Non-Commissioned Officer in the US Army
The desire to serve the nation and protect the people as well as defend the Constitution is the primary duty of a soldier. The soldiers’job is a tough one and a big responsibility which consequently brings them to risk their lives, wealth and family for the sake of the nation. In the US Army, serving the Americans are delivered in different nature, there are varied forms of duties and roles of the soldiers that they portray. Some are tasked to perform in combat and some are assigned for logistic support or maybe as non-combatants who are commonly called non-commissioned officers.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defined non-commissioned officer as “a subordinate officer (as a sergeant) in the army, air force, or marine corps appointed from among enlisted personnel”. (MW, 2007) A non-commissioned officer or also known as an NCO or Noncom, is a member of the military force from enlisted rank who has not attended officer training program but performs as a lower-ranking support crew who also has authority over the other enlisted members. The NCOs are tasked to provide logistical support that is mostly administrative or even technical in nature.
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Most of their duties are in training programs including capability building for personnel or advisory to the officer corps. The NCOs are usually ranging from the lower level positions of a sergeant for the US army, corporals for the US marine and warrant officers while for the navies NCOs are mostly belonging as petty officers. Most military units regard NCOs as the support system or the “backbone” of their services. Their services are crucial in the development and well-being of the military officers esp.
regarding performance of their duties as officers. The primary responsibilities are along administration and office management. There are also senior NCOs or whom they call Petty Chief Officers who mostly perform leadership concerns such as leading larger groups of members, mentoring of junior soldiers, and counselling senior members relative to their duties and responsibilities. Some NCOs perform the highest levels of service such as advisory in all concerns regarding the welfare or well-being and utilization of the enlisted members.
As a Noncommissioned Officer, there is a difference in the way other people relate with greater expectations having to assume more responsibilities. Such change in the way people treat an NCO is brought about by the fact that an NCO is a member of a Noncommissioned Officer Corps known as the “backbone of the Army”. (Pukansky, 1999) NCOs live by codes of honor as they perform in delivering their duties and accomplishing the mission. These codes of honor are exemplified in the NCO Creed.
It identifies the values or principles that are essential in effectively carrying out responsibilities as noncommissioned officers and leaders. NCOs are committed to excellence in service. One of the creed statements talk about professionalism “No one is more professional than I. ” As a professional, an NCO must live by the guiding standards and exhibit the army values that others may follow. Building leadership qualities is expressed in the creed. “I am the non-commissioned officer, a leader of soldiers”.
Effective team work is also the battlecry of the NCOs apart from the other qualities that are expected from a leader that are essential in carrying out the role of an NCO. NCOs are also expected to humbly recognize the roles of those members in the NCO corps who served and the relevance of the group in the development of the US Army. The creed also called for selflessness by putting the welfare and development of the others before oneself as part of its commitment to serve the army. Competence is another area that an NCO must believe in. The creed believes that “competence is my matchword”.
Demonstrating high level of competence and proficiency breeds trust and confidence from the members of the army. An NCO is expected to display competence and look for opportunities to further develop the skills and talents that competent leaders possess. The inherent role of an NCO must recognize the welfare of the soldiers. This is one major responsibility that an NCO must recognize by heart. To serve the other soldiers and aim for their well being must come first and place their needs above one’s own. The NCOs are expected to guard the soldiers’ well-being and defend them at almost any cost
Apart from the above desired qualities, the NCO Creed believes that an NCO must also possess the following characteristics : to be fair and impartial when endorsing rewards and punishment, constantly and consistently provide communication to soldiers, exhibit loyalty to peers and seniors, display integrity and moral courage and most of all believe that NCOs are professionals and leaders. NCOs may neither have undergone officer training program in the military nor have commissioned official ranks as soldiers in the military force, however, they serve better purposes in the welfare and development of the soldiers.
The NCO corps have been truly recognized by the many as the “backbone of the Army”. Hence, they are essential in the military workforce as drivers in motivating soldiers and bringing the whole US Army into excellence. b. ) Why should we, as leaders, live by the 7 Army Core Values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage) on a daily basis. Most of the American people look up to the army not only as protectors or professionals of arms but as men of integrity. These soldiers are expected by the people to exhibit values that are inherent in being nation protectors and defenders.
Lt. Gen. Jackson said “What is life without honor? Degradation is worse than death. ” This statement underpins the importance of integrity as a soldier. The US Army observed the seven (7) army values that an American soldier must live by. (US Recruiting, 2006) It is strongly believed that the cornerstone of the best military force is the values that they possess. The US Army is a values-based group that highlights the importance of teamship. Army Values will help build a strong, cohesive organization that, in turn, will become a source of strength and institutional knowledge for all the members of the military force.
The Army’s profession is neither easy nor ordinary. There is always a need for team work in dealing with complex and risky conditions. For the group to achieve the mission, there is a need for a need to set common goals and principles that will guide each soldier in performing their duties. These goals and guiding principles must reflect the values of a dignified soldier and the values of the nation. Since the whole nation is counting on each of the soldiers, the army values must be embodied in the daily undertaking of each individual and as soldiers getting ready for the future, these values shall guide the way.
