Standards top inspector general’s list

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- After reviewing multiple Operational Readiness Inspection reports from across Air Education and Training Command, I have observed the very first item on the ORI list is standards. The inspector general team comes to report on our readiness, not specifically to inspect customs and courtesies or dress. But if violations are observed in those areas, they will make note of them. Recently the chief of staff of the Air Force instituted "Blue Monday" because "part of our image, culture and professionalism is instilled in our blues." This was a great decision to refocus the force on who we are, as well as the standards we have sworn to adhere to.

What are we saying about ourselves when we violate Air Force Instructions? As an institution, we should be policing ourselves when it comes to things like running on base with ear buds in both ears and complying with traffic instructions like speed limits or parking rules. Policies like walking and drinking from a cup or glass while in uniform, talking on cell phones while walking or driving, not wearing a hat outside, wearing a cell phone on our right side, or carrying backpacks slung over only our right shoulders may all seem like small things. But they are all violations of AFI 36-2903, and more importantly they are indicators of our self discipline, our leadership, and our followership.

Upon taking command of II Corps in Tunisia during WWII, Gen. George Patton said, "It is absurd to believe that soldiers who cannot be made to wear the proper uniform can be induced to move forward in battle."

Patton's comment strikes at the heart of the issue. A unit's readiness is hinged on its discipline - a concept reflected in our core value, integrity - doing the right thing regardless of whether someone is watching.

The IG team is here to report on our readiness. The best advice I can give Maxwell-Gunter members is to focus, focus on the basics. When in uniform, be proud of it and show it.