Our Warrior Ethos: An Essay
By 1st Sgt. Tammy Treat
119th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
*Originally published in the October 2010 issue
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I started this journey alone. I walked into a recruiting station and joined the largest organized force
this planet has to reckon with. The magnitude of it
is awe-inspiring in its own right. Our nation is the great
masterpiece in which we enlisted to protect.
Just the sight of an American flag or the sound of
our anthem is enough for me to feel that rush of adrenaline, which is so many things mixed into a singular
concoction of emotion that I can only try at best to dig
deep within my soul to verbalize it all.
When I see our flag, I feel strength. When I raise my
right arm to render a salute to it, the feeling is one of
such intense respect; it is a phenomena which I cannot
fully describe. I
look at those who
stand beside me. I
think the emotions
they feel are the
same. We are not
connected to each
other by marriage
or birth. We come
cities, faiths and
cultures. We do
not look alike nor
do we sound alike.
We have varying
degrees of social
standing and education. So how is it
that you can take
the everyday, common American and
turn that body and soul into a warrior who is willing to
give up his or her life for that of a fellow Soldier?
We are a family of fighters. We become proficient
in our Warrior Tasks, our Battle Drills and even our
occupational specialties. We drill muscle memory into
every inch of our being so we can maneuver as one. It is
a single thread that binds us — a value and belief system
average Americans have come to trust as a sacred protector of their land. That thread is so complex, stubborn and
strong that I cannot imagine it ever being broken.
Our Army values guide our way on every journey,
every mission in which we set out to tackle. That is why
it is so important for our successors to fully understand
the stepping stones we have laid before them. The history
and the progression of the noncommissioned officer
should be ever-prevalent in our subordinate’s minds as
they are the future leaders, mentors, and coaches.
Those leaders before me shared their knowledge and
skill in order to see that I, too, would be there for the
next generation. If I do not ensure those who follow
in my place know the things I know, and live the same
values as I live, then
I have failed.
The relative rank
I wear on my chest
is not that of power,
but of wisdom and
experience. I am an
enforcer of standards. As a first sergeant, my mission
is Soldiers. I am to
keep those under
my care physically
and mentally fit and
willing to fight the
fight. My mission
is to train my
team so that they
can take my place
once I am gone, to
mentor them into
well-rounded, trustworthy leaders who genuinely care. I am to coach them
into becoming experts in all that they do. By doing all of
this, I will know that they have not been left behind and
have been given what they need to succeed.
I believe the Army values entail essential qualities of character needed to build an effective team of
warriors. When I see someone walk by me wearing
our uniform, I judge that Soldier. I assume the nature of the person wearing it is that of a trusted, dignified,
tough and loyal individual. I feel that silent, unspoken
understanding between us, that we are brothers and
sisters in arms and that we are here to protect one
another no matter the circumstance.
When I look at each and every member of my team,
the emotions that run through my blood make my chest
extend out in pride. I have memories of pre-mission
prayers or crying with a fellow Soldier on the anniversary of our brother-in-arm’s death. In my heart, I know
these sacrifices were for the betterment of our nation. We
must drive on and strive for excellence so the losses we
have suffered won’t be for naught.
The Warrior Ethos is an attitude and a state of
mind. It takes a special internal strength that only a
warrior can understand. That is what we are: warriors.
The loyalty, enthusiasm, and inspiration of those before me will never be forgotten. I have internalized the
values they instilled upon me, and it is all now part of
my nature; part of my own existence.
Through the heat of the battle or the calm of the
storm, the lessons I have learned toughened my soul
and the bonds I have built will be forever. I can truly
say I will never accept defeat. I will never quit, and
when I look back on my career I will know that I gave
it my all and I will stand proud.
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