“It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.”
—Captain John Paul Jones, U.S. Navy, ca. 1780
The armed forces are charged with the highest obligation that can be vested in citizens of any country—the protection of their national security and way of life. Military officers are expected to place the interests of their nation and the welfare and safety of their subordinates above their own concerns. Our Constitution requires that they be subordinate to civilian authority, which may order them into situations of great risk. Often in our history—when relations between nations have failed and war has occurred, our national leaders have placed the fate of the country into the hands of the armed forces, and military personnel will continue to sacrifice a measure of their freedom to protect full freedom for the entire citizenry.