in all my first opinion of the Army was, 'this is a family', and I felt secure.
When I was at BASIC my wife, (at that time), decided that she didn't want to be with me anymore, (her timing was always so impeccable.) She was keeping in contact with my Army recruiter, and the details of their relationship I will probably never know, but needless to say I was bothered. He was leaving her misinformed on many things. One of the biggest lies, from my Recruiter to my wife, was that she would continue to receive the California housing rate from me if she chose to stay there, (regardless of wherever I was going to be stationed after BASIC). He led her to believe that she would get loads of money from me, and he encouraged her to separate from me. I won't go much more into this, but I will just say that my time in BASIC was extra strenuous because of what was happening back home. I was fearful of losing my family and this was always on my mind throughout my training. After BASIC, when I was stationed in Fort Riley Kansas, I would have never guessed the lessons I would need to learn fast.
My first job in the Army was working in a Detachment of the First Cavalry Division; in-processing soldiers fresh out of BASIC. I was the one who welcomed the new soldiers to the base, and I handled all of their important paperwork. I signed them onto the post and made sure important documents like their life insurance was done properly. I would listen to their reasons for joining as I was signing multiple documents. I asked every soldier I in-processed why they joined, (this was my conversation starter to help the time go by as I filled out their required forms.)
You may be surprised to know the response I received by most when I asked the infantry soldiers why they joined. Quite simply they would say, "I just want to know what it feels like to kill a person." Perhaps you are not as naïve as I was at that time, and this news doesn't surprise you at all, but I-sure as the Pope isn't Muslim-was very surprised indeed by their response. Multiple soldiers said this same thing with maybe a slight difference in the wording; "I just want to know what it feels like to kill somebody," or, "Um, I don't know man...I just want to feel what it's like to waste a terrorist," or "I've wondered what it feels like to kill somebody, and now I'll get my chance," and a few other quotes. It all meant basically the same thing, they wanted to kill, and not get in trouble for doing so.
Now know and understand, not every single infantry soldier I in-processed responded in the same way. There were a smaller amount of infantrymen who would say things like, "I am very patriotic and I want to serve my country," or "My father was a soldier and I want to make him proud," or they would say something in reference to 911. "After they attacked us I was so angry that I felt like I had to do something," or "I felt that I had to do my part for my country; for our freedom." There was a couple times infantrymen would even say, "I need a pay check, so I figured I would try this out," and one time a soldier said, "I've always been really good at first person shooter games, and I can't wait to fire a real weapon at a real living target."
Now during this time at my new job I was dealing with another issue, a big issue. (Other than dealing with the stress of trying to adjust to life away from my child, and having to go from living in my apartment with my family into living in a small barracks room, alone, I had more serious troubles.) This other issue was a mistake, which caused me to feel quite certain the world was against me. When I first arrived to my duty station they had me take a urinalysis, and they told me that I pissed hot for drugs. Now this caught me by surprise, because I don't do drugs. And I wouldn't even know how to go about getting them, especially in a strange new place fresh out of BASIC training. For two months my leaders had me going to the ASAP program. Every Wednesday I would have to sit in there with recovering addicts and alcoholics, drinking coffee and breathing in second hand smoke while people told their inspiring stories about recovery. Every time they came around that table to me, I said nothing; I didn't have anything to say. My leaders seemed to think I was an addict, and people thought I was in denial. They felt that they were being nice to the new soldier, for my punishment could have been much more severe, so I should have been more appreciative. They were giving me a chance. Every month I had to sign a counseling form saying I had a drug related incident, but that I was receiving treatment. The leadership didn't allow me to go on leave to see my daughter, because I was still going through a recovery phase (this lasted for months.) I actually started drinking during this time, and ironically I eventually did become an addict to alcohol. I wasn't sleeping too well, I was miserably depressed, and some nights I was wishing for death...but I had to go on. I had a daughter to support, and this I was able to do regardless of my mistreatment. I ignored the thought that everyone in my unit probably thought I was a junky; hence they probably thought I was a lousy father and person. I ignored the gossip about the strange new soldier who hardly spoke, and had no friends. I didn't know where to start when it came to handling my issues, but I focused on the thought of a better future for my daughter.
