There are many reasons why lower enlisted soldiers should respect non-commissioned officers in the military. It is important to respect an non-commissioned officer in order to keep the balance in the work place. Even if respect is not deserved or given back to you, the military still expects you to give them respect because they are appointed above you. Not showing them respect will result in getting yourself in trouble that will make yourself look bad to your other superiors. Punishments will be given out to whoever disrespects or does not listen to a non-commissioned officer. These consequences must be obeyed. Further punishments will be given out to you if these are not followed to every specific detail. Some people say that you should give respect to everyone. Other people say that respect should be earned. I think that respect is a two way street. To get respect you have to give respect. Respect is neither a right nor a privilege, it is something that you earn over time through your actions though in the army it is expected of all lower enlisted to respect the rank not the person. Earned respect builds a stronger relationship between people, and is more stable than demanded respect.
Also, true respect must be built on experience, and therefore it is not right to just demand it. When another person earns your respect you work harder to have that same respect returned to you. I think that respect is taught by example, as most good things are. The main thing is to treat other people how you would like to be treated and treat them how they treat you. Most people, when treated decently will treat others the same way. However, in the military you do not always have the opportunity to know your leaders personally nor are you always in a position to fully understand their actions. As such, your ability to judge their character is limited. The military hierarchy serves a purpose. Each level in a military hierarchy is assigned a different mission and should therefore have different mindsets. While generally a lower-enlisted soldier’s responsibility is at a more tactical level, as that soldier moves up through the ranks, their responsibilities becomes of a more strategic nature. Because of this inherent hierarchal quality, respect must be established between the ranks to ensure that tactical operations continue to fit within a strategic plan.
Additionally, in order to successfully mobilize a military, some sort of structure must be enforced to ensure critical elements such as communication, discipline, and accountability are properly maintained. If hierarchal respect, particularly in the sense of customs and courtesies is not maintained, the effectiveness and efficiency of a military is inhibited. In combat situations, if this respect is not well established, it can put the lives of soldiers in danger. Furthermore, in most cases NCOs have more combat experience or, at least, more experience in their MOS. In this sense they are better equipped to lead lower enlisted soldiers into combat situations, to protect their soldiers, and to ensure the completion of the mission. This is why they have earned the position of a non-commissioned officer in the first place and should therefore be respected. I can understand the logic behind this point of view. In that aspect I believe that if someone is an NCO they should work and live by the NCO creed. The NCO is a soldier that is a well-rounded professional that has the experience and qualifications to lead other soldiers. They must learn the NCO Creed. The NCO creed instills Commissioned officer. Noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the United States Army.
The reasons for this are easily identifiable in the NCO creed that outlines how NCOs conduct themselves in fulfilling their duties. I feel there are three overriding themes that sum up what NCOs mean to the Army and explain just why they are the backbone of the Army. They accomplish the mission while looking out for the welfare of their Soldiers they support the officer corps and they provide unit cohesion through their daily actions. The creed expresses many requirements, duties, and other character traits necessary, but I feel these three reasons are the most critical to the success of the Army. “No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers. As a noncommissioned officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “the Backbone of the Army.” I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself.
I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit or personal safety. Competence is my watch-word. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind — accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a noncommissioned officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment. Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders.
I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!” Ways to show proper respect to NCOs is the use of customs and courtesies. Customs and courtesies are traditions explaining what should and what should not be done. Customs are those things which should be done. Courtesy is simple politeness, respect and recognition of the rights of others. They should be addressed by their title. All Non-Commissioned Officers should be addressed as Sergeant except for senior NCOs should be addressed as First sergeant and sergeant major. Like attention, parade rest is a form of respect given to NCOs by those junior in rank. When a senior NCO enters the, a room full of junior enlisted soldiers should be called to at ease. All junior soldiers should immediately go to the position of stand at ease until told to carry on. Likewise when speaking to an NCO soldiers junior in rank should be at parade rest until told to rest or relax.
Disrespect of a Noncommissioned Officer is a punishable offense in the United States military, and falls under the auspices of Article 91. The punishment for the offense varies depending on the severity of the disrespect shown and the history of service for the perpetrator. Disrespect of a noncommissoned officer includes striking, acting in an insubordinate manner, disregard for a lawful order, use of disrespectful language. To be punishable offenses the act of disrespect must occur while the noncommissioned officer operating with the soldier. Punishment for disrespecting a noncommissioned officer typically begins with a counseling session about the behavior, and an explanation of military justice. Solider counseling orders require a certain level of formality. More serious cases of disrespect of repeated offenses, the consequences get progressively more severe and can include forfeiture of pay, loss of rank, court martial, lawful imprisonment, dishonorable discharge and further charges.
Offenses and the punishments which can be administered as a direct result of those disrespectful actions are broken into eight different classes based on severity. The least severe consequences include a loss of 2/3rd of a soldiers pay for a period of three months and up to three months of confinement. The most severe consequences include Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for up to 5 years. In addition to the formal punishments outlined in Article 91, commanding officers can doll out a number of milder, more personal, punishments for insubordination and disrespect to a noncommissioned officer. These include addition PT, increased workloads, lectures, written reports, privilege restrictions and more. Because the safety and wellbeing of the entire military organization is based on the soldier’s ability to obey his commanding officers, disrespect is taken seriously, and serious consequences should be expected.
Disrespect of an NCO is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ is the military’s criminal code. The articles of the UCMJ were developed to ensure effective control within the military. Article 91 ” Insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, NCO, or PO states that any warrant officer or enlisted member who treats with contempt or is disrespectful in language or deportment toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer while that officer is in the execution of his office. Language reflecting on a superior states that subordinates must not use language that diminishes the confidence and respect due superior officers, including non-commissioned officers.