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Small things speak big

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Wenesday Traylor
  • 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron First Sergeant
Did you know when Ruffles and Flourishes is played, you have to turn towards the general that is being honored? When the flag is lowered to half mast you are to stand at attention and salute ... even in a deployed location. These are a couple of seemingly small things that speak big when they are not executed.

My first supervisor would tell me, "It's the small things that count." As I was safety wiring an engine part on the flight line with my fingers freezing cold, I knew I could always count on a cup of coffee from my supervisor to warm my hands and spirits. I knew he would say "thank you" when we worked late and happy birthday on my birthday. When we worked long hours, the pizza was on him. The holidays were not forgotten. In addition, he ensured promotions and new additions were recognized as well. These seemingly small things spoke big.

He always had creases in his BDUs and shined boots even on the flight line. I recall him making me use a permanent marker to color my yellow ponytail holder to match my hair color. He enforced all standards, even the "small ones." If you don't follow and enforce the small rules, then your credibility will be questioned. This will eventually lead to a degradation of discipline in your work center. It will become easier to break the "big" rules, Air Force Instructions won't get used, Personal Protective Equipment won't get used and people will get hurt. We cannot afford to have selective integrity on what standards we choose to follow and enforce.

The small things are what create an environment we want to work in. When a commander or supervisor takes the time to recognize your birthday or send a congratulatory letter to your family on a job well done, it means they care. Practicing customs and courtesies, saying ma'am and sir, tucking in your PT shirt, and following the AFIs means you care. The small things speak big.