As former Army Chief of Staff General Dennis J. Reimer stated, “The Army is, at heart, a community of Active and Reserve Soldiers, civilian employees and their families. Communities thrive when people care about one another, work with one another and trust one another. I believe today’s Army carries within it this spirit and sense of community. . . . I am optimistic about the future and convinced that because we hold tight to a strong tradition of commitment to one another, we are and will remain the best Army on Earth. ” (Forscom, 2007)
A soldier’s loyal allegiance to protect the nation is coupled with core values which are deemed to be of equal importance to protecting the nation. These values is expressed via the acronym LDRSHP, these are : Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor and Personal Courage. These values are not only statements on how soldiers should behave but serve as their personal identity. These core values define who they are. The core values and their significance in the present soldier’s life are the following: first and foremost is Loyalty.
Loyalty means genuine devotion to a person or other people _it maybe a unit or family or the army. Showing one’s support to a person, superior or even an activity despite its flaws or negative views from peers or subordinates calls for audacity and loyalty. A loyal soldier is one who supports or defends the leadership and stands up for other soldier. He/she will sacrifice for the leader, his country and its people. The US military core value states: “Bear true faith and allegiance to the US Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers. ” This shows unquestionable loyalty to its country and its heritage.
A member of the army who exhibits loyalty prioritizes duties according to the highest where the Constitution is its foremost consideration, the Army as the second priority including the unit, and lastly the self. An army who shows faithfulness to the organization always puts his own welfare the least of all. Showing allegiance also means carrying out the mission and orders from superior without showing personal critical perspective towards its superiors. Another critical characteristic of a loyal soldier is its faithfulness towards his/her fellow soldiers that may consequently bring about confidence and trust from its fellow soldier.
It is this kind of devotion that heightens cohesiveness or bond among the soldiers. An ideal exemplar of an action of loyalty is the case about Private Ernest West, a soldier in the L Company. His story happened in 1952 concerning his selflessness and allegiance towards his fellow soldiers by rescuing them from an ambush. Private West, despite the difficulty he encountered during the attack wherein he suffered serious wounds losing one of his eyes. His loyalty to his fellow armies inspired everyone in his infantry which brought him up towards the ladder of success. Another army core value is Duty.
Duty is defined as a work that you are obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons. It means it is a legal or moral obligation to complete assigned task to the fullest of your ability. An army must do what needs to be done without being told to do it. This requires willingness to accept full responsibility for a soldier’s actions. Duty is not time bound such as putting in time to work from 8 a. m. to 5 p. m. in a day but it is a selfless service to one’s country, unit, family and people. The saying “I regret that I have but one life to give to my country” is an example of an indisputable commitment to duty.
Being dutiful means carrying out its jobs to the best of one’s ability and sacrifice its needs in pursuing excellence. The duty which Private Sasser has showed is one of the most inspiring characteristics of duty. Sasser was in the force as a medical aide. His company was making an air assault when it was under attack by enemies which swept numerous casualties. He offered to assist the wounded without hesitation, despite the wounds he suffered during the encounter. Sasser did not showed he was immobilized due to the serious wounds in his legs.
Instead of accepting medical attention, he ran through a barrage of rocket and automatic weapons fire to aid casualties of the initial attack and, after giving them urgently needed treatment, continued to search for other wounded. Despite two additional wounds immobilizing his legs, he dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away. Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, he continued to save the lives of other people. With this, he was conferred with the medal of honors. According to Gen. Bruce Clarke, despite of age or grade soldiers must be treated as mature individuals.
Soldiers are engaged in a dignified occupation and honorable profession that they deserve to be treated with dignity and honor. Respect is an important value that an army must possess. The golden rule best exemplifies the idea of respect. In the US soldier’s code, “Treat people as they should be treated. ” A soldier is expected to treat other people with dignity and respect. This allows him/her to gain the same treatment from other people. This begins with a basic understanding that each and everyone is worthy to be respected as human beings. A leader of the army will not gain respect if he/she shows superiority over his subordinates.
Respecting fellow soldiers means having faith towards them in fulfilling their jobs and duties without necessarily showing them who is the boss. To show respect to others, safety and welfare of others is its prime consideration. However, it is also important to nourish one’s self physically in order to promote health and well being of the school. Discrimination, harassment and inequity are the opposites of respect which may block cohesiveness and trust towards each member of an organization. Selfless Service is beyond a soldier’s consideration of one’s self.
The US army pledged to “Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own. ” The sake of the nation comes first. The priority is always the needs of the country or the people. Serving one’s country is about putting one’s duty above one’s own interest or without having in mind what one can gain. When a soldier takes action it must be for the good of the others and not to increase his/her standing. SPC Fitzmaurice received a medal of honor when he displayed selfless service in Vietnam on 23 March. The courageous deed was realized when he threw his personal safety above the others by shielding fellow soldiers.
Fitzmaurice suffered multiple wounds and partial loss of sight. SPC Fitzmaurice’s heroism in action at the risk of his life contributed significantly to the successful defense of the position and resulted in saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. Doing one’s duty in the army is doing service before one’s self. What it does mean for selfless-service is to complete one’s duty prior to its own comfort zones. The welfare or well being of the entire nation and the organization come before the soldier’s own. Selfless service may be confused with loyalty and duty as they are closely related.
