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First Sergeant Corner: Ethics

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. --

Per DoD 5500.07- R, The Joint Ethics Regulation, “ethics are standards by which one should act based on values.” The Core Values as we are accustom to in the Air Force are Integrity, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do. These values should influence our attitudes and actions in our commitment to being honest, loyal and competent as DoD employees.

I have always been an honest person, some may say too honest at times, but it has helped put me where I am today; a good daughter, sister, wife, mom, employee and now a First Sergeant. I believe this characteristic is a strength as it helps me uphold my integrity and remain true to myself.

Ethics can be used as a guide for decision making. One should always make an informed decision that is fair and considers the needs of all affected. Service Before Self is the value that impacts what we prioritize. We must put our professional duties before our personal desires. We do this for our unit, the Air Force and our country.

 As for the third Core Value of Excellence In All We Do, we must always strive to improve and never settle for ordinary. We must be the example for others to follow, one that sets their standards even higher to help contribute to the accomplishment of the mission.

Applying these Core Values can establish cohesion within a unit and promote a healthy spirit throughout. If you lead by example you will be demonstrating your expectations, and your actions will speak louder than words. Together we are one unit and we all depend on each other to be successful.

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, ethics are defined as “moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.” With that said, ethics can be based on laws or your own personal judgement of what is right or wrong. For many, ethics may be something you feel and understand as one’s moral code. Though each person’s individual ethics vary, you must take ownership of your moral compass and make it your own. As you think about your values, some may change as you become wiser and gain life experience, but as Airmen our Core Values remain constant.

Upholding personal ethics can be hard at times. Someone’s desire to be honest could come across as frank or possibly even rude depending on the situation. Sometimes emotions make things difficult as well, as we try to make the right decision under challenging circumstances. By standing by our Core Values we can be trusted and make a positive impact on every outcome.  

Now, as a leader I know that I play a major part in upholding military standards and helping other Airmen to do the same. My hope is that I can be a good example, a role model of sort, and one who people can count on.

To conclude, set an honorable example for yourself and others by adhering to the Air Force Core Values and do what is right; realize who you are and why.