Can You Live the Seven Army Values?

People join the Army for a myriad of reasons. Some need a paycheck; others join for the education benefits they can use while serving and and others for the GI BIll benefits after getting out. However, serving is serious business and you will be held to a certain standard once you are in uniform. If you are thinking about enlisting in the Army, you will be expected (and held accountable) to live by the seven Army Values of:

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage.

But what do these seven values really mean? As a soldier, you will learn the meaning of the words while in Basic Combat Training. From then on, throughout your Army service, you will be expected to live the Army Values 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year - both on and off duty - as this is what soldiering is all about.
Many people joint the Army to be part of something larger than themselves. Loyalty is part of that larger something. It means you will defend the Constitution of the United States, the Army, your unit and fellow soldiers. By wearing the uniform, you are seen by others as being loyal servant of the United States and its people.  Your actions in everything you do should support that loyalty.
Duty means being able to fulfill your obligations and accomplish tasks as part of a team. You fulfill your obligations every time follow orders or a standard operating procedure. It also means avoiding taking shortcuts because you have a better idea. Those better ideas get fellow soldiers killed.
In the Soldier’s Code (something else you will learn), we pledge to “treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same.” Respect is trusting that your fellow soldiers and leaders have done their job correctly and fulfilled their duty.
Selfless Service
Selfless service is not about you. It is about serving others by putting the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service begins with everyone going a little further and enduring a little longer to add to the overall effort and accomplishment of the mission.
Honor is living the other six Army valuesof respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.
Integrity is adhering to moral principles – doing what is right, legally and morally. It means you will not say or do anything to deceive others. As your integrity grows, so will the trust others place in you.
Personal Courage
You build personal courage by standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable – every time. It means making the right decision and taking the right path, even if that path is not popular with others.
After reading over the seven Army values, you probably think these would be easy to live by, but do you have the intestinal fortitude – the guts, drive and desire – to stay the course and live these every minute of the day both while in uniform and out for as long as you are in the Army?
Throughout my 36-year career, I have seen numerous soldiers fail at one or more of the values. There will be many opportunities to stray off course, especially from peer pressure, but avoid the temptation and stay on the right path. Be that Army value model for others to emulate!  

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Good Stuff, Ron

Hopefully those about to enter the Army will read & heed.

Required Learning

The values taught by the Army should be taught at the elementary school level and reinforced throughout one's education. I think the most recent abuses on Wall Street, the housing market, Enron, Bernie Madoff and all the other institutions and individuals that ripped-off the American public are due to a lack of values.

A famous philosopher once wrote "As I think, so shall I act." If we teach values early, people are more likely to behave in an ethical and honest manner. If we leave this education to chance, we are doomed to continue to see the abuses of power we have seen over the last decade.

Another famous philosopher once wrote "those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."


You're absolutely correct, jd1.donovan. My daughter is a public school teacher & that's one subject that's not on her curriculum but a good teacher will still interject it in their standard teaching. She has challenge as she's a special ed teacher but still tries to include that in her daily teaching.

My three kids all went to Christian schools & my two grandsons do also & you can bet that it's taught there. According to my daughter many of the teachers she knows don't have any values themselves.