Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Decalogue of the Decima MAS (1941)


By Junio Valerio Borghese

1. KEEP QUIET. It is absolutely essential to keep [military] secrets—even in the smallest details—from everyone, even from relatives and close friends. Any indiscretion is treason because it compromises our work and can cost the lives of many of our comrades..

2. BE SERIOUS AND MODEST. You vowed to be a fighter. We believed you. That's enough. It is useless to make a show of your decision to family, friends, superiors and fellow soldiers. Do not do that; such an honorable vow must not be a stool for personal vanity. Facts speak for themselves.

3. DO NOT REQUEST REWARDS. The greatest reward is the consciousness of having accomplished the mission entrusted to us. Medals, praises and honors are proudly received by those who earn them through the spontaneous recognition of a judge, not through soliciting and begging for them.

4. BE DISCIPLINED. Before courage and ability, you are required to possess a profound discipline of both mind and body. If you are not healthy, if you are not educated, if you do not obey minor things every day, if barracks duty seems too difficult or unworthy of you, if you can not adapt to bad eating and even worse sleeping conditions: then our unit is not for you.

5. DO NOT RUSH TO WORK, DO NOT TELL EVERYONE THAT YOU LOOK FORWARD TO LEAVING. You can only operate when your heart, your brain and your body are ready. If you are impatient, you are not ready. You must perfectly know your weapon and how to properly use it in any possible contingency. Training is never excessive. You must have a passion for it. You must improve yourself every day. Those who command you are the sole judges of your ability.

6. YOU MUST HAVE THE COURAGE OF THE STRONG, NOT OF THE DESPERATE.
You will be required to undertake an enormous effort, just beyond which lies the success. To accomplish it all your physical and moral energies are required. Your determination to succeed at all costs must therefore arise from the depths of your heart, from the purest expression of your love for the Fatherland, and not from the desperate or disillusioned mind of a failure. Your private and military life must be honest, simple and serene.

7. YOUR LIFE IS VALUABLE BUT THE OBJECTIVE IS MORE VALUABLE. You must remember this in the moment of action. Repeat it to yourself a hundred times a day and swear never to fail the test.

8. DO NOT GIVE INFORMATION TO THE ENEMY. Do not allow the weapons and the material entrusted to you to be captured. If you fall prisoner, remember that you are only permitted to communicate to the enemy your name and rank. You may not—according to your honor as a soldier—disclose the following:

- where you are from;
- how you arrived at the place of capture;
- the names of your superiors or fellow soldiers;
- the weapons that you use and know of;
- the contents and existence of this decalogue.

Even if the enemy claims to know, do not confirm anything. Always respond: "I can not answer." Always remember that you must not betray your Country and your comrades with indiscretions. Do not discuss military matters and especially do not talk about us and our activities, not even with fellow prisoners, who could betray your confidence.

9. IF CAPTURED, ALWAYS BE PROUD TO BE ITALIAN, BE DIGNIFIED. Do not flaunt your membership in the Decima MAS. In familial letters, try to communicate as best you can all you know regarding the action in which you participated and regarding the enemy in general. Always try to escape, if possible.

10. IF YOU FALL, A THOUSAND OTHERS WILL FOLLOW YOU: BECOME A LEADER, A GUIDE, AN EXAMPLE.