Slogans come and go; Air Force core values stand strong

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Gerry Gleckel
  • Commander, 45th Launch Support Squadron
A recent Air Force Times headline read, "'Above All' is out." Over the past decade, Air Force slogans and recruiting mottos have come and gone: "Aim High," "No One Comes Close," "Cross into the Blue," "Do Something Amazing," and most recently, "Above All." All have been used to represent the Air Force to the outside public and encourage young people to join our ranks.

No doubt each slogan was the result of numerous marketing strategies and thoroughly tested for its effectiveness. Later, the slogans were updated in an attempt to appeal to the next generation of Airmen and the changing tastes of the American public.

Meanwhile, since they were first published in 1997, the Air Force Core Values have withstood the test of time. While the Air Force sloganeers make changes every couple of years, the authors of the Core Values got it right the first time.

It doesn't matter what generation you were born in, or what part of the world you claim as home; Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do are universal truths that we must live by to be successful in the Air Force.

Integrity First is the cornerstone of the Core Values and I want to focus on it. I recently heard the analogy "Integrity is a suit of armor." Intact, it will protect you and enable you to accomplish the mission. Each time you compromise your integrity, however, you take off a piece of that armor and make yourself more vulnerable to further compromises and mission failure.

As we've all been taught, integrity is "...the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking." It's doing PT on your own when unit PT was cancelled, wearing your motorcycle helmet when you're miles away from base, coming to work on time when your supervisor is on Leave, and other such daily choices we make in our personal lives and at work.

Make good decisions, keep your armor on and go into battle fully protected. Nothing about that needs to change.