Adhere to the Big Things -- and the Little

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- "Service as an Airman in the United States Air Force is both an honor and a privilege." These are the first words of the newly-released Air Force Policy Directive 1, concerning Air Force Culture. "The Air Force environment at home station or forward deployed, encompasses the actions, values and standards we live by each and every day, whether on or off-duty." These are the first words of AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards. Then the AFI reiterates the Air Force Core Values.

Service in the AF & ANG is a privilege, it is not an entitlement. In exchange for this privilege a person is expected to know right from wrong and conduct themselves accordingly. It is a privilege I've had for 28 years. In those 28 years I've seen the very best in people on a daily basis. Whether it is people having the courage of their convictions to be a whistle blower or the people who daily do the uncompensated overtime that allows this Wing to operate at the high level that it does, these people have always adhered to Air Force Standards. This is the majority of the Air Force.

For the Airmen who have always adhered to Air Force Standards they will read the AFI, scratch their heads, and say "I already knew this." Why after 65 years was there a need to publish an AFI? I do not think it is to emphasize the big things. Most people get the big things on their own.

Based on the things that I see in this unit, I think I understand why. When a person's desire to go TDY to somewhere fun outweigh the need for fiscal responsibility, I want to ask what happened to Service Before Self. When the basis for requesting actions be done seems based more on "what I can get away with" instead of what is in the best interest of the Air Force, I want to ask what happened to Integrity First. When a promotion board is held to fill a square and not to be an honest evaluation of the person's fitness for the next rank, I want to ask what happened to Excellence In All We Do. I think the reason for the AFI is to re-emphasize that these things, the small things, matter as well.

While it is easy to adhere to big things, it is just as easy to rationalize exceptions to the small things. The AFI is an appeal for people to remember the best within themselves, and not to start on the slippery slope of "Just This Once." As an organization, and as people, we want to be on the high ground. We don't want to be at the bottom of the slope. Reading, and adhering, to AFI 1-1 is something we all should do because it is the right thing to do and it will keep us on the moral high ground.