Commentary

November 22, 2013

First Sergeant stresses importance of on-the-spot corrections

Master Sgt. Shane Wacaster
823rd Maintenance Squadron first sergeant

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — A senior NCO asked me about five months ago if I had some time to discuss some [Airmen] issues.

“Sure, let’s discuss it over lunch,” I replied. “I’ll meet you at the food court.”

To my surprise the member asked if we could go somewhere else, and said that he avoids the food court like the plague. I laughed and told him the food wasn’t that bad to which he responded it wasn’t the food but rather the lack of standards showcased by service members there. The person couldn’t stand watching it.

I asked if he made corrections himself. He replied that he did, but the amount of discrepancies seemed overwhelming. He found it hard to keep up. The senior NCO said he just wanted to eat, but that he felt guilty if he didn’t correct violations when he saw them.

We spoke for a while on the topic and I walked away with a fresh perspective. As a first sergeant, I correct standards all the time; it’s part of my job. Now when I go to the food court, I purposely observe how many others “look the other way.” It’s shameful.

I was in the food court the other day and left my meal to instruct a technical sergeant to remove his sunglasses from the top of his head. The technical sergeant was sitting at a table with five or six other Airmen and NCOs. The food court was packed with patrons, at least half of whom were in uniform. Am I the only one that noticed?

“I was wondering if anyone was going to say anything to that individual,” a civilian retiree said afterward, so apparently not.

Why don’t we say anything? I actually ask that question from time to time when I make a correction to whoever happens to be with the offender. I will ask something like, “Why didn’t you tell them they couldn’t?” The most common reply usually is, “I was going to, really.”

Feigning ignorance is only hurting your case with a first sergeant. My favorite reply is, “It doesn’t say anything in an [Air Force Instruction].”

Airmen may have questions concerning dress and appearance. Can the sage green watch cap be worn without an outer garment? Can the sage green watch cap be pulled snugly over your head with no fold? Am I allowed to iron my Airman Battle Uniform?

Would you believe that most of these rules are relatively new? AFIs change all the time and it’s up to all of us to see what’s changed because, let’s face it, the Air Force is always going to change. I guarantee you an Airman coming out of technical school right now is going to see a completely different Air Force by the time you retire.

We need to accept change because it’s what makes us great. Change is what allowed us to become a separate branch of service in the first place. Until those changes are official we must comply.

‘I will never leave an Airman behind,’ is a saying that we as Airmen follow but that’s exactly what we’re doing if we do not ensure our fellow Airmen understand it’s the little things that cause us to lose our discipline. Our mission requires us to follow instructions regardless of how we personally feel because of the bottom-line nature of what we do. The next time you correct standards, consider yourself a mentor, a leader and a wingman that will never falter and will not fail.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr.

First sergeant provides health, welfare for warriors

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr. Master Sgt. Phelipe Salinas speaks to his athletes during the 2014 Warrior Games at the Garry Berry Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 2. Salinas is the first sergean...
 
 

Safeguarding, re-evaluating your digital footprint

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Social media is a great resource for Airmen and their families to share information and stay connected to relatives at home and abroad. Although many depend on these wonderful tools, recent events have encouraged us to re-evaluate our digital footprint to ensure our personal and professional information is protected from online...
 
 

October is Energy Action Month: ‘I am Air Force Energy’

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Summer has come to a close, and we’re all looking forward to more tolerable temperatures in the coming weeks. Even better news — this means your power bill is likely to go down. But if you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine paying Nellis’ bill of approximately $1 million...
 

 

Taming ‘tyranny of urgent’

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Many Airmen lead incredibly busy lives, full of unfinished tasks that we often wish we had more hours in the day to fit it all in, and in our professional lives, budgets remain tight, the Air Force is shrinking, and we are challenged to do more with less. Yet...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Armory: A home for weapons

U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Senior Airman Jaime Romo, 99th Security Forces Squadron armorer, puts a M-240 rifle away after clearing the weapon at the 99th SFS armory at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo

Nellis Open House brings history to life

U.S. Air Force photo The AT-6 Texan, which was originally flown in 1935 and flown here in the 1940s, will be one of many aircraft at the Nellis Air Force Base Open House on Nov. 8 and 9. It is a single-engine advanced trainer a...
 




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>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin