The Army has defended out nation for 241 years. It has changed many times trying to keep up with new doctrine, strategy, tactics and technology. It has fought many wars and battles over the years. The one constancy has been the people: the soldiers, spouses, and families. I was born into the military as an “Army Brat” and went on to serve 22 years myself. I think I know a thing or two about Army people. Let me give you my impression of the people who make up the Army.
The American soldier is probably the best soldier in the world. It isn’t the training, the equipment or the skill that makes him so, even though he has the best training, equipment and skills. It’s the other attributes that makes him or her number one:
Soldiers are team players. They understand the value of teamwork. It’s rare that a soldier acts alone. Even snipers have a partner. I learned early on never to place a soldier by himself on a guard post. Soldiers always work better as a team.
I used to be offended when someone would accuse me of having a “Military Mind Set.” I now realize it really is a compliment. It means knowing how to establish goals and objectives, having self-discipline, understanding the importance of accomplishing the mission. Soldiers are on time. One of the biggest sins a soldier can commit is to be late to cross the Line of Departure. When they return to civilian life, they show up for work on time and usually early.
Soldiers are loyal. That loyalty extends first to their buddies, then to their unit, and finally to the Army. It’s the code of the military to never leave a wounded comrade or dead brother behind. They are also loyal to their country. There may be instances of individuals who defect but it is extremely rare for even the smallest unit to defect. Most other countries can’t say that. When they return to civilian life, ex-soldiers become loyal to their employer, fellow employees, and customers.
Soldiers have initiative. Initiative is encouraged at all levels in the Army. That is much different than the Russian Army where initiative is discouraged. When American soldiers are cut off and isolated or can’t communicate with higher headquarters, they’ll always take the initiative. Initiative is one attribute that makes former soldiers good employees. It is very difficult to instill initiative in employees who might routinely state, “It’s not my job.” Soldiers take the initiative routinely.
A common myth about the military is that soldiers will blindly follow orders. Not true. Soldiers of a democracy must always be told why they must undertake a mission. Every soldier knows that he/she must not follow an illegal order. However, if the order is legal and explained to a soldier, he will do his upmost to do it. I have seen too often in the civilian world employees perform a task that they knew was stupid or wrong because the boss order it done. They would do it without question.
Soldier believe in democracy. The Army isn’t a democracy and every soldier understand that. They take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US. This is why they joined the Army — this is what they fight for.
Soldiers are generally very friendly. I never saw a soldier who wasn’t willing to share his rations or talk to a child who wanted to practice his English. They are quick to make friends because they know they don’t have much time before they may be redeployed. Soldiers never say, “goodbye” – they say, “until we meet again.” It’s a small world after all. Many friendships forged in the military, especially in combat, become life-time friendships.
There are no spouses like Army spouses. They learn to be self-sufficient when their soldier is deployed. They keep the family together during deployments or long absences. They’re quick to help other spouses. Every time my family was relocated, someone would show up with a cake or fresh baked bread to say welcome.
It’s the people in the Army that make the Army great. Any employer would be lucky to hire ex-military.
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