Author and former Petty Officer in the Royal Navy David McDonald have written a phenomenal book that sheds light on building warrior toughness: “Two Battles Two Wars 1980-1982.” The book is based on the author’s experiences as a young navy sailor navigating through personal life tragedies while preparing for war. The story flips between life on board and life at home and communications received from friends and family with a mix of humour with raw emotion that will leave the reader unable to put the book down.
What is Warrior Toughness?
Toughness is not a new concept. The Navy’s history is full of sailors who have performed exceptionally well under fire and great stress. Whether you refer to it as resiliency, grit, or fortitude, toughness is fundamental to the Navy’s combat edge and has always been a part of its identity.
The sailors can take a hit and keep going, tapping into all sources of strength and resilience. Through rigorous training for operations and combat, their fighting spirit, and their families’ unwavering support, the brave navy warriors maintain a culture of warfighting excellence and hone their warfighting ethos. They never give up on the ship, never give up on their shipmates, and never give up on themselves. They are trained to never give up without a fight.
What sets Warrior Toughness apart is reflection, the mental game. Reflection is an individual or collaborative process that extracts value from experiences and uses it to inform future steps. With a strong character and techniques from performance psychology and mindfulness, sailors have an edge when they are called to perform in high-stakes moments.
The Need for Warrior Toughness
Toughness is essential. The chivalrous story of David McDonald is the one that teaches that being a part of warfighting service requires the sailors to put themselves in harm’s way and that they must maintain clarity of thought and action in the heat of battle, where their shipmates count on them the most.
Could we take a hit, quickly gather our strength, and then deliver the killing blow to the enemy and put their fleet at the bottom of the ocean? Are we training with that standard or that goal in mind? The Navy armies have not witnessed significant fleet combat since World War II, but Navy sailors must always be prepared for unforeseen marine wars. This mission and drive for change are intended to prepare sailors for combat from day one and the ability to deal with stress at sea.
Character development is a crucial aspect of the transformation from civilian to sailor. The language of sailors revolves around values, morals, and ethics, which are essential for fostering toughness.
Building Warrior Toughness for character development is grounded in the core values of the Navy, namely, honour, courage, and commitment, as well as the core attributes of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness. Recruits and staff thoroughly explore each attribute through instruction, reflection, dialogue, and real-world case studies. The studies are centred on the values, beliefs, and principles that guide individuals and the collective in decision-making and priority-setting.
The Passion for Winning the Next Fight
Many programs that help build mental and physical toughness aim to instil in sailors the warrior mindset that has always been integral to being a Navy sailor. Physical fitness, strong character, and proven mental fitness techniques are necessary to achieve this mindset, all vital in winning the next fight.
Do not be alarmed if you observe young sailors pausing and taking controlled breaths during the next Action stations. They focus all their energy on fighting for their shipmates and their ship. This is a tribute to their training and the development of their character. David McDonald’s book “Two Battles Two Wars 1980-1982” is a true testament to hardships and developing resilience during a brutal war that inspires readers to navigate life through emotional and physical turmoils of life.