Attention to (standards) detail

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.