“There has never been a generation of servicemen and women so praised and appreciated as today’s warfighters.”
— Senior Master Sgt. Javier Gonzalez
We are asked to internalize the Air Force core values from the onset of our careers and as we progress throughout the ranks. Despite what life puts in your path, we are again reminded to not only internalize the core values, but become a perfect example of them.
Regardless of your status as a basic trainee or a chief master sergeant, we have an official mantra on how we conduct ourselves. Have you ever wondered if the quest for military ethical fulfillment becomes easier with time and experience?
The late American psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg, developed an existing psychology theory called, “Stages of Moral Development.”
His theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behavior has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg also proposes a stage cannot be skipped, but does give a specific timeline when it will end.
The journey through moral development can take a lifetime for some. However, in our profession we indoctrinate Airmen in basic training. The goal is to inspire cooperation and instill collective values across a backdrop of individualist behaviors more commonly found in today’s society.
In our profession of arms, the key to progressing to the higher stages of moral development is through pride, professionalism and passion.
Pride because there has never been a generation of servicemen and women so praised and appreciated as today’s warfighters.
Professionalism because it is the cornerstone of our calling as Airmen who freely commit our lives for this nation. The impact of our involvement around the globe can be undeniably tied to every job in the Air Force. Demonstrating professionalism in the execution of our duties reinforces the commitment we share to this nation and each other.
Passion provides the source of inspiration and forms a bridge with Kohlberg’s developmental stages and our core values.
Regardless of rank or experience, our pride, passion and professionalism combined with actions, will meld with the core values and enable the Air Force to meet tomorrow’s demands. Use these things as a guide to your professional development and ethical maturity will cause your actions to demonstrate the core values with little effort.