Integrity inspires us to do our best

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Edward Pena
  • 817th Air Expeditionary Squadron
The values that I learned growing up have molded me into the person I am today. By no means am I perfect. I do have faults, and I continually reassess myself to help guide me through the daily grind of my wonderful Air Force life.

As Airmen, we are expected to live by our Air Force Core Values: Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. These values should be an important part of our moral fiber and should reflect in how we conduct ourselves, both on and off duty. They remind us of what it takes to get the mission done and should inspire us to do our very best at all times.

Integrity remains the very bedrock of the military profession. It is the essential element or the foundation on which all other values are built. It's being honest with others as well as yourself and doing what's right at all times, even when no one sees you. Without integrity, discipline falters and affects the mission.

Service before self tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires. The Air Force demands a high level of professional skill from each member. Each of us must realize our needs are secondary to the needs of the Air Force. We must make personal sacrifices for the sake of the mission. Upon entering the Air Force, we took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We took this obligation freely and without reservation.

Excellence in all we do is self explanatory! As professionals we are expected to do no less. The nature of our profession demands it. Whether you're working on the flight line, turning wrenches or loading an aircraft, by not providing your best efforts, the mission falters; worse, someone gets hurt. We must continue to improve ourselves, our families and our processes in order to execute our Air Force mission.

Integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do are simple words that epitomize the values of our military profession. They should serve as a reminder of what it takes to get the mission done and inspire us to always do our very best. As I reflect on my nearly 24 years of service, let me say I am in awe of the men and women in the Air Force. I've come across and had the opportunity to work with some great people from all walks of life. The pride you continually display even when facing adversity speaks volumes. I thank you all for your service and I am proud to serve with you. Take care and God bless.