16 April 2014

Insecurity Is an Army Value

By SSG Lyndsey Prax

If you've ever spoken to anyone in the U.S. Military then there’s no doubt you know why their service is better than the others.

The Air Force for example has better everything: better food, lodging, equipment, facilities. Marines, as they tell it, are tougher and more willing to fight (in bars and on beach heads). Sailors apparently get to travel the world in boats.

So what is so special about the Army you ask? This blog has addressed that question before. Twice, actually. But the real strength of the U.S. Army comes from its multitudinous experts. Seventy-three per cent of Soldiers experts, and that number rises to 94 per cent for E5 and above! Experts at what? Yes.

Soldiers are experts at pointing out others mistakes and even better at making excuses for their own.

Let’s use today as an example. Today I cleared my weapon three times inside of two minutes. Clearly I am an expert at clearing my weapon. However, the last time I cleared the weapon I failed to switch my selector switch from “semi” to “safe”. Thank God my expert NCOIC discovered my mistake and punished me by demanding I perform 25 push-ups.

And wouldn’t you know it-- every other Soldier in my unit was an expert in diagnosing my push up deficiencies. One expert dropped to the floor and started showing me how to perform a correct push-up, but apparently she was not performing them correctly either! Good thing there were other experts on hand. They proceeded in turn, each performing their best push-up while the others from the side performed their duty of criticizing.

Of course no one’s was perfect. The real point of the exercise was for each to defend his or her own expertise. We have to prove, after all, why we are better than those Marines (in the bar or on the beach head).

Although I am nearly perfect in every way, I am happy I chose the service that has individuals with the courage and integrity to point out all of my flaws and mistakes; the service that affords me the opportunity to turn my defensiveness and insecurity into a virtue by encouraging me to point out, er, correct, others' weaknesses.

I can’t think of any better way to spend my time.

1 comment:

  1. Very true. Another typical one is when Soldiers point our when haircuts are "out of regs," even though they've never read the regulation. If these Soldiers carried around clippers, they'd probably demonstrate a proper haircut on the spot.