July 27, 2012

Integrity first

by Senior Airman Silver Daniels
56th Medical Operations Squadron

Editors note: This section highlights the perspectives of Airmen from professional organizations on base.

A famous quote by Stephen Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” reads “Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty. Honesty is telling the truth; in other words, conforming our words to reality. Integrity is keeping promises and fulfilling expectations; in other words, conforming reality to our words.”

This means that integrity requires us to make promises and fulfill them fully. Integrity is a martial word that comes from an ancient Roman Army tradition. The Air Force Core Values are Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do, which are more than minimum standards. They remind us daily of the sacrifices that need to be made in order to accomplish the mission successfully.

A leader is described as a person who guides or directs a group. Anybody, military or not, can be placed in a leadership position. It’s up to the person to be a good leader. A leader who practices integrity is worth following. Good leaders have different leadership styles, but all of their styles revolve around one characteristic which is integrity. Integrity builds trust for the people being led and sets an example.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Charles Krulak wrote in a speech about integrity and the history of the word in the military. During the time of the twelve Caesars (the first twelve emperors of Rome), the Roman Army carried out morning inspections to measure the integrity of the soldiers’ character and armor. The inspectors would walk past each soldier as they struck their chests with their right fist, over their hearts, where the armor should be its strongest. As the soldier would strike his armor, he would shout “integritas,” which in Latin means material wholeness, completeness and entirety. The inspectors could tell by the intensity of the soldier’s voice and the ring of well-kept armor that the soldier was prepared for battle. Integrity is not just something used in our military today; it is rooted in our history as warriors.

“For a man or woman to walk in their integrity is to require constant discipline and usage.” — General Charles Krulak

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