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You can't cheat the Core Values

Patrick AFB -- Recently, 15 Air Force Academy cadets were expelled due to a cheating scandal. The cadets used private computer messages to share answers for a required test of general knowledge about the Air Force. 

This scandal really drives home how critical it is for Airmen to cling to our values. We owe it to ourselves, each other and the nation we serve to preserve our integrity, pursue excellence in all we do and serve others ahead of ourselves. 

It is easy to assume for testing on general AF knowledge, likely perceived as a fill the square requirement, the intent behind the cadets' answer sharing was "cooperate and graduate." How often do we as members of the 45th Space Wing have to participate in ancillary training? Often times this training is perceived as tedious, tiresome and a draw away from our mission, which could easily be mitigated by a short cut answer key. 

However, it is imperative we look at this thought process a little closer and see that such short cuts and this type of behavior are really something that violates all three Core Values. 

Integrity - We have got to hold ourselves accountable to do the right thing even when no one else is looking. 

Excellence in All We Do - Choosing to use a cheat sheet or working around/ignoring regulatory requirements immediately compromises excellence. 

Service Before Self - Think big picture, a quick fix solution that is the best for your organization or done out of personal convenience may have mission impacts to other organizations on base, elsewhere in the Air Force, or the community at large. 

When the inspectors came in March the 45th SW earned an "Excellent" rating by holding ourselves accountable, not cutting corners, complying with higher headquarters' guidance and implementing solutions that benefited members of the entire team. In the Air Force we cannot afford to tolerate taking any (even miniscule) steps in a direction that violate our core values. 

Projected budget cuts, deployment requirements plus increased demands on our time in the next few years will make the temptation to cut corners and the mentality of "cooperate and graduate" more prevalent. 

We must resist this temptation and cling to the Air Force's core values. I know the Shark community to be one of Integrity, Excellence and Service before Self. Embrace these values and mission success will continue.