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                  The Army value Integrity can be defined as being honest and doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. This Army value is another one that stands out to me personally. As Drill Sergeants train and prepare Soldiers for the Army, we have
to continually be aware of our actions because
we do not want to set a bad example. Sometimes people look for the easy way out. It should come
as no surprise that a trainee will use an excuse
to avoid doing the right thing. Doing the wrong something becomes much more comfortable
when a trainee can point out hypocritical acts by the instructor. Integrity requires that a person is honest and displays sound moral principles. When a person has integrity, the people around them develop more confidence and establish the ability to depend on said person. The country depends on the Army to lead the way on and off the battlefield. Whether we are fighting a war in Afghanistan or fighting covid-19, the country is watching our actions. When our efforts lack integrity, we lose the confidence of the people we have sworn to protect.
Personal courage is a character trait associated with men and women in our ranks that have placed others’ welfare above their own. Personal courage can be in the form of overcoming physical boundaries or making tough moral decisions that will affect people’s livelihood. Facing adversity
and fear begins as soon as a trainee enters the military. Though the Army Basic Combat Training environment is continually changing, each trainee must go through a series of obstacle courses and pass required training events to become a Soldier. At Victory Tower, trainees are required to face the fear of height. Each trainee must follow specific directions from the cadre to conquer the obstacle without injury. During the Forge, trainees must face the fear of doing a ruck march while carrying equipment much farther than they have ever
gone before. Facing moral fear begins even before entering the Basic Combat Training environment. Each person that joins our ranks does so without knowing what lies ahead. Facing fear and dealing with adversity or adversity is a process that continues throughout our lives. Personal courage
is an Army value that is developed throughout various stages in life. Even as we progress in rank or position, each decision and challenge we face can define our service. No one cares about all of the right choices you make when you make a terrible choice.
A wrong choice plaguing the world during
this pandemic is to lack social distance while disregarding the proper wear of a mask. We see the civilian population continually ignore warnings from top health officials about COVID-19. Just
this past weekend, we witnessed the students at the University of South Carolina in massive crowds. The students were celebrating a huge win for
the football team and came together throughout the streets of the five points area. Such a historic success for the school was diminished due to the lack of restraint by the students. We do not have
to look very far to see examples of what not to do. Right here at Fort Jackson, we can see members
of our ranks driving vehicles with numerous passengers disregarding the proper wear of a mask. Drill Sergeants and other cadres that our Nation trusts to protect them from harm and danger are putting people at risk. As trainees are transported to the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC), it is imperative to use the proper protective equipment. Wearing a mask is of extreme importance in a vehicle because we cannot maintain social distance. Numerous trainees make trips to the TMC and contact people from different battalions, only to return to the company within hours.
Just as a trainee can come into contact with a person transmitting COVID-19, Drill Sergeants and other cadre travel to various places throughout the city each day. Drill Sergeants and other cadre are more likely to cause the spread of COVID-19 because we come in contact with different people each day. We must take the steps required to mitigate the spread of covid-19 because our Nation trusts the Army to do the right thing, regardless of the situation. Recent news concerning the Army at Fort Hood has diminished the trust of our Nation. Parents are concerned with how the Army will take care of their kids that decide to join the military. The last thing we need is to explain why parents and other loved ones should discourage their children from joining our ranks. We should embrace our Nation’s trust and live the Army Values to maintain the level of respect our Army has gained over time.
SSG McFadden is a Drill Sergeant for Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 165th Infantry Brigade.
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