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NEWS | March 25, 2016

Military persons of character

By Lt. Donald Mills, public affairs Naval Nuclear Power Training Command

The term, "character," is often brought up in our military training and discussions. If you asked the random passerby what kind of people have strong character, chances are members of the military would be on the list. Integrity, teamwork, morality, loyalty, these are all aspects of strong character and are common among military members.  As military members, it becomes our job to maintain those standards and strive for excellence in character development.

In order to maintain our character and inspire it in others, we need to understand where it comes from. Is character an intrinsic trait? Are individuals born knowing the difference between right and wrong? If not, then it may come from parenting or from experiences individuals have while growing up.

The military consists of a vast number of individuals, with different upbringings, different backgrounds and different standards of character. Some would look at bringing so many different people together and imposing one set of values upon them as a challenge.  That, of course, is one of the goals of our military recruit training commands and it is important to ensure we establish a baseline for our junior military members. After that initial training, it is incumbent upon us, as leaders, to use those different backgrounds for the greater benefit of our military team.

The range of experience and differing backgrounds are several of our greatest strengths when harnessed for the greater good. Of course we all need to know and live up to the military's basic standards but we also need to encourage every military member to apply their personal life lessons and experiences to enhance our team. By cultivating individual strengths and enforcing common standards the organization as a whole becomes something much greater and more effective than the sum of its parts.