Commentary

June 26, 2014

Air Force Core Values: In times of transition

Major John Stiles
49th Material Maintenance Squadron

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Throughout the years plenty has been written about the Air Force Core Values. The values of Integrity, Service and Excellence are the cornerstones of who we are as Airmen on and off duty. Living up to these values when times are good is easy, but it’s when we’re going through change that we need them the most.

Over the next year the Air Force will be experiencing another transition point in its life. This is going to affect all Airmen no matter whether you choose to voluntarily separate, are involuntarily separated or remain in the service after the change is completed. The Air Force will be a different place. The unknown of the change is what makes this process even more difficult. Staying strong to our core values will aid us through this difficult time.

During times of transition it can be easy lacks in integrity. When a person’s retention can depend on passing Physical Training tests and good performance reports, it can be tempting to massage the standards to help out a friend. However, once you give away your integrity it becomes very difficult to earn it back. The Air Force, more now than ever, needs us to make the tough calls.

Service before self is something that comes natural to most of us in uniform. We have volunteered in a time when our nation was involved in two separate conflicts, knowing that we could be sent half way around the world at a moment’s notice. Service is more than being willing to go to war. It’s also about taking care of our Airmen and families back home. In this time of transition making sure our Airmen are able to navigate through the turbulent skies and make it to a friendly field is what Service means to me today.

Excellence is about having passion for the work we do, having the excitement to learn a new skill and to find a solution to a problem. This requires us to embrace a lifetime of learning mentality. Change is coming. For some of us we will have fewer resources than before, both monetarily and manpower-wise. For others this will mean a new career. Either way change will happen, embrace the opportunity to learn, attack the challenge with passion and we’ll find a way to make the base, the community and country a better place.

Change is always difficult, but it presents us with opportunities at the same time. When going through transitions I’m reminded of a briefing I received as a new Lieutenant where I was told no matter if you serve four years or twenty four years you are going to transition to life after the Air Force and have another career. Preparing for that day, whenever it comes is the best thing we can do. At the same time our Air Force Core Values have not only given us the tools to be good Airmen, but they have also provided us with the tools to be even greater citizens for the rest of the adventures that life has in store for us.




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(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

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