During one particularly miserable day I met my first great and true leader in the Army-my mortal savior. I was sitting at my desk, after in-processing a soldier, and I was just writing my thoughts down on Microsoft Word. This older female Sergeant Major walked up to my desk and sat down to my right, where the soldiers I in-process usually sat. She just looked at me for a moment, with such sincere sadness in her dark brown eyes. Before I could ask her what she wanted, she placed her hand on top of mine and said, "Soldier, I've seen that look in your eyes before. I should have said something than, and I'll always regret that I didn't. Please tell me what is wrong. Please tell me everything." She woke me up with her tone, and for some reason, I told her everything.
In less than a week I was called into my unit, into my new First Sergeant's office. She asked me to take a seat, and then asked me if I would like a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee. I told her I was fine. She went on to tell me that on the same day I took my first urinalysis at the unit I also went to the post hospital, (this was something I should have remembered sooner; I wasn't feeling too good that day.) She went on to remind me that at the hospital they took a blood sample and a urine sample from me also. She smiled, showing me that she was happy for me, and also sorry for what I went through. She said, "Your report at the hospital shows that you had no drugs in your system on that day. This should have been taken care of a long time ago. I don't want you ever signing on any counseling form that you had a drug related incident, and you no longer have to go to ASAP," (little did she realize I had become an alcoholic). She went on to tell me that anything on my records saying I had a drug related incident would be shredded. She apologized for everything and said that an investigation was in the works, and they were going to discover what happened. I guessed they were going to find out who in the unit swapped their urine with mine. Not long after this resolution many NCO's were transferred out of the unit, and also the Commander. I may never know the details of what happened, or who used me; the new soldier as a scapegoat.
Quite frequently, after the false charges against me were dropped, the caring Sergeant Major would stop my desk to check up on me. I knew she was the one who took the initiative to investigate into how I was handled, when I first came to Riley. And I knew she was the one who brought the issue up to my First Sergeant. Although she never admitted to this, her smile told me the answer. Before I went on leave to see my daughter, after almost a year of not being allowed to, the Sergeant Major shared some wisdom with me that I would never forget. She said, "Know the right people Specialist, and make the right friends."
I won't bore you now with too many details, although much of what I am leaving out you would probably find entertaining. My emphasis in writing this article is to inform you of where I think things need to improve in this organization, so I will save much of my story for another time.
When I was about to deploy for the first time, (a few months after returning from seeing my daughter), I wasn't happy about the news of the upcoming deployment. I wasn't horribly depressed by the news either. I knew that my job in Iraq didn't involve shooting people, (although that could happen.) My primary mission in Iraq was going to be filling out casualty reports. I felt that I would be doing a good service on my deployment, and I also knew that the extra money I would be able to send my daughter and her mother would be a great bonus.
Hypocrisy became a reoccurring theme in the Army, and I took particular notice of this on my first deployment. I made a couple of close friends when I was deployed, and today their daughter is my goddaughter. My two new friends were a male and a female, and we'll call them Casa and Chica. (Names changed). Later in the deployment these two friends of mine fell in love. They were practically pushed into each other's arms. Casa had been stressed early on in the deployment, because back home his wife (at that time) was cheating on him. Chica and I were there to comfort him and keep him distracted from his burden. Casa became like a brother to me and soon became a lover to Chica. There was another far less prudent couple in our unit, and they even shared the same trailer some nights. The female in this couple was married and the male was recently divorced. My First Sergeant was close friends with the female, and for this reason she allowed the affair to go on, (or so we assumed at the time), and none of the soldiers seemed to care. Rumors began to spread about Chica and Casa however, without good reason. They never stayed the night in each other's trailers, but they were often seen together, so people talked, and the word reached the First Sergeant and my new Commander. The FRG back home started sending e-mails to the Commander and First Sergeant asking for the leadership to have my friends Casa and Chica punished. They were pushing for them to be chaptered out of the Army with dishonorable discharge. Word got back to them through an NCO, who was talking to his wife about what he thought Casa and Chica had going on. Meanwhile this particular NCO (who started the gossip) was having an affair of his own, with a lower enlisted soldier, a private. (The FRG was a gathering of soldiers wives back home, who from what I saw did little more than spread gossip, and start scandals.) I wasn't about to watch my friends get into trouble when I knew that there were leaders getting away with their wrongs, and spouses back home doing the same.
