Today, we’re going to cover the twelfth lesson I learned from the book Starship Troopers. This is the twelfth lesson in the 17-lesson mini-series. If you haven’t read the previous post yet, please do so right now and try to follow it in order.
Lesson # 12: Not Every Soldier Has the Warrior Spirit!
Quote: “But you can’t buy fighting spirit. It’s scarce.”
My Take: Most Soldiers in the U.S. Army DO NOT have the warrior spirit. While the Army has many quality people in it, there is a big difference between being a quality person and being a quality Soldier. A quality soldier can shoot, move and communicate. They can do their technical and tactical job. They might get scared in certain situations, but they do not let their fears control them. They lead by example, they encourage others and they are AT THEIR BEST when the odds are stacked against them.
As I see it, the “fighting spirit” is really nothing more than the right discipline, the right attitude and the right frame of mind. It’s mental toughness, discipline and courage mixed together. It’s the Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. And while every Soldier carries around an Army Values Card in their wallet, that doesn’t mean they live by those values.
Look around in any unit and you will see what I am talking about. There are MANY Soldiers who do not have the mental toughness, the right attitude, or the courage to do what must be done in combat. And while these folks might do okay in a garrison environment, they normally won’t do well in combat. I know that may across as mean to some people who read this, but as I see it, it is the truth.
So what exactly is the warrior spirit and what can you do to get it? Here are some things I can think of:
- Being proud of what you do
- Taking responsibility for your actions
- Mastering your technical and tactical craft
- Doing what’s right over what’s comfortable
- Taking action, even if you are scared
- Holding people accountable (including yourself) to the Army Standards
- Leading by example
- Doing your mission in combat, even if it means losing your life
- Not being scared to make tough decisions
Fortunately, no one is born with the “warrior spirit.” It is learned. It starts in Basic Training and is built upon throughout your career.
I really encourage you to look yourself in the mirror and “evaluate” your own warrior spirit. We all have room for improvement, so make sure you identify your shortcomings so you can be a better Soldier and leader. And if you are a small unit leader, I really encourage you to make sure you do what you can to instill the “warrior and fighting spirit” into your Soldiers. It will be one of the best things you can do.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.
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