FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Army Values - loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage - are more than mere words; they are the professional ethos that identifies and sets apart our profession from all others. They are far more than just things for new Soldiers to recite when called upon by their drill sergeants, and they are far more than an easy answer to a promotion board question.

The Army Values are intrinsically special to all of us who wear the uniform.
They are with us 24/7/365, in or out of uniform. Army Values never take a holiday. No Soldier leaves the bunk without them, because he or she would be incomplete. Army Values are the traits that define how we conduct ourselves. They are the foundation of our profession and define us as proud members of the profession of arms.

Recently, the post newspaper conducted a man-on-the-street survey. During the informal survey, Soldiers were asked: "Which of the seven Army Values means the most to you'" Of the six Soldiers polled, "loyalty" and "selfless service" tied at the top with two votes each, while "honor" and "integrity" received one vote apiece. All six were right, because all of them are applying the Army Values to their daily lives.

Regardless of which value you find most important, I guarantee that all of our Army Values holistically applied will be relevant throughout your career and in your daily lives as Soldiers and as responsible citizens. If you live up to the standards of all seven core values, you will be - at the very minimum - a very good Soldier, with a significant edge in becoming a great Soldier. And, most importantly, you'll be a responsible member of our society and a great ambassador for the Army and the United States wherever you are, whatever you're doing.

On the other hand, if you are derelict and not living up to our Army Values, you will never attain greatness, and you will probably have a difficult time meeting minimum standards not only in the Army, but in life. That's why it pays for us to conduct self assessments and examine how we are living our Army lives.

We consistently need to revisit the basics to ensure we remain focused on doing what's right. In one way, we resemble professional athletes. They, from time to time, re-examine fundamentals and mechanics so that they stay at the top of their games. I realize this is a simple analogy, but in sports, many flaws can be traced back to a problem with fundamentals. No football team can expect to be good, let alone great, if it can't block and tackle.

The difference between our profession and professional athletes is we can never violate our values. When we do, lives can be lost, teammates let down, missions left unaccomplished, reputations - personal and our Army's - ruined. Take the time to reflect on our Army Values and how they apply to all aspects of your life.

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!