Before this first deployment I conversed with the Sergeant Major of the 1st Cav. I spoke with him in front of my First Sergeant and other high ranking NCO's. I spoke highly of my leadership to this Sergeant Major, for I had nothing to complain about at that time. I was thankful after being allowed to see my daughter, and being set free from the false accusations against me. Oh yes, I had very nice things to say about my leadership, and with passion. The Sergeant Major left that day remembering me, and expecting the best from my leadership before our Detachment deployed. After almost a year in Iraq I wrote an even more passionate e-mail to this same Sergeant Major telling him what I had witnessed from my leadership in Iraq. I had nothing bad to say about my Commander at that time, (whom I assumed was somehow kept in the dark from what his NCO's were doing.) However I had plenty to say about the Sergeant's in my unit, and the Cav Sergeant Major considered my written words. I emphasized how my friends were being harassed and threatened. I told him how I knew and witnessed other affairs amongst the leadership. I mentioned how everyone recognized what was going on with the couple our First Sergeant favored, and how the leaders swept this particular wrong under the rug. There were many things I said to the Sergeant Major, and since these words were coming from the one soldier who spoke the most highly of his leadership prior to the deployment, he took my message to heart. He sent an e-mail to my First Sergeant and Commander, explaining how disappointed he was over the news he was receiving. He didn't mention my name. He led them to believe that he was hearing of what was going on from multiple witnesses, (which he may have, and I was just the straw that broke the camel's back.) He asked that nothing be done to Casa or Chica during our deployment, and he said decisions would be made when we returned home. Nothing happened to my friends during the rest of that deployment, and people kept their mouths shut about them for the most part. (It's good to "know the right people, and make the right friends." A Sergeant Major came through for me again.)
I felt victorious, and my friends seemed so happy over what I did. Soon word began to spread and the rumors were saying that I said something to cease the punishment that was about to befall my friends. I was glad that this particular news was spreading. I was gratified that the leaders understood I knew of what was going on behind closed doors, and even through open doors. The open doors began to close, and people were getting nervous. If anything was going on behind closed doors at this point, the actions were being kept especially discreet. I was learning to be ruthless; something the Army was teaching me I had to be.
The FRG back home were enraged when they heard nothing was going to happen to my friends, and they plotted on how they would deal with them when we returned. Well I was forming a plan also, and my two friends were going to help me play it out.
On our flight back home, there was some tension, but I was confident. Everyone was happy to be going back, and they were probably trying not to think about all that occurred before we left.
There was a Ball/gathering that was being prepared by the FRG upon our return. A planned celebration before our unit dispersed and most of us went onto other places of duty. I spoke with Casa a couple weeks before the Ball, he was stressing on what would befall him or Chica once we returned home. I reminded him of our plan, and his mind was eased.
The details of what went on before the Ball I will skim through now. (Maybe I'll share more another time if I ever write a story about these events.) In a nutshell I set up Casa's wife, only so that I could set up the FRG. I wanted justice to be served against those who were defaming the character of my friends and plotting against them. The second night, after our return to America I called Casa's cell phone, which he conveniently left in his wife's car, (before she left to go plan for the Unit Ball with the FRG.) When no one answered the call I left a text. I said some bull like, "I don't like what you are doing Casa, and your wife is a beautiful woman who has been doing so much for you while you were gone. I think you should talk to her, or maybe someone else should..." She called me after reading the text, and I sighed when she said it wasn't Casa, but his "wife." I persuaded her to meet me at a bar, where I overheard other NCO's in my unit saying they were going to celebrate their return that night. From this point, there was the quick lead to a scandal, and more gossip. There was quite a mess of information being left for the gossips, since a day earlier Chica and I signed out on pass together and everyone was talking about this incident. They were saying that Chica and I were apparently a couple now, since we went on leave together. Even Chica was telling some people on the flight back, and the day after we returned, that she and I were the ones who were a couple during the whole deployment. The only reason people were saying Casa and her were together was because he was usually hanging out with us. People were led on to believe the misinformation about Casa and Chica started with some NCO in our unit talking to his wife back home and starting a false rumor. Hence this NCO was in cahoots with the FRG back home. I wanted to redeem my friends, and I loved how confused the gossips were from my plotting. This was all just a lead up to the Unit Ball, and the grand finale to my plan.
