What is a Warrior?

By | June 24, 2014

[June 24, 2014]  Inevitably the discussion turned to the question, “What is a warrior?”  A small group of officers and sergeants were happily discussing this topic over a few near-beers the night before we were to fly into Baghdad, Iraq.  For most of us, it would be the first time we would see combat.  The “what is a warrior” question was always on our minds.

senior-leaderHow would our military unit perform?  How would we personally perform?  Would fear overtake us?  Would we dishonor our comrades, our family, our nation?  So many questions were often crowded out by the many tasks we had to perform before boarding the C-130 USAF cargo airplane out of Kuwait.

We made a list of those traits and here they are as much I can remember and generally in the right order of importance.  We decided all these are required and are thus interdependent.

  1. Leader of soldiers
  2. Mentally and physically strong
  3. Technically skilled in warfighting skills
  4. Adaptable and flexible
  5. Refuses to let fear conquer
  6. Reliable and predictable
  7. Loyal to the team and the unit.  Supports and encourages the team
  8. Keeps self, equipment, and weapons clean and in working order.  Insists others do the same.
  9. Fast learner
  10. Always prepared
  11. Curious and creative
  12. Aggressive
  13. Willing to engage the enemy without reservations
  14. Works without detailed instructions
  15. Takes responsibility easily
  16. Never whines or makes excuses
  17. Does not tolerate laziness or sloppiness
  18. Communicates clearly
  19. Sense of humor
  20. Takes orders easily and does a sanity check on them

My personal opinion at the time was that this list was a bit long.  It was asking a lot from our soldiers.  Looking back, however, the vast majority of our men and women met all these criteria.  They met these with ease.

Being under enemy fire is an event that is very personal.  Strong people get stronger and more resilient.  The majority are better people for it.  The weak struggle, some improve.  The list was rather good – we were to review our thoughts on it infrequently but never changed the list.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.