“Military Bearing” and how it affects the Army as a whole Bearing, put simply, is the appearance and demeanor of a person throughout the activities and circumstances that an individual is seen or observed. An individual is largely judged by others through the bearing that the individual exudes as he goes about his daily affairs, and thus it is very important that the person shows a bearing of competence and professionalism at all times.
Militaries since the beginning of recorded history have set individual bearing at the core of the doctrine and values that all persons comprising the force were instilled with from the start of the individual’s service through to the end of his term. Bearing of the individual soldier has always been a key factor separating a successful military unit from a simple band of renegades. The incredible level of individual bearing of the most successful military units soon became it’s own distinct set of values and behavior and was thus known as “Military Bearing”.
“Military Bearing” is the standard of individual character that soldiers are expected to portray at all times, on or off duty, in uniform or in civilian attire. “Military Bearing” has an incredibly far reaching effect on the army of today. To understand exactly how bearing affects the army as a whole however, it becomes necessary to take a closer look at the mechanics of the specific aspects of military bearing, how those aspects apply to actions of soldiers, and apply those effects systemically to the army as a whole.
The Soldier to Himself As stated before, bearing stems from the individual, how he views himself and the people around him being key. In order to exude a “Military Bearing”, the soldier must first have a positive view of himself. How an individual carries himself is one of the first things that another person will notice in relation to one’s bearing. If a soldier views himself as small, insignificant, or weak it will show in how he carries himself. That detracts greatly from the perception of the individual as a whole. How the soldier dresses and keeps himself is also a major factor.
A clean, sharp, properly worn uniform not only reflects on the soldier, but the soldier’s unit as well. A dirty uniform gives others the impression that the organization as a whole does not take standards and professionalism seriously, greatly affecting the impression from other persons. Beyond physical appearance, how the soldier conducts his duties is of paramount importance, and is a major part of a “Military Bearing”. If a soldier is always late, skips or neglects assigned tasks or the confidence and competence with which he performs his duty is lacking, it can affect not only the soldier, but his superiors, subordinates, and peers.
In some cases can even result in deaths of tens to hundreds, and the failure of the mission as a whole. The Soldier to His Peers The manner in which a soldier interacts with his peers is another important aspect of “Military Bearing”. The soldier must be able to interact professionally with his peers on and off duty. Inappropriate jokes, racial slurs, or other such acts detract from the professionalism of a workplace and can create tensions that divide a unit and make them ineffective.
Soldiers must reflect a professional demeanor among his peers despite individual differences. A Soldier to His Superiors The soldier’s bearing toward his superiors is possibly the most important part of “Military Bearing”. A soldier must be able to take orders from his superiors without questioning those orders. Taking orders and following commands is at the very heart of what any military does. Every soldier has a superior, and any inability to take and competently execute orders from his superiors shall cause the mission to fail.
A soldier must also treat his superiors with respect. A disrespectful soldier reflects badly on the quality of the superior’s leadership and the bearing of the soldier as well. A Soldier to His Subordinates A Superior must lead by example. The greatest extent of the example that each leader sets comes from that leader’s bearing. Soldiers constantly look to their leaders for guidance when developing bearing themselves, since “Military Bearing” is instilled over the course of time, and doesn’t just come “Factory Installed” out of Initial Entry Training.
Also, if the leader is unable or unwilling to uphold the standard that he expects of his subordinates, not only will the soldiers look on the leader as being hypocritical or having a “Double Standard”, and his soldiers will be less likely to carry out any orders from the superior, or at least won’t put any appreciable amount of effort into carrying out those orders. Respect comes from bearing. If a leader does not set the example of “Military Bearing”, the only respect that the leader will receive will be out empty reverence of the rank the individual may hold, and not out of true respect or loyalty to the leader himself.
“Military Bearing”, the big picture As stated in the previous sections, “Military Bearing” is at the core of every military structure. Without bearing, structure is impossible. A soldier must possess a “Military Bearing” in all his daily affairs; this sets him apart from the everyday person. The soldier must possess a “Military Bearing” in his duties; this allows him to accomplish them in a timely fashion and do the job properly as opposed to “Half Ass”. A soldier must Possess “Military Bearing” in his interactions with his superiors as well.
Without this, the leader will not be able to assign tasks efficiently, or have them carried out effectively. In a similar regard, a leader can’t be effective in his command unless he possesses the “Military Bearing” to instill confidence and loyalty in the soldiers under his command. Without all of these elements working together the concept of a cohesive unit would simply fall apart. “Military Bearing” has always been key to an effective force. We must continue to strive toward this end lest we be relegated to failure.