I was seen at the local Macy's, on the day of the Ball, buying an amazing dress for Casa's wife. We ran into some of her FRG buddies/the wives there. (Casa's wife told me they were going to be there this day.) She told her friends how I felt sorry for her over how Casa was treating her, and that this is why I had offered to buy her the dress. The wives may have been confused, but they seemed supportive. Even one of the male NCO's was there with his wife, and he just kept his mouth shut and let his better half do all of the talking.
I showed up at the Ball with Chica on my arm, Casa's wife came in soon after, alone. House was one of the last soldiers to arrive, (just as planned.) He was looking wasted and depressed, and I was impressed by his acting. I danced with Chica a couple times, and then after a couple drinks Casa's wife butted in and then I danced with her. I danced with Casa's wife to a rather slow song, where I held her close. I whispered into her ear (nothing of importance); this tender action was meant for all to see and wonder, and then I kissed her cheek before the song ended.
The leaders were left confused, the wives didn't have a clue, and no one could do squat about anything. It was all so confusing, and they didn't know where to start. Many of them unknowingly offered support up to this point. At the mall when they saw me with Casa's wife they offered support, and also at the unit when they signed both Chica and I out on leave. When no one saw or bothered Casa the first days of our return, they all did their part. (Plus the fact that I knew of all the skeletons they had hidden in their closets, this probably helped too. What all did I know, or have planned?!)
Casa was left sitting at a table alone for much of the dance. Soon some male NCO's went over to where Casa was sitting to give him sympathy. They bought him another drink or two, and I believe they felt guilty for the rumors they helped spread. The wives looked at Casa's wife and saw her for what she was. In the end of the night I left the Unit Ball with Chica on my arm. Casa's wife was watching us leave, and a friend later told me, she had an angry and jealous demeanor that others took notice of at the dance.
I reiterate that my friends never got into any trouble, and they are together today and happy.
Some months went by and I became a soldier in the First Infantry Division. This unit was fresh out of Germany, and now stuck in Kansas. I was coming towards the end of my enlistment time, so I wasn't in the Big Red One for long. I learned another lesson during this time that, by the Grace of God, I was able to get through without any serious damage. The lesson was being careful what civilian females you meet at a club while near a military post. Because you just might be getting close to a deployed officer's wife, who will burn you in a moment if their husband finds them out. I was able to get out of this potential mess as well, because of knowing the right people, having the right friends. (I won't go more into that now, either.)
I had become good friends with another Sergeant Major, when I was coming close to the end of my first enlistment. I always treated this Sergeant Major with the utmost respect, and I earned his respect as well, through my hard work and constant initiative. When it came time for me to make a decision to reenlist or get out, I made the decision that I felt was best for my daughter. This Sergeant Major told me that I could get out, and that he would set me up with a job working as a civilian back in Iraq. I would be making more than twice the money I made as a deployed soldier. Or he could have me sent to the duty station of my choice if I chose to reenlist. I told him that I still needed the medical for my daughter, so I decided to stay in. I asked to be sent to Fort Lewis Washington upon my reenlistment. I made this decision so that I could get the hell out of Kansas, and so that I could be closer to my daughter who lived in northern California.
Back after I met the first great leader in the Army, (the Sergeant Major who helped clear my name during my first dark days in the Army), I met someone else also, another valuable friend. He was a soldier that was soon going to be promoted to Sergeant, a smart young man, and very business orientated. I felt that he would be a wise investment into someone worth knowing, a friend worth having. When I first arrived in Fort Lewis this soldier (now a Sergeant) was stationed there, he helped me get into the unit of my choice. I then became a soldier in the First Corps. (I had been in communication with this Sergeant before I left to Fort Lewis, and I had a leader give him a heads up, the motivation necessary to help me out.)
