Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Selfless Service and Loyalty: Love

Selfless service and loyalty are values that many of us were taught as children and, for some, in our early religious educations. These values, and others, are the moral compasses which guide us in our everyday lives, through every decision we make, and in every action we undertake. These same values also compel soldiers to fight through all conditions to victory no matter how long it takes and no matter how much effort is required. They define a soldier's selfless commitment to the nation, mission, unit, and fellow soldiers. It is this professional attitude that inspires every American soldier. Selfless-Service: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Selfless service is a key component of the "Warrior Ethos." The "Warrior Ethos" is a set of professional, moral and ethical values that is the basis for all U.S. soldier behavior and professional development. These standards are taught to soldiers in basic training and reinforced throughout our careers. Members of the military simply would not be able to do their jobs if they were not, to a certain degree, selfless. Otherwise, they wouldn't be willing to put up with even the ordinary hardships of military life, much less be willing to risk their lives.

Selfless service and loyalty go hand in hand. One has to replace a desire for personal gratification with a desire to elevate someone else to achieve selfless service. Loyalty is the act of binding oneself intellectually or emotionally to a course of action, a person, organization or a way of life. Loyalty requires that one place another's interests above those of all others. Selfless service and loyalty are synonymous with love. The act of selfless service and loyalty are demonstrations of the highest form of love. Only the one who loves can truly serve and show true loyalty.

Religions have preached selfless service and loyalty for thousands of years. Christianity and Hinduism both value these principals. According to Hindu beliefs, selfless service through work leads to a union with God. The morality of Jesus teaches us to do unto others as you would have them do unto you; love your neighbor as yourself; love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. It is a morality of love, of selfless service and commitment, and loyalty to "the least of these." Love is the attempt at or accomplishment of satisfying the needs (not wants) of others, and not the satisfying of personal needs or vanities. "True Love" expects no return. "True Love" is not a give in order to receive relationship.

I think that these qualities are well illustrated by the actions of many of the soliders serving overseas. An example of this dedication to duty, selfless sacrifice and service can be found in the 518th Gun Truck company. This company is the first of its kind in the Army. It was created in theater and its purpose is to provide overwatch and protection for convoys traveling in Iraq.

These are really amazing people. The typical rank of a member of this unit is E4 or E5 and their salary is approx. equivalent to someone who works for Wal-Mart. Each day they wake up, run to their vehicles, climb in the gun turrets, and drive down the road escorting convoys -- willingly and with a great sense of pride. The convoys they protect are primarily commercial contract convoys composed of civilian drivers from countries all around the world.

Commercial drivers earn big bucks over here and they get to leave whenever they want. Joe Snuffy Soldier will be here long after that commercial driver, his replacement, and the replacment after that has come and gone. Joe Snuffy, the guy (or gal) on their Wal-Mart salary, will gladly ride in front of any of them acting as their human shield. And he or she will take a bullet for them on their Wal-Mart salary. It is what they do. It is who they are. This is the essense of selfless sacrifice and it is an expression of their love for their fellow man.

1 comment:

Tom said...

he sojack..my name is Sgt Thomas Salemme. i was fortunate to be an original member of the 518 gun truck co. Just wanted to say thanks for the kind words. Its nice to know our actions in iraq did not go un-appreciated.

-mojo tsalemme@woh.rr.com