Loyalty in the Army and in Life

W. Edwards Deming Dept.

 

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=== Nathan says, re: the US military ===

The idea is put forward that the Army is not acting exclusively in its self-interest when training, paying, and feeding the Soldier. 

This may not be the appropriate forum, but could you expand on these premises? I'd genuinely like to explore this.

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=== Jeff says, re:  the US military ===

Sure.  First topic - Have you served?

Let's start with:  who are the people you have best known, who have had honorable careers in the U.S. armed forces?  Could you tell us a little bit about those people?

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=== Nathan says ===

I have not served. My father served in the Air Force in his younger years. He was mostly absent from my life but is, on the whole, a good man. My father-in-law (the man I admire most in life) is a career marine and is currently making his living as an instructor at a military academy. To keep this short, he's a great man. My wife's ex served in the army and I would consider his overall worth to be less than ideal. : )

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=== Jeff says, re:  the US military ===

There we go.  My experience has been similar.  The Servicemembers I have known have been a cross-section of society generally.  Most of them are good men (and women), and some of them are bozos.

The same is true at Boeing.  The same was true in my 11th-grade class.  The same is true at the church where I work.  The U.S. Army is made up of people.  It's not a cyber-organism.  When you say "the Army cares about its Soldiers" or "Boeing cares about its employees" you are saying that the Major cares about people, that the District Manager cares about people.  Which they do.

..........

One of my best friends, a guy named Ed, is a crusty old drill sergeant who, one time after his recruits had a lousy day at the range, walked them all into the shower and punched them one by one.  He got busted down in rank and put at a recruiting station.

But he was a good man, and he cared about the young men he trained, and he wanted to make the world a better place.  That guy IS the Army, and he wasn't acting exclusively in his self-interest when he trained recruits.  He was living his life according to his beliefs.

If Ed had been in a firefight in Jordan, and one of his men caught a bullet, you think Ed would have carried his man out on his back, at risk to his own life?  You'd better believe it.  Why?  What do you think motivates him - and by extension, what motivates the Army?

You want rreeeaaaaallll inspiration, start with stories of Army heroism.  The guy in the picture above is an example.  In Afghanistan 2009, Staff Sgt. Romesha's position was overrun by the enemy.  Men around him dead and dying, his position ... um ... "tactically indefensible," Staff Sgt. Romesha dug in like a pit bull and "led the fight to protect the bodies of fallen Soldiers, provide cover to those Soldiers seeking medical assistance, and reclaim the American outpost."

The President said, "Throughout history, the question has often been asked, why? Why do those in uniform take such extraordinary risks? And what compels them to such courage? You ask Clint and any of these Soldiers who are here today, and they'll tell you. Yes, they fight for their country, and they fight for our freedom. Yes, they fight to come home to their families. But most of all, they fight for each other, to keep each other safe and to have each other's backs."

There's no end of these stories of loyalty.  Yet sometimes it seems that every Soldier, and commander, would do the same.  Is the Army strictly self-interested and exploitative?  Well, are the people IN it that way?

...........

More than 50 years ago now, W. Edwards Deming changed the face of Corporate America by convincing the CEO's of a very simple thing.

Nobody wakes up in the morning, driving to work, wanting to do a lousy job that day.

Once the CEO's were able to see this, the CEO's were able to place a tiny drop of trust and faith in their people, and to start giving them some respect.  To start treating them like fellow human beings.  I've known a college professor or two who could have done with a smmaallllll dose of this respect for the average American.

Sergeants in the Army don't wake up thinking about how they can do a lousy job that day.  Neither does Eric Wedge.  These guys love their wives, love their sons, and want to make the world a better place.  

You put a young man's life in their hands?  They're not hoping to ruin the young man's life.

Sure, the Seattle Mariners want to win.  They've got 15 guys who would like to be the starting catcher this spring, and they MUST tell 14 of them No.  But the Mariners would like to treat those 14 men well.

The Army wants to win its wars.  But the commanders in the Army would also like to see the young men, under their command, better themselves.  And go on to good lives.

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Comments

Nathan H's picture

Nathan H

::Nods::
Good points and applicable throughout life. Any invented entity doesn't *really* exist. People exist and it is people who shape a given circumstance. In that light, no, no entity can be exclusively one thing or another.

