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Living The Creed
Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler posed the following question on NCONet asking for input from those of us that are members. “We know the NCO Creed… we recite it during NCO Induction Ceremonies and while attending NCOES… but do we just say the words or do we truly understand the phase ‘no one is more professional than I?’ Pick out a line from the NCO Creed and tell me what it means to you”.
I thought that I would share my response to the SMA.
“My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind – accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers.”
This is the core of what NCOs do. They work hand in hand. If we fail at one, we fail at the other.
Unfortunately, with more than a decade of war, I’ve noticed that NCOs seem have to forgotten the art of “Garrison leadership.” We are a tired Corps and would rather spend what little time we can with our own families at the expense of our extended band of brothers. We aren’t in the barracks. We aren’t getting acquainted with our troops’ families. We’re not enforcing basic uniform and appearance standards.
I think this is most evident in the recent release of suicide statistics. The Army lost more Soldiers to suicide in July than any other month since statistics have been kept. In many of these cases, our troops have reached out, but we weren’t paying enough attention to notice. And when we do notice, we’re more inclined to use the “suck it up” attitude.
We cannot remove the stigma of seeking help when we still have senior NCOs who still aren’t willing to recognize the problem. I had a senior-level CSM recently tell me that he think PTS is mostly made up. It’s uncomfortable when Soldiers come to me with their problems because they don’t trust their own NCOs to understand them or deal with them appropriately. While I will never turn away a Soldier that is hurting, this isn’t a good sign. There’s a saying that the day when your Soldiers stop coming to you with your problems is the day you ceased being a leader.
While I agree that there are cases like that, the truth is that there is absolutely no reason to fake this diagnosis. Soldiers find out real quickly that our medical professionals can see through the smoke screen of those trying to game the system fairly easily. Faking it is harder than actually having it. And there is a major difference between a Soldier declaring symptoms of PTS and trying to get better and someone just trying to get out of work or trouble.
If we don’t secure “the welfare of my Soldiers” we will eventually fail at the “accomplishment of my mission.” It’s a domino effect.