Ethical values, setting the standard

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo., -- When I think of what is most important in our military careers, I tend to think back to the section in the Professional Development Guide concerning ethical values. Before each of us joined the military, we had our own interpretations and varying aspects of each one of them, but in basic training and tech schools, we were taught a clear-cut version of most of them. I thought of running through them and giving some of my personal thoughts.

Honesty: when they ask something of you, people want you to be honest, some demand it. Nonetheless there are people who will lie. Lies only bring more pain later in the form of disappointment and possible administrative actions.

Integrity: defined as following principals, acting with honor, maintaining independent judgment, and performing duties with impartiality. Let's toss this around a little. We are not robots; we all bring some new viewpoint to the table. The important thing to think of is doing what is right and taking all the facts into consideration, but not letting how we think of a person or a situation affects our decisions.

Loyalty: loyalty to the Air Force in my thoughts is devotion to the cause of why we are here: To accomplish the mission of defending this country. Each one of us does a portion of the work needed to accomplish this.

Accountability: being held to the military standards should be status quo, not the exception. When someone is not held to the standards that make this military great, the system will eventually weaken and fail. I have heard time and again "I don't want to ruin his or her career." It is not the supervisor's responsibility to hold the hand of the young Airman, but to clearly establish and educate them on the AFI's, rules and expectations.

Fairness: treating each person in the same fashion regardless of who he or she is and where he or she is from. Taking into consideration the performance of the individual, but never ignores the act whether good or bad. Find the root of the problem even if that root is simply failure of the person to act. Additionally we must praise those that accomplish the job correctly or go above and beyond the standards that we set.

Caring: know your people! Where they are from, likes, dislikes, what is going on in their life. Do they have goals in life, a financial plan, what are their career plans?

Respect: treating people with the professionalism that we all deserve, on and off duty. I have heard of more off-duty errors, and I wonder if supervisors are teaching, "While on duty act this way" versus "This is the proper way to act."

Promise keeping: when we say we are going to do something, we need to do it.

Responsible citizenship: believe it or not civilians look up to us to lead the way to how people should be treated and how work should be done. The civilian work force tends to hire prior military personnel due to the training and the high standards that are instilled in us.

Pursuit of excellence: we deal with some of the most dangerous items in the world without following T.O.'s and or checklists, without the support to ensure that someone does not have to worry needlessly about pay, vehicles, housing, parts, or a large listing of other items, people become distracted and mistakes could be made .

I have stated many times "The AFI's and policies are perfect, it is the human factor that messes everything up." If we start with the correct ethical values and build a foundation based on these, we can establish a solid basis ensuring that this establishment will continue its legacy of supremacy and setting the standard for all to follow.