In my eyes, a hero is someone who lives their life envelopedin the essence of the seven Army values that we hold so dear. An Army hero is so many things but those things come from someone who, in their core,believes in something special…something that is deep rooted and stable… something that makes them stronger than the average man… something that truly shows that in the core of that person lies the strength of a man or woman who is Army Strong.
My hero is a soldier but there is more to him than that. Anyone can be a soldier. Not everyone can be an Army of One… Army Strong. He not onlyvalues the 7 Army Values but he also lives them. My hero did not join the Army for the paycheck. He didn’t join the Armyfor the benefits. He joined the Army because he is a patriot. He loves his country and believes that being a husband, a father and asoldier in the United States Army is his calling.
In his 6 years of service, he has elevated to the rank of E-6 and works very hard to pull good soldiers like himself up with him. He wanted to join the Army beforeSeptember 11, 2001 but the incident that day increased his desire. He was greatly effected in his heart by the incident that happened that day. He was told that he had to lose A LOT of weight before he was allowed to join because he was a large man. He determined in his heart that he would lose that weight and that he would join the military. He did. It took him about 18 months to lose 70 lbs but he did it and could finally join the Army.
After finding out again, that his former wife cheated on him, he divorced. Instead of distancing himself from his children, as many soldiers are forced to do in messy divorces, he took responsibility for them and had them live with him. He had the children for majority of the time. He has taught them to be patriotic, use their manners, do well in school and spends every opportunity with his family that he possibly can.
Since the day I married him, never has he ever passed his responsibilities off on another person. Not at home and certainly not at work. He is well respectedamong his peers and his command. He never cheats, never lies, and ALWAYS does what is right.This is his integrity. Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.
When my husband is working, whether it is at home or at work, he does everything as close to perfection as he can. His soldiers say he is OCD about everything. They admire him for it. He is a strong believer in doing what you say you are going to do and doing it beyond just the minimum standard. He helps his soldiers grow and learn to work as a team. Shortcuts are not his forte. This is his duty to all that he puts his hands to. Fulfill your obligations. Doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks.
Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities — all in constant motion. Our work entails building one assignment onto another. You fulfill your obligations as a part of your unit every time you resist the temptation to take “shortcuts” that might undermine the integrity of the final product.
Not only does he teach his children to be respectful but he also teaches his soldiers to be respectful. Heshows respect to those he works with even when they are disrespectful toward him. He says it is hard sometimesbut he reminds himself that even though others may never understand respect, he still needs to have that Audie Murphy attitude that shows he understands that they are still learning and life is a learning cycle. This is hislevel of respect in all that he does and says. Treat people as they should be treated. In the Soldier’s Code, we pledge to “treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same.” Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty. And self-respect is a vital ingredient with the Army value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort. The Army is one team and each of us has something to contribute.
My soldier is a volunteer. He believes that he can make an impact on his community by his selfless service. He serves his subordinates and soldiers who are not his subordinates by helping them prepare for their visits to the promotionboards. He is quick to help them study. He is quick to volunteer to do physical training with those who have been flagged for weight issues. He is quick to get them the things they need to be successful in their career but is also quick to understand that the soldier must want it enough to take the steps toward that success.
His community efforts include volunteering as a youth sports coach for basketball and other sports. He assists me in my program called Dare2Dream where we talk to local youth about their dreams and dreaming big. About setting a plan of action to achieve those goals. How to pull another person up with you when you are on your own journey to success. He gives of his gifts and his finances when he sees a need without endangering the welfare of his own family. He encourages people to go further moving forward toward success even when it hurts. He shows others how their part is just as important as that which others give. He helps with the FRG, at theelementary schools and so much more.
This is his selfless service which he gives unconditionally. Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service is larger than just one person. In serving your country, you are doing your duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.
