The Army Has Core Values, Senior “Leaders” Can’t Seem to Find Them

I was asked recently for advice on how to deal with a persistent conflict between two people, both working in the political arena. The advice I gave was to avoid the emotional and personal side of it and measure all actions against a set standard. In this case the set standard was a series of statements in a political platform document, and the U.S. Constitution. This allows for impartial discussion measured against principles and standards only.

The U.S. Army requires adherence to a set of principles and standards called the Army Values, known by the acronym LDRSHIP. It stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. This performance standard applies to all serving in the Army, without regard to rank. I crafted hundreds of performance evaluations over my years of service and measuring Soldiers of all ranks against this common standard was critical. The oath of office demands service to the people through the principle of defending the constitution alone. Similarly, the point of defining the Army’s core values was to ensure those serve know they are to adhere to certain principles of conduct regardless of the cost. 

Unfortunately, the Army’s senior “leaders” do not measure up to their own grade sheet, and their subordinates can see it. 

Loyalty - bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers.

Rather than display this kind of loyalty, the Army’s current “leadership” pursues patriots who serve and displays loyalty only to the pursuit of a woke agenda, illegal vax mandates, and self-preservation for the sake of career and paycheck. Worst case is they are willingly pursuing these measures to help destroy our Army’s readiness from the inside. 

Duty - fulfill your obligations.

Their obligations are defined by their oath to the U.S. Constitution and to the people who have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under that contract. Today’s senior “leaders” are again failing to do their duty by destroying the Army’s readiness to fight and win. 

Respect - Treat people as they should be treated.

Each day I work with those still in uniform as their chain of command pursues them with a relentlessness normally reserved for enemies of the United States. There is no respect for those serving who do not blindly or willingly accept the administration’s destructive agenda. 

Selfless Service - Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

There seems to be a trend in that each of the Army values are ignored and replace by other priorities. These “leaders” are supposed to exemplify these values in daily life and leadership but ignore them instead. By attacking patriots from inside the ranks, these “leaders” display no concern for the welfare of this Constitutional Republic, the Army, or the subordinates and the families who become the casualties of a domestic battlefield. 

Honor - Live up to all the Army values.

By now it’s clear to all of us who’ve served, and many still serving that such “leaders” lack honor.  Veterans and retirees like me and many others fight each day to expose those who wear the rank but can’t and won’t lead. 

Integrity - Do what’s right, legally and morally.

In watching the Congressional testimony of senior ranking officers after America’s surrender in Afghanistan, it’s clear they chose to serve the gods of self and administration preservation. The easier lie was accepted over the harder truth and Americans know it. Those serving now, and those who might consider serving saw it too. Many serving still uphold the Army Values like Atlas holds up the world, under significant weight, as those highest-ranking officers press down on them in hopes they’ll break and submit. 

Personal Courage - Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).

Having spent years in combat there’s no way to truly describe the physical courage it takes to go on combat missions not knowing if you’ll survive. I’ve escaped death on many occasions and have buried too many friends unable to escape that fate. Some of today’s senior ranking officers displayed physical courage in combat but worked their way to positions where moral courage is required. Moral courage is the harder of the two to display. Someone might wonder if I’m unjustly criticizing others for that which I may never have had the opportunity to display. I sacrificed a career to a single decision made while training an Aviation Task Force at the army’s National Training Center in January 2018. I would do it again as I am convinced it saved lives.

As a retired senior army officer, I’m contacted daily by those still serving who are keeping as low a profile as possible in hopes that the American people will provide the civilian oversight needed to fix this problem. Many have already paid the price for standing up for what is right, and I fear that’s what these senior officers want, to cull the ranks of patriots. 

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Darin Gaub is an Army veteran, Blackhawk helicopter pilot and former Air Assault Battalion Commander, international military strategist, and Co-founder/Executive Director of Restore Liberty. Col. Gaub spent 28 years in military service, with 7 years in command, and three years training military forces for combat, including “hybrid warfare” environments.  He helped to build contingency plans for the unique characteristics of a conflict in Eastern Europe based on lessons from Russian operations in Georgia and Syria. He completed four deployments to Afghanistan, as well as South Korea, Eastern Europe, and North Africa.

Image by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley meets with Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov in Bern, Switzerland, Dec. 18, 2019

One year ago, Afghanistan veterans such as myself were treated to the horror of watching the Afghanistan government and military collapse.  The dreaded black and white Taliban flag was planted in far too many familiar regions I had been deployed to.  Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Zabul provinces.  My niece was hastily deployed to Kabul Airport to assist in the frantic and embarrassing retreat of the US and the humiliating end of America’s Longest War.

