By Suzanne Rice, wife of COL Bill Rice, Chief of Plans and Operations, Third U. S. Army, Ft. McPherson, Georgia
When General Dennis Reimer, USMA Class of 1962, was named Army Chief of Staff in 1995, he called upon a small group of officers from throughout the Army to be a part of his transition team. Bill was sent TDY to the Pentagon to represent Third U.S. Army where he was a Colonel serving as the Chief of Plans for ARCENT, the Army Component of Central Command. Bill’s contribution to the transition team was to help to develop an assessment of the state of the Army and make proposals for the Army of the future.
One of the things that the transition team set into motion was an emphasis on Army Values. These values have been an integral part of the Army since the birth of our nation, but General Reimer’s transition team sought to put them in a way that could be learned and easily understood by all members of the Army. They decided upon the acronym, LDRSHIP, to distill these important values for every soldier. Knowing that soldiers come from many backgrounds and experiences, it was their recommendation to General Reimer that these LDRSHIP values are universal, in every situation, anywhere in the Army and they form the foundation of Army life.
L – Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U. S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other soldiers.
D – Duty – Fulfill your obligations.
R – Respect – Treat people as they should be treated.
S – Selfless Service – Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and subordinates before your own.
H – Honor – Live up to all the Army Values.
I – Integrity – Do what’s right – legally and morally.
P – Personal Courage – Face fear, danger or adversity (physical and moral)
This set of Army values was, then, integrated into basic Army information given to all Plebes at USMA as well as soldiers in basic training and, since 1995, soldiers have been expected to learn and live by these values. Army officers and NCOs continue to be encouraged to develop these values in themselves and in their soldiers. The transition team chose this particular acronym to remind each and every soldier that these Army Values make up the foundation of good leadership (LDRSHIP) for today’s Army.
Cadets and soldiers continue to learn these Army Values today. Bill brought the influences of his West Point years to his work for General Reimer. Bill, and others on the transition team, as well as General Reimer himself, had been living by these values since they learned the Cadet Prayer: “Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean living and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”