My soldier is a strong and courageous soldier. He believes that courage is not the absence of fear but that it is the overcoming of fear, just as Helen Keller once said. He has been deployed 2 times since he enlisted and adversity has trailed with him since before then. He believes that everything happens for a reason and although we don’t necessarily have that reason at hand, we must press on to the higher mark. This last deployment was very different for him as his unit (a transportation unit) has never before been asked to go outside the wire. This deployment brought forththis new experience and he did have to travel to other FOB’s. He doesn’t discuss it much other than to say that it was very uncomfortable and definitely brought him outside of his box. He doesn’t regret the experience but he has a new level of respect for those who regularly experience that level of travel in such a hostile area.
Other adversities were those which happened at home while he was deployed. I, his wife, had a heart attack at age 38 because I was ingesting energy drinks at unhealthy levels. My heart was unable to cope with this and on November 17th, 2008 I was hospitalized. It wasn’t for very long and the damage was not significant so I didn’t send him a Red Cross message. I simply waited till he called and let him know that my uncle was here at home with me and was taking care of me. He wanted to come home but didn’t and understood that I wanted him to continue his service. This was very difficult for him because he couldn’t be here for me but I asked him to dig deep inside himself and find that strength to stand strong and trust in me that all was going to be well.
Then later in early 2009, I was diagnosed with having precancerous cells. I explained to him that it was not terminal and that I would undergo cryosurgery and all would be well. I explained to him that my uncle would again be there to take care of me and he was at ease. We only had a few months left to go and we would be reunited. During all of these issues and the deployment, our lawyer was working very hard to help him keep custody of his children even after he returned from deployment. The courts in Washington State still consider duty to one’s country as a form of abandonment or absence. Many soldiers have lost custody of their children, even to neglectful parents, because they have faithfully served their country. Many people could not understand the reasons why my soldier and I decided that he must stay in Iraq for his tour and let me and my uncle handle the medical and legal issues but they also don’t understand the kind of courage it takes to do the things he has had to do. This is his personal courage which he emulates to those around him regularly.
Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral). Personal courage has long been associated with our Army. With physical courage, it is a matter of enduring physical duress and at times risking personal safety. Facing moral fear or adversity may be a long, slow process of continuing forward on the right path, especially if taking those actions is not popular with others. You can build your personal courage by daily standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable.
Regardless of the multitude of opinions that flow from the masses, my husband supports his country, Constitution, the Army, his unit and his soldiers. His loving devotion to his country, which first spurred his entrance into the Army, is unmistakable. His devotion to the Army emanates with the example he sets for all soldiers and his obedience to his command. His loyalty to his subordinates and soldiers and their success exudes true mentorship. His watchful eye and ability to research actions taken by his unit prior to the actions being made show his devotion to his unit and the success of that unit.
His loyalty to his family is obvious when he is with them, teaches them and leads them. This is his loyalty which he gives in abundance. Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. By wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army you are expressing your loyalty. And by doing your share, you show your loyalty to your unit.
My soldier respects the moral, andlegal aspects of the Army values. He honors his country, his Army, the US Constitution,his fellow soldiers, and his family and community by exuding these values. They are not just for work. They are for all day, every day including the time that the uniform is hanging in the closet on a Saturday afternoon on the highway when not everyone is a safe driver. He knows these values reflect on him and his family. He knows these values are an integral part of being an Army of One. He knows these values will be passed on to the next generation and they can be passed by a positive example or by a negative example.
He chooses… every time… to be the positive example for the world to see. This is how he honors his country, the Army and his family. This is his honor. Live up to Army values. The Nation’s highest military award is The Medal of Honor. This award goes to Soldiers who make honor a matter of daily living — Soldiers who develop the habit of being honorable, and solidify that habit with every value choice they make. Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.
You ask who my hero is. My hero is my husband. My hero is SSG Mark Addison Jones of 593rd Sustainment Brigade, 57th Transportation BN, 265thTransportation DET (MCT)in Fort Lewis, WA. He is my Army of One. He is Army Strong.
Submitted by Charlene M Jones