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Commentary | March 26, 2010

Standards: Are they just things we comply with at work?

By Master Sgt. Michael Dyer 633d Security Forces Squadron First Sergeant

Every job has standards or rules that govern what we do in that line of work and when we're going to do it. For those of us who've worn a uniform in our nation's armed forces, past or present, the standards are usually defined initially at Basic Military Training. As new recruits, we live and breathe these standards day and night; failure to do so would result in an early departure from military service. As we progress in our job training and years in service, we learn more about our individual jobs, building upon the foundation poured in BMT.

Today, just like when we were new recruits, the standards apply 24 hours a day, regardless of where we are and who could be watching.

From the recruit to the seasoned, our job knowledge and professionalism is on display every day to anyone watching. A new Airman on base typically lives in the dorms and is educated on the standards in which they will need to live while they live in government quarters. Ultimately, they are being prepared to live off base. These same Airmen watch their superiors and can see that they don't have to live up to the same standards. Or are they required to live up to similar standards and choose not to? I would argue the standards are the same regardless where we live.

On base in the dorm, on base in military housing, off base in privatized housing, a rented house/apartment, or a house/townhouse an individual purchased, we have a responsibility to take care of our residence. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force #5 Bob Gaylor commonly talks in his speeches about "your name being on the mailbox," or a pride of ownership. Often the outside of a residence leaves people to form a perception of the inside. For instance, if a residence has newspapers throughout the front yard, animal waste, and unkempt grass, one could imagine the interior is a mess as well.

The military is moving away from military housing toward a cost-effective means of privatized housing. Just because the lease is not signed at the military housing office does not mean the installation commander does not have any say about the care of the housing or the rules in the communities (standards). Nothing has really changed. The tenant is still responsible to keep the outside of their residence clear of trash, animal waste, etc. Though a nameplate is not on the house, your reputation is tied to its appearance.

Standards should not end at the installation gate. Whether the standard is uniform compliance or taking care of our residences, it's our responsibility to set the proper image for junior Airmen. We are all recruiters and should be encouraging others to follow in our footsteps, through our words and actions.