Above reproach

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kenneth Honaker
  • 911th Maintenance Group Commander
       First, I’d like to thank all of our Airmen who have been on active duty orders during the last couple of years for their outstanding job performance. You definitely represented the 911th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve in a manner that would make anyone proud. I’d also like to give thanks for the fact that every one of you returned home safe and sound. And, I pray that all who are deploying now will return safe as well. 

       I also want to thank those who might not have been activated or deployed; your hard work and dedication were just as important to the mission. You kept things running smoothly back here, and for that you are commended. 

       Second, I would like to briefly discuss our Air Force Core Values: Integrity…Service before self…Excellence in all we do. What does it actually mean when we say these words and make the commitment to live by them? After all, they are just words. Aren’t they? 

       A word is just a word, like any other on the page, until you take a closer look and begin to grasp the meaning of it. Take for instance, integrity. You would probably find the definition in a dictionary to be something like, “…a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” One of my favorite definitions for integrity is, “Doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” 

       Putting the two definitions together, we could say that “Integrity is a code of conduct we’ve agreed to uphold even though no one may be watching.” And, we’ve all agreed to this code of conduct when we signed the “dotted line” as a member of the Profession of Arms. 

       The core value, “Service before self,” places us in a very unique group. How many other professions do you know of where individuals are willing to give their lives for the protection of their country and its citizens? 

       “Excellence in all we do” is not just a phrase, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a statement that says, we are giving it our best everyday; at work, home, or even at play. It’s not something to be taken lightly and only considered on a drill weekend, or when on annual training status. It’s a day-in and day-out reflection of who we are as members of this elite group. 

       The 911th lives by these core values and that’s why I’m so sure of how well we will do in the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection. If we all continue to strive to live by our Air Force core values, there is not an inspection, exercise, test, work assignment or deployment that can not be met with the best of outcomes. 

       This UCI is one of our opportunities to show off and let the inspectors know just how good we really are. We performed outstandingly in the desert and around the world; and, now we have the challenge of proving to the inspectors that it wasn’t just a bunch of “smoke and mirrors.” We are the best at what we do, so let’s not be shy about it.