By Sgt. 1st Class Mike Hieb
Special to GUIDON
The World War I-era Army slogan was “I Want YOU for the US Army,” featuring a poster of Uncle Sam. As a teen in the 1980s, I remember the Army urging me to “Be All You Can Be.” When I joined the Army in 2001, I was exhorted to become an “Army of One.” Since then, the Army slogan has moved on to “Army Strong,” and now, “What’s Your Warrior?”
I want to focus on the short-lived Army slogan, “Army of One.” The slogan didn’t last because it could be perceived as contrary to the Army idea of teamwork. I imagine the intended message was, together in a combined effort of support, we form an Army of one. But that message could get lost at face value. The Army didn’t want the perception to be of Soldiers as individuals, loners or people who didn’t need assistance from others.
A life or faith lesson can be drawn, as well. Indeed, I must be responsible, resolved and capable, but I am not meant to do it on my own. Scripture tells me that, “Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
The truth is evident; it has played out through history, and it is visible daily — there are no true self-made men. Everyone has received help along the way, from birth to death, and from private to general. There is nothing wrong with that.
In fact, there is everything right with that. It is biblical. It is truthful. We were not created to be alone. Scripture tells us that, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The message is simple; God expects us to live in community, building each other up. Whether it’s a community of Christian believers, a military community of Soldiers, or both, we are not meant to live and work alone. Rather, we are hard-wired to function in a community as part of a team, a member of a family.
Now, you see. You probably already knew this information. I’m just reaffirming what you may already know. Find a person of faith to act as an accountability partner, a spiritual and professional mentor. Surround yourself with those who will give you good guidance. Even greater, find someone that you may provide that role in their life. Develop strong positive relationships. You will be happier, healthier and more resilient.
(Editor’s note: Hieb is the Religious Affairs noncommissioned officer-in-charge.)