Commentary

March 21, 2014

Senior leaders challenge Airmen to reaffirm commitment to core values

Deborah Lee James
Secretary of the Air Force

WASHINGTON — Being an Airman is more than a job. When we voluntarily raised our right hands and took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, we became members of the profession of arms. Underpinning that profession is the sacred trust given to us by the American people. To meet their expectations, we must build our lives and shape our service on the foundation of our core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do.

Throughout our history as a service, Airmen with tremendous moral courage have taught us there is no replacement for virtue, character, dignity and respect. Today’s Airmen – active, Guard, Reserve and civilian – must continue this tradition.

When Airmen fail to live up to our core values, the reputation of all who serve is tarnished. We must have the strength of character to do and say the right things at the right times, always with diplomacy, tact and respect. Being a wingman does not mean protecting those who lack integrity or fail to uphold the core values; it means not tolerating them. You are accountable not only for your actions, but also for failing to take action if you see bad behavior.

Today we challenge each and every Airman to reaffirm their commitment to our core values by finding new ways to live these values each and every day. This reaffirmation will strengthen the trust between Airmen, and our commitment to one another. It also reassures the American public we are worthy of their trust.

Thank you for representing the Air Force so well and exhibiting pride and courage in our service. If you have questions about our core values, please seek out guidance and assistance from people who can help: commanders, first sergeants, chaplains and inspectors general are available to provide counsel and advice. Because of who we are, and what we do, Integrity, Service and Excellence carry special meaning for all of us.

Always remember that it is an honor to be called “Airman.” We must earn that honor, every day.




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