101st Airborne Lt Col Joe Repya US ARMY
Two weeks ago, as I was starting my sixth month of duty in Iraq, I was forced to return to the USA for surgery for an injury I sustained prior to my deployment. With luck, Ill return to Iraq in January to finish my tour.
I left Baghdad and a war that has every indication that we are winning, to return to a demoralized country much like the one I returned to in 1971 after my tour in Vietnam.
Maybe its because Ill turn 60 years old in just fo...
Integrity means to confidently hold to a code of moral and ethical principles. Every Soldier must have high personal moral standards and be honest in word and action. Living and speaking with integrity is very hard. You must live by your word for everything. Having integrity and being honest in everything you say and do builds trust. What is now may not always be. No matter where we are in life, things could get better or worse. The present experiences highs and lows, but the future is in your own hands. Change is the only thing that is permanent. You can't change everything, so deal with it accordingly and responsibly in order to better the situation. Always be true to yourself and never compromise your character or your integrity to go along with the group for your integrity is the basis for trust and confidence that must exist among members of the Army. It is the source for great personal strength and is the foundation for organizational success as well as sound character. As leaders, all Soldiers are watching and looking to see that you are honest and live by your word. If you make a mistake, you should openly acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward. People of integrity consistently act according to principles, not just what might work at the moment. Leaders of integrity make their principles known and consistently act in accordance with them. America's Army requires leaders to be and act responsibly. Being honest means being truthful and upright all the time, despite pressures to do otherwise. As an Army leader, you're honest to yourself by committing to and time after time living the Army values; you are honest to others by not presenting yourself or your actions as anything other than what they are. Army leaders say what they mean and do what they say. If you can't finish a task, inform your chain of command. If you unintentionally pass on bad information, correct it as soon as you find out it's wrong. People of integrity do the right thing not because it's handy or because they have no choice. They choose the right thing because their character accepts no less. Leaders can't hide what they do. That's why we must cautiously decide how we act. As an Army leader, you're always on display. If you want to instill Army values in others, you must internalize and demonstrate them yourself. Your personal values may and probably extend beyond the Army values, to include such things as political, cultural, or religious beliefs. However, if you're to be an Army leader and a person of integrity, these values must support the Army values, not challenge them. Integrity is one of the most important and oft-cited of high value terms. The United States Army wants well trained including morally sound Soldiers. It is the responsibility of all leaders to promote and assist those who lack good judgment in order for the Army to maintain a high level of integrity itself. All should be taken into consideration before a judgment of character is placed upon an individual. If, as a leader, I am not able to take these considerations into account and assist my subordinate to become morally efficient, I am letting down my subordinate due to my lack of assistance when I am well aware there might be a problem. At this point I would have to question my own integrity for the unwillingness to help or assist a fellow comrade. It is my sole responsibility to mentor and encourage morally sound decision making on my subordinates behalf. A person of integrity is one whose private person matches or exceeds his public person. Most humans know how easy it is for them to walk past that trash on the floor, to pocket that quarter they find in the coin return, to fudge on their taxes, to drive by that stranded motorist, to postdate a check by a day, to park in that handicapped zone, "just for a second though", to evade and cut corners and white-lie and get out of and procrastinate and do all those things that come so easy for every human being because of human nature. So before I cast judgment on another individual's character and integrity, I will always remember that we are all humans and respectfully we all lack in the area of integrity because of who we are. This, of course, should not be an acceptable reason to behave in such a manner that misconduct is presented as "normal" because the "normal" human being wants to please those they look up to and respect or want to be looked up to by their subordinates and typically would do whatever it takes to achieve those standards including but not limited to their daily lives. According to Webster's Dictionary, integrity means a code of expected moral, the quality or state of being complete or undivided, honest, sound, incorruptible, or an unimpaired condition. Again, respectfully, it sounds to me that the one who holds all these values one hundred percent throughout a lifetime, is the perfect person. I acknowledge here before my superiors and subordinate in the Army that I am far from perfect and far from corruptible but do my best to uphold the laws and regulations, as well as the highest standards of integrity, set before me in the United States Army and in my personal life as well. I understand being dishonest and not upholding my responsibilities as a Noncommissioned Officer of the United States Army can damage the team unity. The intentional lack of integrity of one person can be a thorn in the side of the entire group. The lack of integrity can make superiors possibly question the character of an individual as well as the subordinates. The first obligation I have as a leader is to accomplish assigned missions. In doing this I must be proficient in both individual and shared tasks. I must ensure all soldiers are well trained, informed, and capable of accomplishing the assigned mission. I must create a disciplined environment where soldiers and I can learn and grow both personally and professionally. I must hold my soldiers and myself to the highest of standards, training them to do their jobs effectively in peace and when in war. I must take care of my soldiers by being fair, refusing to cut corners, sharing my hardships, and setting the example. In the United States Army, as a leader, honesty and integrity are required to the best of one's ability in order to run a more perfect unit. When I lack in motivation and dedication to the team and cut corners or do not report misconduct, I am, in fact, encouraging subordinates to act in the same manner. I am not challenging them or myself, with this kind of behavior, to the highest of individual potential. Being responsible, having courage, compassion, being loyal, honest, persistent, and self-disciplined to the best of each individuals ability are what every Soldier should recognize as being essential requirements of portraying good character. For any one man to possess or exemplify all these traits of moral perfection would be as likely as the sun setting in the east. But every person capable of understanding morality should strive to build character based on these virtues and values. Possibly only one person in recent history has achieved the highest of moral standards, and has been a shining example of virtue and integrity. This man had his many accomplishments in the fields of science, education, publishing, philosophy, politics, and statesmanship that are noteworthy, but all of his achievements were undoubtedly a result of his exce
