August 24, 2018

Respect … Mission Success!

Lt. Col. Paul Netchaeff
Shaw AFB, S.C.

As members of the Air Force, we all learn, know and live the core values every day while serving our great nation. “Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do” are perfect guideposts that steer our daily lives.

That being said, I have a word I would like to expound on and express the importance of. This one word, which will lead to mission success, is respect.

Respect is a simple word we all comprehend yet don’t always adhere to on a daily basis. It is easy to recognize the absence of respect when displayed, but sometimes it is not so easy to define or reflect respect in our everyday lives.

By definition, respect means to demonstrate high regard for or special attention to something or someone.

I truly believe this one simple word, if utilized correctly, will significantly help achieve mission success for all Air Force members and, as a tertiary effect, immensely cut down on disciplinary infractions.

To achieve mission success through respect, I have broken it down into three tiers: respect yourself, respect your coworkers, and respect the mission.

The first tier is to respect yourself. As Air Force Airmen, we need to respect ourselves by being mentally fit and demonstrating self-control and seeking help when needed. We must stay physically fit by exercising multiple times a week, ultimately assisting us in passing our fitness assessment. We must be socially balanced, helping us understand the ideas, norms and points of view of others. Lastly, we must be spiritually fit, which can be described as, “strengthening a set of principles, values or beliefs that sustain an individual’s sense of well-being and purpose.”

Respecting yourself also entails what you put in your body. Alcohol and drugs, even outdated prescription drugs, can lead to one’s demise. You must respect yourself first.

The second tier: all Airmen should respect the ideas, norms, values and belongings of their coworkers and peers. Yes, this is another no-brainer, but I will submit to you this is another area that is highly neglected. Additionally, you need to respect your coworkers for who they are, as they are. The color of their skin, religious preference, and sexual orientation are irrelevant. They don the same uniform you do, which means they are also members of the most powerful Air Force in the world. Respect them.

The third tier: respect the mission. We all have different jobs and roles that help execute the Shaw Weasel mission, but you need to understand your squadron’s mission statement, the vision set forth and how your role plays a critical part in achieving mission success. As I tell my Airmen every week, I do not ever want to hear, “I’m only an Airman, and I only do this.” Your job is crucial for the Air Force’s premiere F-16CM Fighting Falcon suppression of enemy air defenses wing, or you would not be here. You are a part of the team. Understand the mission and respect it.

As I first mentioned, respect is a very simple word, yet powerful when utilized to its fullest.

Respect yourself, respect your coworkers and peers, and respect the mission. When you simplify the word and unify the three tiers, we all win through mission success. They all fortify mission success.

Make every day, a day to be better than you were yesterday.

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