The Department of Defense realizes that one needs to be responsible before one can be held accountable for anything. This realization leads me to believe that responsibility is not only something that is expected of soldiers, but instead demanded at the lowest level to ensure unit cohesion (Whether it be team, squad, platoon, company, battalion, brigade or division level), unity, and order amongst troops at all echelons of our spartan society. Seeing as responsibility and accountability go hand in hand, it only makes senses to first write on the importance of it and it’s impact on military life.
The moment a civilian raises their hand and swears the oath of the soldier they immediately become responsible for not only themselves but their fellow soldiers, their unit and many other things civilians are not accustomed to. When a recruit leaves for Basic Training they are responsible for arriving on time, having their paperwork, and being prepared for what waits ahead. Once a recruit goes through the in processing phase at their Basic Training Post they are issued their personal TA-50 or Table of Allowances 50.
This includes the recruit’s uniforms, load bearing equipment (such as the Load Bearing Vest, the MOLLE or ALICE rucksack, their eye protection, ear plugs, Nuclear Biological and Chemical suit and a plethora other items. ) After arriving at their Basic Training unit the recruit is then issued, and accountable for, their personal weapon and chemical mask. The Drill Sergeants of the unit make the recruits sign a hand receipt to show that the individual is now accountable and responsible for their equipment.
Throughout the training the recruits maintain accountability of their weapon and equipment, thus proving their responsibility to their Drill Sergeants. Once the recruit has graduated both Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training they return their weapon, chemical mask, and other equipment to their unit and the post’s Central Issuing Facility and release responsibility for aforementioned items. The soldier is then stationed (if Active Duty) at one of the various army installations in America or abroad.
That soldier then repeats the process by drawing more equipment and weapons from their unit and CIF. The soldier is again responsible for his equipment and is expected to maintain accountability of everything in his possession at all times. Soldiers in the lower enlisted ranks (private, private second class, private first class, and specialist) need to prove their responsibility to their Non-Commissioned Officers to advance through the rank structure. The responsibilities of the lower enlisted are limited as they are required to maintain their arms, their equipment, and themselves, but not much else.