Military and Professional Bearing Essay

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The purpose of this essay is to discuss the importance of discipline, military bearing and professionalism in today’s army. I intend to prove that discipline on the battlefield begins with discipline off the battlefield. I will discuss how an army can only be as professional as it appears to be. To finish, I will talk about how mission readiness is dependent on soldiers’ professional bearing.

Discipline on the battlefield begins with discipline off the battlefield. Rain hits the ground as bullets fly past your head. Your feet slide in blood and mud as you step. Your squad leader yells, “keep moving” as he runs past you before taking a bullet. This moment will define you as a soldier. Instead of retreating, you engage the enemy because that is what soldiers do. This discipline is what tells the soldier to move forward regardless of the risk to his life. However, this discipline begins off the battlefield. It begins in basic training when soldiers are taught to salute officers and fear sergeants. This mentality ensures that soldiers will obey any orders their superiors give them. It gives them a level of respect for their superiors that is difficult to find in the civilian world. Superiors are not the only thing soldiers are trained to respect. Every morning, midday, and night soldiers salute the flag as a bugle plays. Soldiers are trained to honor the flag, because it is a symbol that represents the country, they must be willing to die for. From the moment a soldier steps into basic training he is told to memorize the Soldier’s Creed. Within this creed is the Warrior Ethos. According to Army G-1 for STAND-TO! (2011) it is as follows, “I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade”. These are more than just words to a soldier. The Warrior Ethos is a mentality that goes hand in hand with a soldier’s discipline. It describes the high regard in which a soldier holds his personal courage and discipline. This is how discipline on the battlefield begins off the battlefield. Respect for superiors, the flag, and even the uniform.

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An army is only as disciplined as it appears to be. According to Army Study Guide (1999-2018), “Personal appearance is important-it demonstrates the pride and self-discipline you feel as a soldier in the United States Army. Being neat and well-groomed contributes to the esprit in your unit. Your uniform should fit well and be clean, serviceable, and pressed as necessary. Your uniform is only part of your appearance. To really look like a soldier, you need to be physically fit, meet acceptable weight standards, and have a neat hairstyle in accordance with army regulations”. An extreme example of an undisciplined military would the child soldiers in Africa. Imagine an 8-year-old wearing an oversized uniform, patrol cap on backwards, and wielding an AK-47 the size of his body. In contrast, imagine the American soldier. An adult that has been trained by the most lethal land force the world has ever seen. Images of a faceless warrior with a pristine uniform, helmet, and body armor, wielding an m4 carbine with deadly accuracy comes to mind. The image of an army is important because it affects mission readiness. The U.S. population’s support for the Military is determined by the image soldiers create for it. That support is essential for mission readiness. When a soldier is undisciplined and commits a crime, the U.S. civilian population views other soldiers as criminals. This effects political support for the Military, funding, and training. Politicians that need votes to stay in office will cut military spending due to the public’s opinion. Valuable time that should be spent on important training will be spent on briefs on crime instead. The opinion of the U.S. population is not the only one that is important. The opinion of foreign populations is also very important. Creating positive relations with civilians in the theater is essential to mission success. Locals can be used in gathering intelligence for both, the U.S. Military and enemy combatants. Therefore, it is imperative that the U.S. Army is successful in demonstrating military bearing while fighting abroad. The respect of civilians is not the only reason military bearing is critical to a soldier. Military bearing and professionalism also influence opinions within the army. An officer is not likely to receive much respect from enlisted soldiers if they do not wear their uniform correctly or are seen running inside during a bugle call to avoid standing at attention and saluting the flag. This applies to soldiers of any rank, not just officers. A lack of military bearing creates a lack of respect for the soldier from both, superiors and subordinates. Walking on the phone, listening to headphones while in uniform, wearing the uniform out of regulation, or being overweight are just a few examples of how a soldier can create an undisciplined appearance for him or herself and ultimately effect mission readiness.

Mission readiness is dependent on soldiers’ professional bearing. Unfortunately, when a soldier lacks professionalism it can affect the ability to complete a mission. For example, if the soldier is overweight it can affect his ability to run, jump, and even take cover under fire. According to FM 7-22 (2014), “The Army's PT doctrine includes training for functional fitness. Functional fitness training uses drills, exercises, or activities that are specific to movements, skills, and physical demands needed for a given task. For example, performing single leg squats, lunges, crunches, and medicine ball throws requires the physical skills needed to react to man-to-man contact. Functional fitness is composed of strength, endurance, and movement skills (agility, coordination, and balance), which will get you fit for your mission and reduce the risk of injury. Deployed soldiers have identified that the most important tasks related to physical readiness involve: acquiring and engaging targets, conducting individual movement techniques in full combat gear, walking long distances under extreme conditions in full combat gear, sending and receiving communications during physical exertion”. This would have a huge impact on mission success in a combat environment. Punctuality is another critical factor in mission readiness. If a medevac is running late to pick up a wounded soldier, it can cost that soldier their life. Motivation is equally important to a professional soldier. When soldiers are unmotivated during training they train ineffectively. Ineffective training leads to ineffective missions. Ineffective missions make an ineffective army.

Military bearing and professionalism is a soldier’s most dangerous weapon. When soldiers lack military bearing off the battlefield, they lack it on the battlefield. When soldiers appear undisciplined, it is because they are undisciplined. Military bearing and professionalism are critical components to mission readiness.


  1. STAND-TO!, A. G.-1. (2011, January 5). Warrior Ethos. Retrieved from
  2. Unknown. (1999- 2018). Personal Appearance. Retrieved from Army Study Guide:
  3. Unknown. (2014, December 14). Army Physical Fitness. Retrieved from
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Military and Professional Bearing Essay. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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