Commentary

March 31, 2012

Moral courage takes action despite consequences

by Lt. Col. John Bosone
56th Operations Support Squadron
Pg-2-commentary

Physical courage is a quality rightfully associated with military members. Tales of battlefield heroics from Greek mythology through present day are replete with names synonymous with great physical courage. Hearing names such as Hercules, Perseus, Levitow, and Sijan summon powerful images of these larger than life warriors.

Serving downrange and living apart from one’s family takes courage. It takes courage to answer our nation’s call, to enlist and to excel during training. Physical and mental courage are requisites to serve one’s country. While the needs of the Air Force require discipline, integrity and physical strength we cannot fulfill our duty lacking another requisite – moral courage.

Mark Twain wrote “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” Moral courage can be described as doing the right thing even at the risk of inconvenience, ridicule, punishment, loss of job or security, or social status. It means taking action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences. Defining moral courage takes only a few minutes of research and critical thought. But, demonstrating moral courage in a military organization is sometimes much more difficult due to supervisory hierarchies and perceived cultural and group norms. Demonstrating moral courage can be therefore especially challenging for our youngest Airmen.

We all have the potential to demonstrate moral courage, to show character in the face of difficult situations. Taken individually the following examples may appear minor, but when the concepts manifested in these examples are applied across an organization, the effect can be powerful.

It takes moral courage to refuse to listen or repeat gossip; to report crimes or serious violations of regulations; to correct standards of conduct; to call “knock it off” when a joke is inappropriate; to stand up against group norms when a trainee’s feedback becomes personal; or to speak up when the status quo conflicts with the “right thing to do.”

When we listen to our instincts, our conscience and that quiet voice within, we can make the tough calls. The risk associated with demonstrating moral courage must be met with an equally supportive and engaged chain of command.

Squadrons exist and are organized to accomplish the mission while developing Airmen. Today’s E-1s and O-1s are the Air Force’s chiefs and generals of tomorrow. We’re in the business of creating Airmen who are absolute masters of their craft while simultaneously developing these Airmen to be leaders. As an enduring organization we are in fact training our replacements. Every commander I have worked with shares a desire to develop competent, well-rounded, morally and physically fit Airmen. There must not be any barriers to achieving this end.

The chain of command is there to serve. Do not be afraid to ask for advice if you feel there is something holding you




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


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 

 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>