WARRIOR ETHOS: Soldiers Selflessly Committed to Army, Unit, Fellow Soldiers

By Castillo, Nicholas B. | Infantry, July/August 2005 | Go to article overview
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WARRIOR ETHOS: Soldiers Selflessly Committed to Army, Unit, Fellow Soldiers


Castillo, Nicholas B., Infantry


FM 7-0, Training the Force, defines the Warrior Ethos as "...the Soldier's selfless commitment to the nation, mission, unit, and fellow Soldiers. It is the professional attitude that inspires every American Soldier. The Warrior Ethos is grounded in refusal to accept failure. It is developed and sustained through discipline, commitment to the Army Values, and pride in the Army's heritage."

We can no longer rely on fighting our nation's wars on a linear battlefield, where we can easily differentiate between friendly and enemy lines. The enemy's face has changed, as must our way of fighting. The mind-set we must assume in fighting that enemy must also change. We can no longer rely on just our Combat Arms brethren to defeat the enemy. The unique realities of the modern battlefield mandate that ALL Soldiers assume the mind-set and tenacity of the infantryman, and should they be called upon, take the fight to the enemy. Current military operations in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have seen cooks transformed into SAW gunners during convoy operations and field artillerymen performing cordon searches throughout the heart of Baghdad. They assumed these roles with no complaint, and with little or no formal training. The thread common to these Soldiers is their selfless commitment to the nation, the mission, the unit, and fellow Soldiers. They refuse to accept defeat. This state of mind has remained prevalent throughout our nation's 229-year history.

The Warrior Ethos should not be a new concept to anyone present today. The NCO Creed, The Ranger's Creed, Von Steuben's "Blue Book," the Code of Conduct, and most recently, the Soldier's Creed, have all emphasized the heart of what the Warrior Ethos represents. These beliefs and convictions have been the cornerstone of our profession of arms since the Army's birth in 1775. The focal point of these remarkable documents focuses on discipline, professionalism, and selfless service to our nation and our fellow Soldiers. The Warrior Ethos is merely a synopsis of what these historic documents and credos represent. As senior NCOs and leaders of Soldiers, it is OUR duty to ensure that we instill these principles into everything our Soldiers do on a daily basis. We must ensure that our Soldiers possess the mental and physical toughness to sustain themselves during the chaos of combat. It is our responsibility to teach ALL Soldiers that courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to control that fear and continue on with the mission. All noncommissioned officers must instill in their Soldiers that integrity and honor must NEVER be compromised, regardless of the situation in which they may find themselves. Without either of these character traits, they will never learn to trust each other in combat. The Warrior Ethos, simply stated, is a moral and professional standard that we must hold our Soldiers accountable to. However, in order to do this, we must first be able to hold ourselves accountable to that standard. Leaders must continuously immerse themselves in the history of those who have fought before them and adopt their leadership qualities into their own styles of leadership. We must continuously be seeking ways to improve the way in which we take care of our Soldiers. We should ask ourselves, "Are our Soldiers mentally and physically prepared to endure the rigors of battle? Are they proficient in their MOS? Are our Soldiers proficient in basic combat Soldier skills?" The answer to these questions rests first and foremost with every Soldier that wears the rank of the NCO. The Warrior Ethos must be the daily guidepost that all NCOs adhere to. As NCOs, we are the vehicle that will provide the next generation of Soldiers the means to become proficient in their chosen profession and survive on the battlefield.

As the deployment rate for all components of the United States Army (Active, Reserve, and National Guard) increases, the depth in which we train our Soldiers has never been more crucial.

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