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I am a husband, father, and soldier in the U.S. Army. Currently at AIT taking classes to become a 94S- Patriot Missile System Repairer.
Just thought I’d share an essay I wrote.
A Profession of Arms
For more than 200 years, the American Army has fought to defend the rights and liberties of the American people. When one begins to consider the implications of what such a responsibility would require, it leads our thought process, and begs the question: What is it that defines ours as a profession of arms, and how are the standards of conduct, leadership, and ethics defined? With the constant conflict that is present in our world today, how can we perpetuate the values, strength, and professionalism inherent within the system?
To answer these and other questions, one must make an assessment of our Army, its personnel and practices, and how it relates to the American public, as well as the public, political, and military relations worldwide. In this essay, I will be briefly discussing the attributes as put forth in the White sheet as the “keys” to our profession and being truly professional: Expertise and skill, trust, development and leadership, values and character, and service and duty.
In our Soldier’s creed, in the ninth line, we make the statement,” I am an expert and I am a professional.” To be sure, we train, vigorously, in our chosen military occupational specialties, but what does it take for one to truly become an expert in their field? Among other things, it takes dedication, hard work, and a sense of calling, in regards to our responsibilities as soldiers. We set aside some of our personal liberties and often, our lives, for the sake of our nation’s defense. We play a vital role in enabling our future as a nation to be one free from oppressive forces, be it a militant government, a caste-ridden society, or any other such forces that would seek to use the people for their own profit.
The second key that’s discussed is trust. In order to garner support from allies, join forces with other national powers to become allies, and maintain the trust of the American people, we must strive to make decisions regarding our statements, conduct, and actions both morally and ethically upright. Whether it be the media, opposing militia, or non-combative civilians, we are taught during our training and briefings that we have standards, laws that must be upheld in the name of peacekeeping. Be it officially worded Rules of Engagement, special orders while on duty, or something as simple as an everyday encounter with another human being, we must maintain our sense of moral character as we go about our daily interactions, always mindful of the fact that the world is watching and looking to us as role models.
Enlisting was not always a voluntary decision; indeed, it was not until after hundreds of years of conflict that we were finally able to recognize ours as a military force comprised solely of volunteers, individuals that felt it was their duty to answer our nation’s call to defend her and her people. Regardless of social status, we are required to sign up for the selective service; however, as of late, the military has always been able to meet their personnel goals, especially the Army. So much so, in fact, that we have been subjected to a reduction of personnel, and are still undergoing the transition from a vast, wartime military to one more focused on sustainment. For some, entrance into the military is a family tradition; for others, it is a rite of passage, one that marks our growth into adulthood. No matter the reasoning, however, there is a special bond that we in the ranks share: one built on the shared foundational desire to do our part and serve our country, even in time of war. Our sense of duty further strengthens our relationships with one another, both personally and professionally, and enables us to come together to accomplish things that would not be possible otherwise.
Over the course of our nation’s history, brave men and women have answered the call to rise up and take arms, and protect our homes, families, and lives. From the time that we are little children, we see our military as a professional, time-honored force, dedicated to defending our homes, our lives, and our welfare. Those things that define ours as a profession of arms, consisting of both that same profession and skilled professionals, are not usually well-known. Learning the keystones upon which this military has been built and continues to operate drives me to aspire for more than a simple job: It inspires me to want to become the best soldier I can be, a proficient, honorable professional, exemplifying the Army values and those morals for which we stand and fight.