Army Strong, Joint Service Stronger

  • Published
  • By Lt. Colonel John J. Bonin
  • Commander 344th Military Intelligence Battalion
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." Mahatma Gandhi

The ideals contained in the motto "Army Strong" go beyond just physical strength. The concept behind the motto is to transform our young Americans so they are not only physically strong, but also possess mental and emotional strength. Being an Army Soldier means the individual possesses strength of character, professionalism and personal drive to accomplish tasks and solve problems, both individually and as part of a team. In today's combat environment, no service will fight as an individual and be successful because each service brings a unique capability and culture to the battlefield. It is imperative that our young Soldiers recognize the benefits of working with other services. It will be a joint effort, and our Soldiers learn that from day one on Goodfellow AFB Joint Center of Excellence, living side by side with Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guard personnel.

For example, interaction during Wing Sports Days or Inter-Service sports competitions builds not only physical strength, but allows for the creation of bonds between future joint partners. To quote Army General Douglas MacArthur, "Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory." These physical competitions set in an academic environment, enhance the physical and mental strength required for combat.

Also, the joint classroom environment on Goodfellow mirrors the combat environments seen on bases around the globe. During each of my deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, I worked closely and relied on the support of members of all services. In each place,headquarters had Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen sitting side by side in their cryptoplogic support groups providing critical intelligence support to
commanders. The Soldiers training on Goodfellow learn that while there may be rivalries between the services, when it comes time for the mission, we must rely on and trust one another. The strength of the organization is increased by what each service brings to the deployment.

Looking into the eyes of the Soldiers as they graduate, I am struck by the pride and self-confidence each possess after completing their training at Goodfellow. They are not only proud of their accomplishments, but they are determined to make a difference at their first assignment. Their pride is fueled by an inner strength gained from their academic and physical training. They learn what "Army Strong" means, and are fortified with the knowledge that our joint partners are there with them whether fighting fires or providing intelligence support to commanders in combat. We are all brothers in arms.