Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obligations, deployments, and the Army values.

While replying to a comment Caraboska made a couple of posts ago, I decided I needed to do a little post and expound on the subject.

Conscientious objectors. We all know what that is, and I'm sure you've seen news coverage of soldiers who have filed that status in conjuction with finding out about that they're going to be deployed.

Let me tell ya - I don't want to be "that guy". Soldiers do NOT look lightly upon others who use that status. There's a level of resentment and disdain that comes with that status -- as a shirker who is fine with serving in the US, but when it comes time to do a soldier's most basic duty -- you're considered a dirtbag. You're tossing your buddy out there in your place. You've defaulted on the Army values.

The following are the seven Army Values, the guidelines that soldiers are supposed to live their lives by:

Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers.

Duty: Fulfill your obligations.

Respect: Treat people as they should be treated.

Selfless Service: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Honor: Live up to all the Army values.

Integrity: Do what's right, legally and morally.

Personal Courage: Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical or moral).

Is it always like that? Of course not. The Army is made up of people. People are flawed. But these are the things to which we aspire.

You have to know what the military is and what service entails. Simple, really, but I'm continually astounded by the things that people say and do when they find out they are going to deploy. Is it such a shocker? We're at war, folks. It's not pretty, and it's not right, but that's the way things are. If you have enlisted in the last 9 1/2 years, you know it, and you voluntarily signed that paper anyway.

On a more personal note...

Have any of you ever been walking through an airport and seen a group of soldiers? Maybe there's just one or two at first, but then you see another. And then another comes along. They gravitate to one another. It's reassurance of the familiar, in unfamiliar surroundings. The uniform is a recognizable constant. They may never see each other again after that minute or hour, but they're brothers and sisters -- bound not by blood, but of the spirit. That's the bond that makes wounded soldiers wish to be back in the desert with their units, that makes old soldiers nostalgic, and keeps young ones coming back for more.

My brothers and sisters in arms have been going over there for years. Some for 3, 4, or more deployments.

There is no soldier worth his or her salt that will allow a brother or sister to deploy in their place, not when they themselves can go instead.

Am I worried and a bit scared? Yep. But would I try to get out of it?

Not on your life.


  1. That was beautiful. Thank God for all you wonderful people willing to stand up for your country. Regardless of how I feel about the war, I think that every soldier is amazing and I wish all of them to come home safely.

    May God bless you and keep you safe.

  2. Aw, sweetie, you've made me cry at work.

    I'm so proud to know you.

  3. I wasn't talking about that kind of conscientious objection - at least not for you, since you apparently don't have that sort of convictions or you would never have signed up in the first place. I was talking about the... compromises on modesty that you would have to make. It is possible to wear hijab and be a soldier. There are countries in the Middle East that have female soldiers, they wear hijab and that's that. Sounds like it's a little different in the US Army... OK, so don't declare conscientious objector status. Sue them for the right to wear hijab.

  4. Inspiring and thoughtful. As someone with many people in the military, I find this subject painful and upsetting on many levels. Personally, with the war effort that so many people now support (because we have a new CIC, I suppose), I feel it's only fair that we bring back the draft. Our all-volunteer military is under so much stress from multiple (and longer) deployments, and you're right- people are all talk about patriotism and no walk. Perhaps it would alleviate some of the stress while also making it as deeply personal for every American as it is for those of us who love our soldiers/sailors or those of us who deploy.

    Just a thought or two. Bravo on your bravery. America thanks you.

  5. You make me get goosebumps! Wow! I loved this. Thanks so much for serving! <3


  6. LK: Thanks! *hugs*

    Amber: LOL! Should I feel bad for that? I think so... ; P

    Caraboska: Oh, okay, I get what you mean now. I can be a little dense sometimes, lol. The answer to that is no. Uniform standards vary from country to country, so what is the standard in one is not allowed in others. The only exception I know of to the rule in the US (Army specifically) was made for a male Sikh doctor (read: officer). He was allowed to wear his turban and not shave. But there are other Sikhs, Muslims, etc on duty. The point of the uniform and the standards that govern wear of said uniform is so that everyone looks alike. I could try, but it wouldn't fly. Especially because I'm not Muslim, so nobody would consider it a legit religious issue. I read about a female Army officer who converted. She just wears hijab off duty, and adheres to the military standards the rest of the time. Not ideal, but in this case it would like beating my head against a brick wall.

    Banana Queen: I agree. If I remember correctly, only 1% of the US population has served or currently serves in the military. That's crazy, huh? Some people - okay, a lot of folks - would complain, but I think that a couple of years of mando service for those who are judged mentally and physically capable would be a good thing. A surprising number of soldiers who just wanted to finish their first enlistment have gone on to retire after 20+ years of service -- my old Sergeant Major was one of them. He never thought he'd be in that long, but it was a good life for him, and definitely kicked the trouble maker impulses he came in with. : P Many other countries require military service before you can even get a civilian job or go to school or whatever. Some folks argue that being all-volunteer is the way to go, that that is what makes our country's military so strong. To a limited degree, I agree with that. But a million people, give or take, shouldn't have to shoulder the responsibility year after year.

    Susanne: *grin* Glad you liked! It didn't come out as well or as coherrant as I would like, but I think I managed to get my point across.