Commentary

July 27, 2012

Strengthening our core

by Col. Jim Dryjanski
National War College

WASHINGTON D.C. — The greatest threat to the United States Air Force right now is not external, but from within. The allegations of sexual misconduct at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, splashed across the news will undoubtedly be fully investigated and criminal behavior will be prosecuted appropriately.

The victims will be heard and they will be cared for, but the bell cannot be unrung. The reverberations from “Jerry Springer-esque” moral failure can shake public trust.

Senior leaders of our Air Force and the Department of Defense will look deeply, far beyond the current trial, to see if there are any institutional root causes in climate, leadership, training and oversight that need to be addressed.

We can expect some necessary actions to be taken, but will disciplinary action or the implementation of recommendations from various independent top-down strategic reviews be sufficient? Probably not, if we as Airmen don’t recognize the moral battle being waged or fail to act from the grassroots-level to strengthen our core. The stakes are incredibly high — so should be our attention and urgency.

Lackland AFB is known as the “Gateway to the Air Force.” Every enlisted trainee must pass through this training crucible in order to earn the title of “Airman.” The center of our identity as Airmen is found in our core values: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. Every Airmen can spout these core values…Integrity, Service, Excellence are easy to remember and easy to say, just as former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Fogleman designed them. So what’s the problem?

The words Integrity, Service, and Excellence are ubiquitous in our Air Force. Like the sound of a dripping faucet, they can fade into the background over time. They are on PowerPoint slides, on wall-hangings in various offices, and they are all over the social media outlets of our service. But, are they only words; only words to be recited in speeches by commanders and enlisted leaders; only words to be cited by those very same leaders when an Airmen breaks a rule or regulation?

Yes, they are … if we let them be. If we lose sight of the moral truth that our core values are grounded in, these mere words of integrity, service, and excellence lose their true meaning and true power.

Sunshine is often the best antiseptic. Increasing transparency of our training and strengthening the accountability of our instructors at Basic Military Training in this light will help. But, more broadly, all Airmen in our Air Force should use this opportunity to illuminate why our Core Values are much more than mere words.

Let’s be clear about one thing, the vast majority of our Airmen — like their joint brothers- and sisters-in-arms, are honorably serving our nation at a very critical time in our history. They are among the very best our nation has to offer, and they are making the extraordinary look ordinary around the globe every single day. That said, no Airman is exempt from the temptation in life to do the easier wrong, rather than the harder right. We must be prepared to win this battle every single day.

It is up to Airmen — wingmen, leaders, warriors to calibrate our moral compasses to true north and give life back to our Core Values where the rubber meets the road during our toughest times. Lou Holtz, former head football coach at Notre Dame, had a great way of boiling complex ideas down to their essence. He has said there are three questions people have when they meet you.
Can I trust you? Do you care about me?  Are you committed to excellence?

If “yes” is the answer to those questions, people want you on their team. How do you get to “yes?” Holtz has three rules to live by.
Do the right thing. Care about people. Do your best.

Simple and profound rules to live by and strengthen our core and our team: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.

Aim High…Fly, Fight and Win




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang

Colors fly to start Rising Six 5K Fun Run

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang Participants at the starting line for the 2nd annual 5K Fun Color Run on Aug. 8, at March Air Reserve Base, toss their colors into the air before beginning the run. Not only d...
 
 

Compare TRICARE Online and MiCare

TRICARE Online and MiCare Secure Messaging may seem to offer the same services, but there are important differences to these software tools, designed to enhance access to care for all military beneficiaries. “Both programs are endorsed by the Military Health System, and although they may seem very similar, in actuality there are a few differences,”...
 
 
Courtesy photo/Mathieu Beaulieu

Share your paranormal stories with us

Courtesy photo/Mathieu Beaulieu These two “apparitions” were captured in 2013, with an infra-red video camera, during the early-morning hours, in a dark room that used to serve as a hospital morgue in a building on March Ai...
 

 
Women's_Equality_Day_15_Poster

DEOMI’s 2015 Women’s Equality Day poster

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” at the request of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY). The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amend...
 
 

Social group open to all Team March spouses

Are you aware that the 452nd Air Mobility Wing has a Social Spouse Group that is open to all spouses affiliated with March Air Reserve Base? Past activities have included going to the movies, meeting for lunch, getting creative at Painted Earth, celebrating Fall at the Live Oak Pumpkin Patch, and so much more! Please...
 
 
weekend-maps

Interstate 215 closed in sections Aug. 21-23

The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) will require weekend closures of northbound and southbound Interstate 215 between Ethanac Road and Highway 74 East in Perris for the Interstate 215 Central Project. The clos...
 




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>