The ties that bind our core values

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Barton Barnhart
  • 18th Civil Engineer Squadron commander
Integrity, service before self, excellence in all we do. Airmen know these concepts as our Air Force core values. Personally, I think the concepts embodied by these values are extensions of each other and build upon one another. Let me show you what I mean.
Integrity. Webster's dictionary says integrity is firm adherence to a code of especially moral values. It's a fancy way to say do the right thing. 

Every day I see Kadena people doing just that. In civil engineer there is an NCO who is the primary instructor for our flightline driver training program. It's important because out on the airfield knowing what to do and what not to do can save your life. This NCO understands that. 

When he trained me, class started at 4 a.m. so we could cover night driving rules step by step. I've driven flightlines for many years, so it would have been easy to bypass the guidelines and simply sign me off. But not this NCO. He followed the wing's policy to the letter without being asked. Why? Because he knew it was the right thing to do. He did the right thing. 

Service before self. This is putting what's best for our Air Force before our personal desires. Another way to say it is do things right because it is right. As I said about integrity, I see examples of Team Kadena members demonstrating this every day. I know another NCO who works long hours making sure our deployers have every piece of equipment they need before they go. 

This is tough because the requirements continually change and they're different for many of the places we deploy to. Everyday there are opportunities for this NCO to get frustrated and give up, but somehow he always regroups and moves forward. He doesn't work this hard for attention, money or comp time. He's dedicated because it is right. 

Excellence in all we do. A simple concept, but difficult to do. It's making sure the job is done right the first time, or as I like to say going out and doing it right. I saw a great example of this recently. Some very fine fire fighters, medics and security forces warriors put on a ceremony at the wing flag pole in remembrance of 9-11. The ceremony left me filled with pride. 

Team Kadena remembers even though we're about as far as you can be from our homeland. Those fine emergency first responders who put on that moving ceremony certainly understand what excellence is about. They went out and did it right. 

Integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do; our core values that build upon each other. Or as I like to think of the concepts; do the right thing, do it because it's right, and then go out and do it right. A different way to look at our core values? Certainly, but any time spent reflecting on these important concepts is time well spent.