Integrity First: Reflections on the Mission

  • Published
  • By Col. Thomas Bussiere
  • 509th Operations Group commander
Everyday at Whiteman Air Force Base our Warrior Airmen are confronted with challenges and choices when executing their duties to Hunt Down and Destroy America's Enemies. 

The decisions we make and the actions we take can and will have a direct impact on both the 509th Bomb Wing and our nation. We all know the B-2 Stealth Bomber is a national resource that is absolutely critical to our nation's defense. Our ability to hold at risk any target on the planet is a unique capability that Team Whiteman provides to this great nation. As we look forward to the challenges of this coming year, some known and some yet to be discovered, let's reflect for a moment on the Air Force's first core value: integrity. 

Integrity is not only the foundation of leadership; it is the key to building a safe and effective organization. Integrity is absolutely critical to our Warrior Airmen ethos because of the nature of our profession: the profession of arms. Integrity requires self-discipline. In uncertain and difficult situations, integrity is the compass that will consistently guide our Warrior Airmen, on and off-duty, along a path committed to appropriate conduct and behavior. Integrity creates trust. It is the one character trait of our Warrior Airmen that can't be compromised. 

Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do are much more than minimum standards. They remind our Warrior Airmen what it takes to get the mission done and they inspire us to always do our very best both on and off-duty. 

As Warrior Airmen, we're held to the highest standards. We are expected to be mature, productive members of society, to make sound decisions and live by our core values -- regardless of our age or rank. We rely on each other to build and sustain Team Whiteman as the Air Force's most feared and respected combat force in the world. When a member of our team stumbles or makes a poor decision, it can have a dramatic impact on our ability to execute our mission. 

Our conduct then, fulfilling our responsibilities and displaying professionalism at all times, is integrally connected to the success of our mission and should remain above reproach. We can tolerate mistakes and even learn valuable lessons from them as long as we always conduct ourselves professionally. Our mission necessitates more restrictive rules and standards. 

From our most senior NCO or officer to our newest Warrior Airman arriving to Whiteman, we're obligated to conduct ourselves at all times so as to bring credit upon the Air Force, to fulfill our responsibilities and display professionalism, and to set the example for other Airmen to follow--a highly motivated, dedicated Warrior Airman that can take on any task. Every Airman at Whiteman has a stake in the success or failure of our mission. 

Each member of Team Whiteman contributes to our ability to generate combat Airpower for our nation and you must never forget you are making a difference. Leaders and supervisors at every level must continue to emphasize the positive and remain focused on the Warrior Airmen who get the mission done. Despite the future challenges we will face, Whiteman is full of warriors who exhibit integrity in their actions both on and off duty. As we face the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities this coming year, let each and every one of us strive to set the standard by which our subordinates, peers and superiors alike can emulate. 

If we use integrity as our compass, together we'll most certainly get the mission done-- to Hunt Down and Destroy America's Enemies!