Army values are a set of rules that govern the members of the armed forces. These values form the foundations of the Army, instilling bona fide moral principles in the Army profession. The seven values serve as the rudiments for a culture of teamwork, excellence, and respect. They lead to a ready and robust Army that is capable of improvising, adapting, and overcoming adversaries and obstacles.
The US Army officially accepted Army Values in 1995. They are detailed in the “Army Regulation 600-100, Army Leadership, dated March 8, 2007”. The regulation dictates that all soldiers are obligated to embody the seven core values daily in whatever they do, whether on or off duty. Army values are implemented institutionally and encourage army men to live by these values. The US Army has seven core army values. The values are rooted in America’s cultural beliefs. It captures the depth and content of the American character, including its history, sacrifice, and shared heritage.
Army values are known as LDRSHIP, which means “Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.”
Loyalty stands for faithfulness to the country and fellow army men. A US soldier must bear allegiance to the United States of America. By extension, the US Army exists solely to defend the country. The Army’s fundamental mandate includes military tasks like the defense of the United States territorial borders. Therefore, every officer must actively and willingly carry out all of the obligations that come with such responsibilities. This value entails warriors accepting all of the obligations that come with their efforts to defend the United States. Duty comprises adhering to military policies and directives while striving for perfection in the execution of military mission objectives.
Duty represents obligations that a soldier must see through under all circumstances. Being in the Army, soldiers have to take part in challenging missions. It’s their obligation to their country to fulfill all their assigned tasks with absolute integrity. This entails being concerned about the welfare of others and making efforts to ensure the well-being and safety of others while doing military tasks.
Respect encompasses how a soldier treats others on and off duty. The Army commands that everyone is treated with the respect they deserve. Soldiers must display the highest regard for their fellow officers at all times. Mutual respect between soldiers and leaders creates a military squad motivated to carry out its mission without the underlying forces of disobedience and rebellion to commands. This prevents the formation of resentments, hatred, and divides among the soldiers. As a result, subordinates are not denigrated but rather valued and encouraged to grow personally as well as professionally in carrying out all military activities.
Selfless service indicates putting the welfare of the country before oneself. Joining the Army means serving a greater purpose. Soldiers must serve the nation without the expectation of gains or recognition. This principle instills in troops a unique perspective that allows them to consider not what their country owes them but what they owe the country in exchange for their service. It entails putting the country’s and the Army’s interests ahead of individual demands. It also entails harming one’s own interests in order to benefit one’s country, Army, and coworkers, as well as to aid success in all military objectives.
Honor is the commitment of every army personnel to live up to the Army standards. It entails going above and beyond the conventional military standards of service and often preceding one’s own rights and privileges in order to serve the nation. It requires adhering to all Army requirements and establishing a reputation for putting the Army’s principles ahead of one’s own, even if it means jeopardizing one’s own life.
Integrity represents the moral courage to do what is right in the face of impossible odds. A soldier must be honest and transparent; they must not be deceitful. They should always abide by moral principles and do right by everyone around them. US soldiers are expected to be unassailable. As a result, all troops are required to be truthful in their words and actions. Soldiers must be morally beyond reproach to the point where they may prioritize righteousness above popularity and act morally even in the absence and vigilance of their leaders.
Personal courage means facing fears, enduring physical duress, and taking necessary risks to safeguard the country. It refers to a soldier’s ability to put fear aside and do what is expected of them as an Army member. Moral bravery refers to a soldier’s commitment to stick by military standards, beliefs, and personal convictions in order to provide conscientious duty even if doing so may be harmful. Soldiers must carry out their duties honorably without the fear of consequences.
The moral foundations of the Army Ethic (as described in ADRP 1 The Army Profession (June 14, 2015)) encompass the seven Army Values as we know them today. While the American Army has always been a values-based institution, the current Army Values appear to have gradually evolved during the latter years of the Vietnam War. The changes were implemented in response to the 1968 My Lai atrocity.
The principles of the Army Ethic and the Army Values embedded within it have long existed and been a source of debate and honor among members of the profession. Over the years, the Army has studied and expressed our individual and institutional principles as Army professionals and evaluated and reinterpreted their declared and operational values as a profession. This dynamic work is still ongoing today.
The Army values signify a way of life for soldiers; it’s more than just simple words. These principles are not only applicable to the US Army. In fact, everyone can benefit from instituting these values in their daily lives. These principles can foster more resilience and make us better citizens. A better citizen means a better society. We all have something that we can learn from these Army values.
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