Supporting the Military: How to Honor Core Values and 5 Ways to Show Your Support

Supporting the military is not only a noble act of appreciation but also a part of our civic duty and responsibility. As civilians, it is our responsibility to learn and understand the significance of military service and the immense sacrifices made by those who serve in the United States military. By gaining insight into the core values and functions of the US military, we can better honor and support those who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation.

In this blog, we’ll look at US military core values for each branch of service, examining this essential knowledge as a cornerstone of supporting the military and exploring 5 specific ways to support our troops.

What Is the Role of the Military in the Country?

The role of the military in the United States is central to the preservation of our nation’s security, freedom, and way of life. It serves as the backbone of our defense infrastructure, ensuring that we can live in a society free from threats and dangers. Beyond defense, the military provides essential services, such as disaster relief efforts, medical assistance, and humanitarian aid, benefiting citizens in times of crisis. 

By understanding the critical role the military plays in safeguarding our liberties and providing assistance to citizens, we can appreciate the necessity of supporting the military and upholding its mission.

Why Is Military Service Important?

Military service is not just a career choice; it is a profound commitment to the ideals and values upon which our nation was founded. Those who serve in the military willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms and uphold our democratic principles. Supporting the military means acknowledging the sacrifices made by service members and their families and the impact their contributions have on our collective wellbeing.

According to the Blue Star Families 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, only 19% of active-duty family respondents agree that civilians in their local community truly understand the sacrifices made by local military families, which goes to show we have work to do as civilian supporters. A great place to start is learning the core purpose and values the military upholds, so we can better support and advocate for the needs of military personnel and their families.

The Missions & Core Values of the Military

The Department of Defense (DoD) outlines several core values that form the foundation for the military’s ethos. Duty, integrity, ethics, honor, courage, and loyalty are not just words but guiding principles that define the essence of military service. Within these values is a commitment to serving the nation with unwavering dedication, ethical standards, and bravery in order to accomplish the department’s mission: deter war and protect the nation’s security. 

Values of the Air Force

The motto of the United States Air Force (USAF) is “Aim High… Fly-Fight-Win”. This motto encapsulates the core principles and aspirations of the Air Force, emphasizing excellence, determination, and success in the mission of the US Air Force.

The official values of the USAF are:

  • Integrity First
  • Service Before Self
  • Excellence in All We Do

The culture within the Air Force, like any military branch, is shaped by a combination of tradition, organizational structure, mission focus, and core values. Through a culture of professionalism, trust, and dedication, airmen prioritize mission success, maintain operational readiness, and strengthen American defense, fiercely supporting the military mission. 

Army Core Values

The oldest branch of the military, the United States Army is characterized by its strong sense of tradition, camaraderie, and commitment to service. 

Driven by the motto, “This We’ll Defend,” the mission of the Army is to fight and win the nation’s wars through prompt, steady, and efficient land combat, ultimately supporting the military mission by upholding the principles of freedom and democracy. 

Often referred to by the acronym, here is the Army core value LDRSHIP:

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

The values of the Army guide soldiers in their conduct, decision-making, and interactions both on and off the battlefield. Through its commitment to mission success, adaptability, teamwork, ethical leadership, and excellence, the Army makes significant contributions in safeguarding the nation’s security and supporting the military interests abroad.

Values of the Navy

The United States Navy’s roots in maritime tradition, professionalism, and commitment to excellence shape its mission: to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas.

The official US Navy core values are:

  • Honor
  • Courage
  • Commitment

Simple but firm, these values shape the Navy’s identity as a disciplined and globally deployable maritime force. Prioritizing technological innovation, teamwork, ethical leadership, and expeditionary operations, the Navy promotes security and stability on the world’s oceans, effectively supporting the military mission. 

Values of the Marine Corps

As a department of the Navy, the US Marine Corps shares the same core values, while standing out as an elite fighting force, with a focus on teamwork, togetherness, and adaptability. 

Renowned for their amphibious capabilities, Marines bridge the gap between land and sea, enabling swift response to crises worldwide. Embodying values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment, Marines exhibit unwavering loyalty and dedication, as reflected in their motto: Semper Fidelis US Marines — Always Faithful.

By closely collaborating with naval forces, Marines leverage their combined capabilities of air, sea, and ground forces—providing aid to affected populations during crises, achieving the marine corps mission to save lives and mitigate suffering, and supporting the military operations overall.

Values of the Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard is distinguished by its commitment to the community. During times of crisis, the Coast Guard plays a critical role in providing assistance to citizens and supporting the military branches. With its versatile fleet of ships, aircraft, and personnel, the Coast Guard can swiftly respond to all kinds of emergencies, including natural disasters, maritime accidents, and security threats. 

Embodying its motto, Semper Paratus (Always Ready), the US Coast Guard is renowned for its innovation, resourcefulness, and readiness to embrace change. 