General Bruce C. Clarke once stated, "Regardless of age or grade, soldiers should be treated as mature individuals. They are engaged in an honorable profession and deserve to be treated as such." In 1879 August 11, Major General John M. Schofield addressed to the United States Corps of Cadets the following. "The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army." It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. In ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />America's Army, respect means recognizing and appreciating the natural dignity and worth of all people. This value reminds you that your Soldiers and people in general, are your greatest resource. Army leaders honor everyone's individual worth by treating all people with dignity and respect. As America becomes more culturally diverse, Army leaders must be aware that they will deal with people from a wide range of ethnic, racial, religious, and different backgrounds. Effective leaders are tolerant of beliefs different from their own as long as those beliefs don't conflict with the Army values, are not illegal, and are not unethical. As an Army leader, we need to avoid misunderstandings arising from cultural differences. Actively seeking to learn about people and cultures different from our own will enhance our knowledge. Being sensitive to other cultures can also aid you in counseling your troops more effectively. You show respect when you seek to understand your troop's background and when you can see things from their perspective, and appreciate what's important to them. Respect is treating others with consideration and honor. It is the ability to accept and value other individuals. Respect is developed by accepting others and acknowledging their worth without feeling obligated to embrace all of their ideas. A Soldier approaches you and offers a better way to get a job done. Instead of showing the soldier respect you tell him "you'll do it my way because I am the boss!" This is not showing respect. As an Army leader, we must also make sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, gender, creed, or religious belief. All of us possess special skills and hold to certain values. Without respect for all other individuals there would not be an organized and team oriented Army. Nurturing this environment begins with: how you live Army values shows your troops how they should live them. However, values' training is another key contributor. Effective training helps create a general understanding of Army values and the standards you expect. When you conduct it as part of your regular routine, such as during developmental counseling sessions, you emphasize the message that respect for others is part of the character of every Soldier. Combined with your example, as a leader, such education creates an organizational environment that promotes consideration for others, fairness in all connections, and equal opportunity. As part of this consideration, leaders create an environment in which subordinates are challenged, where they can reach their full potential and be all they can be. Providing tough training doesn't demean subordinates; in fact, building their capabilities and showing confidence in their potential is showing them first hand respect. Valuable leaders take the time to learn what their subordinates want to accomplish. They counsel their Soldiers on how they can grow personally and professionally. Not all subordinates will succeed equally, but they all deserve respect. Respect is also a crucial part of the development of disciplined, organized, and successful war fighting teams. In the fatal confusion of combat, Soldiers often overcome unbelievable odds to accomplish the mission and shield the lives of their comrades. The spirit of selfless service and duty is built on a Soldier's personal trust and regard for fellow Soldiers. A leader's eagerness to tolerate discrimination or harassment on any basis, or a failure to promote an environment of respect, corrupts the trust and can literally destroy the foundation of the Army. But respect goes even beyond issues of discrimination and harassment; it includes the broader matter of civility, the way people treat each other and those they come in contact with. It involves being aware of diversity and one's own behaviors that others may find insensitive, offensive, or abusive. Leaders, like their Soldiers, should treat everyone with dignity and respect including while participating in a counseling session. Giving respect also earns respect.
I question myself, "what is leadership?"
In the many years I have been a Non Commissioned Officer I have learned that Leaders are Teachers. No matter what the activity, family, school, church, or the United States Army- Leaders are always teachers. The terms are not, in my judgment, interchangeable; not all teachers are leaders but all LEADERS are TEACHERS. The main leadership principle; know yourself and seek self-improvement. In leadership, each and every soldier must know, understand, and apply all Army Values in every aspect of their lives. I have always known what the Army Values were but never truly knew the meaning of each value until I researched.
The United States Armed Forces must have leaders in order to run a more efficient Army. As stated in many different manuals and documents of the Army, the acronym LDRSHIP describes the values that the Army instills. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. I will go through each to let you know what they are and what they mean to me. I will post each Value individually for viewing. Keep watching for the rest.
Soldiers have an obligation to be faithful to the Army, the institution, and its people as well as the unit. Loyalty is a two-way street; you should not expect loyalty without being prepared to give it in return. Leaders can neither demand loyalty nor win it from their subordinates by talking about it. The loyalty of our troops is a gift they give you when, only you deserve it. After you have trained them well, treated them fairly, and lived by the concepts you are instilling in them will they be loyal to their leaders. Leaders who are loyal to their troops never let them be misused. Soldiers fight for each other, loyalty is a commitment. Some leaders will come across the most important way of earning loyalty; leading your soldiers well in combat. There's no loyalty greater than that of soldiers who trust their leader to take them through the dangers of combat. I do my best in every concept of speaking and acting to lead my Soldiers successfully through each mission assigned. Loyalty is the faithful adherence to a person, unit, or Army. It is the thread that binds our actions together and causes us to support each other, our superiors, our family, and our country. Supporting a superior or a program even though it is being openly criticized by peers or subordinates requires courage and loyalty. A loyal intermediate would try to explain the rationale behind the decision and support the decision maker. When we establish loyalty to the Soldiers, the unit, our superiors, our family, and the Army we must be sure the "correct ordering" of our obligations are being accomplished and not the easiest. There is no clear rule to which one comes first. Sometimes it will be the service, sometimes my family and sometimes the soldiers. Open disapproval and being disloyal to your comrades, whether superior or lower enlisted, destroys the foundation of the organization and results in diminished mission accomplishment. However, loyalty should not be confused with blind obedience to illegal orders either. We all take the oath to obey the orders of superiors appointed over us "according to law and regulations".