Navy Core Values Roots
When U.S. Navy sailors recite the Sailor’s Creed, they attest that they will serve with honor, courage, and commitment. Those three words are known as the Navy core values.
It is important to note though that the Navy core values of today have only been a part of the U.S. Navy culture since 1992 when the current Navy core values replaced the Navy core values of professionalism, integrity, and tradition that had been used as behavioral guideposts since the 1950s.
Throughout its history, the U.S. Navy has successfully managed its challenges. America’s naval service began during the American Revolution, when on Oct. 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized a few small ships. Esek Hopkins was appointed commander in chief and 22 officers were commissioned, including John Paul Jones.
From those early days of naval service, certain bedrock principles or Navy core values have carried on to today. Those three basic principles which were previously mentioned as honor, courage, and commitment, build the foundation of trust and leadership upon which the Navy’s strength is based.
The Navy believes that these principles on which the U.S. Navy were founded continue to guide sailors today. Every member of the Naval Service – active, reserve, and civilian, must understand and live by the Navy core values.
For more than 200 years, members of the naval service have stood ready to protect the nation and freedom. The Navy is ready to carry out any mission, deter conflict around the globe, and if called upon to fight, be victorious.
Honor as one of the Navy core values
The Navy believes that sailors should be accountable for their professional and personal behavior. They should be mindful of the privilege they have to serve their fellow Americans. They are expected to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity, taking full responsibility for their actions and keep their word.
Sailors will conduct themselves in the highest ethical manner in relationships with seniors, peers and subordinates. They will be honest and truthful in their dealings within and outside the Department of the Navy.
Sailors are expected to make honest recommendations to their seniors and peers and seek honest recommendations from junior personnel. They will encourage new ideas and deliver bad news forthrightly. This will enable them to fulfill their legal and ethical responsibilities in their public and personal life.
It is important to note, that in the oath of enlistment/commission, the use of the phrase “I will bear true faith and allegiance ....” Accordingly, sailors are expected to conduct themselves with honor in the highest ethical manner in all relationships and abide by an uncompromising code of integrity.
Courage as one of the Navy core values
Courage is one of the Navy core values that gives sailors the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity. Sailors are expected to have the courage to meet the demands of their profession.
Sailors must make decisions and act in the best interest of the Department of the Navy and the nation, without regard to personal consequences. They are expected to overcome all challenges while adhering to the highest standards of personal conduct and decency. They must be loyal to the nation by ensuring the resources entrusted to them are used in an honest, careful and efficient way.
As previously mentioned, in the enlistment or commissioning oath, the phrase “I will support and defend ...” is used. Accordingly, sailors are expected to exhibit courage to meet the demands of their profession and the mission when it is hazardous, demanding, or otherwise difficult.
Commitment as one of the Navy core values
In the oath of enlistment/commissioning, the phrase “I will obey the orders ….” Is used to swear in persons who plan to serve in the U.S. Navy. Accordingly, sailors are then expected to demand respect up and down the chain of command and care for the safety, professional, personal and spiritual well-being of naval personnel.
Sailors are expected to show respect toward all people without regard to race, religion, or gender and treat each individual with human dignity. Sailors must be committed to positive change and constant improvement exhibiting the highest degree of moral character, technical excellence, quality and competence. The day-to-day duty of every Navy man and woman is to work together as a team to improve the quality of their work, their people and themselves.
Navy core values in the Sailor’s Creed
The Sailor’s Creed is:
I am a United States Sailor. I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me. I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world. I proudly serve my country's Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment. I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.
Navy core values in the oath of enlistment
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Navy core values in the officers’ oath
“I, _____ , having been appointed an officer in the _____ (Military Branch) of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”