But these invented things, a country, a military organization, a Sunday brunch steering committee all are invented for a *purpose*. A group of people get together to decide what is the best way to accomplish a specific purpose and create an organization to accomplish it. The members of the organization that drive that organizational thinking, their thoughts and beliefs, direct the purpose of that organization. The policies enacted by an organization (in this case feeding, clothing, and training a soldier) are self-serving even if they also might have an ancillary benefit to the soldier. The army isn't in the business of creating good citizens, it's in the business of completing specific objectives by any means. The treatment of the soldier are a means to that end exclusively.

I don't know. You make good points in this article.

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There are 300 million Americans milling around :- ) but when we add a Constitution, a flag, a territory, a set of laws, a tax system, we have a Nation.

There is the U.S. Senate, which forms when a gavel bangs, and there are U.S. Senators who go home and, apparently, work out with P90X.  That entity "U.S. Senate" exists.

That Senate, as an entity, "believes" in certain things, has a mission, correct?  It's not to fly to the moon or perform abortions or win the American League pennant.  It's to uphold the Constitution and provide expediencies toward life, liberty and happiness.  The Senate's "purpose" is identifiable.

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That the Army is NOT in the business of creating good men, I'll have to take the other side on that one.  Bat571, Lonnie, and others will take the other side also (as far as their branches go!).

It isn't Staff Sgt. Romesha alone who believes in Loyalty, Duty, and Honor.  Those are institutionalized Army Core Values.

To the extent the Army, as an institution, believes anything, it believes in Loyalty, Duty and Honor just like it believes in winning wars.  Ask the Servicemembers.

..............

You can say that it's in the Army's own interest to create men of good character, and you'd be right.  But it's in my own interest to make a good man out of my son.  It's in my own interest to send cash to poor people in the Philippines; I get self-esteem out of it, right?

... if I CHOOSE to sourly deny all my fellow human beings any credit for anything they do -- because you CAN always argue that I was self-motivated! -- then where will I end up?

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Nathan H's picture

Nathan H

If I were to speak to the goals of military duty toward the individual, I'd be speaking from ignorance. I can defer to those who have served in this case. To those who have served, are Loyalty, Duty, and Honor instilled to make you a better person or because it would make you a better soldier?

