SFC Gregory P. Koskey
Hanover Recruiting Station Company Commander
I can remember it clearly in 1998 as a young Specialist when Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis J. Reimer, and Sgt. Major of the Army Robert E. Hall introduced to us a new way of defining the essence of what it means to be a Soldier– the Army Values. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage; these are the words used to form the seven Army Values. I specifically recall the importance that was placed on this new concept of Soldiering. I remember the class we went through as a platoon in our company day room to introduce us to the Army Values, and I remember being issued a green plastic card the size of an id tag that had the Army Values printed on it. We were told that “this card is to be worn on your id tag chain, it’s an inspectable item, so don’t lose it”! More than thirteen years later, that very same Army Values card is still on that very same id tag chain today, and I wear them whenever I am in uniform, without fail.
From the time they were introduced to me, the Army Values have been a guiding force in my career. I honestly can’t think of any other concept, acronym, or slogan that better describes the basic elements of what a U.S. Army Soldier should be. On countless occasions I’ve referred to them when making difficult decisions on courses of action that I should take. In my current role as a station commander, they are constantly challenged. When facing deadlines, when the pressure is on to find a contract, when that prospect confides disqualifying information to me or my recruiter, when conforming to new command guidance, when counseling my Soldiers, when evaluating my recruiter’s work ethic, when making phone calls, when conducting interviews, when dealing with COIs and VIPs, when talking to parents and influencers, and when that soon to be Future Soldier is deciding to serve with me in the Army; the Army Values are challenged. Adhering to the Army Values is truly the best way you can handle these, and any other situations you may be faced with in USAREC or in any other Army MACOM for that matter. They are foolproof and will not fail you no matter what the situation is!
As the Army’s ambassadors to our communities, the Army Values are indispensible! Our actions and words can, and will, leave a lasting impact on the Army’s image where we recruit. This image will be positive or negative depending on how we adhere to the Army Values. Every Soldier in the Army starts their career with one person—their recruiter. Whether you know it or not, one of your greatest legacies to our Army is the job you are doing right now as a recruiter. The young men and women who we enlist today are tomorrow’s Squad Leaders, Platoon Sergeants, First Sergeants, Sergeants Major, Company Commanders, Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, Colonels, and even Generals and the Sergeants Major of the Army! Those future leaders are all in our ranks somewhere right now, and most likely you have or will personally enlist some of them. What did you pass on to them while they “belonged to you”? How did or didn’t they see the Army Values in you?
Soldiers and civilians who have served their country by serving in the Army since the Army Values were introduced in 1998 have certainly been through countless classes and briefings on the Army Values. Today I urge you to take a fresh look at them with me. Loyalty– Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, and other Soldiers. Duty– Fulfill your obligations. Respect– Treat people as they should be treated. Selfless Service– Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own. Honor– Live up to all the Army values. Integrity– Do what’s right, legally and morally. Personal Courage– Face fear, danger, or adversity [physical or moral]. Ask yourself these questions. Do you consider the Army Values when making decisions? Are you living the Army Values each and every day? Can your career be defined by allegiance to the Army Values? If your answer to these questions is yes, then I commend you! If your answer is no, then it’s time to make a change. I often tell my older applicants that “it’s never too late to make a good decision”. I think that statement applies here. The Army Values; love them and live them. By doing so, you will be a benefactor not only yourself, but USAREC, the Army, and the nation as a whole.
United States (2006). Army Leadership: Competent, Confident , Agile. Field Manual 6-22, Washington D.C.: Headquarters, Department of the Army