Most federal employees remember the moment on their in-processing day when they raised their right hand and pledged their allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
No other organization requires such an oath of loyalty from their employees. For Army civilians and Soldiers, that allegiance is taken a step further with their pledge to the Army Civilian Corps Creed and the Soldier’s Creed, respectively. Within the creed, employees promise to live the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
Of those seven Army values, loyalty leads the others, as exhibited by employee commitment to the Army’s readiness mission. At Army Materiel Command, Army’s largest civilian employer, the loyalty of its workforce is vital to building the employee teams it needs to continue its success in sustainment and logistics.
“Loyalty is a foundation for a culture of teamwork, and a work environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” AMC Human Resources (G-1) Assistant Deputy Carlen Chestang said.
“When there is loyalty to the organization and to co-workers, and between supervisors and employees, then there is a level of trust among team members, and the ability to adapt and overcome any obstacle that gets in the way of supporting the common goal of Army readiness.”
For an Army professional, loyalty defines them as an employee who “places their professional obligations and commitments before personal ones and faithfully serves the country, the Army and their organization,” AMC Human Resources Officer Tom Dimitri said. “Our loyalty builds a strong and ready Army civilian team that enables the Army to deter threats, and fight and win America’s wars. Allegiance to the Constitution transcends political parties, political beliefs and current supervisory chains.”
The more an employee believes in their organization, its mission and the contributions they make toward achieving its goals, the more they are likely to feel a deep sense of loyalty, AMC Supervisory Human Resources Specialist Charanne Harris said.
“I am devoted to the nation and to the Army mission, and that leads to my devotion to the men and women who serve our country, and to the employees who I work with to support the needs of our Soldiers,” she said.
Being employed by the federal government and the Army should be enough, Harris said, to instill a sense of loyalty to the organization, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and a time of high unemployment. But loyalty should also stem from the “moral obligation to uphold the Constitution and what it stands for, as well as from the need to support our employer’s – the Army’s – mission and to support our co-workers, who we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with to provide everything the warfighter needs,” she said.
The Army Civilian Corps Creed, established in 2006 by the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army, formalized a 230-year record of Civilian service that is a critical component of the Army total force structure. It also re-emphasized the importance of loyalty to the Army, its team of Soldiers and Civilians, and to its mission; the Civilian’s commitment to selfless service in the performance of duties; and the value placed in the skills and abilities that civilians contribute to the success of the mission.
“The Army values identified in the creed unite all Army Civilians and enable us, when we truly follow them, to be an effective team in supporting America’s armed forces and accomplishing our missions. The oath and creed remind us that public service isn’t just a job, it’s something more, and that something more begins with loyalty,” Dimitri said.
The current version of the Soldier’s Creed was built on the principles of the Warrior Ethos program and approved in 2003. The introduction of the Soldier’s Creed kicked off a campaign known as “Task Force Soldier” and reflects a leadership commitment to ensure Soldiers are prepared for combat and embody the Warrior Ethos. It includes a commitment to the Army values.
Even though Army Civilians and Soldiers come from all walks of life, they are bound in principle by their creed.
“Each and every word of the creed resonates with me. It represents a promise I have made to the federal government and to the Army. It stands as a moral compass to guide everyday actions,” Harris said.
For Chestang, Dimitri and Harris, it’s important to emphasize to new AMC employees that joining the Army team is more than taking on a new job.
“It’s a calling, and the importance of the oath and the creed is central to what we do,” Dimitri said. “Army Civilians are a key element of stability and continuity during war and peace in supporting America’s Soldiers. We make a positive difference and we should take our support to the mission seriously.”
Supervisors are key to setting an example of loyalty for their employees to follow, agreed Chestang, Dimitri and Harris. In turn, their loyalty grows the loyalty of employees.
“Leaders earn subordinates’ loyalty by enabling them to perform well, treating them fairly and living the Army values,” Dimitri said.
All employees can be leaders, but the best employee leaders are those who understand the importance of loyalty to their organization and their mission, Chestang said.
“The Civilian creed defines what it means to be loyal to the Army and its values,” he said. “Two things in particular stand out in the civilian creed. First, is dedication to the Army Soldier and to the Army team. Second, is dedication to the mission. If you have those, everything else will fall into place and the mission will be accomplished.”
Editor’s note: This is the first in a seven-part series on Army Materiel Command’s enduring commitment to the Army values as the organization celebrates its 58th birthday in August.