Commentary by Tech. Sgt. Lee Galbraith
22nd Space Operations Squadron Det. 5 Chief
ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — “Integrity First,” “Service before Self,” “Excellence in All We Do” — what do these three values mean to you? How do they affect you in your daily life? Most importantly, do you remember them when you take off your uniform?
“Integrity First” means doing the right thing at all times. It sounds easy, and it should be easy.
As a whole, we tend to apply the word “Integrity” to things like lying, stealing, or doing something that we know is illegal or morally wrong.
Integrity is great when we apply it to big issues we face in life. I believe it would be even greater when we apply it to everything in life no matter how small the issue at hand. Integrity is our first core value, so I challenge you to apply it first in everything you do.
Many Airmen interpret “Service before Self” as putting your job before everything else. Air Force Doctrine Document 1-1 states “Service before Self” as being dedicated to duty, all the time and under all circumstances. It also makes a point that “Service before Self” does not mean service before family.
I believe it is important to have as strong or even a stronger duty to one’s family.
Service before Self should also be applied to matters outside the military. Your community, church, friends, people in need, and even a complete stranger need your service.
We sometimes are lost or caught up in “what is important to me,” “how will it benefit me,” or “what will I gain from this?” This type of thinking allows us to lose sight of one of the oldest core values: Love your neighbor.
We recognize and give support in times of crises or emergencies, but what about the not-so-obvious times? Times like when you notice a coworker or someone that you do not really know looking a little sad or depressed. How about when you are at a party and there is someone sitting alone?
Are you one of those who notice these things and reaches out, or are you the one who just tells yourself “It’s none of my business,” or worse, “I don’t care?”
To me “Service before Self” means not putting your job before yourself, but putting humanity before yourself!
Air Force Doctrine Document 1-1 identifies four aspects of excellence; personal excellence, organizational excellence, resource excellence, and operational excellence. All these areas bring together the idea of constantly striving to perform at your very best. This can be applied differently to each of us.
We all have our own views on how we give our personal best. We all have been told by a supervisor, friend, and even our mothers: “If you’re going to do a job, do it right the first time.” This is good advice, but do you support this idea 100 percent of the time? Is it only when you’re doing your primary job? How about when you’re doing “volun-told” work or when you see something that needs to be done, but think to yourself “someone else will take care of it?”
Let me give you an example to show you the direction I’m going here.
A coworker and I were outside walking to the entrance of our building. There was a piece of newspaper on the ground in front of the entrance door. It was muddy and wet and as I bent down to pick it up and throw it in the trash, my coworker told me “Oh, just leave it, the janitor will pick it up.” I still felt it was my responsibility because it was the right thing to do.
I know that doing the right thing is important, and even though someone else may eventually take care of it, if we can make a difference now, we have a responsibility to do so.