The Soldier’s Creed is a set of principles that U.S. Soldiers are encouraged to follow and use as a guide while serving.

Soldiers learn the creed while they’re in basic training. According to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 600-4, or “Blue Book,” it “captures the essence of what it means to be a Soldier.”

When I first learned the creed, while in basic training in 2000, it was a different version.

The current creed was approved in 2003 and includes what is known as Warrior Ethos. The Warrior Ethos section is lines four through seven and describes a Soldier’s selfless commitment to the nation, the mission and fellow Soldiers.

The following is the Soldier’s Creed (Warrior Ethos in italics):

“I am an American Soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.”

The Blue Book states that living by the Soldier’s Creed and Warrior Ethos provides the inner strength and motivation needed to continue performing duties and executing the mission despite physical and mental stress.

The current version of the Soldier’s Creed/Warrior Ethos is a product of Task Force Soldier’s Warrior Ethos Team and was approved in November 2003 by then Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker.

The task force was created earlier that May by the previous Army Chief of Staff, Eric K. Shinseki to instill Warrior Ethos into the behavior of Soldiers and leaders regardless of their ranks or job titles.