Military Customs and Courtesy

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Today's Army in an extremely nostalgic organization with a copious amount traditions and has about a million different methods of conducting its business. Some are old and some are new, but possibly the oldest one that has been around since before the Army was officially established and still lives today is the Army’s rules, regulations and policies on customs and courtesies. In this form of a remedial block of instruction given to me, due to what I believe to be false targeting, I am to explain the Army’s customs and courtesies and their importance. Customs and Courtesies are among the main fundamentals of military life, the other being the Seven Army Values, upon which Soldiers are expected to live and rely upon both on and off duty. Customs and Courtesies date back to the inception of the military service, and are one of the defining features of a professional within that service. The idea that at any point in time that they can be lapsed, forgotten about, or dispensed with is ludicrous, and undermines esprit de corps. These customs govern Soldiers not only in their professional life but in their social life as well, they add to the interest, pleasure and graciousness of army life, and this is reiterated throughout a soldier’s career. A custom is a way of acting - a way that has continued consistently over such a long time that it has become similar to a law. A courtesy is a form of polite behavior and excellence of manners. You will find that Army life creates many special situations, not found in civilian life, that require special behavior on your part. Customs and courtesies help make life orderly and are a way of showing respect. The Army is an organization that imprints pride and discipline in its Soldiers, both enlisted and commissioned officers, because of its history, mission, capabilities, and the respect it has earned in the service of the nation. A reflection of that pride and discipline is visible in the customs, courtesies, and traditions the Army holds. Inversely the pride and discipline is visible because the customs, courtesies and traditions of the Army are regularly practiced. There are many ways in the Army to instill discipline, such as drill and ceremony for example. Like drill and ceremony, practicing of the customs, courtesies, and traditions is yet another effective means of instilling discipline, a sense of pride in ones self and ultimately the Army, and professionalism that we are well known for. Courtesy among members of all the branches of the military is important to maintain discipline. Military courtesy essentially means having good manners and respect in dealing with other people. Courteous behavior provides a foundation for developing good people skills. Its inevitably one of the small pieces that make up the bigger picture of serving in uniform. Failing to conduct ones-self in these mannerisms just labels that person as careless or raised poorly. Integrity, service, and excellence. Three simple words that epitomize the core of the military profession: the bedrock of integrity, fortified by service to country, which in turn fuels the drive for excellence. These values must be introduced to our new members as they enter the service and must be reinforced throughout their careers. Integrity is essential. It's the inner voice, the source of self-control, the basis for the trust that is imperative in today's military. It's doing the right thing when nobody's looking. In this world of "me first" and relative ethics, honesty is still the hallmark of the military professional. Service members must know the right thing to do and have the moral fortitude to do it. Military service is not just another job. It's an uncommon profession that calls for people of uncommon dedication. Every military member realizes, from day one, that his or her individual needs will be subordinated to the needs of the nation. The Army requires a high level of professional skill, a 24-hour-a-day commitment, and a...
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