CONSIDERATION OF OTHERS TRAINING
LESSON PLAN ARMY VALUES
CONDITION: Process In a small group discussion environment.
a. All participants will be able to define the Army’s seven values.
b. Identify any of the Army Values that Private First Class Biddle applied in his situation, and share with the group on the importance of that value.
The Army’s seven values are:
Loyalty– Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers.
Duty – Fulfill your obligation.
Respect – Treat people as they should be treated.
Selfless-Service – Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
Honor – Live up to all the Army values.
Integrity – Do what’s right, legally and morally.
Personal Courage – Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical or moral).
Private First Class Melvin "Bud" Biddle and the rest of his unit were in Reims, France, waiting to go home when the Germans launched their attack. Veterans of campaigns in Italy and southern France, they had turned in their equipment and were passing the time listening to "Axis Sally", an English-speaking Nazi propagandist who played the latest hits from America while spouting misinformation in an attempt to demoralize the Allies. The troops were more amused than influenced by her show. That night, she announced "The men of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment think you’re going home but you’re not". This time, her information was correct.
The men of the 517th were issued new equipment, so new, in fact, that their rifles were still packed in Cosmline grease, which the men had to clean off before they were boarded into trucks and driven to a crossroads in the area near the most advanced point of the German army: Panzer divisions, paratroops, and SS soldiers. The mission of the 517th was to clear the Germans out of three miles of territory between the towns of Soy and Hotton.
Biddle was the lead scout for the 517th, a job he had inherited when other scouts were wounded or killed during the Italian campaign. One of his qualifications was his superb vision. "I saw every German out in front before they saw me, which was a large part of keeping me alive." He was keenly aware of the responsibility he held as the lead scout and said later it helped him forget this fear. "I think I got so I would rather die than be a coward… I was terrified most of the time but there were two or three times when I had no fear, it’s remarkable.. it makes it so you can operate [in the lead]."
One of those times came on the twenty-third of December. Biddle was ahead of his company as it crawled through thick underbrush toward railroad tracks leading out of Hotton. Unseen by the Germans, he crawled to within ten feet of three sentries. Firing with his M1 rifle, he wounded one man in the shoulder and killed a second with two shots near the heart. The third sentry fled, but not before Biddle shot him twice in the back. "I should have got him. He kept running and got their machine guns and all hell broke loose."
Under heavy fire from several machine guns, Biddle stayed on point as his unit crawled to within range, lobbed grenades, and destroyed all but one of the guns. With his last grenade, Biddle blew up the remaining machine gun. Then he charged the surviving gunners killing them all.
That night, the Americans heard a large number of vehicles, which Biddle figured had to be American: "I’d never heard so many Germans. They didn’t have equipment like we had, not in numbers." Biddle volunteered to lead two others in a scouting foray to make contact with these "Americans" In the darkness the three men came upon a German officer who fired at them. Separated from the others, Biddle crawled toward the German lines by mistake. Realizing his error, he continued to reconnoiter alone and carried back valuable information to use in the next day’s attack.
The next morning Biddle spotted a group of Germans dug in along a ridge. He ducked behind a small bank for cover but found that he could not properly maneuver in order to shoot. In basic training Biddle had learned to shoot from a sitting position, but at the time he had thought that there would be no way to use it in combat. Now, moving to a sitting stance, he shot fourteen men. He hit each one in the head, imagining that the helmets were the same as the targets he had aimed at in training. Although others in his unit later went to view the bodies, Biddle could not bring himself to look on the carnage he had wrought. His sharpshooting, however, made it possible for his unit to secure the village.
Biddle was wounded a few days later when a German 88MM artillery shell exploded against a building behind him. As he was returning to his unit from a hospital in London, another soldier asked him if he had heard about "that guy in the Bulge that shot all those people. My God, between Soy and Hotton it was littered with Germans. I think they’re going to put that guy in for the Medal of Honor."
Biddle’s outfit was one of many units to be rushed to the Ardennes to relieve the embattled 1st Army there. When General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army rolled out of Lorraine, it left the Allied units in its wake vulnerable to attack. The Germans moved the 17th SS panzer to the attack near Bitche, France, in an area where the 44th Division struggled to hang on.
(Excerpt from Above and Beyond: A history of the Medal of Honor from the Civil War to Vietnam by the editors of the Boston Publishing Company in cooperation with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America, 1985)
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION
Name the 7 Army Values, and define them.
What Value is most important to you?
Explain what Army values did Private First Class Biddle apply that night with his company.
If you were in Private First Class Biddle situation, how would you have applied the Army Values?
Do you apply Army values daily?
How does being told to live by these values make you feel?