My time in the First Corps was from the start, a time to study those around me, to know and understand my new surroundings. Who can I trust? Who would burn me? Who could be manipulated if I ever had to be ruthless again? And who could I find dirt on if I ever needed leverage? This mindset I had, and have today, is the result of the open arms that welcomed me into the armed forces. In this new unit I decided to present myself as a very naïve, average, and shy soldier. I presented myself in this light for I learned early on when people are in the presence of someone who seems like they are of no importance; they are more likely to reveal valuable information. Sometimes leaders would speak in front of me as if I wasn't even there, for I was so quiet for the most part, but I always listened.
There were some NCO's in this unit who would go to house parties on their down time, along with lower enlisted soldiers. They would have orgies, they would drink profusely, and many times fraternization would go on between a leader and a lower enlisted soldier. I didn't really give a damn about any of this, sounded fun, and I didn't judge anyone. In my not too distant past, I had my own times of debauchery and affairs so I wasn't quick to judge. The only reason I took mental notes of all the things that I was discovering in this unit, was because I knew that someday I would need this information. If for any reason a hypocritical leader decided to make my life uncomfortable, or the lives of anyone I cared for, I would be ready for them.
This new unit came down with orders to deploy to Iraq. I had no enemies in this unit, but neither did I have anyone whom I would consider to be a friend. When the leaders called us all together into the conference room to inquire on how we felt about the upcoming deployment, I responded in a very uncharacteristic manner, (uncharacteristic from their limited perspective.)
"I know that many of the soldiers in this unit have never been deployed before," I said, "so please listen to me now and remember my words, 'leaders!' If you allow it to happen, your soldiers will run this unit while we are in Iraq. I've seen this happen before, and that is why I am saying that it would be wise to end any social relationships that you are having with your soldiers now. Do this before we deploy. And continue to remain professional at all times with those whom you work with. If you don't do this, the day will come when you realize that you have given a power to your soldiers that will be used against you. In Iraq, when we are away from our families; our children, and our spouses, tensions will rise. And the heat doesn't help. People get complacent and people get ruthless, so before we leave I think you need to clean house so that things will be better once we are there...And that way you stay in control." This was the gist of what I shared with the people in that room, my honest address to the leaders, (which I presented to them with respect. I gave them a warning.)
Interestingly enough, no leaders objected to anything I had to say, but after a moment of silence, one female private (to my right) started yelling at me. She said, "Who do you think you are?!" And "What the hell do you know!? Nothing like that is going on here now!" (I always find it interesting how people will give me fuel for my fire, without even realizing what they are doing.) The leaders watched her make a scene, while I remained silent. I just watched the reaction of those around me. Eventually she sat back down, after realizing she was not helping anything, and no one was going to back her up.
After this meeting I was invited by a couple NCO's to a military bar. (Some soldiers nearby heard the invite.) During that night the NCO's complemented me on my directness, and said things like, "You will make a great leader someday." And then they bought me a couple drinks and talked about other things not worth remembering. They clearly wanted me to believe they were nothing like the leaders I had warned them about. They were not taking notice of the fact that their socializing with me in those moments was rather contrary to my earlier warning.
Again, skipping through some details, my new unit ends up in Iraq. My time in Iraq was worse this time around because I was missing my new bride, who was waiting patiently for me back home with our new baby girl. When in Iraq my leaders decided that I would make a great Admin for the Colonel, so I followed my orders and took on this new responsibility. At one point during this deployment the Sergeant Major of my new unit scheduled an interview with each of my units' soldiers. The focus of the interviews was to see what the soldiers wanted upon their return from Iraq. Where did they want to go? Did they plan on staying in the Army? And were they going to go to any leadership courses? By the end interviews she basically led the soldiers on to believe that they were going to get what they wanted upon their return. I told her that I wanted to finish my enlistment while being stationed at Fort Lewis. I told her I wanted to be in a unit that wasn't deploying in at least two years. Perhaps my requests were unrealistic, but they were also honest. She led me on to believe that this would be taken care of, and that I would receive what I asked for. If she had told me what I was asking for was unlikely, I would have simply accepted this. She gave me false hope though instead, and that was a mistake. (I'm sure she had good intentions but some things were out of her control.) I checked on my returning status with a military friend back in the states, (whose name I'm not at liberty to disclose.) I discovered that many soldiers, including myself, came down with orders to move on to different bases, or different duties less than three months after we returned from Iraq. This news was discouraging to me for a few reasons.
