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.


 
 

 

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — In our increasingly secular world, there is a growing misunderstanding that it is safer to say “Happy Holidays” during the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza season, than to name the specific holiday which you or most other people celebrate. I am always drawn to explore these interesting dilemmas. I once read a...
 
 
Richardson_pict

Down and out at Dyess: Air Force Assistance Fund to the rescue

It was scary, leaving home and joining an organization such as the United States Air Force. The people, job, and location were all brand new. When I joined the military, I came from a less than honorable home life.  I come fro...
 
 

Asking for help is sign of strength not weakness

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Growing up I was a big fan of Muhammad Ali. He was the world heavyweight boxing champion and unashamedly referred to himself as “The Greatest.” I vividly remember a reporter asking Ali, “When did you know that you were ‘The Greatest?’” Before Ali could answer, the reporter offered, “Perhaps it was...
 

 

“Little people like you make Christmas better”

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — “It’s little people that make the difference. Little people like you.” The fictional character Frank Shirley pitched his “little people” Christmas message to Clark Griswold in the 1989 movie “Christmas Vacation.” Although demeaning in a comical way, the little people reference is seen over and over in classic Christmas stories. Litt...
 
 

Thanksgiving and our Native Americans

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — On the fourth Thursday of every November, we as Americans celebrate the national holiday Thanksgiving. This day focuses on honoring the early settlers, and their harvest feast, which we know to be the “First Thanksgiving.” However, long before settlers came to the United States’ East Coast, the area was inhabited by...
 
 

Keep safety in mind when cooking Thanksgiving feasts

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  Every year hundreds of Americans die, thousands more are injured and roughly $500 million...
 




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