An Officer’s Duty (Fritz)

What does it really mean to be an Armed Forces Officer? There is a lot to that question. What it ultimately means is we are a special group of individuals trusted to protect the people of America and the Constitution. The Army Pam 600-2 The Armed Forces Officer outlines this very well. We must remember that we will be entrusted to protect the Constitution. Some of us consider the Army as a way to have adventure, pay for college, follow in a parent’s footstep, travel the word, or have a stable job and pay. Those are all acceptable reasons to join, however, once we are commissioned I believe it is important we put those reasons aside and really take seriously our new commitment to the United States of America.
The Army Pam 600-2 also correctly but briefly mentioned how officers of the past became officers. Generally all throughout the last 1,000 years officers received their commissions by what noble family they were born in. It did not matter how smart they were because being born in a noble family meant you were born there for a reason and must be special. As a result, commissioning officers were commonly inept and incompetent. This caused many flawed battles and needless deaths. But now in our modern age we do not have to be born into a noble family to be an officer. We just need to show merit, integrity, and trainability. I really find it very remarkable we have the privilege of serving in the greatest Army in the history world even if we came from a low socioeconomic status.

With this great opportunity to serve in the Army we need to be effective leaders and always strive to do our best. The pamphlet says that “most folks do not understand how good they really are.” We need to realize how good we are and always work hard to get the best possible results. I’d like to refer to a man named Jonathan in the Old Testament. This was a man who was sold as a slave and through a strong work ethic he ended up being trusted with his master’s affairs. Then when he was put in prison he again worked so hard and honestly he ended up practically running the prison. We need to have this work ethic with everything we do whether we like the job or not. We should be the person who “understands the order, salutes smartly, and gets the job done.” In addition to that we should be able to teach this work ethic to our subordinates.

In conclusion I would like to outline a few areas from the pamphlet we should strive to master as we begin our journey as Army Officers.

Do what we enjoy

Be the subject matter expert in our area

Ask for jobs you want and don’t ask to leave jobs you don’t like

Master the written and spoken word

Volunteer often but thoughtfully

Never make false promises

Set the standard

Don’t abuse your privileges

Get noticed by standing out

Continue learning, training, and going to schools

CDT H Draffen’s Post:

The primary duty of an officer is to uphold the constitution and lead those to protect our nation.  One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the nation holds officers on a different level of standards.  The military officer must always be a hardworking citizen who is held to a higher standard on almost every level.  This is not an easy task.  It means, as an officer one must do everything within their power to better themselves constantly.  Officers in today’s world are going to face new challenges in their career that they will not be fully prepared for.  This is an unfortunate truth and will be difficult to always provide the right answer.  “Approaching the profession with a firm understanding of honor, integrity and duty makes the search simpler and the answer clearer.”  1–6 

There are many duties to fulfill that will be tasked to us as new lieutenants along with duties that we should accomplish without being tasked to.  An example of this would be to be able to adapt to the different religions and cultures that we will come across throughout our careers.  These will not always be dependent on where we are, but also who we are leading.  We must discipline ourselves to be open-minded so that the right answer will come to us when we are faced with a difficult task.  Self-discipline is important when you are trying to set the standards for those you are trying to lead.  They will not follow you if you say one thing and do something very different.  Discipline is something that we need to uphold for ourselves to lead properly, expect from our subordinates but is also expected of ourselves from our superiors and the constitution.

    • CDT Coco
    • February 14th, 2010

    I’d like to make a quick correction to my blog. The person I mentioned from the Old Testiment should be Joseph not Jonathan.

    • shake and bake
    • February 15th, 2010

    When I think of what I am supposed to be as an officer, it comes down to this, professionalism. We are choosing to “go pro” in a field where if we make mistakes, peoples lives get seriously messed up. I think of Jerry Rice often, and the time and effort he put into his work outs. He was always trying to be better. The example of Joseph’s work ethic is really fitting for an Army officer. Essentially, as an officer, what we do is not defined between working hours most of the time, it is how we handle our down time in order to become the greatest officer person we can be.

    • deathstroke13
    • February 15th, 2010

    One thing that really caught my eye in the reading The Armed Forces Officer was in section 1-4. This is the idea of fun and how officer ship no doubt includes dedication and personal development but must include fun. This may be a reason why the Army is struggling now to keep officers past the initial obligation. This makes sense to me after talking to some officers that have continued their career after the obligation when they tell me how much fun they have had in the Army.

    • Rambler 1
    • February 15th, 2010

    This Pamphlet was written in 88 and published in Feb 2001. I found a lot of the information in it useful, however, we have been at war with two countries for sometime now, could this pamphlet use some updating? I am sure some of our priorities have changed since then. For instance Nuclear threat. The Nuclear Threat is a Constant Concern • 25–8, page 45

      • Top Shelf
      • February 18th, 2010

      If you take the main pont from the pam, absolutely not. Maybe on some of the stuff like the nuclear threat, but even with that in particular, can you say Iran?

