If the formation is at 1700, I'll be there no later than 1650. Usually earlier. If I'm supposed to be clean shaven every day in the correct uniform, then that's how I'll be. Give me a task and I'll get it done. Not once was I late, I followed the rules, I worked my ass off.
At the end of the deployment, I received an Army Commendation Medal and an Army Good Conduct Medal.
There's another guy in the platoon. We'll call him Dude von Jerkpants, even though that's not his name. Dude von Jerkpants graduated from AIT with me and we've been in the same unit ever since. Though after graduating from AIT, I didn't see him for about four months. He was AWOL the whole time. After they finished chewing him out for showing up to his first drill four months late, he had the gall to ask when he was going to get promoted to PFC.
Eventually he was promoted to PFC. Repeatedly, I might add. This is a man who has spent nearly his entire military career on extra duty because he can't not fuck up. I distinctly remember looking out the door of the barracks at Camp McCain to see him doing sprints in the parking lot, M4 held over his head, shouting "I WILL NOT FORGET MY WEAPON I WILL NOT FORGET MY WEAPON" as he ran. He once self-identified in the most spectacular manner.
"Hey, sergeant, what's going on in there?"
"They're taking the ACT test," was the reply.
"ACT? I can't pass a drug test."
He didn't bother showing up for the week of admin headache we had at Camp Shelby before our three weeks of annual training in 2009. He didn't show up for AT either. First formation the day we were set to head back to Shelby for mobilization, though, there he was. He decided he'd rather be in the Army than go to jail.
His track record in Iraq ran as follows: Constantly late, frequently drunk, once got into a fight with an entire other COMPANY, and had an article 15 pending for getting into an argument with a SSG over sweeping the platoon office while he was on extra duty. Incidentally, he was on extra duty pretty much the entire deployment. He was chewed out on more than one occasion for wearing unit patches he wasn't authorized. And for wearing jump wings he wasn't authorized.
At the end of the deployment, he received an Army Commendation Medal and an Army Good Conduct Medal.
The moral of the story is clear: Effort is for idiots. Just do whatever the hell you want and it'll all work out. Also: Awards are a joke, don't let a soldier's shiny chest cabbage impress you. Unless it's literal chest cabbage. THAT shit's impressive.