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Chief’s Corner - week of April 10

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Personal spring cleaning

Now that winter is behind us, the weather is getting nice again and the sun stays up a little later in the evenings, some of us will take some time to do a little spring cleaning. Maybe you will take a Saturday to clean your garage or basement, or wash months of dirt off your car. This year, I ask that in addition to cleaning out a winter's worth of clutter, you do some internal spring cleaning. Take some time for self-reflection and re-evaluate who you are as an Airman and see if you are living up to the Air Force and your own personal standards. Use the Air Force Core Values as a guide and be brutally honest with yourself; that is the only way to improve.

Let's look at "Integrity First." Last week in a press conference to announce the findings of the test compromise investigation at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said, "Our Air Force core values, which are 'Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do', -- have to guide us in everything we do -- on and off duty; at home, in the office and on the battlefield. Integrity means taking action when you see something in your environment that's not right -- in your unit, among your peers, (with) your subordinates and your superiors." Most of us will say integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is watching, but I believe it is more. It is addressing an issue that you know to be wrong. It is not walking past a problem. Ask yourself, "Do I have the moral courage to fix a problem, or do I tolerate it?"

"Service Before Self" seems like an easy one. We say we are all in, but are we really? What about when you get vectored to a special duty and have to move your family across the country? Do the needs of the Air Force truly come first? I understand the need for stability, but if you are the most qualified Airman for a given position at a specific time, you need to trust that your supervisors have both your and the Air Force's best interests in mind and will do the right thing. Ask yourself, "Do I truly put the needs of the Air Force above my own personal desires?"

I'm sure we've all heard the term, "good enough for government work," and most of us equate it with being the minimum acceptable standard. In reality, the term originated during World War II, when workers used it to indicate the product they were working on met the very stringent standards demanded by the government. Our last core value, "Excellence In All We Do" demands that we, as Airmen, do the absolute best job possible with the resources and time allotted. Does that mean perfection? Not always, but knowingly skipping steps in a checklist or giving a 75 percent effort is not acceptable either. We need to learn from our mistakes and strive to make things better than we found them. Ask yourself, "Do I demand excellence in myself and my subordinates on every task?"

So this spring, in addition to getting ready for summer and cleaning up our houses and cars, take some time for an internal spring cleaning. Evaluate yourself against our core values and make the appropriate changes to make yourself a better Airman. Our Air Force deserves nothing less.
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