By Lt. Gen. Bradley BeckerDecember 28, 2018
The mission of the United States Army is to deploy, fight and win our nation's wars by providing ready, prompt and sustained land dominance across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the joint force. While a concise and straightforward statement, accomplishing this mission involves hundreds of thousands of people doing millions of things in locations all around the world -- a complex undertaking to say the least.
To reduce this complexity, our active and reserve component Soldiers and the civilians, contractors and family members who support them must all steadily move in the same direction. But how do so many people doing so many different things remain focused on accomplishing the same mission? For one, our Army values. They serve as guideposts to help us cooperatively navigate vexing security challenges, identify and leverage opportunities to build readiness and lethality, develop our workforce, and take care of our Soldiers and Families.
Along with our values are two other aspects of Army culture that bind us together and keep us on the same azimuth: PT and teamwork. The Army is a team sport, and doing PT as part of a unit or team is intrinsic to our culture and key to our ability to accomplish the mission our nation has set before us.
Our values are present each morning as Soldiers assemble for PT around the world on our posts, camps, and stations. Showing up for reveille every day and giving it your all sends a signal to yourself and your unit that you are loyal and can be depended upon to do your duty. Striving together, motivating one another, or going out of your way to help bring stragglers back into the formation all demonstrate the respect for others that is part of the fabric of our culture. On those mornings when it seems impossible to pull yourself out of bed before daybreak just to go push yourself, the act of going anyway exhibits the selfless service that may one day be the critical difference between life and death -- or mission success and failure -- on the battlefield. On the days you are entrusted to do PT "on your own" and you don't want to drag yourself out of bed before the sun rises, you do anyways, because you have integrity. When the cramping is all you can think about during the extra-long formation run, it takes personal courage to continue on…and you do it because your teammates are doing it, and you honor them by pushing through the pain.
A current challenge facing the Army today is the number of non-deployable Soldiers. This is clearly opposed to the Army mission as "deploy" is the first verb in the mission statement. Being able to deploy is something our nation values in its Soldiers, and a steady and challenging physical training regimen helps each of us remain healthy and ready. It keeps us sharp and continually prepared to do our duty, and builds in us the perseverance required to live a life of selfless service.
So this month as the Army considers the importance of and communicates about our values, look no further than your morning PT formation. It is the best way to remind yourself you are part of a team that is built on values; the kind of values that make us the premier ground force combat force and the bedrock of our Nation's defense.