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V CIespotis gates’
Eristics of “expertise, responsibility, c°rporateness.”2
ut this applies to civilian profes-
Ir^ '' e g-, doctors or lawyers—as well, i c^ec*’ some view the military simply as rPoration whose employees happen
None of us should be the least bit embarrassed about sounding off, "I serve because I love my country," when asked why we do what we do.
A s members of the armed forces, we share a common purpose: to defend ^ls nation, even at the cost of our lives. e are committed to defending the lib- y and freedom of our fellow citizens.
are sworn to defend the Constitu- against all enemies, foreign and do- deestlc- Today, the armed forces are un- ^r§oing tumultuous changes.
■ e are faced with rapid down- cln§’ changing missions, and ')ntroversy over allowing ho- **uals in uniform. During to I limes of turmoil, it is easy t - °^e sight of our fundamen- ^ mission—keeping faith with dJ?6r*can society by steadfastly Ending our nation, nir 6 must not forget the sig- [j 'Cance of volunteerism in the cho arrnec* forces. We have rj ,Sen to place our lives at 0u ’ tf necessary, to protect has C°Untry’s freedoms. Much q changed since Elbridge thjy stated on 2 June 1784 standing armies in time of prCe are inconsistent with the genciples of a free people, and strneraHy converted into de- ■ jcjive engines for establish- ism.”1 The United — armed forces pose no atldat to domestic tranquility cau democracy, however, be- be(;Se they are all-volunteer and hut USe are professional. eXa 'Vdat's professionalism, hisCtly? Samuel Huntington, in assic book, The Soldier fe 'he State, describes a pro-
'°nal vocation as one with the char 'Me
to dress the same. The armed forces are not IBM in khaki and camouflage. Our values as members of the armed forces of the United States set us apart. Our commitment to serve our country distinguishes us from other professionals.
Unfortunately, some critics attempt to discount our profession by twisting our
devotion and voluntary sacrifice for the common defense into crass desires for good pay and early retirement. A recent op-ed piece in The New York Times, entitled “It's Bidness, General,” is a case in point. Russell Baker writes, “In this new professional military the pay is good, the educational opportunities are bright, socialized medicine eliminates the civilian's health-care nightmare, and retirement benefits can be collected early in life.”3 Baker attempts to subsume the ultimate sacrifice—laying down one's life in defense of our democratic values—into a mere economic cost-benefit analysis.
After all, he writes, “having observed that combat qualification is essential to reaching the top, to winning the big C.E.O. office, [all service members] quite naturally demand the right to be shot at, and possibly up, in combat... [in order to] have a fair chance at the top jobs with fancy general-and-admiral salaries, swell pensions, chauf- feured cars, flunkeys to snap heels and run errands, plus the best housing on the base.”4 This crass caricature is representative of the misunderstanding many have about what motivates members of the armed forces.
Many of our fellow Americans do not appreciate the importance of our sacrifice as keepers of the faith. They ask, with sincere bewilderment. “Why would anybody serve in the military if he didn't have to? Is it because you needed that scholarship to get through school?” All too often our response is an equally bewildered silence. How could
eedings/ October 1993
When You Give Blood You Give Another Birthday, Another Date, Another Dance, Another Lauoh, Another Hug,
American Red Cross
Please Give Blood.
anyone so misunderstand our motives?
Just as officers find it difficult to discuss publicly our patriotism and values, so do our troops. Ask any young sailor or Marine why he is in the Navy or Marine Corps and you will hear a variety of valid reasons, but love of country probably will not be among them. Are we all just in it for the money? Certainly not. Asking a sailor or Marine about patriotism may be the only way to make him blush! We find it difficult to express our values—the bedrock upon which our service is based. As officers, it is our duty to emphasize the importance of patriotism.
Leadership means taking the time to talk with our troops about the significance, importance, and validity of values such as patriotism. None of us should be the least bit embarrassed about sounding off, “I serve because I love my country,” when asked why we do what we do. As professional officers, we must set the example for our enlisted personnel by upholding and strongly emphasizing our core values of honor, commitment, and courage.
We are a professional military force, but we are not, as some critics might assert, divorced from American society and values. Indeed, our love of this country and liberty has led us willingly to sacrifice and to accept limitations upon some rights, such as privacy, that other American citizens enjoy. Nevertheless, having voluntarily accepted limitations upon our rights, we truly appreciate freedom—perhaps more than any other group of Americans. Patriotism, not a desire for monetary gain, underlies our willingness to sacrifice; as Huntington states:
In Western society the vocation of officership is not well regarded monetarily. Nor is his behavior within his profession governed by economic rewards and punishments. The officer is not a mercenary who transfers his services wherever they are best rewarded, nor is he the temporary citizen-soldier inspired by intense momentary patriotism and duty but with no steadying and permanent desire to perfect himself in the management of violence. The motivations of the officer are a technical love for his craft and the sense of social obligation to utilize his craft for the benefit of society.5
In these times of turmoil, we must refocus upon our values as citizens and as professionals. We certainly will be entering a period of cutbacks and possibly decreased capability. This is nothing new. There always has been a struggle in the
United States over the military, leadift inevitably to cycles of disarmament f°' lowed by frantic mobilization when d* next unexpected war breaks out. It’s ea>! to draw parallels to a similar reduction1 force that took place after World Wat' Indeed, Lieutenant Barney Greenwd1 in The Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk novel set in World War II, could b speaking to us today instead of to the f cently acquitted officers of the USS CaW when he says of the long-service offic£f of the 1930s:
While I was studying law ‘n’ Keefer here was writing his play the Theatre Guild, and Willie here on the playing fields of [Princeto1" all that time these birds we call lars—these stuffy, stupid Prussians-|! the Navy and the Army were manW[!- guns. . . . Meantime me, I was vancing my little free non-Prussij! life for dough. Of course, we figur? in those days, only fools go i"11 armed service. Bad pay, no milli011 aire future, and you can’t call y0" mind or body your own. Not for sd1 sitive intellectuals. So when all he, broke loose and the Germans stadc running out of soap and figured, its time to come over and melt do"f old Mrs. Greenwald—who’s go*1^ stop them? Not her boy Barney. Cd1 stop a Nazi with a lawbook.6
It is our duty and privilege to sef'‘ in the armed forces of the United Sta1^ during another period of demobilizati0'1 We must keep the faith by bearing 1 _ burden of defending our nation—perh:'f without thanks—during peacetime as "e as during times of conflict.
We are the regulars now—stand"'-' guard for our nation. It is up to us to still our core values in our troops, tot 'V must rely upon our professionalism ^ core values to help us weather these multuous times.
'Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the $ (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1957), p. P"*' 'Huntington, p. 8.
'Russell Baker, “It’s Bidness, General,” The York Times, Saturday, 30 January 1993, p. 21- 'Ibid.
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Proceedings / October