By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 22, 2013 – Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spent this morning talking to Junior ROTC cadets here.
Battaglia told the cadets that he and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, got the idea for today’s visit when they used the school's football stadium recently to film a Super Bowl message to be broadcast to service members overseas. He commented on the Junior ROTC Cadet Creed that is on display at the school.
“If you follow that as gospel, it tells me that you are living by standards and rules for yourself and have some goals or objectives for yourself,” the sergeant major told the cadets. “And it also shows me teamwork.”
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Battaglia showed the cadets the U.S. military's oath of enlistment.
“We, in the military, have oaths and creeds as well,” he said. “This is our oath. We all take it. I took that oath 33 years ago.”
Battaglia noted that the cadet creed and the enlistment oath have common denominators. “We all live by an oath, by a creed, and things that guide us along the way,” he said. “That's pretty amazing.” All 2.3 million troops and their families live by the same oath, he added.
“I hope that as you may have memorized it and know it by heart, it means more than just being able to say it by memory,” Battaglia said.
“There's a whole lot of substance in there, and it's really important for you to understand, as it is for us -- because what that means to us … is that I'm willing to give my life for the protection of you. That's pretty serious, isn't it?”
The sergeant major said when he reflects on what the oath of enlistment means, it's “a whole lot more than just a paragraph of words.”
“So I really hope that you can comprehend your creed … as establishing a standard and value for you to get better and grow into being contributors,” Battaglia said. “Whether it's just contributing to your neighborhood or the whole city, youth are the next leaders of our nation.”
No other job requires the oath service members take, the sergeant major said. “It's a serious profession that you join, and you're starting to [build] that footprint right now,” he told the cadets. “I'm happy to see and hear that, because you are the future of our nation.”
Battaglia said he believes JROTC is a “great stepping stone” to continued success in life.
“Regardless of whether the armed forces is your choice, you're going to have to survive in life,” he said. “There are so many options and opportunities out there for you.”
The sergeant major said he has tried to follow two “golden” rules throughout his life: to do his job to the best of his ability, and to follow orders.
“I found that those two golden rules allowed me to stay out of trouble … and avoid temptation when that came about,” he said.
Following his remarks and a recital of the Junior ROTC Cadet Creed by one cadet, the group asked the sergeant major questions about his military career, including his 25 ribbons. Battaglia said seeking recognition and awards is not important, because they will come with hard work and commitment.
“The thing that I probably learned [most] in the infantry is teamwork,” he said. “You just can't do it alone -- there's no way. And that's not just fighting for your nation. That's doing anything. You just don't want to do it by yourself. It's all about teamwork.”