"No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as 'The Backbone of the Army'. I am proud of the Corps of the Noncommissioned Officer and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service and my country, regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind - accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers. I will..."
Accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers...
Mission first, soldiers always....
This is only a part of a creed that was formalized in 1973 to develop infantry squad leaders, but it is used to guide Army NCO leadership standards today. I had to memorize this creed in its entirety years ago and I still find value in it. It still rests within me. As I sit in prison, I realized I failed some elements of this creed, but not all. The mission now is to be a better person for a bigger community and it's those community members that are the "soldiers always". Not war fighters, but people to enable success with and for. Even in prison, the "situation in which I find myself", it is even more important to accomplish being a better person. A better person to you, to myself, all for a large variety of reasons.
As I reflect on this Memorial Day, 2020, I think about the guys who gave it all to ensure the freedom to believe this way. I think about the leaders who influenced me and the ones who never walked away from Iraq with us. I learned to be a noncommissioned officer from many of them and even though I stumbled in recent times, I won't fall. It's not the mission. Being a good citizen is. And I'll do it for all of us.... always.
by Rory Andes
God bless the fallen and the Gold Star families. America owes you.
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