Like many, I am forever haunted by the sacrifice of veterans and their families.  NCOs sobbing while recalling pulling charred US bodies out of downed aircraft.  A soldier with a gunshot wound through his hand cutting a thumb hole so he could operate a turret .50 cal machine gun and get back in the fight with his comrades.  An NCO drowning himself in a submerged vehicle so his unconscious friend in the overturned vehicle had enough oxygen to survive until rescue.  Watching countless patrols depart daily to fight the Taliban and other terror organization in the Afghanistan countryside, without fear or hesitation.  I personally pronounced many US and coalition warriors dead and signed their death certificates.  The Talibans’ release of thousands of hardened terrorists and murders who had been incarcerated with much sacrifice in US blood and money was a terrific insult to the warriors who captured them.  Reading stories of the torture and murder of Afghan nationals abandoned by President Biden, betrayed by a lie from US military and political generals, was infuriating.  Military families saddled with deployment stress, divorces, and deaths equally bear the horrors.  My wife continues to provide counseling to Afghanistan veterans with PTSD still struggling to put their lives back together.

Meanwhile, the US military has done its best to sweep the debacle under the rug to hide the shame of its leaders.  4 months after the last US service member abandoned the country to terrorist rule, GEN Mark Milley was honored at the sidelines of the US Military Academy and US Air Force Academy Football Game in Dallas, Texas.  Generals who failed the servicemembers and America continue to serve and get promoted.

The US Military appears to have been doing no introspection on how August 2021 came to pass  West Point’s Dean of Cadets told USMA graduates that West Point’s leadership sees no need to have cadets analyze Afghanistan’s strategic failure.  The US Army Chief of Staff’s Reading List has been updated in the past year to include books on social justice and internet misinformation, but no additions to strategically analyze the failure of US generals and politicians in Afghanistan.1  Sadly, some of the best books on the US military leaders’ failure in Afghanistan were published nearly a decade before August 2021 and obviously were ignored by generals more concerned with promotion and fame than with making a stand for what was easily seen as a failed strategy for years.    In the Graveyard of Empires (2010)2Afghanistan the Perfect Failure3 (2012), Losing Small Wars4 (2011) are examples of books nowhere to be seen in US Army military professional development lists.  

The honorable thing to do would have been for US generals to resign in protest.  Honor is obviously a foreign thing to ‘leaders’ like GEN Mark Milley who was more interested in consorting with Chinese generals (the enemy) than looking after his charges.  Unlike most organizations like sports teams and corporations, the military rewards and promotes failed leaders instead of firing them and replacing them with leaders with integrity and a will to win.

 The post Afghanistan Department of Defense has been busy promoting pronoun education5 and separating veterans for covid vaccine noncompliance (70% of whom received General Discharges)6.  Morale is so low that US military is failing miserable to achieve its recruiting goals.  28 July 2022 saw Democrats take advantage of veterans by adding on $400 Billion in spending to a veteran benefit bill and politicizing the plight of veterans when the GOP blocked it and demanded a clean bill.  Looking back, President Biden’s State of the Union address that called for veteran health benefits for toxic chemical injuries appears just to have been a ruse to fool America into more reckless spending.  

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Despite the best efforts of US military flag officers and politicians, the scars of the war will never be forgotten by those that truly matter.  The sacrifice of the living and the dead was very real.  Failed leaders such GEN Milley need to be remembered alongside traitors such as Benedict Arnold for their treachery and selfishness.  While Afghanistan may have ultimately been ‘unwinnable,’ and missteps were made by both political parties, the manner in which the US ended its misadventure is unforgivable.  US Voters and historians must never let President Biden and his Democrat supporters off the hook for their transgressions.  Worse, the military’s leadership appears to have learned nothing and its senior leaders/advisors are destined to doom American to future disasters.  Ironically, it was far left CNN’s own reporter who summed up the disaster best.  “If This Isn’t Failure, What Does Failure Look Like Exactly?7

John Hughes, MD

Emergency Physician

USMA Class of 1996 (#1 graduate)

3rd Generation West Pointer

4 combat tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan

1  as of 4 AUG 2022.

Jones, Seth.  In the Graveyard of Empires.  WW Norton & Company.  2009.

Cook, John.  Afghanistan.  The Perfect Failure.  Xlibris Corporation.  2012.

Ledwidge, Frank.  Losing Small Wars.  Yale University Press.  2011.

Sicard, Sarah.  “Where each military branch stands on pronoun use in signature blocks.”  7 Jan 2022;

Myers, Meghann, et al.  “The vast majority of troops kicked out for vaccine refusal received general discharges.”  27 Apr 2022,

Joyella, Mark.  “CNN’s Clarise Ward in Afghanistan:  ‘If This Isn’t Failure, What Does Failure Look Like Exactly?’”  19 AUG 2021.

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