1. My mother, who lived near me, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. I wanted to remain close to her, instead of being sent to a different duty station far from her. (I mentioned this during the interview with my new Sergeant Major.)
2. My new wife and I had just bought a home in Washington, where I should have remained for at least three years. (This I was promised when I reenlisted.)
3. This news, (soldiers coming down with orders while deployed), meant that the interview process was a load of false information. I was under the impression the interview was probably meant to keep the soldiers motivated during our long deployment. In a nutshell we were lied to, whether intentionally or not, this was the case. So, once again, in Iraq, I was left in a position where I had to do what I could. I wasn't out for only myself, but for the few soldiers I felt to be good people, people who didn't deserve to be misinformed, and misguided.
What left me especially upset over all of this mess was that many of the NCO's were finding ways out of the orders they came down with. In other words they found a way to take care of themselves, while not going out of their way to take care of their own soldiers. In fact, some NCO's found a way to go back home early, leaving their soldiers behind, with unresolved issues. One of these soldiers in particular, who was not helped when he needed this most, was a dreadful case. His baby girl was left home very sick and in a wheel chair. She needed physical therapy, and the wife was left to care for their daughter alone. This soldier's mother was also very sick, possibly terminally ill. This soldier was not allowed to go home early, while some of his leaders did return early, even the Platoon Sergeant, and for incomparable reasons to his own.
This time when I came into trouble, and those whom I cared for did, I had the right friend once again. This individual was not a great Sergeant Major, but a great Colonel, my Colonel. In summary, I told my (very busy) Colonel everything I witnessed, and with emphasis on the moral of the soldiers and how they view their leaders as hypocrites who don’t place their soldiers needs above their own. I told him that I understood he was very busy, for he worked with the Four Star General, and other Iraqi General’s. He worked with the head commander in Iraq's missions, and had greater responsibilities than most officers out there. He was under the impression his NCO's were taking good care of their soldiers, as they swore to do in front of a board of directors. He understood how all of his Sergeants had to swear in with the NCO Creed- "I know my soldiers and will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my soldiers, and never leave them uninformed..." The Colonel had no reason to question his NCO's because no soldier had approached him with reason to, till his Admin Assistant spoke his mind.
This great leader, this great friend, the Colonel did his best to resolve the issues. The soldier who needed to go home to his sick daughter and mother was allowed to go on the first flight home. He was stabilized in Fort Lewis till his enlistment was through. And as for the other soldiers who came down with orders, including myself? Well let's just say that the Colonel was placed into a position where he had even more power over such issues, and he was determined to make things right. (This is a process that will take some time, but not too much time, and the pay off will be recognized by all involved.) Already many soldiers in this unit have been taken care of, and I look forward to this new friend and leader in my life earning his star.
As for what happens to the NCO's who may have thought they got away with something, didn't do their jobs efficiently, and only cared about themselves? Well here you go civilians and soldiers alike, please read this article again sometime and spread the news to as many as you can. I have learned in life that what goes around comes around. I've also learned that it's not most important what you know, but who you know. Even if at times you have to take the initiative to make certain that justice is served, you'll see that in your life justice will be served if you boldly stand for this. Just make sure you know the right people, and you know who and what to look out for.
Many soldiers join the military for many reasons, and as a soldier I will tell you that most of those reasons are not patriotic. But if you're going to serve your country, if you decide to be a leader in this Army, than understand you must live by the creed that you swore in by. There will be chaos, and a lack of balance in this institution, if you don't take your job seriously. If you don't place your soldier's needs above your own you will suffer the consequences more than them. If you want to be a soldier than be a good soldier, and if you want to be a leader than understand what it means to be one. One day I may be in your unit, and I'll see to it that you do understand your job as a leader. I may not be the most patriotic soldier, or the greatest leader, (and I'll always serve my family before any other person), but I do believe in the moral values that the Army Creed teaches. I thank you Army leaders for instilling these values within me, you have all helped me in some way.
NCO- "I know my soldiers and will 'always' place their needs "above my own...I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and "never" leave them "uninformed..."