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SABR Mattdang moe...what is your bizarre obsession with mediocre hitters coming off bad years? If Victorino and Craig is the best we can do...this has been a horrendous offseason.9 min 7 sec ago
moethedogEvery RHB that comes off the board makes the next guy more expensive. I will take heart that we were close to V. Martinez. Now get a deal done, Z. If Panda signs with Boston I'm going hard for Victorino and Craig. Victorino still creams LHP and can still patrol CF if called upon. He's a one year rental, however. We've been talking about two-'fer deals with Atlanta and LA: Those deals may be too rich (Atl. demanding Walker) or unlikely (LA keeping Kemp). Ethier and Van Slyke is doable, too, as discussed. Victorino is actually some kind of a hitter vL. .303-.372-.503 over his career. And except for last year when he had 43 PA's vL (still hitting .325) he's been at those numbers or above for each of the past 5 seasons. He's not terrible against RHP either. And he's won 4 GG's. He's decently expensive...but he's pretty good. Cespedes can be had in Boston, too. There's some trading Karma available there.51 min 22 sec ago
misterjonezI'm guessing Hanley really wants to return to Boston, and that any deal that's even close will get rejected since he's got a reasonable one on the table from his original team. But yeah, we had better have offered more than 5/90 or I'm disinclined to give credence to the big talk of adding bats this offseason. I assume (perhaps naively) that we did, in fact, beat the rumored 5/90, for whatever that's worth.5 hours 44 min ago
DaddyOI don't feel like writing it this evening, but I can imagine a nice comedic routine about the M's offseason acquisitions with Kevin Mathers playing The Chief and Jack Zduriencik playing Maxewll Smart as they do the old "Would You Believe..." schtick. Jack starts the routine with names like Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and ends up with two pickles and an Elmer Fudd cap.9 hours 22 min ago
Gordon GrossWish we'd see some movement on the Upton and/or Gattis front. You'd think we were trying to get our offseason moves approved by a committee or something.9 hours 56 min ago
Gordon GrossBuster Olney ranked Seager #4 amongst all major league third basemen. We really should have extended him last year like I wanted. ;) Better get that done this offseason before Arb.9 hours 59 min ago
Gordon Gross5/90 for Hanley? Jeez, I would have been thrilled with that. Our 2B/3B being filled with good players already may have dissuaded him - although we would have let him play SS for a few years first. So we're down to Kemp and a secondary add now? Let's not let all the musical chairs get filled, shall we?10 hours 12 min ago
SABR MattI'd have some interest in getting John Jaso back in Seattle to BC, FWIW10 hours 22 min ago
SABR MattSupposedly, Seattle is still interested in Tomas...hanging around the periphery on that front.10 hours 28 min ago
SABR Mattwow...I thought Hanley would be much more expensive than that...and now I'm annoyed that we didn't beat that offer. We *MUST* get Kemp. The small potato stuff (Craig, Van Slyke...vomit) is not going to cut it.10 hours 30 min ago
moethedogSaw that. Two things may result: Craig may be very available (especially if they get Panda, too) and you may be able to move and get Ethier/Van Slyke (LA may be tempted to keep Kemp until they fill a RH bat need).11 hours 13 min ago
merksLooks like Hanley is close to signing with the BoSox. Five years, $90 million is the rumored price.11 hours 20 min ago
moethedogAgree on that, Matt. My thought was that Freiman/Davis/Butler rotate through 1B/DH....Moss is int he OF. Vogt seems odd man out to me.12 hours 43 min ago
SABR Mattand FWIW, the As have way too many guys to play first base for Davis to see significant time. Freiman, Moss, Vogt, Davis, Jaso, Butler...A couple of those3 guys can SORT OF play the outfield (Vogt comes to mind) and Jaso can be the back-up catcher maybe. But...Butler has the DH spot completely locked down and will probably only occasionally get benched against the toughest right-handed bullpen match-ups and when he needs a day off. So that leaves about 15% of the DH at bats and the first base at bats to go to Moss, Freiman, Davis and occasionally Jaso...with Vogt probably relegated mostly to the outfield.13 hours 40 min ago
SABR Mattall that was NL...he'll die in the AL...too many holes in his swing.16 hours 4 sec ago
moethedogI've always thought Ike Davis was better than a decent guy to have. Hits lefties like a rusty gate, but his career #'s vs. RHP are .254-.357-.456 (.813). LoMo's are .247-.336-.436 (.768). Even in a "down" year, Davis will was at .765 OPS last year, vR. LoMo was at .695! (His year was carried by his 95 vL PA's: .333-.368-.478). Basically they got him for free, too. Watch them platoon him with Nate Freiman.16 hours 36 min ago
SABR Mattmeh...I don't think he'll do much.17 hours 49 min ago
merksA's acquire Ike Davis for international slot and cash.18 hours 5 min ago
Bat571I think Condor is working back into the good graces, starting with the agent change. He will be expensive for a 4th OF, but if he is the LF (e.g., if Ackley goes for Gattis), I think the Ms will keep him around because of the versatility. With Gattis (~~) able to play LF, Condor could move to CF if needed - not optimum, maybe, but more than adequate until Jones or Kivlehan could be summoned. I agree that the Ms should (and will) put Kivlehan in the OF part-time starting in ST. He'll put in the work and will be pretty good by the AS break, and will get better. All you could ask for.18 hours 54 min ago
moethedogOne Cardinals' site giggles over the acquisition of Ty Kelly. Sigh: http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/a-redesigned-offense BTW, unless you guys figure than James Jones is on the opening day roster or that Bloomie gets the role, we still need a 4th OF who Mac will be willing to use in CF. That was certainly not true with Ackley or Saunders, and one of those guys will be gone. Kemp would do, not so Upton. Ethier has had nearly 120 CF starts over the last two years, BTW. Brad Miller, given the opportunity, would could handle CF, too. Kivlehan will get some early Tacoma CF time...but we need one for Seattle. Perhaps we keep Saunders and he goes there. Not Jones, please. I've soured....1 day 2 min ago