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Core Values & The Oath

I forget what brought it up. Even though I have been retired from the service for 6 years now. I started to reflect on the oath of office that I took upon entering the US Navy and upon each re-enlistment. I thought that this might be a time to share some core US Navy values with all of you.

I, Walter Anthony,do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. I swear that I am fully aware and fully understand the conditions under which I am enlisting.
That is an oath that no one should swear to lightly. The following are the core values as posted on a Navy Recruitment website.
Honor Courage Commitment

The U.S. Navy is an elite force of highly trained professionals dedicated to protecting our freedom and ensuring a secure future for America. For more than 200 years, Navy men and women have stood tall for the principles that make America the greatest nation on earth. In the Navy, these unchanging principles- Honor, Courage and Commitment-are known as Core Values. To know, understand and faithfully live by them is the duty of all Navy people.

HonorSailors standing in front of American Flag

"I will bear true faith and allegiance..."

Accordingly, we will:

  • conduct ourselves in the highest ethical manner in all relationships with seniors, peers and subordinates;
  • be honest and truthful in our dealings with each other, and with those outside the Navy;
  • be willing to make honest recommendations and to accept those recommendations from junior personnel;
  • encourage new ideas and deliver the bad news, even when it is unpopular;
  • abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking responsibility for our actions and keeping our word;
  • fulfill or exceed our legal and ethical responsibilities in our public and personal lives 24 hours a day;

Illegal or improper behavior or even the appearance of such behavior will not be tolerated. We are accountable for our professional and personal behavior. We will be mindful of the privilege we have to serve our fellow Americans.


"I will support and defend..."

Accordingly, we will:

  • have courage to meet the demand of our profession and the mission when it is hazardous, demanding or otherwise difficult;
  • make decisions in the best interest of the Navy and the nation without regard to personal consequences;
  • meet these challenges while adhering to a higher standard of personal conduct and decency;
  • be loyal to our nation by ensuring the resources entrusted to us are used in an honest, careful and efficient way.

Courage is the value that gives us the moral and mental strength to do what is right even in the face of personal or professional adversity.


"I will obey the orders..."

Accordingly, we will:

  • demand respect up and down the chain of command;
  • care for the safety, professional, personal and spiritual well-being of our people;
  • show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion or gender;
  • treat each individual with human dignity.;
  • be committed to positive change and constant improvement;
  • exhibit the highest degree of moral character, technical excellence, quality and competence in what we have been trained to do.

The day-to-day duty of every Navy man and woman is to work together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves.

The ideas expressed in the core values above are something I took for granted while I was in the Navy. Indeed everyone for the most part did live by these core values. We were a team and at sea on a ship each of our lives depended on their fellow shipmate. It wasn't until I retired and started work at the University here in Greensboro that I realized that not everyone shared these core values as intensely as I had been use to.

I pondered exactly what was missing over the last 6 years but never in the context of core values. I thought maybe it was a lack of training that caused the different atmosphere. Maybe it was just that the neighborhood was different, I mean most everyone here is from this area and I have always been with people from all over the country. Things here weren't bad just different, commitment to the University seemed forced. I heard all of the right words but actions proved limited.

Recently our Information Management Team underwent some group training and it was in these sessions that it struck me. The true sense of team you have when you are on a ship didn't exist here. To my surprise it was clear to me that all of the training (not just technical but social and leadership training at every step of your progression), honor, tradition, and the way we were always encouraged to work with those of every trade to constantly improve our processes all contributed to making each command I went to one cohesive team dedicated to the mission of that command. No matter where one was assigned we all shared a common path and respected those above and below us for their commitment to following that path.

Reading the core values above it is no surprise that President Bush secured about 2/3rds of the military vote. I have been ask by liberals on campus how I could possibly have voted for Bush. I respond that in my time in the service I have seen many leaders and many posers. I see in President Bush true leadership and a man that shares the core values that I have relied upon these so many years. They look at me and shake their head and explain how Bush is just a puppet and others are really pulling the strings. I reply that there should be no doubt that this President is the one in charge. I can see this why can't they. They don't see this because they don't share the same core values that I do.

I am reminded of the commercial where the guy says "I'm not a doctor I just play one on TV." This is one of the problems that the liberals have to face. They have few real leaders If asked I can hear it now "I'm not a leader I just play one on TV.