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  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. John VanVorce
  • 755th Air Expeditionary Squadron First Sergeant

We were all once children. 


Do any of you remember getting your butt whooped because you and your brother decided rock fights were the best way to settle an argument? Or that time you didn't change out of your Sunday's best because there was no time, Mother Nature left a big messy mud puddle for you and your closest pals to go fishing for magical stuff at the bottom... maybe that was just me.  


I bet when you knew you were doing something wrong, you had that nagging feeling in the back of your head that you were going to "get it" when you got home. We knew what discipline was, but as children we sometimes failed to apply it. 


We have graduated to adulthood and grown to be fine upstanding Air Force members.  How do I know this? Because you have been chosen. There are more than 328,700 Air Force members and you were selected to represent our nation and make history. I believe what got you here was discipline.


George Washington stated, "Nothing can be more hurtful to the service than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another."


I sometimes doubt that we take this as seriously as we need to. 


Make no mistake, our enemies are disciplined; and we need to ensure we maintain what brought us here.


How do we maintain military discipline?  By enforcing our self-discipline, reaffirming our self-belief and projecting respect for ourselves and our fellow service members.  


For our enlisted force, discipline was engrained in basic training.  The seeds were sown, and, for all, it was a way to enact a change in our thoughts and make sure we could produce the attention to detail needed by Airmen to be tactically and technically proficient.  


Hours of mind-numbing underwear ironing, marching to and from locations, making sure you had the "bricks" just right on the sides of your mattress. 


Some wanted to give up thinking, "this is impossible" or "they want too much from me." Days and weeks passed, then you got it... together, we all got it.


Think back to the day your flight had their final inspection... marching like a well-oiled machine, 90-degree bricked corners, sharp, crisp and full of belief in yourself and fellow Airmen. You were untouchable marching that parade field.  Our families were so proud.


That is what you should strive to attain every time you put on the uniform that states, "I am an American Airman," part of the greatest air and space power on the planet, and my military service will always be there to support you and is at the core of your discipline.


Neglecting direct orders that govern our behavior only weakens our superiority and disrespects you and your fellow Airmen. Hair out of regulations, not carrying weapons, being disrespectful by throwing water bottles or cigarettes anywhere you choose because it's more convenient.


Max Anders said, "Only the disciplined ever get really good at anything."     


Be great at being an Airman. Be vigilant because every small step away from standards is a step towards getting really good at being really bad, which can be dangerous. 


Have pride in yourself and have respect for your fellow servicemen and women. Your core is moral discipline. It is intertwined with the discipline of physical and mental preparedness. Live up to our Enlisted Force Structure, be a sentry abiding by operation security; embody our Air Force Culture of Followership, and live in accordance with our core values.  These are concrete.


If you are apprehensive, take a look at the "U.S. Air Force" stitched on your uniform.