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The ABCs of being an Airman

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jordy Ward
  • 361 ERS First Sergeant
I'm often reminded of a speech I heard during a SNCO induction ceremony, the speaker talked about the ABCs of being an Airman. A for Attitude, B for Basic military training, and C for Core Values. It has stuck with ever since and it is something that I reflect on and pass on to fellow Airmen every opportunity I get.

First, there is Attitude. You know what I'm talking about, some have bad ones and some have good ones. The ones that have bad attitudes are normally bad Airmen and tend to drag everyone down around them. They're self centered and think they're owed something without earning it. This type of attitude is disastrous to morale, discipline, and mission effectiveness. The ones that have good attitudes are normally good Airmen and tend to encourage everyone around them. They're the ones that are selfless and have a sense of giving and contributing to their unit. This type of attitude greatly enhances morale, discipline, and mission effectiveness. Attitudes are infectious and people are often influenced by others' actions.

Second, there is Basic military training. You might think of folding your t-shirts in six squares but the basic military training I'm referring to is the principles of following simple orders, maintaining discipline, and presenting a military image. Somehow, someway, some of us have forgotten those basics. We were all taught the same things in the same way but someone not following the rules will often cop an attitude (reference first item) with someone who is attempting to correct substandard behavior. Hhhmmm? Simply put, flagrant disregard to rules and standards is civil disobedience. As Airmen and leaders, we are bound by the same oath of service and are obligated to follow the same orders. We must never forget what we were taught and also remember that as leaders we are charged with exemplifying and enforce standards.

Finally, there are Core Values. Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. As the "Little Blue Book" states, Core Values are much more than minimum standards. They inspire us to do our very best at all times, a common bond among comrades in arms, and the glue that unifies the force and ties us to the great warriors and public servants of the past. Integrity First- the willingness to do what is right all the time, a moral compass, and the voice of self control. It takes courage, accountability, and self-respect to have integrity. Service Before Self- it tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires. It involves rule following, respect for others, discipline, self control, and faith in the system. Faith in the system is a challenge for leaders as it may be difficult to resist the temptation to doubt "the system". Excellence In All We Do- sustained passion for the continuous improvement and innovation which propels the Air Force into long-term accomplishment and performance. There are many forms of excellence but the ones that come to mind are community and resource excellence. Community excellence is working together in an atmosphere fostering self worth and freedom from fear. It takes mutual respect and giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Resource excellence includes both material and human resources. Human resource excellence charges us to recruit, train, promote, and retain those that can do the best job for us and the Air Force.

Thinking about the ABCs, the speaker hit the nail on the head and this message is applicable to any rank, any job, any assignment, and any deployment. As a leader and fellow airman, talk with your subordinates and peers about Attitude, Basic military training, and Core values. Let them know that it really as easy 1-2-3 when thinking about the ABCs of being an Airman.