March 18, 2010
The True Definition of an Ideal Soldier
“God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever lead us to victory, please continue your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Strengthen my soul so that the weakening instinct of self-preservation, which besets all of us in battle, shall not blind me to my duty to my own manhood, to the glory of my calling, and to my responsibility to my fellow soldiers. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord. ~General George Patton
A soldier is an experienced warrior, trained to lay his or her life on the line for the good of those they serve. The mental and physical tolls taken on him or her, as they progress throughout their training and their skills are put to the test, is an immense burden for someone to carry. Because of the massive amount of stress placed upon them, the outcome and efficiency of soldiers has the possibility to vary from soldier to soldier. The ideal soldier is competent, efficient, skilled, and has the ability to make logical decisions whenever necessary. While many people are able to be molded into an ideal soldier, there are those who fail to adapt into this life style. These people are deemed unfit to be soldiers either by their own means, or by the military. One example of “bellow par” soldier is Pvt. Pyle from Full Metal Jacket.
Pvt. Pyle from the very beginning strikes the viewers as incapable of following orders and totally inept when held to the military standards. Sgt. Hartman instantly points out Lt. Pyle’s inability by relating him to a pile of shit and thus naming him Pyle. As the movie continues, Pvt. Pyle fails to accomplish any set task which is presented to him. This often times resulting in the punishment of his fellow soldiers. In one scene Pyle is seen following behind his squad with his thumb in his mouth and pants around his ankles, portraying his need to be babied through his tasks. Another time Pyle is caught with a donut, and is forced to eat the donut while his squad mates perform push-ups. As the movie progresses, Pvt. Joker is given the task of teaching Pvt. Pyle, aid him to become a more fit soldier. Pyle eventually makes a slight improvement and finds that he is highly skilled with his rifle. Despite his progress, Pyle’s peers express their frustration of Pyle’s incompetence by beating him in the middle of the night. Even though Pyle makes it through basic training, he proves that the burden was too much for him and goes “section 8”. During the final night on base, as Pvt. Joker patrols the barracks, he finds Pyle in the bathroom loading his M14 with a full clip. After a display of his training, Pyle wakes up Sgt. Hartman, whom he shoots and kills, then turns his gun on himself, taking his own life. Pyle’s character displays complete inability to change from a citizen into a soldier, and the mindset which marines must assume.
Many people are incapable of reaching the level of discipline and skill required of a soldier. Also a few individuals take their training, abilities, and objectives above the expectations of the military. Some lay aside the moral boundaries of an ideal soldier. An example of “the extreme soldier” is Sgt. Barnes from Platoon. From his first scene, it becomes clear that Sgt. Barnes is a seasoned veteran of war, showing numerous battle scars. Sgt. Barnes does not hesitate to leap into action, readily taking the lives of the Viet Cong and protecting his men, all while issuing commands and taking control of the situation. During battle, Barnes...