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News > Commentary - Attention to (standards) detail
Attention to (standards) detail

Posted 2/1/2013   Updated 2/4/2013 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Jeff Bergdolt
42nd Air Base Wing Plans Office

2/1/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Gen. George Patton may have said it best: "It is absurd to believe that Soldiers who cannot be made to wear the proper uniform can be induced to move forward in battle. (Those) who fail to perform their duty by correcting small violations and in enforcing proper conduct are incapable of leading."

While this was before the conception of the U.S. Air Force, the theme rings true. In 2011, Team Maxwell-Gunter earned very low marks for standards during the inspection.

Simple things like not wearing the entire uniform, "rolling sleeves" on flight suits, hands in one's pockets, walking while using a cell phone, improper sideburns and frosted hair showed an apparent lack of regard for Air Force standards.

Are these standards all that important? The obvious answer is "yes!" They are required by Air Force instruction and other authoritative guidance. More importantly, they speak to the honor and hard-fought identify of those who serve in this Air Force.

Disregarding them shows a lack of attention to detail and a lack of respect to our service. It shows disregard to our core values.

A great perspective was given to us by Booker T. Washington: "Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things."

Would you have confidence in the airworthiness of a commercial airliner if you saw peeling paint or torn seats or unfastened rivets? While the aircraft may actually be airworthy, the apparent lack of concern for such things might lead one to become concerned about how the large things are being maintained. Was the engine checked properly? Were the flight controls tested properly? Does this airline take shortcuts in other ways?

In the same respect, the American public, inspector general or any other Airman might wonder how a base is addressing large issues when they observe an apparent disregard for "small" things.

Leadership is about responsibility. Let's all step up and pay more attention to the details and make sure we are operating within standards.

In the coming months, photographs will be staged to show examples of violations seen around the installation. We hope you take the time to review the pictures and also take the time to correct violations when you see them, in person, not just in photographs.

2/10/2013 4:52:54 PM ET
One of the most critical things to address when working to encourage a culture of professionals who comply with standards is to ensure the senior leadership demonstrates those standards--or better--every day and impresses those standards upon junior personnel. On many occasions I observe senior enlisted leaders flagrantly violating regulations without regard for the poor exampled they set.
Retired Senior Officer, AL
2/5/2013 2:01:16 PM ET
Let's not pick and choose which AFIs we enforce. AFI 1-1 has about 10 references that say what is happening in this article is flat out wrong but we'll go with 2.2.8 Airmen do not tolerate bullying hazing or any instance where an Airman inflicts any form of physical or psychological abuse that degrades insults dehumanizes or injuries another Airman. It is the obligation of each Airman in the chain of command to prevent such conduct.So instead of seeing someone out of standards and correcting it on the spot we're going to use PA resources to insult commissioned and noncommissioned officers and say we're doing it in the spirit of upholding an AFI standard We can't be serious with this .... can we
First Sergeant, Hurlburt Field
2/5/2013 1:51:16 AM ET
I hope you include the numerous Civil Air Patrol members I see walking around the base. Today at the BX I saw one in uniform clearly over weight more than 10 percent over AF weight standards with their stomach sticking out in BDU uniform. I saw another on Friday clearly looking like a wrinkle bomb hit them walking around with a civilian coat wide open with their AF Blue uniform on. Hold them to their standards as well please if they want to wear our uniform.
TSgt Scott Thomas, Maxwell AFB
2/1/2013 4:24:32 PM ET
I saw a female at the food court today with a group of six other people during lunch who had her PT gear on including her jacket. She had the jacket sleeves tucked up to her elbows while devouring a taco. She managed to keep these sleeves up while conversing and prancing around the food court looking like a crazy. She did not pull them down until going outside only because I assume she was cold. I am wondering why she was even wearing PT gear at noon
Concerned Old Dude, Maxwell AFB
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