      • stewiegriffin519
      • April 7th, 2010

      We are not at war with any ‘country’. We are in a war against ‘terrorism’.

    • Porsche
    • February 15th, 2010

    Good officers “are self-disciplined and self-motivating” 2-1 b. It is our job to continue learning, readying and studying from others so we are up-to-date on everything we expect of our soldiers. Unlike the early officers going off of pedigree, we depend on competence. I also like the pointers in 13-2, “The Thirteen Mistakes.” Yes we must learn from our own, but getting a head start helps out.

    • Rooster Cogburn
    • February 15th, 2010

    I felt the Army Pam 600-2 lays out Officer duty and Officer expectations nicely. Some important things that jumped out to me.

    Learning from History, and applying it in the tactical level everyday. Learning from your PSG and others who are a wealth of knowledge and experience.

    Balancing the privileges that come with being an officer and the heavy responsiblity and expectations.

    Putting your soldiers first is one that spoke to me the loudest. When your soldiers are at their worst you need to be at your best, because they look to you.

    • Not Mike Myers
    • February 15th, 2010

    I understand that being an Army officer means completely immersing it into your lifestyle. But, is it necessary to be this way at all times of your life. For instance while with friends or with family is this necessary. I honestly feel that it is not healthy to live the life of an officer at all times. I feel that it is important that throughout our careers we do not lose who we are and where we are from because it is what makes us who we are. I’m not saying go out and freak out but don’t live you life under a microscope at all times.

      • Rooster
      • February 15th, 2010

      I concure.

    • Tom Townsdin
    • February 15th, 2010

    Someone once asked me if I thought West Point or ROTC produced better officers. In truth, I have known officers from both who are outstanding officers, and some who where not so great. In my opinion, you cannot be a successful officer unless you understand Leadership. Telling someone “F@#k the men, mission first.” Is no way to lead.

    • This Is Mike Myers
    • February 15th, 2010

    I do not have a long, creative reply for this topic, just a Marine Officer told me once which to me symbolizes the duty we have as officer.

    “As an officer it is not your job to be the best at any one task or to be the one out digging the foxhole. But it is your job to ensure that your soldiers are trained so that they are the best. To do this you must conduct quality training in the worst conditions possible, rain, snow, heat, whatever. War never takes a weather break, it is constant, so it is your job to train that way. And when your soldiers are out there you better be out there with them, suffering what they are suffering. You need to be the first one awake, the last one to sleep, and you will never eat before your soldiers. If they don’t have food you will give it to them. You will suffer to allow them to be more comfortable, and you will not complain about it. That is what your job will be.”

    -USMC Lieutenant

    • Top Shelf
    • February 18th, 2010

    Something that stuck out to me was the fact that when you move to a new post you get a clean slate. Always keep this in mind as you progress througout your career. You will have great bosses, horrible bosses, and bosses in the middle. A bad boss that you don’t get along with may give you some negative comments that are totally unwarranted; would you want someone else at a new post to hold those against you?

    • Fred Rogers
    • February 18th, 2010

    Some key points stuck out in this reading. First is that as an officer it is our responsibility to take care of the soldiers serving under us, while we are serving them as servant-leaders. We need to set their needs before ours, we hit the rack after everyone else, we are up earlier than everyone else, they eat before we do, etc. We are responsible for the lives of the soldiers under us, thus we should do in every aspect of our daily activities when on active duty status.
    Also, as a new junior-grade officer we should know our soldiers well, just as our PSGs know their soldiers. Not that we are familiar with our soldiers on a personal level (stay professional), but that we are aware of how they are doing on regular basis, familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, giving them the respect they deserve. Do this, and your soldiers will make you a proud LT.
    It was mentioned that leadership has two elements: a leader and a follower. This is paramount, for you can not become a good leader until you learn to follow, and with a good attitude.
    God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, Selah.

    • Halo33
    • February 19th, 2010

    The key point that I found from this particular topic is that, we as officers have to uphold an image that peers and sub-ordinates would want to follow in. After all we are the men and women that hold their lives in our hands. We owe it to our soldiers to be as proficient and proffisional as we can be to accomplish the difficult missions that we will face later on.

    • blazer
    • March 4th, 2010

    I found it interesting that we are always under the spot light and have to act professional all the time. We will always be looked at by the common man and judged

    • creativerick
    • March 4th, 2010

    Although a new duty station is a clean slate, your OERs and awards still follow you. If you let a bad environment negatively effect your paperwork, it could have an effect on your career. If you do have problems in a work environment, keep a journal of why you don’t like it. Someday you will be in your bosses spot, and you won’t want to make the same mistakes he or she made.

    • stewiegriffin519
    • April 7th, 2010

    What I do not understand is why cadets are ridiculed by enlisted people when everything you read and hear says that officers are ‘held to a higher standard’. I was raised to look at any military person with respect and gratitude that that individual would put themself on the line for our freedoms. I understand that many probably are jealous for various reasons, but we will clearly be the boss. We have so many more responsibilities and tasks to complete. Surely these guys know this if they have spent more than a day in the Army.

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