I saw an example of Army Values one Sunday that was better than any commercial produced for television.
It was a real, live episode without cameras, producers, scripts or drill sergeants.
The star was a female private who did the right thing without encouragement when none of her superiors were watching. I was watching.
The event happened at the 1:30 p.m. matinee in front of Abrams Theater. A line had formed nearly 30 minutes before the movie was about to begin. A mix of Soldiers and civilians stood patiently in a queue that formed at the theater entrance and snaked into the parking lot with no shade from the blazing sun.
I took my place behind a group of Soldiers in training. From behind me came a group of privates who were immediately summoned by one of their buddies to join them at the front of the line. As they moved forward by me and others, my blood began to boil. I hate line jumping with a passion.
While pondering whether to say something, a gentle but serious and firm female voice sounded out from the pack of predominately males privates in front of me.
“Hey, you can’t do that. That is not right. You’re in uniform,” the private said. “Get in line, and wait your turn.”
To my surprise, the other privates heeded her advice.
Wow. I was impressed and shocked — impressed that the female private had the guts to speak up — shocked that young Soldiers would taint the integrity of their service and not adhere their Army values.
However, that female private understood the seven Army Values.
She was loyal to the heritage and tradition of those who have worn or are in uniform by being a cut above the rest.
She felt it her duty to accept the responsibility for her comrades by exerting herself for the good of the group.
She had respect and consideration of how one’s actions reflect upon each of us, both personally and as a professional organization.
She exercised selfless service by being disciplined and having self-control — taking a stand for the integrity of her fellow Soldiers.
She epitomized honor by living up to all the Army values.
She exercised her moral compass, not with her inner voice, but rather vocal about doing what was right. She was willing to do what was right, even if she didn’t know someone was looking.
She showed personal courage by showing no fear in facing possible backlash from her peers.
I’m sure that private will do well in her military career. She has already displayed some key traits of a good leader.
According to Army Field Manual 6-22, an Army leader is anyone who by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility, inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals. An Army leader motivates people . . . to pursue actions, focus thinking and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization.
She fit that description.
Maybe her parents, a teacher or a mentor instilled those values. Maybe it was her drill sergeant or her pride in wearing the uniform. Whomever or whatever it was set the stage for her to live those values without coaching or scripting.
She was center stage and deserved a standing ovation.