Tuesday, November 25, 2008

COMMENTARY>>Integrity first - always

By Master Sgt. James Albini
714th Training Squadron First Sergeant

Each week I have the privilege of spending time with the Air Force’s newest enlisted aviators. I like to discuss the core values and apply those three ideas to real world experiences. Unfortunately, an aspect of my job is to interview Airmen who have taken the wrong path and made poor choices. These experiences have caused me to redefine my definition of our first core value, integrity.

If I ask Airmen to tell me what they think integrity means the preponderance would respond, “Doing the right thing when nobody is watching.” This is the textbook definition. I have come to realize most Airmen do not have a problem doing the right thing when alone; the harder action is doing the right thing while in a group.

All too often when things go wrong, it wasn’t because one person, by himself or herself, decided to make a poor choice.

Instead a bad decision was made while with a group of friends. Despite the many opportunities to prevent a Wingman from going down the wrong path, many remain silent. Some consider it not cool to speak up in front of others and challenge the group. Others don’t want to be labeled a rat or killjoy. This thought is what caused me to reinterpret integrity.

We must have the courage to stand by our convictions and speak up in the presence of others. Although the reference I used is associated with discipline, it can be applied to the work center. Doing the right thing when everyone is watching is extremely tough. Failure to have courage and stand up has resulted in countless DUIs, underage drinking, assaults and work related accidents. I leave you with this simple challenge … think of our first core value in two ways; doing the right thing when no one is watching and doing the right thing when everyone is watching.


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