The Army Officer’s Guide: Army Traditions

By | October 5, 2018

[October 5, 2018]  Two years ago I wrote about my 1983 The Army Officer’s Guide and how it propelled me toward success in my many decades of service.  I’m fond of it and keep it on my desk.  Today, when I pulled it out to flip through its covers, I fondly remembered reading about Army Traditions.

At first, I thought maybe I’d overlooked the importance that tradition has in any organization or society but re-reading Chapter 1 ‘The Code of the Army Officer,’ I got to thinking how similar these are to what I write about here at  Are they important?  Yes.  Are they well communicated?  No … and that is why I’m writing about them today.

Here are the eleven traditions that propelled the careers of many officers from the 42nd Edition of this wonderful book:

  1. Tradition of Public Service: you are a public servant and must never forget that you are under the orders of the President of the United States.
  2. Tradition of Achieving the Mission: this is the primary requirement of the military leader. This is done by the display of enthusiasm, boldness, and aggressiveness.
  3. Tradition of Leadership: this requires the officer to plan work, assign missions, and then to see that their work is done skillfully.
  4. Tradition of Loyalty: officers have the common mission of protecting the nation and our people, which requires the coordinated best efforts of each individual.
  5. The Tradition that an Officer’s Word is His or Her Bond: an officer’s statement of fact, opinion, or recommendation must conform fully with his or her belief and be able to provide evidence to support it.
  6. Tradition of Discipline: to develop discipline within its organization, the leader must set the example of discipline.
  7. Tradition of Readiness: the officer is always in a position of readiness to meet whatever task arise, including sudden leadership in campaign and combat.
  8. Tradition of Taking Good Care of Soldiers: second only to accomplishing his mission, the officer’s duty is to improve the moral, physical, and intellectual quality of his men.
  9. Tradition of Cooperation: cooperation is the art of working with others to attain a common goal.
  10. Tradition of Being a Lady or Gentleman: this must be manifest in their moral standards, their conduct, appearance, manners, and mannerism as well as the professional standards the establish in the performance of their duties.
  11. Tradition of Avoiding Matters of Politics: the Army member avoids partisan politics.

These traditions could not be otherwise and must never be otherwise.  The armed forces are the final bulwark for the preservation of the Constitution and the security of the nation.  Nothing short of this is tolerable.

Copies of nearly all editions of the Army Officer guide are available at around $20 on Internet commercial sites.  The same can be said for the other services as well.  The parallels of tradition between them are remarkable.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “The Army Officer’s Guide: Army Traditions

  1. Willie Shrumburger

    I’m reading a book now called “Sea Power” by Admiral James Stavridis. Excellent book. In it, I can see many of the list of 11 you have here.

  2. Lynn Pitts

    Another practical guide to leadership. Thanks, Gen. Satterfield.

  3. Kenny Foster

    Today it is much easier to find good info on how to be an effective leader. But let us not forget that it can only come to fruition if we practice leadership daily. Yes, it is important that we put it into our head the techniques of leadership but they must be tried out by each of us to see what works best and how it works best. I know that is one area that I did not do well but have changed into a better leader for it.

  4. Len Jakosky

    Very army-centric blog post today but I do think it applies to everyone. Others have pointed it out too but these are the same things that make our lives both more successful and satisfying.

  5. Dale Paul Fox

    If we all look back at what made us a good person and an effective leader, I believe we will all see the way we did things parallel to what is in this book. The Army Officer’s Guide is clearly an exceptional “how to” book on junior leadership. I recommend we all study those themes throughout.

  6. Jerry C. Jones

    I thank you for showing the value of this book. I’m beginning to compile a very good library and will add this one to it. These are the types of books and lessons from which we can obtain valuable lessons that can be passed down to others.

    1. Scotty Bush

      Spot on comment. I too have been doing the same and expect to expand it further. But this book or one like it will be one of those desktop books that I thumb through occasionally to glean more little gems on leadership.

    2. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      A good library of hardbound books is often difficult to accumulate but more valuable when you can read it when not rushed by the demands of our everyday life.

  7. Wilson Cox

    I think the only one of these 11 that you may have missed writing about (in one way or another) is Number 10, on being a lady or gentleman. The whole list is fantastic and a great way to live. Correct, you don’t have to be an army officer to gain from this list which goes to reinforce our American values.

    1. Albert Ayer

      WIlson, I think he might have covered it under his emphasis of being polite, respectful, and honorable.

  8. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Great list. I’ve already ordered one at and will be using those lessons with my boys on the HS football team that I coach. Well done and thanks for providing us with it.

  9. Bryan Lee

    Yes, Gen. Satterfield, I do recognize many of the themes you write in this list of 11 army traditions. Spooky how much they influenced your life and how it shows up in what you write. Thanks for the insight.

    1. Nick Lighthouse

      A great list to live by. Combined with a religious background, this is what can make us truly good as a person.

  10. Army Captain

    I have a more recent copy and it is indispensable. They say it’s for junior officers but anyone can read it and gain from the many points of wisdom there.

    1. Drew Dill

      I’m going to buy one. I will assume that there is not major differences in the editions.


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