What the Profession of Arms requires of us first and foremost is trust. So let me speak to that picture for a second and ask you to emblazon it in your memory.
That squad leader is obviously serving in Afghanistan. He is operating because he trusts that that man or woman to his right flank, that rifleman, is protecting him while he does his job. And similarly, that rifleman who is oriented outward is confident and trusts that the squad leader has his back.
It doesn’t get any more fundamental than trust. And trust is built on confidence in each other. And confidence comes from recognizing the competence, the character, the quality of each of us. You’ve got to have it.
The other thing about that picture is that squad leader—you can see in his eyes if you can see the picture clearly enough, the conflicting emotions that mark a battlefield—courage and fear, confidence and uncertainty. He’s on the radio and he’s calling for something. It could be close air support, could be medevac, could be additional guidance. I don’t know what it is. But whatever it is, you know that he’s going to get it and he knows that he’s going to get it. Because what makes us unique on the face of the earth is that as a military if you need something, we’re going to get it for you. You can trust in that.
So that whole picture is an image of trust and trust is the very foundation of our profession. And if you’re not living up to earning your part of that equation, you’re not living up to being a member of the profession.