Commentary

February 5, 2016
 

Character

Brig. Gen. Karl McGregor
Al Udeid AB, Qatar

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” said Martin Luther King Jr., in one of his most famous speeches.
Character is what’s deep inside each of us, it’s who we are on a daily basis, it’s who we are when things go well and more importantly, when things go wrong. It’s who we are when we’re in leadership positions, as well as with the family in our living rooms. Character is our moral and ethical strength; it is who we are when no one is looking. Character is a mix of traits that are distinct to each person and baked into that person’s life. It’s much more than just what we try to display for others to see, good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do so.
For those of us who serve in the military, we are and should be held to a higher standard than the general public. We are servants of our country and our bond to those we serve is tied to our reputations and inevitably, to the character that reputation is built upon. Reputation is a long-term display of good character traits and we enhance that display, by making our character traits consistent by living our morals and ethics every day.
We must model good character for ourselves, our families and our service organizations daily. When promises are made, no matter how small, they must be kept. Be a great example, be known as a promise keeper. Never take shortcuts, communicate the importance of quality to your team and make sure that in times of stress, the importance of delivering quality is not lessened. Stay consistent when you deal with others. Treat everyone with respect, regardless of how long the day has been or the number of setbacks created by people in the organization that “just don’t get it.”
Finally, always self-audit. At the end of the day, week and month, review your decisions for bias and consistency against the character goals you’re striving to achieve. Every action reflects on your character, as Whorton says, “no matter how small.” Make sure your reflection is in line with who you are.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force, Defense Department or the U.S. government.




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


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Giancarlo Casem

POWs, MIAs honored at wreath-laying ceremony

Air Force photograph by Giancarlo Casem Staff Sgt. Matthew Buckner, 412th Test Wing Staff Judge Advocate’s Office, and Army veteran Joseph Antone, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9657, lay a wreath next to a pho...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Matt Williams

Edwards AFB sailors get new skipper

Air Force photograph by Matt Williams Cmdr. Ernest Anderson, VX-9 DET Edwards commander (left), is greeted by Command Master Chief Petty Officer Ronnie Ogren, VX-9 DET Edwards’ senior enlisted member, before a change of c...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Giancarlo Casem

Edwards AFB conducts active shooter exercise

Air Force photograph by Giancarlo Casem Members of the 412th Security Forces Squadron “stack” behind a vehicle as they prepare to secure a crime scene during Desert Wind 18-03, an active shooter scenario exercise at Desert ...