Professionalism on- and off-duty

A1C Jose L. Hernandez, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

A1C Jose L. Hernandez, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Nearly one year ago, my military training instructor Tech. Sgt. Daniel Mckeown told members of my flight to never get complacent. Yet, it wasn't until I arrived at Minot that I began to fully understand the true value and meaning of those words. 

Fresh out of basic military training and technical school, I went from an environment of stringent training to an environment of receiving more personable guidance and instruction here. While my on-the-job training was intense, the work atmosphere was more relaxed and I had a lot more personal freedom.

I realized most Airmen go through the same experience. And, as time goes by, it's easy to slowly begin to stray away from some of the fundamental principles they were taught. Soon, it may be evident there is a lack of attention to anything ranging from uniform irregularities to keeping hair in regulations. This was part of the complacency Sergeant Mckeown spoke of.

As Airmen representing Air Force Global Strike Command, I believe it's crucial we all take a moment to reflect on the significance of upholding our Air Force doctrines and ideals.

Everything we learned from the moment we first stepped foot in our initial military training environment had a purpose. From etiquette to dress and appearance, we were groomed to be part of an institution that places integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

Whether we work in services or as maintenance personnel, we are all expected to behave professionally and show the proper respect to one another. To ensure this, it essential we keep our wingmen in check.

At times even I catch myself not paying full respect to those I work with, and I've caught myself taking a joke too far with my co-workers. So, I remind myself that while I see my colleagues as friends, I still must try my best to show them the respect they all deserve, because it reflects on my moral fibers and character.

I still remember briefings in basic military training designed to lecture us on the importance of maintaining proper etiquette at all times regardless of where we were or who we spoke to.
Our MTI explained time and again that our conduct both on and off-duty reflects the standards and principles the Air Force has taught us and the importance of keeping true to our core values no matter wherever we found ourselves in the future.

We were taught the American public has a very high regard towards servicemembers. They understand the sacrifices servicemembers make in order to ensure the safety of the country and thus they hold us in high esteem.

As uniformed personnel, we are entrusted with a worthy and respectable role in communities all across the country. That's a significant standing in society few people can say they are part of.

Because of the trust and confidence they place in us, we should always remember that when we are off base and in our communities, whether we are in civilian clothes or in uniform, our communities expect us to conduct ourselves professionally at all times. When just one person doesn't, that erodes the public's respect.

Like Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy said, "The Air Force Core Values are what we live by, and they will continue to guide our standards."

I for one am proud to be a part of this organization and will continue to do my best to live by the standards the Air Force has taught me.