There are two types of loyalty: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal loyalty is loyalty to your peers, while vertical loyalty is loyalty to your organization or those above you. Which one is better? I believe a good leader needs both. You need to be loyal to the cause while still being loyal to those around you and those below you. To use LT Holiday’s drunk Midshipman analogy, imagine you are in DTA and see one your company mates, who you know is underage, stagger out a bar yelling hysterically. What do you do? Your first instinct should be to take care of your company mate and get them back to Bancroft Hall safely. But after, do you report them? What if you knew they were doing poorly in other areas as well and this will mean they get kicked out. This is where it gets tough. Are you more loyal to the Academy or to your company mate? I believe that there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It completely depends on the situation and the person involved, but a good leader will be able to have the prudence to decide. A good leader will be able to say “Hey, this is this cat’s first time doing something dumb, and knowing him, he will not respond to the conduct system and instead needs my help to get back on track.” Or, “This guy is a complete blockhead and will not accept my, or any other peers help, what he needs is a wakeup call.” Another dilemma arises when we discuss who takes ownership for an action or order.
Ownership, like loyalty...
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...te to learn and practice. I will have to tell my plebes that they are now on 24-hour blues, one way p-ways, and thirty minute on-the-minute chow calls. I will have to tell them this after I have been doing morning workouts, noon meal training, and basically everything with them while being that mentor/role model that they strive to be. I will have to tell them as if I came up with the punishments, even though it was my training officer. As I grow up in the Brigade, I will soon be a 1/C. I don’t want to be that Firstie who is secluded, cynical, and never takes risks. I want to get the most out my leadership opportunities in order to develop myself to the best of my potential before I hit the Fleet. The same lessons of loyalty, both horizontal and vertical, as well as ownership of orders will continue throughout my experience as a Midshipman and follow me to the Fleet.
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