HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Resiliency, life-long learning, trust and teamwork were common themes during two ROTC-focused sessions at the 2019 Association of the U.S. Army's Global Force Symposium and Exposition.

Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command and one of only about a dozen active duty four-star generals, closed out the symposium by sharing words of wisdom with about 200 ROTC and JROTC cadets and 27 future Soldiers during a luncheon, March 28, at the Von Braun Center.

Addressing the cadets, Perna defined the five essential characteristics acting as the foundation for the Army Profession: trust, military expertise, honorable service, Esprit de Corps and stewardship.

"Our nation entrusts an incredible amount of authority and responsibility to our Soldiers," said Perna. "We must always be trusted to do the right thing. The consequences of not doing so will be measured in lives, and freedoms, lost. This trust is gained through military expertise."

Perna told the cadets that, through stewardship, they will be taught everything they need to know -- from how to clean their boots, to how to lead a team of 3,000 fellow Soldiers. They will learn what it means to have honor and integrity, an Esprit de Corps -- a winning spirit, inner strength and passion.

"Honorable service is a matter of carrying out, acting and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage," Perna said. "We must hold ourselves to a higher standard worthy of respect."

Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker, Army Materiel Command's senior enlisted advisor to the commander, spoke of these same core principles during the ROTC/Future Soldiers panel held earlier that day.

"What motivates you in the hardest situations is the people around you -- your team -- who have the same shared values and hardships," he said.

Mansker advised the cadets to always evaluate their actions, ensuring they are doing the right thing and making the right decisions. If they become so comfortable in life that they no longer continue to learn, they're not growing. They need a thirst for knowledge to strive to be better every day.

"Everything you learn is not only what you are taught," he said. "Don't always wait for someone to teach you. You've got to be a self-learner."

Self-learning is a life-long commitment and what the military is all about -- continuous growth, said Mansker.

"Our Army is the most lethal military force in history, and a force for good," Perna said. "But our strength does not come from things like tanks, artillery shells or attack helicopters. It comes from you."

Perna encouraged the cadets to strive every day to make themselves worthy to be in such company, and such a profession.