Military Culture Iceberg

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Above the waterline are aspects of a culture that are explicit visible and easily taught. The surface culture is where behaviors customs and courtesies and traditions are more easily seen. For the military culture this area includes things such as: the uniform and rank, the salute, the playing of the national anthem before commanders calls and movies, the POWs ceremony, the honoring of heroes and the change of command ceremony. At the water line is a transition zone where the observer has to be more alert in the area where implicit understanding becomes talked about and where ethos is codified in decreed. At this level of military culture are found the service creed, the core values and the oath of office. Some of what identifies service members and veterans as belonging to the military culture are not readily apparent and exist below the waterline. Below the surface is the hidden culture the more enduring and powerful characteristics of military culture. The beliefs, habits, values, assumptions, understandings, and judgments that affect the culture’s worldview. These intangible values and guiding ideals that are mostly acquired while in uniform and are often kept for life are referred to as the Military or Warrior Ethos. These are often things a member knows but cannot easily articulate the hidden aspects of a culture are not taught directly.

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Center For Deployment Psychology

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Prof. Allard - Foreign Language 2100

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