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Customs and Courtesies

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1001
  • Category: Military

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As soldiers we are taught to live the seven Army values defining the basics of what a soldier is all about. One of those being respect. Relying on the golden rule, “How we consider others reflects upon each of us, both personally and as a professional organization.” I believe this is an extremely important value to live by each and every day. As a soldier I pledged to treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same. Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in others. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty. And self-respect is an important ingredient with the Army value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort. The Army is one team and each of us has something to contribute. Military courtesy is one of the major features of the Army. It is intended to reinforce discipline and the chain of command, defining how soldiers treat their chain of command and vice versa. There are a number of traditions that have been established over the history of the military services.

These many traditions can be broken into a number of customs and courtesies. A custom is a way of acting in a manner that has been continued constantly over a long period of time. It is almost like a law. A courtesy is a way of displaying good manners and politeness when dealing with other people. Military courtesy carries respect both up and down the chain of command. Courtesy among members of the Armed Forces is important to maintain military discipline. Military courtesy means good manners and politeness in dealing with other people. Courteous behavior provides a foundation for developing good human relations. The difference between civilian and military courtesy is that military courtesy was developed in a military atmosphere and has become an important part of serving in uniform. Military courtesy has been established over the years from earlier and sometimes remote customs and traditions.

But one thing they all have in common is they show the respect and honor the soldiers and superiors have for one another. Military courtesies are often very similar to the civilities found in the civilian world as well as daily life. The only difference is that it is mandatory for the courtesies seen in the military to be adhered to and followed by its soldiers. If these courtesies are not followed, the offending soldier can, and almost always will, be punished. This punishment can come in the form of smoking, essays, extra duty and can go as far as court martial, jail time, or being discharged from the military. In the military, manners and levels of respect help to identify the difference between junior to senior ranking members. Courtesies and customs of the Army have been practiced for hundreds of years. They involve a code of conduct that is mandatory for every member of the army to follow.

Some are obviously against the rules of professionalism such as public display of affection in uniform, being drunk in uniform and showing violent behavior are actions that are punishable in the military code of conduct. The seven core army values are broken up into Loyalty,Duty, Respect, Selfless Services, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The first of these is loyalty. Loyalty to me is keeping your word or backing up or trusting a friend even when others do not. I think trust is a big part of loyalty. You can’t expect someone to be loyal to you if they cannot trust you. In the army aspect I believe it is relatively the same but in leadership role or more stressful situations.

The next army value is duty. Duty is in the army value fulfillment of your obligation, accomplishing task given to you and taking responsibility. I see duty as what youre supposed to do without complaining or making negative views on the issue. Another army value which is next is respect. In the army value definition for respect is to treat others the way you would be treated and that respect is giving trust to another person other than your own. To me personally respect is tolerance for the person’s background or views and accepting him or her as being an equal member of the human race or of creation. Others are codes of behavior that must to be followed in order to present a one of a kind structure to the military as these customs and practices instill and show discipline and professionalism between its members. Most military courtesies have similar manners in the civilian world.

For example, it is mandatory for members of the military to address officers with “sir” or “ma’am” and senior enlisted with their rank, such as “sergeant” or “first sergeant”. This is just like many parents teaching their children the way to address and respect an adult. Even though it is not necessary for the senior officers to be considerate and polite, military courtesy is designed to for mutual respect among its members. It is give and take. A private will find it hard to respect and show courtesy to an officer if they do not return the same respect. One commonly recognized custom and courtesy is the military salute. The military salute is given in a manner of pride when recognizing a comrade in the honorable profession of arms. Some historians believe the hand salute began in late Roman times when assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to see a public official had to approach with his right hand raised to show that he did not hold a weapon. Military courtesy shows respect and reflects self-discipline. Consistent and proper military courtesy is an indicator of unit discipline, as well. Soldiers demonstrate courtesy in the way we address officers or NCOs of superior rank. Some simple but visible signs of respect include speaking to higher ranking officers or NCOs with the upmost respect.

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