Band of Brothers, Sisters

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- There is a scene in the movie "Band of Brothers" where the company commander pulls one of his platoon lieutenant's aside and tells him that gambling and taking money from his platoon mates jeopardizes his position as the platoon leader in combat. For me, it is a memorable scene that struck a chord.

The key to mission success is nurturing strong team cohesion. This includes professional interaction between officers and enlisted, both on- and off-duty. It requires that we appreciate, respect and value each other.

But the team cannot function when we let the rules of the game break down.

Our relationships between officers and enlisted warriors must be professional -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Even more importantly, our relationships must be perceived as being professional.

Anything that jeopardizes this professional relationship, both perceived and real, from gambling to drinking, does not serve unit cohesion or team building. The guidance on this is spelled out in Air Force Instruction 36-2909, Professional and Unprofessional Relationships, and is further addressed in our policy letter on the topic.

My experience and observation here is that the vast majority of us realize the importance of maintaining professional relationships and keeping team integrity in mind. I am continually impressed by our collective maturity and good judgment.

With your continued focus on building and maintaining unit cohesion and tight-knit units I am confident we can ensure the Team Incirlik family remains strong and respectful ... a band of brothers and sisters in arms.