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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moethedogMuch of our OF speculation is dependent on Miller's role in '15 and beyond. It seems the M's think his footwork issues are serious enough to mean he must move off of SS, at least as a primary position. I can live with that as a transition to OF should be of no real challenge to him. So he goes to the OF. In '15 that would likely mean that he's the 4th OF and a BU SS. Lots of starts available as such, especially if he comes out of the OF blocks with some CF skills. If that is the Miller role, then Seth Smith/Rasmus talk is unneeded. But we still need that RH OF bat. Actually I would prefer we get a Smith/Rasmus guy AND Souza, still keeping Miller as an OF. It's Ackley I worry about. But whoever we get needs CF skills. Souza is going to be good. Kivlehan, too. Add miller to that group and you have a nice OF going forward.1 hour 18 min ago
SABR Mattdon't really care about defense as a value floor. If you don't hit, I don't want you.1 hour 51 min ago
okdanIf I remember right, Taro called his shot on Seth Smith several years ago, hoping the M's would target him. Looking at Souza, is he a similar kind of player? Perhaps that type of player template has a higher degree of working out. Certainly Souza's defense provides a nice floor of value in case his bat doesn't play as well.2 hours 38 min ago
TaroMontero's 2011 line in AAA for example was projected for a .261/.312/.435 line by ZIPS. He basically hasn't improved at all since then. Given his career line is .258/.302/.396 thats pretty close regressing for Safeco.9 hours 45 min ago
TaroBasically Montero was all projection, whereas Souza is good NOW with projection beyond that.9 hours 54 min ago
TaroI was huge on Montero's potential, and I was wrong. But to be fair Montero never put up the MLEs that Souza did. Souza projects as a 2-3 WAR player NOW based on what he did in AAA. Montero never did, he was incredible based on age related performance at his level and had massive power upside. But he never performed as well as Souza. His MLEs were in the 0-1 WAR range and he just never got better from there. Souza RIGHT NOW is above-average player. Montero never was.9 hours 56 min ago
moethedogI'm with Matt: Rios and Rasmus would be delightful! I'm with Taro: Souza will indeed be a player. But you could probably get both Rios and Rasmus for what Melky will cost per/year. 2X$8-$10M (with an option year) for Rasmus and something similar for Rios. Or just do Rasmus AND Souza, making all or us happy. You can get Souza fairly easily and sign Rasmus and have money to spend. Souza, btw, plays 1B, too. LoMo will need some breathers.10 hours 25 min ago
SABR MattHow much did you love Jesus Montero before we traded for him?10 hours 37 min ago
TaroJust think Souza is a player. I like his combination of athleticism, swing, and performance.10 hours 59 min ago
SABR MattRomero, Montero, Smoak, Peguero, Balentien, Clement...so...so many more. So many you won't possibly remember them all. And all but a scant tiny fraction of them have panned out. And that is not unique to the Mariners. There is a massive zero gravity moon step difference between an awesome AAA hitter and a proven major leaguer. All players have risks...but some are less risky than others. And for the record, Cruz's home run power transcends Safeco rather easily...and his hitter's park in Baltimore...has a mediocre at best HR factor to left. So...yeah...not worried about Cruz.11 hours 42 min ago
SABR MattTaro...love your insights and all...but how many guys have we promoted in the last 12 years who had great minor league numbers?11 hours 45 min ago
TaroEvery player you roster has some risk involved, included proven MLBers. Cruz will be a RH backspin 35 year old slugger with a career sub .330 OBP in hitters parks, and we've signed him for 4 years. I'd be more nervous about him than Souza in 2015, and especially beyond that. Souza has the performance in the high minors combined with insane athleticism. I think hes underrated due to being a football convert and a late bloomer.11 hours 54 min ago
SABR Mattyou don't take that sort of risk when this is the best chance you have of winning the WS. Souza can be a fourth outfielder option...not a starter.12 hours 18 min ago
GLSSouza is a risk, but a pretty good one.12 hours 20 min ago
SABR MattSouza is not reliable. That's not sufficient to this moment.12 hours 34 min ago
TaroI'm thinking Melky would want 'at least' 4 years gauranteed if hes looking for 5. If Ms stay hard at 3 they won't land him, vesting option for 4th or not. Just give him 5 with a lower AAV. 5/$55 or something in that range. Or deal for Souza (my favorite option).13 hours 6 min ago
SABR MattRasmus and Rios would be a fine platoon with CF helper potential and would be cheaper than Cabrera. I like Cabrera better even with more money involved, but Rios/Rasmus would also be fine with me.13 hours 12 min ago
Gordon GrossRios and Rasmus would be... extensive. By himself I'm not huge on Rios. A Rios/Rasmus platoon would be damaging. Playing with brass knuckles. I hope the Ms take the velvet gloves fully off this offseason. Zduriencik has waited half a decade to wade into the fight with fists flying - let's make it worth the wait. I'm fine with making Beane cry into his collapsing-budget cup o' coffee.13 hours 15 min ago
SABR MattRasmus. If you get Rios and Rasmus, the outfield aligns OK13 hours 52 min ago
moethedogThe Rios card might not bluff the Melky team guys: In '12 Rios was a heck of a player. In '11 he was a dud. In '13 and '14 he was basically a split heavy .280-.320-.420 guy with a pretty scraggly glove. There doesn't seem to be much Rios market out there right now, which might be a neat quality. You could probably get him for 2 years and not break the bank. Over the last two years Viciedo has hit RHP at a .738 and .689 clip. Rios has hit at .714 and .646 rate. Just saying. But he does continue to beat lefties up, so as a 4th OF-paired with Ackley, as Matt suggests, Rios would be great. He's been at .889 and .898 vL the last two years. That's rip-roaring. But it means that you need a RF who can play CF, as Rios no longer does.14 hours 50 min ago