(This is an intentionally inverted rank)
So for those of you not in the military, below, I will first display the NCO Creed memorized by all NCO’s (Noncommissioned Officers) within the Army. This is the creed by which they supposedly live. An oath, if you will. Now, there are many good NCO’s out there. This is a well-known fact. However, they are spread out very thin, so that wherever one goes in the military only a select few NCO’s are truly living out the creed as they should. Second, you will find a . . . different “NCO Creed.” It was inspired by the experiences and observations of many other soldiers as well as myself. Having been overwhelmed by the tide of horrendous leaders, I have taken it upon myself to rewrite the creed for the majority of “leaders” out there. The creed that they actually live by. Those who wear the stripes on their shoulders, but live only for themselves. If any NCO’s out there are offended by this, then you are probably one of the ones I am referring to, and I do not apologize for it. For the rest of you – I want to express my most sincere thanks. For those out there who are honestly trying to do their best and care for soldiers, you have my deepest gratitude. You have made a great difference in my own life as well as those of my peers fortunate enough to interact with you. Having said that, without any further delay –
The NCO Creed
No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of Soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army”. I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All Soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my Soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my Soldiers and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!
So, that is the NCO Creed as it was originally written. Below is my own alternate version. A much more accurate version, I believe, for a troubling and frighteningly large amount of leadership within the Army –
The Nefarious NCO Creed
No one is more unprofessional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, an oppressor of Soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of what was once an honorable corps, now known only as “The Hypocrites of the Army.” I cannot retain any pride of this disgraced Corps, and will at all times conduct myself to bring credit upon myself above all others regardless of the situation. I will frequently abuse my grade and position to attain pleasure, profit, and personal safety.
Incompetence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind – the fulfillment of my personal ambition, and the mortification of my Soldiers. I will feign technical and tactical proficiency while growing apathetic and self-indulgent. I am well-aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer but choose to ignore it, and I mock the responsibilities inherent in that role. All Soldiers may be entitled to outstanding leadership, but they will never get it from me. I could tell you no more than the most superficial details about my Soldiers as I have never cared enough to ask and I could not even conceive of the idea of putting their needs before my own. I will communicate with my Soldiers sporadically at best, and frequently leave them uniformed. I will be unjust and biased when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers will more than likely need to look over my shoulders due to my ineptitude, and may even need to perform my own duties. I will likely not gain their respect and most definitely not the respect of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those who offer me the greatest chance for advancement, but only as long as it remains that way. In the absence of orders, I will accomplish the bare minimum necessary with as little inconvenience to myself as possible. My integrity was compromised long ago, and I do not believe I ever had any moral courage. I, along with most of my comrades, will conveniently forget what and who we are supposed to be. For in reality, we are little more than unprofessional, narcissistic, disloyal, malingering, power-crazed, hope-crushing, life-sucking, rage-inducing, maladroit, two-faced failures.
But suck it up, Soldiers – that’s just the Army.