Commentary

February 20, 2014

Always an Airman

Tags:
1st Lt. David Liapis
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Chase Hedrick, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, observes his reflection Feb. 3, 2013, at Incirlik Air Base Turkey. Airmen are Airmen whether in uniform or not, and should ensure their conduct always meets and exceeds the standards of the Air Force they represent.

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey-I am an Airman, but only from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and occasionally on the weekend. The rest of the time, I am just a person trying to have a good time. What I do during my off duty time doesn’t have any bearing on my military career, nor should it.

“Say what?!” you might ask. And, rightfully so.

The truth is I don’t believe that statement one bit. However, there are a handful of Airmen who do.

“So, why write a commentary directed at a very small percentage of the Air Force population?” you might wonder.

I’ll tell you why. Because even if we’re not one of those few Airman, we may very well supervise, work with, or even for, one of those Airmen. We all have the opportunity and responsibility to promote a culture where we embrace an “Always an Airman” concept.

Being an Airman is not just a job, it’s a way of life. Serving in the United States Air Force is a privilege that is sometimes taken for granted. Yes, we all volunteered to be here; but the Air Force put us through basic military training and verified we could meet the standards required of those worthy of wearing the uniform. That training and evaluation continues throughout our careers, and the standards are never lowered to match the lowest common denominator.

Our conduct must meet these standards all the time, and not just while we are accomplishing duty-related tasks. We can joke all we want about the phrase, “there is no off duty” because for some Airmen that feels like the story of their lives working 12-16 hour days. All joking aside however, the responsibilities that come with being an Airman don’t have a start and finish time.

I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “All Airmen are ambassadors,” especially in relation to overseas assignments. This clichÈ statement could not be truer and relates directly to our conduct. Take a look at the recent cheating and drug abuse scandals. Do you think the actions of a handful of Airmen who failed to meet the standards both on and off duty tarnishes the image of the entire force? Absolutely.

Any time an Airman makes the news for doing something wrong, it’s a blow to the credibility of our team. It’s our responsibility to do all we can to not only meet, but exceed the standards. As we do so, we build trust, support and credibility at home and abroad.

We don’t claim to be the greatest Air Force in the world because someone suggested that might be true. We claim it because it is true. And why is it true? Because of the collective efforts of individual Airmen who strive to be the best Airmen we can be all the time and ensure the headlines proclaim all the good we do all over the world on a daily basis.

We have to Step Up 24/7 and seize upon every opportunity to excel through training, education and professional development. We must Step In 24/7 and eradicate sexual assault, alcohol abuse and misuse, and suicide from our Air Force. We have been empowered by our leadership to be a part of the solution, so let’s own it!

Here’s my personal Airman’s Creed: I am always an Airman. This is MY Air Force. I represent it 24/7, and I will do everything within my power to ensure I and every Airman represents it well.

Will you join me?




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


 
 

 

Protecting your identity online

With the internet ever evolving, it has become a great source of communication and a convenient tool. While there are many advantages in using the internet, like online shopping or making charitable donations, there are also countless numbers of unknown, lurking threats. One of luxuries of the internet, and a great service for busy parents,...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - This is the season to be thankful.  Most people could easily rattle of the top 10 “thankful” items in their lives.  But isn’t being thankful more than writing down a list of good items?  Thankfulness is a heart issue; it...
 
 

Airmen Powered by Innovation program launches new site

WASHINGTON – Fellow Airmen, Your enthusiasm and ingenuity continues to be our Air Forceís number one weapon system! In April of this year we launched the Airmen Powered by Innovation program aimed at turning your ideas into real cost savings for our Air Force. Since coming online API has received and reviewed more than 2,400...
 

 

STEM: Necessary but not sufficient

I was an active-duty Airman for 15 years before realizing my gut was as valuable as my mind; my intuition as useful as scientific analyses; and my agility, creativity and innovation honed the decision-making necessary to function in complex environments. A scientist by nature and education, I failed to realize the importance of humanities in...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - Last week, the lesson focused on the famous educator, writer, philosopher and theologian C. S. Lewis and his book, The Four Loves. He stated that “to love at all is to be vulnerable.” This by logical necessity means we will be hurt. ...
 
 

Perils of being ‘not-so-innocent’ bystander

I was accused of sexual assault. Even after 21 years, it’s still not easy to admit that. It was 1993, and I was a young airman basic at Lowry Air Force Base, Colo. I was in technical school, learning how to be a U.S. Air Force photographer. My class consisted of eight male Airmen and...
 




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>