Army Strong

Jim @ The Unholy Rouleur makes a trenchant observation in a post mostly about something else:

There was a good Army recruiting ad a little while back in the “Army Strong” recruiting campaign that summed up the Western soldier’s ethos better than anything I have ever heard before or since. The ad’s argument, paraphrased, was, “There’s strong, and then there’s Army Strong; strong is being strong enough to get over, but Army Strong is being strong enough to get over yourself.” One of the Army leadership virtues that officers (noncommissioned and commissioned alike) are asked to internalize is “selfless service.” That means, in its ultimate expression, taking a bullet for somebody else, like a guy in your squad, to execute the general’s orders, or to protect people who think you’re a dupe for having joined up and risked your butt in the first place. Thing is, what those people think doesn’t really matter; what matters is hitting a higher plane of being yourself, putting the parts of you other than those parts intent on sacrificing for others aside. Identifying the unnecessary parts of your ego, the stuff other than the parts which inspire a quiet and informed confidence in your abilities, taking them out behind the shed, putting a bullet in them and burying them in a deep unmarked grave. Killing off that part of yourself that is your own worst enemy, and the enemy of those around you.

Nobody achieves that perfection, but it is a goal.

Most of us didn’t achieve it very often but many do when it counts.  And it’s actually more common on the field of battle than in garrison; people are more willing to put their lives on the line than their careers.

Only slightly apropos of the above, I stumbled across this at Neptunus Lex whilst looking for artwork:

Pretty funny.

Story tip via Jim Henley’s Google Reader.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. An interesting contrast to the “Army of One” slogan from a few years ago.

  2. Bithead says:

    Oh, look! He’s got a balloon…

  3. Wayne says:

    The “Army of One” slogan was too clever for its own good. Anytime something can mean more than one thing and at least one of those things is negative, it usually will be taken negatively.

    “Army strong “slogan is much more difficult to be taken negative even if it can be taken different ways.. Not that there are not those who will hate the Army regardless but that another story.

    I like the Navy picture.

  4. sam says:

    I like “The Few. The Proud.” But I’m biased.

  5. anjin-san says:

    The Army’s marketing is pretty good right now.

    I see a lot of sharp looking kids at the recruiting center, that for sure.