OP-ED by 1st Sgt. Melanie Carrasco, 176th Signal Company, Fort Wainwright, Alaska
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Personal courage is a definite asset to have in all aspects of a person’s life. At every juncture of human existence you have to jump in and take, make or be the one who can affect the change.
On the battle field your personal courage is the devotion to the team, the unit and the mission to which you are assigned. Your choices will affect each and every person. You will stop bullets; become the human shield, provide security, bandage the wound and be the shoulder to bear the burden; you will take the heat, all without even thinking twice about which of the Army values you are employing to get the mission done. Personal Courage allows you to not hesitate at making these types of life-changing decisions on and off the battlefield.
In garrison, when you are not in the fish bowl of combat and no one is watching your every movement, ensuring you do the right thing all of the time, that is when personal courage is more difficult to employ into your scope of existence. You will get wrapped up in what you think is your own little world of life as a Soldier. You do not want your sergeant telling you what to do when you are off. Personal courage takes on a whole new meaning. When you are driving home and you see a vehicle wreck in front of you the decisions and split-second choice to stop and render assistance as you watch the car become engulfed in flames and you see people inside. Pulling over and running to assist takes on a whole new meaning. You have a choice, other cars are stopping people are getting out calling 911 and yet you can save the lives. You are trained in first aid on a muscle memory level allowing your instinct and combat survival training to take over.
Personal courage is ultimately your choice. You must make a conscious effort to assist, to make your life a little more difficult or cumbersome for the betterment of the organization.
As a noncommissioned officer you must not sit on the side lines and idly watch life and the Army just passes you by. If you are not the NCO that is out front demonstrating a walking, living, breathing example of the seven Army values and the Total Soldier Concept for all Soldiers in the ranks to emulate you must be that other guy who is idly waiting for your qualitative service letter or retirement date to roll around. The choice is yours, which type of NCO are you?