However, the responses I get constantly from the ad are 98% negative from fellow Soldiers and other servicemembers as cynically caving in to the self-centered demands of our at-ease youth and offering an Army based on individualism and not the teamwork needed to win in war or other trying circumstances.
There is a simple solution----declare that the slogan was "part 1" of a national attention-getter---then add the phrase; "a Soldier for all", creating a vigorous dynamic of individual creativity focused towards group success, akin to the 3 Musketeer's "All for one and one for all". Notice we capitalize the title "Soldier".
This would solve the critic's fears of a de-emphasis of teamwork and create a "kick-butt" slogan for the ages.
Even better it gives us an opportunity to make 2 types of TV commercials----one based on the Soldier retaining his identity and making it a force for the Army, and another on service to mankind and the Army as a whole; disaster relief, peacekeeping, willing to fight for other Soldiers who wear our vaunted new black-beret clad uniform....etc.
Let's not be rigid in the first presentation of the Army slogan or be defensive with a "not-invented-here-syndrome" (NIHS); "tweak" the slogan a bit and we will receive a tremendous ground swell of support from millions of people in and out of the Army.
It can be a "win-win" situation for everyone by simply adding the simple phrase; "a Soldier for all".
1996 Classic Johnny Quest episode: "An army of one"
E-mail 1st TSG (A)
FEEDBACK #1; A combat veteran writes:
As I was once a Soldier, years ago when serving your nation was not an option - but, a duty,,, the concept of the the "Army of One" was very much "cartoonish." You learned very quickly that the mature attitude was something more than "The One."
As an adult, looking back into the past when I served as a youth in the theater of Southeast Asia, I have come to understand that America wants and needs the child like mind, that I once had, in order to fill the ranks of a military which has not matured since the days of Robert McNamara. It is hard to believe that the American Military establishment has not learned from the lessons of the past.
The "Army of One" is a slogan that appeals to the "John Wayne" that hides in the back of our minds. But it is the killer of the implementor. In the military, who know a true John Wayne that has not taken residence in other than the hollowed ground of Arlington. As I look back on my youth, I am just wise enough to advise my children - NOT to follow the path of the "Army of One", for it is in that childishness that death lurks.
Remembering the Lessons of Days Gone By,"
Good copy!, and what you write makes a big differance. I'm going to forward some emails to you of the debate now underway on this very subject of co-dependancy manipulation in our military E4s and below. Are you ready to fight for a professional U.S. Army for the first time in its existence?
We have sources that indicate that the firepower/push-button war heirs of MacNamara clearly understand how that a professional military can win without massive firepower, but frankly admit its too much hassle to create a professsional force and why do we need it when we can win with massive stand-off firepower?
They know that we treat young people like WWII draftees replicating the "shut-up/do what you are told" desperation of WWII and that it creates stupid people without maturity, wisdom or knowledge of the modern battlefield who can be trusted with live ammo--hence our young people continue to get blown up: Beirut, USS Cole etc.
There is a growing awareness that there is a linkage between the blind obedience co-dependancy we build with our military failures. When we get sick of it enough to really start over and build our own, unique American military culture we will have a professional military--the question is will it take a nuclear Pearl Harbor to make us do it?
Here is a great article on the My Lai massacre which raises questions about the maturity level of our men:
Notice CPT Medina was a "disciplinarian"--code words for a blind-obedience legalistic type person who is not likely one with an open-door policy to hear the TRUTH and nip problems in the bud until they become disasters--"My Lais".
...a very good and important article. I have been thinking long and hard for the 20 years I have been in, to include 9 in the marines and think I have the answer. The problem is that we build co-dependence NOT co-hesion in immature young people in order to control them for our top-down, blind-obedience firepower warfare style copied from the French in WWI. You can stress Army core values all day, but unless we build ADULTS in the ranks who know that they have INTRINSIC self-worth independant from group acceptance there will not be any "adult supervision" to self-correct and prevent My Lais from happening. Our Senior DoD leaders know that we do not have a professional ground Army/Mc and opt for air/naval precision stand-off firepower accordingly.
Dealing with these DoD types for the last year, I offer this:
The thing that drives Senior DoD thinking is Tofflerian thinking that MENTAL things (third wave) are more important than PHYSICAL (second wave) things. All of our mechanical advantage complaints mean nothing to them, inability to keep head/eyes out the vehicles, fire .50 cal under armor etc. We often mis-diagnose this as their GREED driving the train, but its their world-view that missiles and minds replace guns and bodies/tanks.
However, if we don't stop the Hackworth-esque mis-diagnosis that all these folks are just "greedy bastards" and long for the good ole bad days when everyone was vigorously treated like feces, we will LOSE the fight for the soul of our Army...MOST of these folks are TRUE BELIEVERS IN THE TOFFLERIAN COMPUTER AGE.
Do we want to win this fight?
We need to write articles or several explaining how we are NOT in a Tofflerian Third Wave where mental has replaced physical, and that we are actually in Van Crevald's 4th Generation of War where all the things that worked in the past still apply AND the mind is the target to strike to collapse the will of the enemy =
physical + mental = spiritual.
Otherwise we come off as a bunch of class/rank MICC envy whiners with no solutions because it we offer no true diagnosis other than the nostalgic "knee-jerk".
Then we need to explain how we need to stop exploiting our young people in basic training with mindless S/M initiation rites to get them to conform (and appease our fears that we are getting "soft" and that they paid their "dues" like we did) and instead build ADULTS who think and STUDY and KNOW what the battlefield is really about who are not going to go along just to belong and be accepted, people who have VALUES that are connected to enduring TRUTHS that will not get short-circuited by peer pressure or even superior ranks ordering them to do unlawful orders. The IDF has this ethical base in its Soldiers, we need the same in the U.S. Army. Otherwise, we will not fight SMART enough to do maneuver warfare with live ammunition making it a viable option when the stand-off missile people's dreams fail us.
Our Army values are corrupt in many ways, too, stressing conformity over integrity, details:
And should be amended as detailed above.
In fact, here is an opportunity to TODAY prevent a massacre--of our own men:
What's the differance between a 40 PSI Russian 8x8 BTR being road bound and blown up and a U.S. 40 PSI 8x8 LAV-III being blown up?
There's a "My Lai" waiting to happen, and we're fighting it TODAY, not after-the-fact, too late.
This is what I mean by not having a THINKING U.S. Army that self-corrects at every level. Had we had this the LAV-III SUV tired madness would have been stopped long before in favor of tracked AFVs with band-tracks if necessary to be "ooo-soo soft" for peacekeeping operations.
More on recruit training/mentality topics, go here:
Recruit training gone soft? Or is not RIGHT and based on COMBAT realituies?
FEEDBACK #2: an active-duty U.S. Army LTC writes:
I appreciate the feedback. Your idea of co-dependence is an interesting perspective that I had not thought of. You make some good points with regard to the proper maturity level in order to become truly cohesive and exemplifying the proper values. I agree with your analysis about thinking. We have to teach all Soldiers and especially leaders HOW to think as opposed to what to think. Unfortunately not all folks believe this is necessary. You also identify a good point about training and the fine line between 'hardcore' and stupid. Thats an issue we take the time to discuss in our training classes.
You have some real interesting ideas that I would encourage you to consider developing and publishing.
Thanks again for your feedback."