The official values of the US Coast Guard:

  • Honor
  • Respect
  • Devotion to Duty

The Coast Guard’s commitment to service, teamwork, and innovation enables it to effectively fulfill its diverse range of missions and ensure the safety and security of the maritime domain and the nation as a whole.

Values of the Space Force

The newest branch of the military, established in 2019, the United States Space Force (USSF) embodies a pioneering spirit and a forward-looking approach to supporting the military in space. Also called “the Guardians”, Space Force personnel embrace their role as protectors of the nation’s security.

Guardians observe these core values:

  • Character
  • Connection
  • Commitment
  • Courage

Working closely with the Air Force, which previously managed most space operations, the Space Force defends US interests in space and beyond, employing innovation, excellence, and adaptability to meet the unprecedented challenges of space operations.

How Can Citizens Support the Military?

The best way of supporting the military as a civilian is giving back to individual service members, veterans, and their families. And when we understand the purpose, values, and commitments of each branch of the military, we can get a sense for the unique challenges faced and sacrifices made.

With this knowledge, we can help create a culture of gratitude for soldiers’ sacrifices, offer practical assistance to military families, and advocate for policies and programs that address the military community’s needs. 

Supporting Our Troops: 5 Specific Ways to Help Military Members

1. Say Thank You 

Expressing gratitude shouldn’t be exclusive to veterans—our active duty military deserve appreciation too! Directly expressing gratitude is a simple yet meaningful way of supporting military troops. Whenever you have the opportunity, take the time to thank military members and acknowledge the sacrifices they make for their country. 

Be specific in your appreciation, recognizing how they serve in their distinct branch of the military. Whether it’s an Army soldier deployed overseas or a Marine serving on the front lines, acknowledging their specific role demonstrates genuine appreciation for their unique service and sacrifice.

2. Send a Care Package

Sending a military care package is a great way of supporting the military while in action. If you know a friend, family member, or colleague who is deployed, you can create and send a package directly, following these guidelines. Or if you just want to donate a package, you can work with an organization like the United Service Organizations (USO) or Operation Gratitude

If you don’t have the means to send a care package, letter writing is another great alternative. Returning to the idea of a simple (but profound) thank you, a letter of appreciation can make the world of difference in supporting the military, and programs like A Million Thanks make it easy.

3. Support Military Families

No one is supporting the military quite like the families of our troops, who are constantly making sacrifices like frequent moves, separations due to deployments, and uncertainty about the future, to name a few. 

Unfortunately, according to the Blue Star Military Family Lifestyle Survey 2022, only 52% of active-duty family respondents agree that their children’s schools understand the unique challenges they face. As neighbors and community members, we can help cultivate more understanding and support through these challenges. 

Offering practical assistance, such as child care or meal prep during deployments, can provide much-needed relief to military spouses and families. These gestures of support not only alleviate the burdens of daily responsibilities but also demonstrate solidarity and appreciation for their sacrifices.

4. Donate to or Volunteer with Military Relief Organizations

If you’re not sure how to access military members directly, you can still show your support by donating to or volunteering with one of the many organizations supporting the military through initiatives like financial aid, emergency support, and community programs. 

In addition to national programs like the United Service Organizations (USO) or Military Families United, you can often find local chapters supporting the military through grassroots programs. By donating to or volunteering with these established organizations, you can support military members even when you’re not exactly sure how to on your own.

5. Honor Their Service with a Gift.

One way to express gratitude and honor the service of military members is by presenting them with meaningful gifts that celebrate their accomplishments and acknowledge their sacrifices. Whether celebrating a birthday, homecoming, or retirement; acknowledging a loved one’s professional promotion; or offering a random token of appreciation, a custom-made gift can say a lot. 

If you are intending to gift someone who is not a close friend or family member, be mindful of official restrictions on accepting gifts for active-duty military members. Military regulations prohibit the acceptance of gifts that could be perceived as more than supporting the military but as influencing official duties or compromising integrity. We recommend carefully reviewing the official guidelines and opting for thoughtful and appropriate gifts that comply with military ethics and regulations.

Here at Navy Paddles, we hand-craft specialty plaques, paddles, and other memorabilia that commemorate achievements, immortalize milestones, and honor the heritage of our military. As a veteran-owned small business, we craft each item to reflect our own military pride and personalize it to carry the unique legacy of the giftee. 

Supporting the military as civilians is not just an act of gratitude but a fundamental duty we owe to those who safeguard our freedoms. By understanding the core values of the different branches of the military and recognizing the sacrifices made by service members and their families, we can better appreciate the significance of their service. 

Through practical support, expressions of gratitude, and adherence to military ethics, we can honor their commitment and contribute to a stronger, more resilient military community. Together, let us continue supporting the military and standing in solidarity with those who serve, ensuring they know their sacrifices are deeply appreciated and their service is never forgotten.

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