Commentary

June 12, 2014

Integrity first: Having courage to speak up

by Capt. Anthony Arocha
56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — As a kid my dad always asked me questions he already knew the answers to, testing my integrity throughout my childhood. As a strict military father, he taught me at an early age that a man’s word is everything, and as I grew older, it developed into having integrity in every aspect of life.

The first core value of every Airman is integrity, which I define as doing the right thing, and that we should do it even when no one else is looking. But what about when others are looking, participating and leading? The most recent example of an integrity breakdown is the cheating scandal at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, involving 92 officers or one-fifth of the entire Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles force. This scandal involved individuals from all levels, from junior officers to midlevel commanders. As the facts of the investigations became public it was determined that the nuclear missile community allowed a culture of cheating and possibly even fostered it at key leadership roles.

This leads me to believe that in certain situations it’s a lot easier to do the right thing when you are the only one affected by the decision. With no one to confront, it potentially makes it a lot easier to do the right thing when no one else is looking. However, it’s extremely difficult for many Airmen to do the right thing when a fellow Airman is leading them down the wrong path. It takes courage to hold one’s integrity together under these circumstances, but that’s exactly what must be done.

Let me quote one of the founding fathers of the Air Force, Gen. Hap Arnold, when he addressed the importance of integrity in his 1942 book “Army Flyer.”

He said, “It is an unwritten law, but as binding as the unwritten common law in the English system of jurisprudence, that an officer’s word can be depended on to be the absolute truth. The military profession takes great pride in its reputation in this regard and its senior professionals never forgive any deviation. In my view, the fact that such deviations may still exist should be of great concern to all of us in the military.”

This hits close to home with the career field I’m in. When an NCO or a maintenance officer signs off a write-up in the aircraft forms, the air crew accepts their word and their signature that the aircraft is safe and ready for flight. In my opinion it’s one of the ultimate acts of trust and integrity.

Bottom line is no one has the right to force you to compromise your integrity, and if someone puts you in that situation then he or she certainly doesn’t have you or the Air Force’s best interest at heart. Good wingmen and especially great leaders do not operate that way. If it happens, it’s your personal obligation as an Airman to do the right thing when it might not be the easy thing to do.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Becoming stronger through failure

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.  — Failing the Air Force physical training test: my greatest fear since joining the military. It is embarrassing to admit recently that fear came to fruition, but what I have learned through that failure has become one of my greatest strengths. After failing, I definitely felt like a weak person for not...
 
 

Students wear red, white and blue to honor Month of the Military Child

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau) Students of Borman Elementary School gather together for a flag raising ceremony and wear red, white and blue clothing to honor the Month of the Military Child at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, April 10. During the ceremony, the children listened to guest speakers, recited the...
 
 

Case lot sale returns to D-M April 17-19

FORT LEE, Va. – Mention case lot sales and commissary patrons start lining up for the opportunity to save up to 50 percent or more on club-pack and full-case items. Known as the Commissary Customer Appreciation Case Lot Sale, the springtime version of this twice-yearly event will unfold at stateside stores, each hosting their individual...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Jessica H. Smith and Airman Connor J. Marth)

More than meets the eye

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — The word abuse often conjures images of bruises, swollen lips and harsh markings, but abuse is more than meets the eye. It can be much more than physical suffering and can have last...
 
 
(Courtesy photo)

AFSOUTH working with Colombia to develop space program

American Airmen from the Space community traveled to multiple U.S. space operations locations with Colombian air force counterparts in February as part of a U.S. Southern Command subject matter expert exchange. According to Lt....
 
 

Local Briefs April 17, 2015

NARFE Chapter 55 to meet  April 13, 11 a.m. – Golden Corral The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Association, Chapter 55, will hold their next monthly luncheon meeting on Monday April 13 at the Golden Corral, 4380 East 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711. The luncheon starts at 11 a.m. and ends about 1:30...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin