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Integrity is Forever

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jason Kalin
  • 379th Expeditionary Logistic Readiness Squadron

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

It takes courage to do the right thing, no matter the consequences.  It takes years to build a reputation as a person of integrity, but it only takes a second to lose that hard-earned reputation.


Do you jeopardize your integrity?


Ultimately, some choices may have negative and far-reaching consequences; amongst other things, you could lose the support and faith of your fellow Airmen. The trust we earn and the character we build are some of our most valuable qualities.


If you choose to be dishonest, sooner or later, there will be a day of reckoning. I've seen it time and again - it is extremely difficult to hide things in this day and age. Somehow, some way, your poor choices will eventually be revealed. To strengthen your integrity, surround yourself with people of integrity. In everything you do, let your actions mirror your words.


The Air Force values integrity so much that it’s the first core value. Our leaders have defined integrity as "Doing what is right even when no one is looking." It is the moral compass -- the inner voice; the voice of self-control; the basis for the trust imperative in today's military. Your integrity is probably the result of victories over life challenges and lessons you've learned along the way.


Are you using what you've learned to be a force to strengthen a culture of integrity in our Air Force?


Here are some lessons I've learned in my 23 years of service -- perhaps they'll be helpful to you:


1. Half-truths are unacceptable.


2. Integrity is both what you do when no one is looking and what you do when you know EVERYONE is looking!


3. Reflect each day on your actions.


Lastly, remember that success may come and go, but integrity is forever.