One Ribbon Short
By PFC Alex Wells
Since before the glorious days of warlords like Genghis Khan, powerful armies have triumphed not only by the strength of their weapons or the number of warriors in their ranks, but by the skill and precision borne of the discipline instilled in the soldiers using the weapons. The foundations of any successful army are found in the soldiers that pay close attention to detail; in their precise execution of orders given to them and completion of both extraordinary and routine tasks within timeframes that are more often than not fast paced. The first foundation of an exemplary soldier is the ability to pay close attention to detail. From having a “squared away” dress uniform, where the attention to the smallest details reflects the hard work and dedication; service and awards of the soldier wearing it, to completion of tasks with specific instructions, attention to detail is a key ingredient for success. The second cornerstone of an effective service member is the ability to follow orders. Orders are what keep the gears of the Army turning, and a soldier’s ability to follow those orders is what ensures the machine as a whole operates as intended. Thirdly, completion of tasks within their set forth parameters is essential, not only on the battlefield where precise executions of tasks in a timely manner can mean the difference between victory or defeat, but also in garrison where completion of tasks on time instills the discipline that results in successes on the battlefield.
In the American Army, learning to follow orders begins when a fresh faced soldier, recently liberated of their hair, their personal belongings, and a wide variety of the liberties they will soon fight to protect, begins basic training. To wean a recruit from their undisciplined civilian lifestyle, the drill sergeant’s block of instructions regarding following orders begins with a simple “sit down, and shut up” usually followed by “stand up...