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Respecting a Non-Commissioned Officer

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Respect is defined as a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important or serious; and should be treated as so. A Non-Commissioned Officer is defined as a subordinate officer (such as a sergeant) in the army, air force, or marine corps appointed from among enlisted personnel. Noncommissioned officer has through his or hers experience, been placed in a position to lead, supervise and train soldiers. A Non-Commissioned Officer is a highly respected role in the Army and those in that role demand respect, and deserve it. To become an NCO you have to be doing something right. You are getting looked at as doing above and beyond your peers. As an NCO you are the one setting the standard, you have soldiers looking up to you, seniors looking down at you and even your peers watching you and judging every move you make. To be an NCO is a hard task, a task made ever harder when you have soldiers that disrespect you, disregard what you say or make you look anything but stellar in front of others.

If you are wrong you deserve to be called on it, but tactfully especially by a subordinate. We are taught the golden rule in elementary school; do unto others what you would have done to yourself. That is the short version of respect. If it is engrained into our minds at such a young age why is it so easy for people to forget what it means, or forget how to show respect? Yes, respect is earned. As a private I have not really earned anyone’s respect, in turn I have not done anything to lose anyone’s respect either. Speaking as such, I should be treated on a mutual ground. If I respect you, I deserve to be treated as well as I treat you. In the Army that is not a right that is mandatory. NCOs can treat you however they please because they have earned the respect of their peers, seniors and subordinates alike. Almost every NCO I have ever met has treated me with unwaivering kindness and respect, until I mess that up. Respect is not a right. Respect is earned, and the way I have acted, I wouldn’t respect myself.

I have behaved as a child would lately. I have become complacent. My home life, personal feelings and anything not work related should stay at home. I disrespected an NCO with almost six times as much time in service as I have under my belt. Not only did I disrespect a Staff Sergeant, which is bad enough as it is, I disrespected my Platoon Sergeant in front of the First Sergeant, Commander, and the entire battery. I not only made myself look like stupid, disrespectful, and ungrateful but I also made my Platoon Sergeant mad, I made him raise his voice repeatedly, and I got the entire battery to turn around to see what a scene we were making. I lost a lost of respect that day, from my PSG, 1SG, BC, and anyone else that witnessed the debacle.

I lost the right to be the guidon bearer, being the guidon bearer was my biggest privilege here. I love being the guidon bearer and within five minutes of not getting my way, for a stupid CIF appointment of all things, I blew any chance of doing what I love for the remainder of the time that I have left here. I could have gotten in a lot of trouble for what I did. I was recommended for an Article 15 and if I didn’t have such a great Chain of Command I could have gotten extended and all the plans I have for leave and my next duty station could have been ruined. Disrespect is defined as a lack of respect or courtesy.

In the recent years, I have come to realize that there are many different ways and forms of showing respect and just as many, if not more, ways to show disrespect. Especially towards an NCO, anything you do or say can be misconstrued as disrespect. Simple things such as the way you move, talk, your facial expressions, your voice, movements, body language, and most importantly the way you present yourself.

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