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By Mr S. Boswell

What are the qualities and core skills of a good soldier? 

The New Zealand Army (NZA) is dedicated to training and producing good soldiers, from a soldiers start in the NZA at Waiouru, to their ongoing training and development throughout a soldier’s career no matter where they are posted, either in or outside of New Zealand. A good soldier for the  purpose of the NZA is one who reflects the four core qualities that the NZA hold highest above all, which are known as the 3 C I’s and stands for Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and  Integrity. Also a good soldier, no matter what trade they are in, can ‘soldier first’, which means they can perform all of the basic necessary soldiering core skills when called upon to, whether based in  barracks in camp, on exercise in the field and or deployed to serve the NZA overseas. 

The 3 C I’s that a good soldier would display in and outside of his career with the NZA are Courage,  Commitment, Comradeship and Integrity, and they create the framework of a good soldier internally and each pillar is integral to the other three, and can’t exist without the others. Courage in the NZA is  shown in different ways and as there is no current war to display it, things like standing sentry duty  late at night or being the last man on a night time patrol, not knowing what may be behind you.  Commitment is constantly shown by a good soldier by working along without complaint, no matter  what task is set him and working in harmony with their superiors, compatriots and subordinates.  Comradeship is not just working in harmony as a team, it is also getting on with other soldiers  around you in both formal and social settings and also being able to put your body on the line for others, or their needs first. Lastly there is Integrity and this means being honest in all things, even at  the detriment to others, especially if an event could impact negatively on the NZA or other people.  

The core skills that a good soldier needs to be able to display at all times throughout their career are  fitness, weapon skills, field craft, kit husbandry, time efficiency, drilling and reacting to commands.  Fitness as a skill is shown by passing both the required fitness level (RFL) test and the combat fitness  test at least once a year to a sufficient standard. Weapon skills is shown by passing the annual  weapons qualifications (AWQ) course. Field craft is shown by a soldier knowing how to behave,  manoeuvre and navigate in all terrain, from close and open country to the urban environment and are the skills that are required to engage effectively with the enemy. Kit husbandry is shown by taking care of all equipment that is allotted to a soldier, and that they are both looked after and serviceable at all times and knowing what to do when equipment is no longer of use.

Time efficiency  is shown by never turning up late or completing tasks after a time is set, for even though on a  training exercise, the consequences may be as light as a haranguing, in combat, events could be far direr. Drill isn’t just for civilians and superiors to watch soldiers on the parade ground, but it produces soldiers that are proud, alert and obedient and provides the basis for teamwork and as such is a skill  that must be kept sharp. Reacting to commands is an important core skill so superiors know that  they can trust a soldier to obey, interpret and carry out their commands without having to  constantly follow them up and check on their progress.  

Even though the training of a soldier is constantly ongoing, if during that process a soldier can stick  to and display the qualities that the NZA look for which are Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and  Integrity, and at all times has the ability to be able to display on demand the core skills of a soldier and  is able to soldier first, that soldier will widely become known as a good soldier.