Core Values

Honor, Courage, and Commitment:
The Importance of the Navy Corps Values to Naval officers From the very first day the United States Navy was founded on October 13, 1775, certain key principles or core values were established that led the United States to a victory during that time in the Revolutionary War and have continued even to today to bring the Navy success in every challenge it has met. Those core values are honor, courage, and commitment. These three words are the backbone on which every naval service member is established and must be ready to protect our nation and our freedom by. However, it is the naval officer who leads others into the fight, and therefore it is the naval officer who should lead the others by these values to the upmost importance. If the naval officer defines his/her life by these values, displaying them in every daily action, he/she will earn the respect of their subordinates and also of their superiors. The most important core value that a naval officer can uphold is the Navy core value of honor. Honor is to hold oneself to high moral and ethical standards, as well as others. Honor is honesty, justice, and the idea of doing what is right in all situations. But, most of all, honor is a person??™s integrity. An example of honor is as follows. A few years ago, a family friend of mine, Shawn Holman, had just successfully completed the Navy flight school in the top percent of his class and was going to be sent to Virginia to join his new squadron. He was granted a few weeks leave to go home and pack and move all his belongings before having to arrive. The night before he was supposed to fly out to Virginia, his sister??™s wedding was being held. Shawn went to wedding and drank and had a great time celebrating his sister??™s new marriage and his graduation of flight school. However, he had celebrated too much for too long. Shawn had to get to the airport right away otherwise he would miss his flight. He took his father??™s car and proceeded to drive to the airport. But, combined with getting behind the wheel drunk and tired and late, and thus speeding, Shawn was pulled over by a cop. The cop was going to arrest Shawn but let him go after he heard his story about flight school and his new squadron. Thankfully Shawn made it to the airport and joined his new squadron in Virginia. However, as soon as Shawn got there, he immediately went to the commanding officer and told him the whole story of how he had been drinking too much and got pulled over. Shawn stated he should not be a pilot or join this squadron after his poor actions. The commanding officer agreed and he lost his pilot??™s license. Even though Shawn made a very stupid move to start with by drinking and then driving, he faced his fear of not being able to fly planes and told his commanding officer the truth, even though there was a chance the commanding officer may have never heard about it. Shawn was honest, showed high morals and ethics, did what he believed was right in the situation and therefore kept his integrity. Had Shawn not done the honorable thing, and instead just pretended like the whole thing never happened, he would be living a lie to this day and would not have been fair to himself or those around him. He might have done the same thing by drinking before flying and caused serious problems for his peers and the rest of the Navy. And he would have lost total respect for himself, decreased his qualities and not been great leader or example for others. Courage is not just something that comes from the gut or heart in moments of need or in emergencies, nor is it something that can be handed over on a plater once one becomes a naval officer. The Navy core value of courage is a quality learned by leaders through difficult lessons and is made a habit, an every day way of life. This kind of courage is standing up for what he/she believes in despite the feeling and recognition of fear or temptation and still doing what is understood to be right. For example, in the short film clip we watched from Generation Kill, the Lieutenant showed great courage to stand up to the Captain by declaring that the strike called to take out the supposed enemy was too close to them and the rest of their men. The Lieutenant believed that the strike call was dangerous and instead just wanted to call close fire support. However, the Captain wanted to call the strike in order to look good for his superiors and possibly earn medals and admiration, even though it was potentially putting his men at a serious risk. The Lieutenant made a bold move to face his superior officer in such an intense situation, but he did what he believed was right. He showed great moral and mental strength standing up to the Captain for the safety of his men without fear and earned lots respect because of it. In a contradicting example, the Lieutenant could have been a cowardice and not said anything to stop the Captain from calling the strike. He could have been too fearful of getting in trouble for questioning his superior that he could have put his men at risk, and even more so, potentially injured or killed them. Commitment is the day-to-day duty and dedication of the naval officer to continually work to bring his subordinates and superiors together as a team with positive encouragement towards the improvement of the quality of work, others, and themselves. A naval officer must be committed to high moral and ethical qualities such as integrity, honesty, knowledge, etc., as well living them through his/her daily life to create a constant positive change in the men and women whom work under him/her. An example of commitment is in the story of the Vincennes. The Captain claimed to see an enemy plane take off in the direction of his ship and shot it down, even without a positive confirmation that it was actually an enemy. He stuck to his gut feelings with a good intention, even though he turned out to make a terrible mistake. In the same situation, the Captain also fired on Iranian boats that were not big enough to hurt his ship or his men, but he did so again with good intentions and the thought to save his men from potential harm. He showed dedication to keeping his men safe and worked as a team with the other U.S. ships to do so. However, when he was being tried in a courtroom for his mistakes of shooting down a civilian plane and unlawfully firing at enemies that had not engaged first in action, the Captain failed to show commitment to his cause. In fact, he did anything but that by changing his story around numerous times and eventually proving that all he really was was a bad leader who had poor morals and ethical standards and only wanted to kill the enemy for purpose of killing them. He was not dedicated to his beliefs or other values and lost his job because of it. Through dedication, the strength to stand up for what you believe in, and the integrity to do what is right, a naval officer can gain much respect and continually improve upon their success as a leader. The Navy corps values of honor, courage and commitment, if lived through in everyday actions by not only the naval officer, but by his/her subordinates, peers, and superiors, the United States Navy will continue to be an undefeatable source in protecting out nation and our freedom.

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