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Standards - don’t pick, choose

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
I personally have three golden rules that have benefitted me as an Airman in our great Air Force.

The First Rule - If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask me the question. The Second Rule - I don't pick and choose which standards I follow or enforce. The Third Rule - I fight for what is right.

Every opportunity I get when speaking to our Airmen, I emphasize the Second Rule. If an Airman is following the rules and meeting standards on and off duty, then they never place themselves in a position that may potentially jeopardize others or their service to our great Air Force.

When Airmen decide not to follow the rules or standards, they have placed into question their integrity and self-discipline. The obvious consequence is that Airman may no longer be allowed to perform their job or serve in the Armed Forces. But, there are also unintended consequences for their actions.

For example, choosing not to follow traffic laws is not only dangerous for the driver but for passengers as well as other vehicle motorists. Another example is choosing not to follow safety standards. We have very low tolerance for anyone who does not follow safety standards because of the potential consequences to a person's life.

After any mishap occurs, it is quickly determined if the Airman was following the rules or standards. Nine times out of 10, the member was not. That choice not to follow the rules creates a consequence of accountability. The consequences can be quite severe depending on how flagrant the disregard is for the standard or outcome.

What is truly sad, is if the Airman would have just exercised some self-discipline, the mishap could have been avoided. The individual or another Airman would not have been hurt. It is frustrating to listen to a member who states they were unaware of the consequences of their actions.

But, they knew they were making a choice not to follow the rules. They thought nothing bad would happen.

Some Airmen feel that some rules don't apply to them, because they are smarter or more talented, and therefore nothing bad will happen. This ego or false sense of security is what can get Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen into very bad situations.

Following the rules is not about ego or "I am better than others," it is about protecting each other. We need every Airman to perform our critical nuclear mission.

We can't afford for even one Airman to not be available due to careless actions driven by a lack of self-discipline.

I don't want to see any Airman have to live with the fact that if they would have done what they were supposed to, a fellow Airman would not be seriously hurt or even dead.

Nor do I want to see an Airman have to go home and tell his or her family that they will no longer be in the Air Force because they could not follow the rules.

If you observe another Airman not following the rules, have the courage to intervene. You may have just saved more than one person's life!