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A Soldier's Perspective - Army Seven Core Values
by U.S. Army Sgt. Stephanie Woodson - June 27, 2014

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"Mere Chance" by David G. Bancroft

U.S. Army SealFORT BENNING, Ga. - Most Soldiers and Leaders know the Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. However, how often do you see service members living up to them. During Basic Combat Training, we, as Soldiers, learn these values in detail. Once we graduate, we are instructed to live them on and off duty.

Here are my thoughts regarding the Army seven core values.


The Army defines loyalty as bearing true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. By wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army, you are expressing your loyalty. By doing your share, you show your loyalty to your unit.

Loyalty is important to many of us. I feel, if you're loyal, all the other values will follow. Being loyal is not determined by the day of the week or by the mood you're in. It is a natural act.


Fulfill one's obligations. Fulfilling obligations, for me is, paying taxes, doing physical training, maintaining ME, so I can remain tactically and technically proficient in meeting the Army standard. All those statements are true. Here's the Army definition of duty: being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities — all in constant motion. What happens when your team falls short or your leader is toxic? Whose duty is it to reel that sergeant back in? Duty is more than just checking the block, dotting I's and crossing T's.


Treating people as they deserve to be treated, we heard this growing up - from our parents and grandparents, the pastor at church, Sunday school, educators, and the list goes on. Some people will say respect is something earned while others say respect is given. To me trust and respect go hand-in-hand. I trust a person not to disrespect me regardless of their rank or position. That's in a perfect world. Reality is you might find yourself in a situation that you have been provoked but disrespected.

One of many sayings in the Army is “remain professional never personal.” In this case, what do you do? There are many answers to this question but not a matter of fact. People will say, “If it was me, this is what I would have done,” or “it's a good thing that is was you and not me.” It's easy to say what you could, would or should do from the outside looking in, but when you look at the equation, it's clear that “emotions + disrespect + issues = unprofessionalism.”

Whatever adjectives you choose to complete the equation, the end result will always remain the same: unprofessionalism.

I believe before you can respect anyone you first have to respect yourself. Keep in mind, not everyone will have the same meaning of respect. A person's childhood and the way they were raised will eventually reflect in their adulthood. I'd rather be respected as a person then by my rank. At the end of the day, I am human.

The profession I chose is only a small part of what makes me. I'm a wife, mother, sister, auntie, niece, daughter, granddaughter, most importantly a child of God.

Selfless Service

Army defines selfless service as putting the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own.

Selfless service has many pieces that make up the puzzle. Serving your country takes a lot of courage and sacrifice. Soldiers miss out on life because of what we (Soldiers) chose to do. Some may say no one greater sacrifice is bigger than their own. You don't know their struggle or how many hard lefts it took instead of the easy right.

We, as Soldiers, serve our country without wanting, expecting or needing recognition or gain.


Webster defines honor as “something done or given to a person as a token of respect.” Honor goes hand-in-hand with respect. Before you can honor (respect) anyone it must first start with you.

Soldiers are given a Good Conduct Medal every three years for “honorable and faithful service.”

One of my reasons for joining the Army was to honor my grandfather for who he was as a person and a Soldier. I figure this is the least I could do for all that he has given and done for me.

There are different ways to show honor and respect, but you can't get it unless you respect and honor yourself.


Doing what's right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop when you're growing up. The more you value integrity the more effective your relationship with your family, friends, and co-workers will be. If you apply the moral principle to everyday living you will do and say nothing that will deceive others. Others will begin to trust you as your integrity grows.

Webster's Dictionary defines moral principle as “the principle of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or social group.”

Your right can very well be someone else's wrong and vice versa.

Personal Courage

Facing fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral), that is the Army definition of personal courage. Personal courage has long been associated with our Army. Majority of the Soldiers volunteered to join. It not only took physical endurance to maintain and make it through basic training, but it also took personal courage. How? We (Soldiers) had to leave our families and some had to leave their children from newborn to young teenagers in the care of others that we trust. It's still hard to maintain focus, because in the back of your mind, you hope that your children are not being mistreated, just the same as Soldiers have to when being deployed.

Regardless of rank or position, if at any time during your career you stop caring, being concerned or lack considerations for Soldiers and others, it's time for you to check your own block and go home. You're not only failing the Soldiers, but the Army organizations.

A Soldier's rank or position doesn't exclude them from adhering to the values. Although there are many who think they are excluded from the rules and regulations. I have seen staff sergeant to sergeant major, not excluding officers, act as if the standard doesn't apply to them.

In your Army career, you are going to see different styles of leadership; some good, some bad. I say learn from both. Just don't become a “toxic leader”.

My pastor from church said, “When you're grocery shopping, you have a list or an idea what you need to get from the store. You don't go in the store to buy everything, unless it's Wal-Mart. But, no seriously, you get what you need and go.”

Apply that with leadership style. If it can help you, then use it; if not, keep it where it is and keep it moving.

Somewhere, that leader has not just failed you, but other Soldiers as well. Before coming into the Army most of us are taught these values from our parents and have lived these values. The people that struggle with values are those who don't want others to succeed. Some Soldiers forget where they came from and have no direction where they're going.

By U.S. Army Sgt. Stephanie Woodson
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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