Loyalty means different things to different people depending on whether they are active duty military, retired military or a civilian employee who has never served in a military capacity. While all support the goals and missions of the Army and its Soldiers in the performance of their day-to-day duties, the term "loyalty" is interpreted differently.
The Army defines loyalty as "bearing true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers." This definition is very similar to the one shared by Cleon Raynor, ATEC operations division chief and a retired Army lieutenant colonel.
"Loyalty means commitment to a cause, a purpose or a person. It embodies the ability to stand behind one's promises and convictions," he said. "Loyalty does not waiver in the time of test but garners strength from within to stand committed to support the person, the belief or the cause despite whatever challenges may come."
While Raynor's definition links more closely with the Army one, other ATEC personnel focus their loyalties elsewhere. Master Sgt. Sheila Sango, ATEC senior career counselor, believes it means "a total commitment to taking care of Soldiers." She also believes that when you lose that feeling, you need to get out.
For Courtney Swartz, process improvement coordinator and devoted Orioles fan, loyalty means an unwavering support for her favorite baseball team. Kelly Keck, disability program manager in ATEC's Equal Employment Opportunity office, has a different view.
"Many people in the military demonstrate loyalty by retiring in it. A husband and wife together for 50 years demonstrate their loyalty to one another," said Keck. He also said that the same way a man's "best friend" will stay with him its whole life, some people also behave similarly in regard to their family, friends, jobs, religion, or country. "You act, behave or believe about something or someone in a way that is not faltering."
For ATEC Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Fritzsching loyalty to your fellow Soldiers is critical for generating confidence and trust, and that loyalty to one's leaders and fellow Soldiers is a unit's most vital resource. "It is this commitment that causes units and Soldiers to risk everything to succeed and to bring everyone back," he said.
Fritsching hopes that by focusing on Army values that the loyalty and commitment of ATEC personnel to the nation, to the Army, to the Command, and to the Soldier, will be even stronger once Operation Solemn Promise concludes in April 2013. Up next: Duty.