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Acting Ethically

In my first year in Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets, I was in a situation where my peers and superiors knowingly acted against the code of conduct. The code of conduct for the Corps of Cadets is called The Standard. The Standard is a formal written agreement between the cadets and the Commandant that details the behavior expected of a cadet. By signing this contract, cadets understand the parameters of their membership in the Corps. Within The Standard, there is a clause that explicitly states “cadets drinking under the legal age limit will be punished and possibly removed from the Corps.”

Every year when Texas A&M University’s varsity football team used to play Texas Tech University, the freshmen cadets in the Corps would make “fish spurs”. These fish spurs are made out of metal bottle caps and coat hangers that would attach to low quarters. My buddies, freshmen cadets in my outfit, Squadron 18, wanted to meet collectively to make these “fish spurs”. One of my buddies believed the best course of action would be to make the “fish spurs” at one of their friend’s house. This was an excellent idea except that alcohol was being brought up as our activity instead of actually making the fish spurs.

Vehemently against drinking underage, I did not agree with the rest of my buddies and purposely isolated myself from them the night we were supposed to make fish spurs. Myself and three other freshman cadets instead went to one of another friend’s house. The rest of my class belittled the small group I was a part of that decided not to drink and make the spurs at another place. I did what I thought was right at the time and reported this incident up my chain of command. The upperclassman I directly reported to, the Platoon Sergeant, suggested that going against the group was ill-advised. I stood fast in my values and decided that he did not have the best sense of judgment. As the leader of my fish class the majority of my buddies very outspokenly derided my character and loyalty to the group. Unpopular among my peers and soon the upperclassmen, I openly challenged any one of them to report me and the others who do not drink to a Cadet Training Officer. A Cadet Training Officer is a prior military commisioned or non-commisioned officer who oversees a few outfits in the Corps.

None of my buddies decided to report me and the ones who didn’t drink. My decision to stay loyal to my values has generated a reputation within the Corps of Cadets for being a consistent and dependable person. The semester progressed as I continued to achieve my goals for the Corps of Cadets for academics, physical fitness and military discipline. At the end of our semester together I was ready to switch outfits and be among a group of peers better suited to match the objectives and values I live by.  

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