CAPT. MICHAEL S. RODE
U.S. Army Reserve
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Sometimes we take for granted the impact we can have on the lives of others. By enforcing standards and not turning a blind eye, a few of us may have already saved at least one life in our careers. We also set the standards for the way our junior leaders will conduct themselves when they’re in our shoes one day. If you think of it in those terms, you may have saved several lives without even knowing it. For that, you are a hero.
For example, the pre-combat checks/inspections our first-line leaders conduct to ensure their Soldiers are prepared for battle save lives daily. These leaders are there when our Soldiers practice drills, identifying areas where they might need more training. These leaders are there to ensure Soldiers are part of a well-trained team, giving them the best chance of surviving combat and returning home to their families. I’m sure few parents want their children to serve in combat; but if their child must go, they most certainly want them to have the best training possible and to belong to a team that is just as well-trained. I’d bet your Soldiers’ families would love to shake your hand for the care you demonstrate by watching over their loved ones.
The same type of care applies to off-duty activities too. A Soldier may know his vehicle’s tires are worn and won’t pass your inspection, so he replaces them, reducing the risk of hydroplaning on the wet roadways while traveling during inclement weather. Inspecting the vehicle before the Soldier commits to any travel can reduce or prevent accidents. This simple act could save a family the heartbreak of burying a loved one or spare a child from the possibility of growing up without a parent.
Think about standards in these terms the next time you perform your duties. You are honored to have the duty of saving a life and possibly several others down the road. You have the privilege of leading not only the finest Soldiers in the world, but are entrusted with the care of a family member. You are indeed a hero.