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

1
Nathan H's picture

::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.

2

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.
..............
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?

3
Nathan H's picture

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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Shoutbox

Chat: 8/28/15 1:16pm
Interests: Environment Money Technology Baseball Politics (212680)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-29 09:30

There is a lot of talent assembled here for 2016. Definitely find someone who knows how to establish order and confidence right off the bat. But we're going to have to really luck into it.

Failure to sign Cruz last season was the telling blow. Give Jack authority to do the move and we're talking something completely different this season. At worst, we're discussing how hard it is to maintain top level success. Jack learned from the Leuke fiasco (heck, he got us Jaso out of it). But ownership freaked on him - stupidly.

But leaving Gutierrez to marinate in Tacoma (playing in a AAA field no less) while we shuffled through Weeks, Ackley, and traded our catcher stoploss to pick up Trumbo, etc. - I didn't get that. We waited too long and the answer of what to do while Cano went through his thing was a short drive away - and freely available.

2015-08-29 08:56

Looks like they will be looking for youngish, analytical, super nerd brainiac to fill the void. luckily they are in #Seattle. This should help in the quest.

2015-08-29 08:14

OTOH I really didn't like the way he handled:
-The Morrow trade
-The Fister trade
Nor can I really speak to the interoffice #Politics Baker comments on.

2015-08-29 08:10

I don't get the Z hate (maybe hate is too strong but you know what I mean). He's been terribly unlucky.
-Guti woukd have been a multiple allstar at at glove position if not for illness.
-Really at least one of Ackley/Smoak/Montero should have worked out. These guys were universally recognized as top flight prospects (well Taro did have his doubts about Smoak). If even one had worked out or if a couple of them had become ML average we'd be in good shape.
-He tried to bring in Cruze in 2014. That would have put us in the playoffs last year.
-He brought in role players like Morse and Morales that picked their time with the Ms to have career worst/injury years sandwiched between years where they were solid contributors to playoff teams.
-Yes you can expect pitcher injuries, but *all three* of Hultzen/Walker/Paxton have spent significant time down which has also hampered their development.
-In a make or break year Cano has a career worst illness impaired 1st half. Back to normal now but too late.

Reply - anonymous - 8/29/15 8:13am
Ya, I'd day this goes far beyond 2014 though. Definately has had bad luck, but not the first year the team underperformed
2015-08-29 04:57

“I expect a better brand of #Baseball accountability, acceptance of young players" That's from Z's letter to Wak, a month before he canned him. Yet in '09 the only young (less than 26) fulltime players we had were Lopez (who had a very nice year in 613 AB's) and Wlad, who was given a chance and didn't come through. 22 year old Saunders came up late and had a 45 OPS. BTW, we were 10 games over Pythag that year. In '10, Saunders had LF handed to him, we got Smoak late and even Tui had 138 AB's. It was the veterans Figgins and Bradley who were deadly! Fister was youngish at 26 that year. I suppose Wak mishandled him, Z?

2015-08-28 18:55

Baker weighs in. Wow. http://www.seattleti...

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:16am
Really outlined the issue.. constant changes within regimes will not lead to prolong success
2015-08-28 16:52

Ah, thanks for clarifying, okdan. I understand what you're saying.

My take? Doc has his reasons for going this route. We just don't know what those reasons are. Perhaps if we DID know we would understand, perhaps we would even understand that it's best we don't know.

And there are real people behind the creation and maintenance of this site who you've gotta figure are doing the best they can. Admittedly they face some challenges.

2015-08-28 15:52

That was me - okdan.

2015-08-28 15:52

I am as big of a supporter / fan / devotee / reader of Doc as anyone. SSI has been one of my top 5 websites for nearly a decade. It makes me sad to see how the site has deteriorated. The frustrating part is that the quality of the #Technology and infrastructure doesn't do justice to the effort and quality content that Doc churns out. If anything, my frustrations with this site are *because* I respect Doc so much. There is no shortage of free website templates out there, that with simple configuration would be light years better than this one. And when you're talking about a simple blog, the hosting costs per month are not significant. I bet just between the frequent posters here we could easily cover it.

2015-08-28 14:48

And we both recognize that Doc is not following the dominant model. It's part of what makes Doc...Doc.

I agree with you that the new Klat site has brought some frustrations and unexpected complications. But to me (and to many, I hope) those hiccups are worth enduring because of the unique offering that is SSI. Of course, everyone has to decide that for themselves, and it's reasonable for someone to make a different choice.

I'm not trying to pick on you, just sticking up for a friend who I've never met but much appreciate.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:19am
Well put daddyo, I have not been on here long to see the changes and hiccups you are all outlining, but I'd stick with and see what happens
2015-08-28 14:40

DaddyO, when I say "free" I mean free to users. That's the dominant model. Even if ads are part of the financial side and pay for the operating cost of the service, users mostly don't pay on the internet. There are some exceptions here and there, but mostly that's how it works.

2015-08-28 14:36

And they have a big Netflix banner ad at the top. My "notice things" skills are definitely deteriorating!

2015-08-28 14:35

Well now that I scroll further down on SB pages they do have ads buried down there.

2015-08-28 14:34

Well, now that I look at SB Nation it looks like they do provide ad-free service. More power to 'em. More power to Doc too.

2015-08-28 14:32

All I'm sayin' is, Doc pays good #Money out of his own pocket to provide this place. No ads to offset his costs, or his labor. He provides his insightful and unique commentary for free. And it's a good thing he does, because I couldn't afford it if he did! I can't imagine anything appropriately called a "social media service" doing that.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/29/15 8:21am
Sounds like, from what I'm reading, I should read more Doc articles. Still learning ins and out of site.
2015-08-28 14:15

Almost all social media services are free. I don't think SBNation would just delete people's comments at random.

2015-08-28 14:11

HEY! Some really high class commentary by superior minds like us (heh heh!). Just GONE!

'Tis the WORLD's loss! 'Tis a cruel fate! 'Tis...'Tis...(DaddyO composes himself)...Aw, it's just some stuff we wrote off the top of our head that will be forgotten tomorrow anyway.

We have a RIGHT to demand more from a site where ... where ...umm ...uhh ...we don't pay ... a nickel...for so much...enjoyment. Hard to complain bout that!

Last evening in the sixth inning of a crucial game in the LLWS our cable went out for a few hours. And we pay a BUNCH for that service.

It's all good! Thanks Doc for the #Environment you provide for all us. For nuttin'.

2015-08-28 14:04

SSI used to be my first stop every morning, even before checking my email. Now, well... this site has made me not want to visit nearly as much as before. And that is saying a lot, considering how much I love Jeff's writing. I thought the initial clunkiness might be resolved, but apparently I was mistaken. Sorry to be so negative, and I realize that it is a free site and I am not entitled to anything, but seeing so many of today's shouts vanish sort of pushed me over the edge.

Reply - Richard - 8/28/15 3:52pm
Thank you for letting us know about the issue(s). We are working hard to improve performance and remove the clunkiness... I hope that you'll continue to let us know how we are doing.
2015-08-28 13:16

You can bet things will speed up.from here now that he is gone

2015-08-28 13:16

Yeah right today's shouts vanished.. was excited to see reaction to the Jack farewell tour

Reply - Richard - 8/28/15 5:32pm
The "lost" shouts are in the previous conversation - they were accidentally moved to last year. Sorry sports writers - we will try to not have this happen again!

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