AGHHH!!! Sorry it has been a while! It is the eleventh hour before I ship off to RTC (bootcamp) and things are hectic. But I was asked to write a short essay defining the core values of the US Navy: Honor, Courage and Commitment, and it was a good example of where my head is right now so I thought I’d post it! Enjoy 🙂
Redefining Honor, Courage, and Commitment
When I think of the word “honor” I think of some little Chinese man, old and traditional with the yarmulke style hat and the long silver mustache and goatee, telling his son that he has disgraced the honor of their family. A funny picture, yes, but not exactly what defines a core value of the navy. In my experience honor, at least in the modern sense, is a characteristic of a person or organization that acts with honesty and respect. An honorable person has respect for themselves and those who they come in contact with. They must have a high moral compass and a level of integrity that is sadly not common in today’s world. Honor is something earned, that you must work to maintain and could easily be lost with acts of selfishness. It is also a gift bestowed on those who earn it. An honor can be an opportunity or an award or both, as it is an honor to be able to serve a country more free than almost any other. It is an honor to be taught and trained to defend the people of your country and to have the chance to learn and grow with people, not only from around the country, but around the globe.
Going back to that Chinese elder and his young son, it also makes me think of courage. The strength to make a decision and hold true to that (with honor) no matter the lack of popularity and the amount of animosity it causes. I have been called courageous many times in my life for doing things and standing for things others wouldn’t dare fight for. I think that being courageous is a little bit of insanity, strength, and focus, all directed at a goal. In example, people use the term “courage under fire” and usually the people who are being spoken of only say that they were doing their job, doing what needed to be done. Honor and courage go hand in hand; you fight no matter how difficult the battle to achieve a goal that you feel is your duty to achieve. You do what is necessary to make something happen, no matter the consequences.
Sometimes being courageous also requires a bit of stupidity and it can be dangerous… but it also requires a lot of heart. Courage is the heart of the navy (besides paperwork and paint).
Now, I have no wise kung fu movie scene for commitment, but it is most definitely a word used often and seen rarely. People these days do not honor their commitments…and that is if they make any commitments at all. We make New Year’s resolutions and can barely manage to keep them for a week or two. People are not as committed to their jobs, families or most unfortunate themselves. We are so consumed with wanting more, thinking that we deserve better that we forget to be committed and loyal to what we already have. We forget to be committed to making ourselves better and, in turn, that which we produce better as well. Commitment is a steadfast decision to be dedicated to whatever it is you agreed to do, and ideally to do it well and with passion. If you put your name on something and if you represent something you should be committed to that group, job, title, etc. with the idea that if your name is on it, a person should want to represent it to the best of your ability and improve its reputation in any way possible.
These are the core values of the United States Navy as well as the values of other military branches. They are each characteristics that I hope define myself as an individual. And each is connected to the next, all requiring a loyalty and a high sense of respect for self and the effects we can have.