This I Know: Duty, Honor, Country is a phrase that has come to embody the core values of service in the United States Armed Forces It is the expression of three fundamental commitments that define the individual who serves in the military: duty to one’s mission and command, honor to one’s teammates and the flag, and a sense of love or loyalty to one’s country. These three simple, yet powerful words of commitment embody the essence of military service and sacrifice, and the commitment of members of the United States Armed Forces to one’s country.
Duty is the obligation to faithfully, equitably, and conscientiously execute one’s mission, without regard to personal gain or glory. It is a recognition of the responsibility bestowed upon a service member to follow orders, perform as required, and complete assigned tasks without fail. Duty is an acknowledgment of the trust placed in the service member’s call of service and the associated risks and rewards.
Honor is the recognition of the importance of integrity, loyalty, and respect for one’s teammates, one’s mission, and the flag. It is a fundamental component of military service, and serves as a reminder that the service of military members is expected to be of the highest quality and professionalism. Honor is a recognition of the value that the service member places upon the special trust and respect afforded to them.
Country is a sense of love or loyalty to the United States, and the belief that service members are willing to go the extra mile for their country. It is the recognition that their dedication, their courage, and their commitment to their mission and their country are all exemplary. It is an appreciation for the sacrifices made by their predecessors, and a respect for the generations of service members that have come before.
These three values, Duty, Honor, and Country, define the core principles of service in the United States Armed Forces, and they provide a common language of understanding and trust that binds service members of all branches of service together. Today, the phrase “this I know” is often cited to inspire the highest level of service, and it serves as a reminder of the commitment of service members to their country and to one another.
The best examples of Duty, Honor, Country today include:
1. The service of US Army medic and Purple Heart recipient, Sgt. Christina Hansen, who, after being injured in an IED attack in Afghanistan, continued to serve her country in the medical corps despite her own personal pain and suffering.
2. The courage and loyalty of US Air Force fighter pilot, Lt. Col. Christina A. Peter, who, despite being in the top 1% of her peers, decided to volunteer for an overseas tour of duty.
3. The determination of US Navy officer, Lt. Cmdr. Mark C. Torres, who, after being medically discharged from the service, created an organization that helps those in need with housing and employment assistance.
4. The dedication of US Marine Corps sergeant, Sgt. First Class Chad Smith, who, despite a severe injury, returned to Iraq three times to fulfill his duty to his country.
5. The commitment of US Coast Guard member, Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda J. Young, who, through her service in the Pacific, is helping ensure that the US Navy is in the best possible state to protect the American people and their interests.