Selfless Service is one of the seven core US Army Values. Every trainee learns these by heart, and the values are featured prominently on Army performance evaluation forms, which every Non-Commissioned and Commissioned Officer is judged by.
The Army values are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
Today I’m going to discuss Selfless Service.
The official definition is as follows:
“Put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service is larger than just one person. In serving your country, you are doing your duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain.”
There are about one million Soldiers in what is known as the Total Army.
Well guess what. I have an idea they are about to be put to work in the effort to combat this damned plague. Thus the ribbon rack above; National Defense, Humanitarian Service, and Army Service.
Not the stuff of martial glory or movies, but they are ribbons that commemorate the necessary; the military helping out our fellow citizens, no matter where they may be found.
I’m sure many of you have read “The Stand,” by Stephen King. It’s a great book. But there is something I strongly disagree with in there.
In his work the US Army is depicted as a distinctly negative force, a group of ghouls who use extreme violence in an attempt to deceive the public about the extent of the outbreak that eventually ends in 99.97% of humanity dying. In fact, the Army was responsible for “Captain Trips” because the disease inadvertently escaped from one of its secret biological warfare labs.
Well, it makes for a great book but I think its bullshit in much the same way that I don’t believe in stupid, swirling-around-the-bathtub-drain conspiracy theories.
Soldiers are fucking human. They are your neighbors, friends, sons and daughters. Are they capable of great evil? Of course. But so is your average grocery clerk at Walmart. Much of my time in the service I spent dealing with stupid crap and correcting the mistakes of others. I just don’t buy it that there are evil masterminds lurking in the ranks who are intent in wiping us all out if they receive some Faustian order from the National Command Authority.
Long story short: I think simple human incompetence would doom any grand conspiracy in the ranks.
Here’s the next point.
Soldiers WANT to help the society they live in. Many, many joined up, volunteered, for just that.
They are going to get the chance here shortly to do just that. If I was a betting man, I’d wager good money on the fact that Army Medicine, Regulars, Guard and Reserve, is gearing up for a massive struggle against this lousy disease and the potential strain on our civilian healthcare system. Our market-driven healthcare system does not have the overflow capacity needed to handle a no-shit pandemic. We can assign blame later.
The military must step in.
I am confident that they will. Whether its enough, I don’t know. But they will try, and I don’t doubt that many will sicken and die. They will do their duty in the face of adversity and mortal danger, because they raised their right hands and they feel the need, the solemn duty, to risk their lives for God and Country.
In other words, more MASH than The Stand.
This is the hour of need. Will Army Medicine do what it must? Can they meet the need?
People doubt in the ability of the current generation to rise to the occasion like our ancestors did.
I think that’s bullshit.
Courage is not generational. We may be living in a disaster movie, and there may be villains, but there will be heroes as well.
Good luck, Army medicine. Do your damndest.