By Chief Master Sgt. Todd Piazza
19th Maintenance Group superintendent
We all strive to be the best Airmen we can possibly be. We diligently become experts in our job. We work out to maintain fitness standards. We volunteer our free time to help out where needed. We deploy to support the mission and spend valued time away from our family. We are each members of a profession of arms are extremely proud of it and want everyone to know it. So why do many of us undermine ourselves and cause people to think otherwise?
We are all very proud of the competence and professionalism we display in our daily effort to ensure success. Most of us work long hours and pay exacting attention to detail to ensure the accomplishment of our piece of our organization’s mission. Every Airman and every organization has a job to do and they do it well. They meet those exacting standards, whether they are assigned to the Communications Squadron, the Fire Department, the Flight Line or the Medical Group. No one accomplishes the mission like we do!
Why then do some Airmen walk around with their hands in their pockets? Why do many of us fail to salute staff cars? Why do many Airmen run for the door when Retreat sounds? Why do many Airman fail to pick up trash when they see it as they are travelling around base? Customs and Courtesies play a significant part in the message we send to others. People notice when we fail to observe them and make impressions about what they see. We must ensure we are creating the correct impression.
You may be the most professional and competent Airman in your work center, squadron and even group. But, when your peers and leaders observe you walking around with your hands in your pockets, you are sending the opposite message. You have caused your peers to think you are probably lacking in professionalism and Airmanship. Not only is this a reflection on you, but also your organization and leadership. Furthermore, when other Airmen see you neglect to salute a staff car, you have caused everyone to think your organization and leadership does not enforce standards.
What is the worst thing about these scenarios? They do no reflect the real you! We all know that perception is often seen as reality, so you do not want people questioning your commitment to Air Force values and your desire to be as professional as possible. Make sure your peers and leadership know you for who you really are, not the Airman who failed to wear his hat to his car. Do not undermine yourself.
The Air Force is a way of life. A 24 hour a day way of life, not only while working in our work centers. When you are out and about base, what do your customs and courtesies say about you, your leadership and your organization. Make sure people see us for who we really are, the professional Airmen who strive to do the best in everything we do.