This is an indication on the importance of accepting all the Army values and ignoring none. Honor is said to be a guide for character and conduct. It is something one earns. As we know, one of the highest military awards is the medal of honors. This is conferred to soldiers who displayed the virtue of living up to the values of the army. Honor starts with knowing what is ethically right and wrong and demonstrating what is right. This should begin with sincerity in one’s actions and maintaining integrity and honesty to one’s daily work as a soldier. It takes a good soldier to bring honor. As Gen. Jackson once said “What is life without honor?
Degradation is worse than death. ” As the US army code puts it : “Do what’s right, legally and morally”. Integrity is a virtue a soldier should possess. This is something to be developed by conforming to moral ethics. A good soldier has moral standards and truthful in adhering to these principles both in word and deed. It is not enough to know what is right, but by demonstrating the right makes a soldier earn the trust and confidence of others. Military men of integrity act according to the dictates of the moral ethics and not according to decisions that is convenient for the moment or that temporarily works for a certain situation.
A good soldier possesses personal courage i. e. in physical and moral planes. Bravery is one of the basic characteristic that a soldier must possess. A child when asked about bravery always cites a soldier as an example. This means that courage is attached to the identity of a soldier. Building a noble character of a soldier means developing a physical and moral courage that are required to combat the conflicts and demands in their jobs. It means taking the risks in war despite the fear of being killed. As personal courage is not the absence of fear but it is the ability to face danger and take action on what is needed.
Personal courage does not only mean the ability to combat the conflicts but it also embodies the idea about taking responsibility for the decisions and actions made. Courage also involves the ability to do self-assessment and confront new ideas, and even to the extent to change. Leaders are expected to make decisions that involve risk and often take a stand during times of stress. Personal courage has long been associated with the military force where several narratives about the dangers and hardships that soldiers have successfully faced are notable.
Personal courage is not the absence of fear but it is taking positive action in spite of the fear. Physical courage means overcoming fears of bodily harm and still being able to do your duty. It’s the bravery that allows a soldier to operate in combat in spite of the fear of wounds or death. It is what gets the soldier at airborne school out the aircraft door. It’s what allows an infantryman to assault a bunker to save his buddies or a medic to treat the wounded while under fire. With physical courage, it is a matter of enduring physical duress and, at times, risking personal safety.
Private Silvestre S. Herrera is a good replica on the fighting spirit and courage which are duly recognized by the higher authorities. Private Herrera was conferred with the medal of honors last 2006 due to his courage and fighting spirit in battling the explosives that burst before him hitting his leg. Despite intense pain and the unchecked bleeding of his wounds he lay in the minefield, firing to suppress the enemy while others of his platoon skirted the minefield to flank the enemy position. His courage and fighting spirit reflected honor upon his adopted nation and that of his birth.
Private Herrera received the Medal of Honor These values are not only a statement for how soldiers must behave; these are doctrines that tell them who they are. Army leaders emulate these values because they are the standard for action. Such standard for behavior must remain to be the foundation of trust which the Americans expects from the military (Snider and Watkins, 2000). In relation to this, the military principles rest on the foundation of the seven Army Values. These values reflect the standards to which the whole military force adheres to, regardless of its mission.
In the same way as these Values lead the way thoughts are formed, words are acted, and professional principles of every soldier, so will those same values guide the actions of those who intends to support and follow them. The Americans hold the entire military force to a higher level, not only the front-line combatants. All the priorities time tabled for implementation and the efficiencies gained or the improvements in quality achieved are attainable in keeping with the Army Values. This transformation brings with it many challenges to overcome.
However, it is still recommendable to continually evaluate if successes of the organization are due to adherence to these values. The United States Army serves around the world in the many forms of missions and roles. Although several reasons are known why they join the force, at some level one of them is the desire to serve the nation and the mechanism in perfecting their service is through these values. Hence, these seven values are the main principles that must guide each soldier in their daily undertakings which will lead them towards excellence in service to the people and the nation.
_____________________________ Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. — Samuel Johnson References Don M. Snider and Gayle L. Watkins, “The Future of the Army Profession: A Need for Renewal and Redefinition,” Parameters (August 2000): 5-20. Field Arty (1989). A Brief History of the Backbone of the Army. (Aug. 1989) pp. 17-22. Per. Condensed version of handout at SGM Academy. Forscom . (2007, June 27 updated). Call to Duty : Army Values. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from http://www. forscom. army.
mil/reeng/Army%20Part1%20Values. htm U. S. Army Recruiting Battalion. (2006, January 18 updated). Army Values Training for Future Soldier Training Program Soldiers. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from http://www. usarec. army. mil/1stbde/1obn/FS/values. html Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2007). Retrieved from http://www. m-w. com/dictionary/noncommissioned+officer. htm on November 12, 2007 Pukansky, Michael W. (1999) The Army Chaplaincy. Reflections on Leadership. Retrieved from http://www. usachcs. army. mil/TACarchive/AC71M/reflections_on_leadership. htm on November 13, 2007.