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First Impressions

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- We've all heard that first impressions are lasting impressions, and everyone on Maxwell and Gunter makes a contribution to the first impressions that we give to our visitors, community partners and each other.

I arrived at Maxwell less than a month ago, and like all newcomers, I'm awash in new experiences; a new house, a new community and a new job. With every new experience, there is a first impression that goes along with it. Because I'm human, those initial impressions have been my lasting impressions of the installation and its people.

Bottom line up front; my first impressions of the base have all been very positive, and have helped to form an understanding of Maxwell-Gunter, its mission and its people. This was further confirmed to me over the Fourth of July weekend when my best friend and I ran through the base. He is an Army officer, and he could not say enough about how great the base looked and how friendly the community was. It made me proud to call Maxwell-Gunter home.

How do you contribute to Maxwell-Gunter's "first impression mission?" It's simple; focus on the first impression that you make to those around you, such as your co-workers, your customers, your friends and contacts in the community.

First, know your job. A fundamental knowledge of your primary duty and how your job contributes to the mission at Maxwell-Gunter goes a long way toward making a positive impression. You should be able to tell people exactly what it is that you do and how it impacts and enhances our mission.

Second, take pride in your personal appearance by staying in good physical shape and wearing your uniform properly. An Airman who goes the extra step in his or her personal appearance will more than likely go the extra step in his or her job and our mission. On Mondays, take the time to align your nametag and badges properly on your blues; shine your shoes and keep them clean. When you wear your Airman Battle Uniform, make sure it is clean and serviceable. Use a suede brush to keep your boots clean. Keep your hair well groomed and within the standards outlined in AFI 36-2903. These very quick and basic steps will help make you a positive "Airman Ambassador" to those around you.

Third, render proper customs and courtesies at the proper time. When retreat sounds, stop and face the flag, or if you can't see the base flag from your position outside, face the direction of the National Anthem and salute until the last note of the anthem is finished. When driving, and if it's safe to do so, stop, place your vehicle in park, and wait until the last note sounds before continuing on your way. Salute marked staff cars as they pass you by as well as senior officers. If you're an officer, return that salute with pride and a friendly, verbal greeting.

Once you've taken pride in yourself, it's time to move on to how we reflect pride in our base and it's visitors. Treat everyone you meet with proper respect regardless of their rank or status. I've reflected a number of times that a future Air Force Chief of Staff or Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force may be walking among us here at Maxwell-Gunter so treat everyone, regardless of rank or status, with respect and courtesy. When greeting people, whether visitors or staff, smile and answer with a "sir" or "ma'am." If someone has a question or problem, take ownership of that question or problem until it is resolved, or you hand it over to the right person/agency.

Lastly, help keep the installation looking great by picking up litter and disposing of it properly. Maxwell and Gunter have both witnessed historic Air Force events and people. We honor that history by keeping our home presentable both to ourselves and to our visitors.

Gen. George Patton advised, "You are always on parade!" This means that we are always being observed and watched. Our individual efforts while "on parade" contribute to those important first impressions people have of Maxwell and Gunter.

Do your part to make sure that we always make a positive impression!